Dog And Puppy Care
Mission: A dog’s life purpose is to serve, protect, and educate her human pack and family. Allowing your dog to express her life’s purpose makes for a cooperative, healthy, content, and happy companion.
1. Avoid beef hooves, they can splinter and be swallowed, causing choking or impacted bowels.
2. Puppies love stuffed toys. Check them regularly for tears. Also, remove all plastic eyes and other such trims to prevent your puppy from swallowing them.
3. Crates are indispensable for training, time out and/or a safe place for her to den in.
4. Never use aluminum bowls, which are toxic. Use instead: Stainless steel, ceramic, or heavy plastic.
5. Puppy proof your home. Use baby gates to confine her, remove dangerous objects, etc.
6. Squeaky toys should only be played with under direct supervision, small pieces can be chewed off and cause obstructions.
7. Never leave a small dog or puppy unattended on a high place, (counter, table, or even a couch) small animals can break bones falling or jumping from a high place.
8. An excellent choice for a training collar is an anti-pull collar. It’s much more humane and works as well as a choke collar. A very good choice is “Anti-Pull Harness” by Yuppy Puppy. It is ASPCA approved and is available on the web at www.yuppypuppy.com.
Living and Playing
1. Not surprisingly, your new puppy may seem a little lonely for the first few days. Try looking at circumstances from her point of view: One moment she’s lying around with her mother and siblings, romping and napping and feeling secure in the crowed, suddenly, the scene is unfami-liar and she’s all alone. Who wouldn’t be a little shaken?
2. Hang in there for the first few nights when you hear sounds of distress. Lend support from the heart, which is easy, and from the head, which may require some adjustments on your part.
3. If your new puppy is sleeping in a crate, try placing a towel or other piece of material that was being used by the breeder for the litter. The scent will calm her and help to ease the transition.
4. Invest in a few puppy and dog toys. Not only will this help her to occupy her time but will help to keep her from chewing things you don’t want chewed.
5. Puppy socialization is extremely important. Make sure while she is young (two months old on) that she is “introduced” to strangers, (mailmen, neighbors, neighborhood children, etc.) and other animals (cats, dogs, hamsters, etc.). Make sure that your puppy is up to date on all her immunizations before exposing her to any animals outside of your home. This socialization is very important, dogs that chase mailmen, snap at children and strangers, and greet other dogs aggressively are dogs that were not properly socialized as puppies. Some good places to social-ize are your neighborhood parks and AKC-Sponsored puppy shows. The latter is a good way to meet other people with your breed, show off your puppy, and just generally have a good time with your puppy, even if you have no intention of “showing” your dog later.
6. Structured play time is an important activity for puppies. Play time stimulates intellectual growth and gives you a chance to teach your puppy how to interact with you. If you want to maximize your puppies learning and your bonding experience, set aside some time for play every day.
7. “Puppy play time” is a time devoted to bonding with your puppy through games she will find intriguing, stimulating and completely rewarding. You will need some comfortable clothes, a variety of toys, and about 10-15 minutes of very relaxed time.
8. If you had the chance to observe your puppy with her litter mates before you brought her home, you no doubt noticed the rough and tumble fun the puppies had as they played with each other. Your goal is to continue this stimulating, interesting, highly tactile experience as much as possible.
9. Each “game” can last for 30-90 seconds before your puppy gets bored, then you will need to move onto another one. Your puppy will be delighted day after day to see you pull out the toys, find your favorite spot on the floor, and call her name to “to let the games begin.”
10. Puppy play time will teach you a lot about your puppy’s development, interests, and instincts. As yours matures, the games will change, and you’ll find new, more age-appropriate toys to capture her interests.
11. As your puppy begins to appreciate the time you spend together, you’ll begin thinking of play time as the reward you’ve earned for all of your puppy-raising efforts.
12. All puppies’ need adequate exercises in order to grow and develop properly. You will probably still be potty-training your puppy. Providing exercise helps keep your puppy’s eliminations on a regular schedule.
