Dog Food

While I originally fantasized about feeding Betsy raw, I ultimately decided that it was too expensive and, after researching everything involved, realized it was a lot of effort to make sure she was getting a properly balanced diet. I might eventually still try it, but for now at least, I ended up researching a bunch on Dog Food Advisor to find a good alternative.

Betsy and I on a hike by the ocean where the fish in her dog food is caught ;) Look at her sit-stay! Such a good girl.

Betsy and I on a hike by the ocean where the fish in her dog food is caught 😉 Look at her sit-stay! Such a good girl.

I ended up having to decide between two: Acana and Orijen. At the moment we’re feeding Acana because it’s a bit cheaper, and from my understanding, Orijen can be nutrition overkill unless your dog is extremely active. Since they’re both made by the same company, I’m sure they’re both equally awesome, and DFA seems to agree. PLUS they’re Canadian, and most of their fish is caught right near our house, so it feels like we’re feeding Betsy local food. (I’m sure she doesn’t care one iota about this but I’m a crazy pet owner and excited for her anyway.)

I’m ALSO super excited for when Betsy can stop eating boring old puppy food and I can start rotating her through the various Acana Regionals. (I know. She won’t even notice the difference, right? I’m nuts. But there’s something fun about reading the ingredients on the various regional foods and imagining feeding Betsy all these tasty meats.)

A quick rant

The one downside to dog ownership is the number of pretentious and judgemental people you encounter, most of them dog owners themselves.

I encounter three different kinds, and they all make my blood boil:

  1. The ones who give me advice that is super obvious, as if they think I’m some dumb dog owner who doesn’t do her research. This one is well meaning and I do my best not to show my irritation, but ugh, I don’t need to be told that my dog’s back dewclaws should be removed when she’s spayed. I do realize that they’re floppy and a hazard, thankyouverymuch. And please stop telling me to go to dog parks and how important it is to socialize my dog. I have spent a lot of time socializing my dog, and continue to do so. And maybe you don’t feel that dog parks are dangerous to puppies, but I most certainly do. I have heard way too many horror stories.
  2. The ones who have breed bias and admonish me on the dangers of rottweilers. You’d think if you are a dog lover you’d be a bit more accepting. Not to mention the general rudeness of it. Think what you like in the privacy of your own home, but badmouthing rottweilers to my face is like badmouthing homosexuality to a gay person, or smoking to a smoker, or anti-children sentiments to a mother, or bashing religious people when talking to a religious person. It’s RUDE. Especially since Betsy’s behaviour does nothing to trigger this – she’s as sweet as pie to everyone she meets.
  3. The ones who act all weird about their own dogs as if my dog is a monster. We’re on a walk, they let my dog greet their dog, the dogs begin to play together, and then the owner suddenly gets all tense and wants to leave, as though Betsy is bothering their dog. She isn’t. Their dog is clearly enjoying themselves, and it’s not even like Betsy does anything to look scary – she doesn’t make any scary noises when she plays, her body language is bouncy and excited, and she doesn’t do an excessive amount of height seeking. I get that sometimes this is just because they want to move on with their walk and that’s fine, but other times it’s obviously because they just feel uncomfortable with dogs playing, which seems so WEIRD to me.

BLAH.

(obviously I had a very annoying walk this morning, can you tell? :P)

Photoshoot

No interesting post today, just a few photos we took in the back yard because it was a beautiful day out and we didn’t have many photos of Betsy without her collar on.

Nice way to practice her sit-stay & down-stay 🙂

You might think she's looking at me but she's actually staring at a treat that I'm holding above the camera... greedy!

You might think she’s looking at me but she’s actually staring at a treat that I’m holding above the camera… greedy!

Betsy showing off her most solid command, the sit.

Betsy showing off her most solid command, the sit.

How much exercise does your dog get?

Socialization

Hi Internet! I have a question for you. It’s the title of this blog post.

Let me explain why I’m wondering.

I have read that (young, healthy) dogs need between two and three hours of exercise a day, with at least half an hour of hard cardio (so an activity that makes them pant)

I have also read that you need to be careful about large breed dog exercise because you don’t want to affect their joint growth.

Some people insist this is crazy-paranoid and to just not allow your young dog to jump/run on concrete, but long walks are fine.

Here is what seems to work for Betsy. It’s hopefully not affecting her joints, but if we cut back on her exercise she’d be miserable. She needs it!

  • 40 minute walk in the morning
  • 20-40 minute walk halfway through the day
  • 1 hour walk in the evening
  • 30 minute – 1 hour game of tug/fetch/chase/whatever in the evening
  • 15 minutes obedience in the evening
  • 20 minutes of “find it” (I hide a treat under a bowl and she has to pick which one it is. Alternatively, I’ll hide it around the house and she has to find it.)

On the weekends, some of this is substituted by an hour of puppy playtime with other young energetic dogs (phew)

I also often feed her meals through a puzzle toy to try to tire out her mind, although she finds it laughably easy and I don’t think it’s really all that mentally exhausting for her.

Ok, so this seems like a fair bit, right? Let’s say an average of 2 hours and 25 minutes of exercise + various “mental workouts” Not the absolute most – I’m sure working dogs, agility dogs, etc get WAY more, but decent, right?

So I’m googling other peoples’ large-breed dog exercise regimes and it seems like a lot of them think that two 20-30 minute walks per day is a generous amount, which is WAY less that what I’m doing with Betsy! And I think it’s not enough…. But maybe I’m wrong? How are their dogs not running around like maniacs in the house? I always find that when Betsy hasn’t had enough exercise she’s absolutely insane.

