I'm not sure if this is the right subforum for my question(s), but please bear with me.
A week or two ago I made a post about how long the coat would be of a pup from a litter I was interested in (I don't care about coat type, but his potential owner did and ended up turning him down). I ended up with the little fluff monster, have called him Baron and have had him for exactly 9 weeks. This is my first puppy, and in all fairness he's a pretty good pup, but I have a few concerns.
1) His appetite.
When selecting which pup I wanted from the litter (I had first pick, although I explained to the breeder what sort of pup I was looking for and she pointed out which ones she thought suited), I was looking for a social, happy, food driven puppy. Temperament wise, they were all actually pretty similar with some perhaps showing more assertiveness, but not massively. Baron was the biggest food hog and very social - always tumbling around with the other pups and loved following the breeder everywhere.
I've kept him on the same food that the breeder had him on - Royal Canin (I know) - and she said he loved the stuff, gobbled it right up everytime. However, since I've had him he has shown almost no interest. He eats 1.5-2cups per day and it is seriously concerning me. I've been told to let him eat as much as he needs to for 15 minutes and then take it away - well, he sniffs and just walks away about 90% of the time. I mentioned this to the breeder and she told me to throw some tinned food in the bowl and mix it around. So I did and he still wasn't interested. Raw egg - nothing. She told me to try adding human grade chicken mince to entice him with the smell and he liked it, even eating up some more of his kibble when I mixed it in. The next day I tried to give him straight kibble for breakfast, and he ate it! I thought everything was sorted, emailed the breeder to let her know that the mince did the trick and I thought all was great.
Then, I did some work on 'leave it' yesterday morning using his kibble, ecstatic that I could finally start training him, as he was showing interest in food. He consumed about 3/4 cups and off we went for his 9week vaccination. He was weighed, had his temperature taken and wormed. The vet said he was looking a bit skinny and I mentioned that his appetite was low for the first few days (me thinking that the hunger strike was over). The vet said chicken mince is not okay to feed to dogs - something about not being balanced. $100 later, I was sent on my way and as soon as we got home Baron pottied outside. A few minutes later I saw him squatting again, but this time a drop of blood came out instead. Over the next few hours he pottied another 3 times (all still reasonably firm with no blood. I thought perhaps the blood was from the thermometer damaging some tissue? Since then I have not seen blood again - touch wood). He had no appetite for lunch, and only ate about 1/2cup for dinner.
This morning, he at about 1/3 cup for breakast.
I am aware that Royal Canin is not the best food by far, and am happy to change over to something else, but my concern is that perhaps food isn't the issue, as he was mad about the stuff at the breeder's.
Apart from not eating, he still seems fine - runs around the yard at full speed, follows us everywhere, chews on anything, loves palying tug, chases the cat (
), loves meeting new people, investigates everything and generally seems like a happy, healthy pup.
So, does a 9 week old puppy with low appetite seem normal to you?
2) Juggling socialisation with vaccination course.
The vet told me yesterday that I can not allow Baron anywhere in public due to him not being done with his vaccination series and being at risk of picking up nasty viruses such as parvo. Of course, this means I can't do much socialisation with him until he's 15 weeks old - nearing the end of his crucial socialisation period. I asked if puppy classes were okay and he said absolutely not, due to them being carried out in public/unsterilised areas. He travels well in the car, and I've thought perhaps we can just drive around and show him some things, but is the really enough? At the moment he is very social, and I don't want to miss out on an opportunity for him to be a balanced and stable boy later on. How do I handle this?
I have many more questions on my mind, but these are the most concerning to me and I feel this post is already way too long so I'll save them for another day.
Oh and as required by this forum, here are pictures of the little troublemaker
The day we got him at 8 weeks and 3 days, relaxing under the trailer while we enjoyed the sunny weather:
Helping plant some tomatoes:
Stealing your heart:
A moment of peace for us all (ignore the other stuff in there, it's to make the space smaller as he's got a 48" crate):