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Uploaded with ImageShack.usHey everyone, first time dog owner of a beautiful boy I bought three and a half weeks ago. He's just over three months now, I believe Niko is lab/boxer? mixed with an italian pointer. I must say, it hasn't been without stressful moments but it really seems he is very well behaved. Picked up his house training after the first week (!?!) with maybe 3 or 4 accidents since. He walks nicely on the leash and is learning not to pull, seems generally very calm, just sits patiently while i get his food, leash toys ready. We have no backyard really but we go on three walks a day, where I do my best to widely socialize him while he is young. He gets along well with other dogs, briefly with aggressive ones, and runs around and wrestles without barking or yelps with friendly dogs. Seems to know fetch just through instinct, "come" and "drop it" which is a blessing in burning off his energy. He's friendly to people but still sometimes jumps up in excitement. If your playing around with him when hes hyper he can get nippy with hands or pull clothes but hes learning his limits as I'm learning to calm him down by basically just practicing his commands or redirecting him to a toy to get praised. If you don't have children, I think it is difficult to properly socialize puppies, but he has done wonderful with all the kids hes met so far tho. He has pretty good bite inhibition (but little razor puppy teeth).

I hand feed him and use puppy milk bones and liver treats for training . He sleeps in his cage beside my bed and only whines in the morning to pee, or occasionally barks when he sees my shy older cat spying on him from somewhere. Quiet and behaved when I'm out, which I am for a few hours a day. I just weighed him a couple days ago and he is 22 lbs at 3 months so he will be a good sized dog. Putting a ton of effort into leash training now so as not to be pulled around later. I've been lurking around this forum so I thought I would sign up in advance for when inevitable trouble happens.
One thing I might share for people who hand feed a lot, most of you probably make your dog "wait, wait, okay" so that they dont immediately snatch the food as your feeding them and to train additional obedience. I found my dog very quickly caught on to the fact that i would have my thumb over my palm (and the food) when I said "wait..." and then would move it when I said "okay". So now when feeding him I don't have to say anything to make him eat politely, he waits until my thumb moves to take the food or treat.


Uploaded with ImageShack.usI also really think it is helpful to find a way to turn the frequent negative puppy behaviour into an opportunity to train the proper reaction. With all the different crap Niko, as a young puppy in a litter filled city picks up on walks, its a thousand chances to teach him "drop it" and "come here". With how often he goes to the bathroom, it's that many more chances to positively reinforce the right place to go. I think this period of a dogs life is so critical because of how many mistakes they make, and therefore how often they have the opportunity to learn the proper reaction. I've been reading so much puppy stuff the last six months, now I'm starting to subconsciously spew it out. Just the excitement of having a dog I guess.:clap2:
 

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Thank you! I'm so proud!

I think I will have him fixed for the medical and behavioural advantages when the time comes, but in reading about that, it's hard to figure out when that time is. I understand not fixing a male early allows the testosterone to help build a more developed, muscled and physically solid dog. But I don't want to wait too long either. Any experts or someone with experience have any advice or input when it comes to neutering?
 

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Gonna take this to the top in hope for advice on neutering... if, when, ups and downs...
Yes. Yes yes yes yes. Dogs who are unneutered can develop health problems and behavioral problems. He will drive you nuts if there's ever a female in heat around. And there's no reason to leave him intact to breed or anything. Other people can tell you more about "whens" and stuff. Most downsides are myths.

P.S - My dog's name is Miko. Internet high five for good taste in names!
 

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There is really no reason to breed this dog, so it should be neutered. Intact dogs can develop a few different types of cancers among other problems. Neutering your dog will not change his personality (at least I have never met a dog whose personality has been changed by being neutered).

When your dog is old enough to be neutered is really up to your vet. If you plan on going to your regular vet for neutering they will likely give you a time fram of 4 to 6 months old. If you go to a spay-neuter clinic they will do it right now. I worked at a spay-neuter clinic and anything over 10 pounds or over 8 weeks can be neutered. Not all vets are comfortable with neutering that young as it is riskier, but your (very hansom) boy is more than old enough for a spay-neuter clinic.
 

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Hansom boy! Sounds like he.is.doing really well.

Do some serious research on neutering.

He is going to be a big boy so I would wait until at least 18 months old.
 

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Thanks for the advice and opinions folks, and the compliments! I'm due for the next round of shots in two weeks at the vet, so I will definetly discuss neutering with them. I have no interest in breeding him, so I would be doing it for the health benefits.

I was curious about opinions on something I do with Niko when he is in a lazy mood laying around sometimes. I will say, "mouth... mouth... mouth..." calmly and then let him hold my hand in his mouth. He is very gentle, to the point that he doesnt even close his mouth after a yawn, and if ever he exerts any pressure I make a little noise and draw away. I do this as a safe way to help him develop his bite inhibition by giving him a way to recieve feedback.
However, I can see people saying that you should never encourage a dog to put his mouth on you (or anyone). I never do outside of this excercise, which I initiate and end, but what do you think? helpful, harmful, or pointless?
 
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