13. Exercise also helps with your puppy’s behavior. Puppies who receive adequate exercise are less likely to find activities for themselves and get into trouble.
14. It is too important that you don’t get carried away and give your puppy too much exercise. Check with your veterinarian if you have questions about the amount and types of exercise that are appropriate for your dog.
15. When bringing your puppy home, continue the feeding regimen that the breeder was using, and use the same schedule. Make changes slowly to prevent gastric upset that may accompany abrupt changes in diet while the puppy is trying to cope with a new environment.
16. All puppies should be fed a diet designed for young, growing dogs. Adult dog food is inap-propriate at this phase of life, when puppies have special nutritional requirements for normal development.
17. How much and how often to feed your puppy depends on her size and weight as well as on other factors. Three feedings a day are usually adequate to meet nutritional demands for puppies under four months old.
18. You can cut back to two meals per day when your puppy is four to six months old. Most dogs are fed once daily when they reach one year old.
19. It is very important to prevent your puppy from becoming overweight, since obesity can lead to all sorts of health problems. Try not to feed any table scraps, and keep the amount of treats to an absolute minimum. These are often the greatest source of unneeded calories.
20. Weigh your puppy weekly and record her development, comparing her with published charts for her breed. You can then adjust the amount of food she’s getting to conform with that of the average rate of growth for your breed standard.
21. Try not to be too concerned if your puppy skips a meal or picks at her food occasionally. It could mean that she’s ready to eliminate a feeding or that you’ve given her too much at one time, in which case you can reduce the number and/or quantity of food you serve.
22. If you want to discourage the development of picky-eater habits, try to feed at regular times in regular amounts, and don’t leave food down for more than ten to twenty minutes. Fresh water, in a clean bowl, should be available at all times.
23. Many people wonder how often a dog needs to be bathed. The answer depends on the breed, the kind of life the dog leads, and whether she has a skin disorder. In general, dogs need only be bathed when they are dirty (or when a medicated shampoo is prescribed). Too frequent bathing will dry-out their skin and coats.
24. The younger the puppy is when its grooming routine is established, the better she will accept grooming as an adult. This becomes even more important for dogs with long or thick coats or heavily groomed dogs. ( See “Teaching your Puppy to Accept Grooming and Handling”).
25. Nails seem to grow at different rates in different dogs. In any case, one rule holds true consistently: The nails must be kept short for the feet to remain healthy.
26. You’ll know that your dog’s nails are too long when she walks across a hard surface such as a kitchen floor. If you hear the click, clicks, clicks, of nails hitting the floor, consider it an indication that her nails should be cut shorter.
27. As a dog owner, you have a serious responsibility to train your dog to be a “Good-Neighbor.” Good neighbors never infringe upon the rights of other people, nor do they make themselves a nuisance or a menace.
28. Dogs naturally do things like destroy or defecate on someone’s lawn, chase other animals, or have long, loud barking sessions about the squirrels in the backyard. These are not bad behaviors, these are natural canine behaviors, and dogs will do them unless they are properly trained and supervised.
1. One thing that all dogs have in common is a desire to please their owners. Unfortunately, an interspecies language barrier makes it difficult to get your point across. Training lets you overcome those barriers.
2. Training establishes a means of communication between you and your dog that is guaranteed to brighten your relationship. After all, training shows your dog how to earn exactly what she craves - your approval!
3. Before you start actively training your dog, you might want to invest a little time learning a touch of your dog’s language. I don’t mean just barking. Body language is an extremely important communication tool between dogs and other creatures.
4. If you spend just a few moments every day watching your dog, you may come away with the ability to understand, even “connect” with your dog, much to his delight.
5. Dogs often show they want to play and romp by making a “play-bow” with their front legs down and their rears in the air. Try imitating the “play-bow” in front of your dog, and you will usually be rewarded.
