Two months ago, I thought this day would never come: the day that Charlotte turned 4 months old! It seemed like it was an eternity away. When I got her, two months ago, I never thought that Artemis wouldn’t be here to watch her grow up and teach her how to be a big dog. That responsibility has fallen on the arthritic shoulders of Franklin, who is 14 1/2 years old. Franklin is doing the best he can, but sometimes it seems that Charlotte expects too much from this old, tired dog! He’s not really into how she pulls his tail and snaps at his heels. He lets her know it’s not acceptable, and I suppose that is something that a puppy should learn at a young age.
There’s also another dog in the picture: Watson, the neighbors’ two year old terrier. He and Charlotte have become best buds over the past two months. He’s teaching Charlotte how to play and wrestle and how to be a good trail dog.
If you read in the puppy books on how to socialize your puppy, a lot is said about the importance of socializing your dog early. But it’s also kind of a scary process, not because the pup can be intimidated by older dogs, but because they are not fully vaccinated until they are 4 months old. So a lot of people think they can’t take their dogs out at all until they are fully vaccinated at 4 months old. I can tell you, I couldn’t wait until the day that I could start taking Charlotte on walks in the neighborhood and on the trails just a few weeks later. I can’t imagine trying to keep her contained to her house and yard until she was 4 months old. I think she would have probably developed a lot of bad behaviors.
When Charlotte turned 3 months old, she got a DHPP+B vaccine, which includes distemper, adenovirus (hepatitis), parvo, parainfluenza, and bordatella protection. The one I worried about most was parvo, after having a friend lose two golden retriever puppies to the virus several years ago. It’s often found in parks, dog parks, and places “frequented by dogs” where poop is found (which could be the dang sidewalk outside my house for all I know).
I decided to keep Charlotte mostly contained to the back yard and the neighbors’ yard with Watson until she was just under 3 months old, then I asked the vet when she could go out into the neighborhood. She got DHPP+B at two months old, and after getting her DHPP+B booster just shy of 3 months old, the vet said she could hit the streets 48 hours later. Woohoo! We started walking around the block regularly as soon as the 48 hour window had passed. She got another booster about 3 weeks later, and after another 48 hours we were cleared to hit the trails!Charlotte has taken to the trails like a natural. She sticks close by, and often tags my heels with her step (which I don’t mind, because she doesn’t trip me, and I know where she is). So different from Artemis who was into this and that and running off to chase animals. Charlotte will run about 10 to 20 feet ahead, and turn around to look and make sure I am coming. It warms my heart to know that Charlotte is so loyal and is behaving, but I also wonder what she will be like as the weeks pass and she gets older and more adventurous. She is definitely interested in other people, dogs, and birds in the neighborhood and on the trails, but has yet to encounter such things as moose, deer, and coyotes.
Watching Charlotte makes me also think of Artemis, who was the true huntress, and was off in the blink of an eye to dive her head into a carcass off the side of the trail and start eating carrion. Ugh, so gross. Time will tell if Charlotte develops a taste for dead meat!
It’s such a great thing to watch this puppy grow and learn. Tonight we are going to our first puppy class and will have to let you know how it goes! I’m sure it will be tons of fun watching all the pups playing together. We hope to learn some good training tips as well.