The District Vet’s Continuing Adventures of Calvin

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Happy December. My family and the entire family of District Vet wishes everyone a joyous holiday season. Remember to deck the halls, light the menorah, keep the dog out of the trash and the cat away from candles.

Over the past month I have been asked numerous times for a Calvin T. Dog update. Having discussed puppy training and the joys of raising a pup, let’s return to reality with an assessment of the past month.

As of this writing, Calvin is seventeen weeks-old. We call him our little velociraptor. House-training has gone pretty well. He does not defecate in the house and very rarely urinates inappropriately, too. When there is a urinary oops, it is almost certainly our fault as we did not take him out soon enough or missed his signals that he had to go. At the office it’s a bit harder to monitor him all the time, but it’s a work in progress.

Doctor Evans has said that we are lucky with Calvin as I have heard her say numerous times that a golden will somehow house-train itself. While I hope this is true, I do believe that our efforts have aided in compliance! Eternal vigilance, I say. You really can’t take them out enough.

As for the velociraptor, those little teeth can hurt. He also likes to launch himself at us in fervent, happy play. We are definitely careful to not reward his gnawing our extremities with more play. I forgot how much puppies like to chew on us. While we do redirect to chew toys, there are times I simply give up and become the chew toy myself.

Brian, our saint prior golden-esque sixty pound friend, would eat about three cups of food per day. This monster at only thirty pounds gobbles down about six! And he is lean. It is amazing to see how much protein and carbohydrates puppies require for growth. This should not be an unusual thought considering he was twelve pounds at eight weeks and is thirty at seventeen weeks. But it still amazes me. We feed Purina ProPlan Puppy. Oh, and they poop a ton. Food in, poop out.

He has done well with his vaccination series and only has Lyme left. We gave him bordetella, three rounds of distemper-parvo-lepto, a rabies, and two canine influenza vaccinations. Handled it like a champ. He is also on Simparica Trio.

Crate-training has been a breeze. We have upgraded to a large crate, which sits directly next to my side of the bed. Crate rules are simple: once the dog is in the crate, you ignore him. We provide him with a large towel as he has gained our trust and doesn’t chew on it. He may stir during the night, but does not bark and now makes it through the night. We very early on stopped taking him out to pee once he was put to bed. Crating will be maintained until such time as we trust him in the house. No idea when that will be, but not for a number of months.

Calvin is walked on a four-foot thick-rope leash. It gives us the most control and keeps him at our side. When it comes to things on the sidewalk, he is fast! Remember that marijuana butts are everywhere in the city and can cause significant disorientation in a dog! We never use a retractable leash as they do not allow control and can lead to serious issues! Please don’t use one in the city.

I’ve also learned that he is a total social butterfly. He has made friends with the folks at Frager’s (Kat, George, etc.) and will pull me into the store and garden center for attention! We do not allow him to have treats and use attention as praise for good behaviors. Although he is tremendously food-motivated, we will save treats for later training.

If you are considering welcoming a puppy into your family this season, remember that they are a joy and require quite a bit of work. It’s fun to watch this monster grow.

Dr. Teich is the medical director for District Veterinary Hospitals in Navy Yard, Eastern Market and Brookland. Visit www.districtvet.com for more information.