6. Other signs of canine body language worth understanding are the signs of “submission” and “aggression.” Submissive dogs will often crouch down when you approach them, tuck their tails between their legs, or will roll over to expose their bellies. They may also urinate on the floor. This dog doesn’t want to assert herself. This dog may need a lot of reassurance, and training that includes a lot of praise, may help the submissive dog “find herself.”
7. An aggressive dog, besides showing teeth or letting out a low growl, may indicate aggression by raising the hair on its back, putting her ears forward, and holding the tail high. You may even catch a glimpse of the dog’s mood by the look in her eyes. This dog may be easily provoked into a fight.
8. In fact, reading the expression in a dog’s eyes is a powerful way to your dog’s feelings, both good and bad. Most dogs do not like to maintain eye contact with humans or more dominate dogs for long; they will shift their gaze sideways before looking back.
9. In the wild, animals often interpret direct staring as a challenge. Once you build a trusting relationship with your dog, you will probably find your dog sending long, loving looks your way without fear of reprisal.
10. Spend an afternoon alone with your dog. No T.V. or phone to distract you. Try talking to her and watch her facial expressions change dramatically. Try to read all of her facial expressions. You will probably see a wide variety of communicative facial expressions. See how many you can pick up on.
11. See if you can then have a more beneficial relationship once you see that she can “speak” to you.
The Mysteries of Dog Food Solved
1. Don’t be misled by commercial advertising. The pet food industry has spent millions of dollars to tell you not to feed your dog human food or table scraps. This doesn’t allow much money for premium ingredients.
2. The best diet you can feed your dog is a carefully designed program of home cooked meals that are both natural and organic.
3. A preservative-free dog food with vitamin supplements is a highly respectable second choice (see, supplement guide under “Vitamin Protocol”).
4. Supermarket pet food companies’ use the cheapest ingredients they can get such as cow hooves and horns, bones, organs not good for human consumption, cow udders, lungs, pig snouts, tails, bowels, skin and hair, glands, chicken feathers, beaks, and claws.
5. Anything not acceptable for human consumption may be (and is) used in pet foods, including diseased organs and animal parts, tumors and cancerous tissues, and spoiled, rancid, and moldy flesh. Bloody sawdust from packing plant floors, can be included in pet foods labeled as “meat byproducts and fiber.” This type of dog food is the one that needs preservatives.
6. If you are going to use a commercial dog food, look for “preservative-free” and does not contain BHA, BHT, and/or Ethoxyquin, which are implicated in a lot of pet diseases. (See below).
7. Pet food chemicals have been linked to epilepsy, cancer, birth defects, autism, hyperactivity, nervousness, anxiety, hostility, behavior problems, slow-growth, metabolic disorders, allergic reactions, baldness, and brain defects.
Dr. Belfield’s Daily Vitamin Protocol
for Weaned Puppies
1. For multiple vitamins and mineral supplement tablets, follow the directions on the bottle.
2. Begin vitamin E at age six months.
Six months to one year: Gradually increase to adult levels. Small breeds = 50iu, medium breeds = 100iu.
Adult dogs: small breeds = 100iu, medium breeds = 200iu.
Pregnant or lactating dogs: 300iu
3. For vitamin C use the following recommendations:
First six months: small breeds = 250mg, medium breeds = 500mg.
Six months to one year: Gradually increase to adult levels: small breeds = 250-500mg, medium breeds = 500-1500mg.
Adult dogs: small breeds = 500-1500mg, medium breeds = 1500-3000mg.
Pregnant or lactating dogs: small breeds = 1500-3000mg, medium breeds = 3000-6000mg.
4. When starting vitamin C for the first time, begin with very small doses and increase gradually to prevent initial diarrhea.
5. These supplements should be used whether you’re feeding a commercial, preservative-free or home cooked diet.
6. If you wish to cook for your dog or puppy at home here are some cookbook recommendations:
Joan Harper’s “The Healthy Cat and Dog Cookbook.”