(by the way, that’s not some terrifying dog cage fight in the featured post image. It’s two puppies playing at puppy class!)

Choosing Betsy

I thought it might be fun to write a bit about how we chose Betsy out of all her other super adorable siblings.

We used the Volhard Puppy Aptitude Test to choose Betsy. There are lots of video examples on youtube of this test.

Some people swear by this test, other people think it’s outdated and ridiculous, but it worked really well for us. Or maybe we just got lucky 😉

Some of Betsy’s brothers, at first glance, were way more appealing than she was. They were SO friendly and excited to meet me, jumping up and mouthing happily at my hands. However, according to the Volhard theory, really outgoing and mouthy puppies, while super super cute when young, turn into extremely confident dogs that can be a handful to manage. (needless to say, we didn’t really want a handful of a 110lb rottweiler for our first dog!)

Betsy hanging out with her siblings. She's the one with the pink collar.

Betsy hanging out with her siblings. She’s the one with the pink collar.

I kind of wanted a female dog and we also preferred the rottie colouring (although it was a really tough call, so much cuteness!) So we tested all the females first. Betsy was the first puppy we tested and she killed it compared to her sisters. She was the only one who came when called (tail down) & she was totally cool with being held down on her back and held up in the air.

Betsy's siblings. All the rottie coloured puppies were female and I believe two of the mixed yellow lab looking  pups were male (and the third female).

Betsy’s siblings. Interestingly, all the rottie coloured puppies were female and most/all (not 100% sure) of the mixed yellow lab looking pups were male.

We have since received tons and tons of compliments on Betsy’s temperament, so I’m really glad we chose her, and I think the tests definitely helped. When the vet met Betsy, she told us we’d picked “A really well tempered puppy”, and the trainer at the puppy classes we go to has told me on more than one occasion that Betsy has “the perfect temperament”


You really have to go in to choosing a puppy with a game plan. Otherwise it’s sooo easy to be overwhelmed. If you’re going to a professional breeder, they will be very well informed and will likely chose the best puppy for you, but the ‘breeder’ we went to was just a family with two dogs that happened to breed, so it was up to us to judge which puppy had the best personality for our lifestyle.

The bite-y phase

Making funny faces

One of my least favourite phases that Betsy went through was her land shark phase, which fortunately didn’t last very long at all. I remember mentioning to another puppy owner (who owns a bulldog that shares a birthday with Betsy!) that Betsy had started her bitey phase, and the owner rolled her eyes and said her own dog had started that phase AGES ago, and that it was AWFUL. So I guess this phase could have been a lot worse.

I first noticed Betsy was going through a biting phase when I was doing lunges. Ben thought it was hilarious.

With Betsy it was pretty minimal – she would jump and nip you (rather hard) when she wanted to play. One time she bit me in the butt when I was trying to take a nap and startled the crap out of me.

I think she got it from all the playtime she had with other puppies, and didn’t realize that people didn’t enjoy playing the same way as dogs did.

We struggled a bit with figuring out how to get her to stop – our go to “no” sound, which usually works really well, just got her more excited. Then we tried pushing her off whenever she bit and holding her at arm’s length until she stopped – worked a bit better but still not perfect.

Strangely, I guess with a combination of different methods, she just sort of stopped on her own, and now she never bites us. I just tried doing lunges a minute ago and she didn’t even budge from her comfortable sitting spot.

An Introduction

Baby Betsy.

Hi guys,

My name is Rose and my dog’s name is Betsy. At the time of writing this post, she’s 5 months old. She’s a Rottweiler (3/4) & Yellow Lab (1/4) cross.

My boyfriend and I got betsy at 9 weeks of age, and she has become the focal point of our lives.

After raising Betsy for the last three months, I have decided to start a blog to write about our adventures in training and raising a well-mannered dog. There’s a lot to think about and a lot to be paranoid about, and hopefully this blog will be useful to others who are attempting to raise the perfect puppy!

Disclaimer: I am not a professional dog trainer! I do a lot of online research and do attend obedience and socialization classes with Betsy, but I definitely am not an expert. This blog is for your (and my) enjoyment, but it is not the bible of dog training by any means 🙂 I undoubtedly make mistakes, and dog training philosophies vary greatly, obviously!

Some photos of Betsy so you know who I’m writing about!

A bit carsick.

Betsy on the car ride home from the breeder.

Baby Betsy.

Betsy lying in the grass in our front yard after finally arriving home from the breeder.

Lying in the grass.

Betsy lying in the grass in our front yard after finally arriving home from the breeder.

Little Betsy

A photo of Betsy taken a few hours after she first came home, out for a potty break.

Meeting her first cat.

Betsy meeting her first cat, a friendly/slightly senile old cat that belongs to my parents.

Naptime.

Little Betsy enjoying a tummy-up nap.

Stick.

Betsy being naughty and chewing on a stick.

Halloween

Betsy about a month after we got her, on halloween night, looking all cute.

Volleyball

Betsy loved this volleyball during her first month with us, but has since lost interest in it.

Window

Betsy looking out the window in our living room. She likes to watch the birds that fly by.

On a walk

Approx. 3.5 month old Betsy on a walk, trying to pose but distracted by some Dachshunds that are walking by.

Nose

About 3.5 months old.

About 3.5 months old.

Making funny faces

Betsy in late November (so about 4 months old) posing with my boyfriend for a photo and looking goofy.

3.5 months

Making her adorable face

Antlers

Betsy at about 4.5 months, didn’t want to wear the antlers we got her (we didn’t force her :P)

Posing with Santa

Betsy at 4.5 months getting her photo taken with Santa.

5 months old

Betsy at 5 months, on a sunset walk.