Benjamin talks about ...
Raising Golda!
Benjamin talks about        
Benjy took on the task of puppy parenting during his winter school holidays.
Here he shares some of his experiences!




What I do What Golda does What it means

3 WEEKS - Golda's fourth week

When Golda is awake and active first thing I do is take her to the bathroom where there is newspaper laid out for her to pee or poo on. Sometimes that is all she wants and she will go back to sleep straight after. But sometimes she is energetic and playful. Then she will harass either her mom or me. Normally I will play with her by waving toys in front of her or by patting the ground to get her to run towards me. In the beginning when her senses were still quite new she could only concentrate on one thing at a time – sight or sound or touch. However by now her senses are co-ordinated well enough for her to play properly. Her nails grow very fast and every few days I need to cut them or they will interfere with her new walking skills.   Golda has energetic days and lazy days. Sometimes she sleeps most of the day and on others it is non-stop playing. When it comes to playing Golda enjoys catching and chewing things rather than running around like a lunatic. Movements that are too fast, too big or too loud, easily intimidate her. But even then she is not out of the game for long and is soon charging in to take down some new obstacle. Recently she has begun to see and hear properly. This means that she is more playful and harder to intimidate since she can see and hear what is going on. She is also toilet trained. This took something like 2 days to get perfect, as chows are toilet trained by their parents. Since she is too little to go outside, we have put newspaper over a section of the bathroom for her to toilet on.   One of the cutest things Golda does is squeak and twitch in her sleep. Sometimes she wakes herself up. Muscle twitching helps muscles, bones and ligaments to grow properly. But maybe she is having some really wacky dreams! Chow mothers toilet train their pups from a very early age. This is because chows are more instinctive than other dogs and they work hard to keep their dens clean. In the wild the smell of a messy living area would attract predators. As soon as the puppies are old enough to walk, mom herds them away from the nest to do their toilet. Golda can climb into her whelping box now but she still has trouble climbing out because the inside cushioning means she has to fall out of the box. She has started eating a little bit of solid food, which makes her sleep for ages because it is much harder to digest.

4 WEEKS - Golda's fifth week

Golda is now almost completely self-sufficient. All I really have to do is put down some hard food a few times during the day for her to eat and play with her. Now that her teeth have grown in, playing is not as much fun as it used to be. As for the type of play she prefers, it mainly involves chewing and chasing or dragging, running and pouncing. At this early stage she will chew on pretty much anything if I let her, even electric wires! She needs less sleep now but she doesn’t always want to play. Sometimes she just wants to cuddle or have attention. She has been taken outside for the first time and loved it! Recently it has been too cold and wet to take her outside much. She has met the other dogs and cats but mom is still very protective and could start a fight if I am not there to intervene.   Golda can get in and out of her box now quite happily and she has even managed to climb onto the bed. She is naturally careful at the edge of the bed to avoid falling off. She is completely house trained and only ever pees on the newspaper that is laid out for her. She can run, jump and bark. To me she is already a big dog in miniature. Now that she is older Mia takes more time away from her although she still doesn’t trust any of the other dogs around her precious puppy. Golda enjoys spending more time with people. When someone walks in through the door, she rushes up to greet them, wagging her tail. She also talks through the door to granny Ch’zu. If we watch a movie with Golda, her eyes remain glued to the computer screen. Golda is still intimidated by going outside and doesn’t explore much on her own yet.   Golda is maturing. She is learning all the skills she would need if she really were in the wild. She hates us looming over her because it makes her feel very vulnerable. She walks backwards with her head down and you can tell that she is not happy. Chows were bred to work alone and they have strong instinct to evade capture, so they hate being “caught” or trapped, even by people they know. She can run now and only falls over occasionally. She is truly growing up. To me the only thing more exciting than a puppy is a grown up chow. Chows grow out of chewing and chasing quite quickly so it’s very special to have this puppy time with her. Chows have a reputation as “one man dogs”, although personally I think they are more accurately one family dogs. This is true to a certain extent. Golda has bonded to me more than anyone else and I cherish this bond.

5 WEEKS - Golda's sixth week

Golda is much more comfortable in the outside world now, inside and outside the house. In the early days I would supervise all her interactions but now I am able to leave her free to go where she pleases. Obviously we still watch her carefully around the pool and we are putting up puppy gates until she’s bigger so she can have more freedom outside too. Generally Mia is more relaxed when the other animals are around her puppy. I still watch her around the other dogs because she is very protective about her little girl, especially near the den. If Golda so much as squeaks Mia will pounce on whichever dog is closest to her, whether or not they had anything to do with the baby. I feed Golda several times a day now, usually whenever she wakes up from a nap. We also put a collar on her for the first time.   Golda has started playing with the other dogs. If Ch’zu gets tired she checks to make sure Mia is not nearby before reprimanding the puppy! When she goes outside Golda explores much further than before. If the big dogs run off to investigate barking or squirrels she simply lies down and waits for them to return. When she is bigger she will go with them. She now easily knows her way around the house and garden and clearly understands the concept of a door – she complains loudly if she is locked inside! Now that she’s discovered the outdoors she prefers to toilet outside. She will hold it in and bark at the door to be let out. It’s been a few days since she last used the newspaper on the bathroom floor. She is becoming more reserved around strangers and even growled at a stranger for the first time.   Golda is now learning about her environment, which means interacting with it by exploring and hanging out with the other animals. She is taking her place as a junior pack member, transferring her attachment from just mom to the bigger family pack. In the wild she would be starting to leave the den now, under the care of the other pack members while mom would be leaving the puppies alone for much of the day while she goes off to hunt. At this age she has a strong instinct to follow and stick close to the safety of the pack so it’s the perfect time to start lead training. It is important that she eats less and less from Mia, although it might still take several weeks for her to be properly weaned. Now that she has had her first set of vaccinations she is able to have playdates, and soon she will be able to go out.

Written by Benjamin Munro in July 2012.

"She is growing up at a frightening rate. It’s amazing to see how much progress she has made in the last three weeks. My time alone with Golda is coming to an end as she joins the rest of the family and I go back to school. She is a wonderful puppy but I can’t wait for her to grow up so we can have lots more new experiences together!"

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