Welcome to the Berner Inc. blog! Here you can learn how to purchase a healthy BMD puppy, find our latest updates concerning rescue and read more on what BERNER Inc. is all about.

October 28, 2010

We Love Lucy!

So, we were just considering getting a puppy…then Anya called us just before 4th of July weekend and said there was a puppy that needed an immediate foster home.  OK!  At 3 months old, Lucy had already been through the mill, so to speak.  She was bred by puppy brokers in Kansas, shipped to a “holding facility”, and then put up for sale in a pet store.  She was purchased by a young couple who had no experience raising a puppy.  Lucy had giardia, coccidia, worms and yeast in her ears.  Lucy was intensely jumpy, mouthy and a serious biter.  Although the couple tried to love her, Lucy was not connecting emotionally.  With regret and relief they enlisted Berner, Inc. to find her a new home.
Lucy was a typical puppy mill “product.”  Separated from her mother and litter too soon, she had not learned the bite inhibition her canine family would teach her.   The weeks she spent in quarantine and in a cage at pet the store deprived her of the human contact and socialization all puppies need to develop normally as companions.  Lucy’s first month with us was tough.  House-training was a challenge—she had frequent diarrhea.  The biggest challenge was teaching Lucy bite inhibition.  Her need to lead with her mouth was much more intense than in a normal puppy.  Lucy knew no boundaries.  She grabbed at hands, feet, and faces.  She tore at clothing and flew at anything that moved.  She chewed everything she could get her mouth on, even stainless steel appliances!  
But Lucy is a bright girl.  She quickly learned “watch me” and “uh-uh” cues, and then more cues to control her mouthing and jumping.  We did lots of “soft mouth” training with toys, treats and puppy chews.  Soon Lucy was doing world-class “sits” and “downs” instead of charging at us mouth-first.   Helping in Lucy’s bite-inhibition training was our 18-month-old rescued Berner, Teddy (left above).  Teddy showed Lucy what she had missed from her siblings—how hard to bite and when to stop.  Of course, we humans made sure that Teddy didn’t get too carried away with “teaching” the puppy!  Soon the two were chomping on toys and chews together instead of mouthing each other every time.
It was over a month before Lucy clicked with us emotionally.  She hadn’t liked to be touched, and would grab us when we tried to handle her.  Then one day, I went into a room where she was lying down--she “smiled” and wagged her tail like a lariat.  I knelt down and rubbed her under the chin, and she flopped on her back and began to “purr” as I rubbed her chest.  From that moment I knew for sure that Lucy would go from “foster puppy” to ”our puppy.”  Before we met her, Lucy’s “critical period” of socialization had suffered some major deficits.  But with intensive training--and sometimes intense fatigue and frustration!--we restored the social skills Lucy had missed as a pet-store puppy.  She has become a happy, well-behaved and healthy family member.  We love Lucy and we know Lucy loves us!

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