Hank is 18 months old today!

Hank is 18 months old today!

Hank was born 18 months ago today and has been part of our family for 14 months and 3 days. Hank has come a very long way and been through quite a lot in the time he has been with us.

I was just watching some old videos of the day Hank came to live with us. It was a Saturday evening and we had had a very long drive to bring him home. Molly and Poppet were very eager to meet him. It’s quite funny watching videos of a 4 month old puppy that is almost the same size as a fully grown Rottweiler! Maybe, I’ll post some of the videos a little later…

Hank settled in very quickly and soon got to grips with our daily routine. The girls were very tolerant of him and helped make the transition to a member of our pack easier for him.

Hip dysplasia

At 5.5 months old Hank was diagnosed with hip dysplasia. It was horrible to get that diagnosis when he was so young but it has worked out in his favour in the long run. The diagnosis meant a lot of changes were required. Hank had to start taking supplements with every meal, doing exercises several times a day and we had to change his walking routine. He also started going to hydrotherapy a few weeks later.

As the months went by, Hank started to make huge progress and things became more comfortable for him. You could tell this simply by watching his behaviour; he wanted to be out and about, running and playing.

Now at 18 months old, he has been signed off from hydrotherapy. The vet is also very pleased with his progress and we can postpone surgery.

Intolerances

In April 2019, I decided to get Hank intolerance tested. He had been having digestive issues for a long time and it was almost impossible to pick up after him! He had been tested at the vets to see if there was an underlying illness that was causing his issues but everything came back as normal.

The results came back towards the end of May. Although, there wasn’t a huge number of items listed on his report, it just so happened to be everything he ate! Drastic changes were made including his kibble, treats, joint supplement and ingredients in his bone broth.

Hank was kept on the elimination diet for a total of 3 months, which ended on 31 August 2019. It really was worth getting Hank tested and making the changes. His digestive system is so much better now! It’s still early days and there will be another post about this topic coming very soon.

Training

When Hank was diagnosed with hip dysplasia we stopped taking him to puppy training classes. We thought that the repeated sitting and standing would be determental to his hips. It turns out we were way off with this! Only when he started to see a physio did we find out that sit-stand exercises are actually one of the best things he could do!

Either way, we had stopped going to classes and wanted to focus on doing as much as we could for his hips. The down side of this is that Hank became very silly around other dogs. This was the result of the frustration of not being able to interact properly with them.

In May we had a 1-2-1 session with a behaviourist. Sharon gave us a lot of very useful information and strategies for helping to to calm Hank down. I never would have considered the fact of getting him to practice being calm when there aren’t any other dogs about. It does make a lot of sense though! How can a dog be calm around other dogs if it can’t be calm when they aren’t around?

Hank has made a lot of progress with this and is now a lot easier to walk. Don’t get me wrong, he still has his moments but we are at least now able to take him to the park. We still have a lot of work to do but things are definitely moving in the right direction.

Overall

Hank is an amazing dog and has come a very long way in his 18 months. We look forward to a lot of adventures with him and eventually hope to get him out and about with the girls.