Juliette de Bairacli Levy’s “The Complete Herbal Handbook for the Dog and Cat.”
1. Your puppy’s last meal of the day should be no later than 8pm for young puppies.
2. The human family members should always eat first, then feed the canine family members. In a pack the “Alpha dog” always eats first. This helps to maintain your puppy’s order in the family. This will also help teach your puppy self-control.
3. Vitamin C is crucial for both dogs and people in the prevention of tooth decay.
4. Maintaining a consistent schedule for feeding prevents stomach upset, gives your puppy a sense of security, and helps in the housebreaking process. Expect your puppy to need to eliminate approximately thirty minutes after eating. By knowing her feeding schedule you will also know her elimination schedule.
Grooming and Handling
1. Before bathing, thoroughly brush your dog to remove dirt, dandruff, mats, and dead hair. This also helps to distribute natural oils through the coat. Take a moment to massage the skin and coat with your finger tips; this helps to loosen dead hair and debris.
2. Long-haired breeds are slightly more complicated, because this type of coat is often matted. You must remove mats before shampooing or else they trap soap residues and are harder to remove after the bath. To prevent mats, brush daily.
3. Short- or smooth-coated dogs usually only need a slight stroking with a fine bristle brush.
4. If there are just a few mats, gently tease them apart with your fingers, the teeth of a comb, or a de-matting tool.
5. Keep a firm grasp on the hair nearest to the body to prevent pulling on the skin as you work.
6. Soaking difficult mats in a detangling lotion may help.
7. In the case of numerous mats, the kindest thing to do is to clip the hair short using trimmers, not scissors, and then closely monitor the new growth and brush out mats as they appear.
8. Mats can form surprisingly fast in places where there is natural body friction, such as the base of the ears and around the joints.
9. Also, long-haired breeds shedding out of their soft puppy coat may be especially prone to matting.
10. Before taking scissors to your dog’s mats, be warned: Many people inadvertently cut their dog’s skin.
11. If you must snip, try teasing a comb under the mat so that the teeth rest safely between the skin and the tangle. Then cut the mat off outside the comb.
1. Gather all of your supplies: Cotton balls, hydrogen peroxide, mineral oil, a plastic cup (unless your sink is equipped with a sprayer), a washcloth, towels, a hair dryer, and a brush.
2. The water for bathing should feel comfortably warm to you, as a dog’s normal body temperature is three degrees hotter than humans. Cold water bathing is the prime reason why many dogs hate taking baths.
3. Next, dampen a cotton ball with peroxide and gently wipe out the inside of the puppy’s ears. Go as far in as you can reach with the cotton ball, but do not use cotton swabs. Take another cotton ball and put a little mineral oil on it, leave these in the ear opening for the length of the bath.
4. If your puppy’s ears are sweet smelling and pink, no more needs to be done. If the ears are inflamed, odorous, or have a discharge, see “Ear Infections” under First Aid.
5. Now place your puppy in the warm water, telling her to “Stand!”. Use the plastic cup or sprayer to wet her coat, taking care not to get water in her eyes. Talk to her gently and repeat the “Stand!”command. Praise her when she stays still.
6. Next, soap her up using a shampoo designed for dogs. Begin with a ring of suds around her neck to prevent fleas from moving to her face until the end of the bath and then returning.
7. Soap up your puppy thoroughly from the head to the back, making sure the soap reaches her underside, groin, and armpit areas, as well as her tail and genitals.
8. Use a washcloth on her face, being careful not to get soap or water in her eyes. If she has fleas, let the soap remain on her body for ten minutes, staying with her and keeping a hand on her. Flea shampoos are unnecessary. You may wish to clear her anal glands at this time. See “Anal Gland Expression.”
9. Now, rinse your puppy off thoroughly. This may take longer than the soaping up and it is very important that all the soap is removed. Feel her undersides, chest, groin, and her back above her tail. When you think your pet is soap-free, rinse her again. Remaining soap can cause itchy skin, scratching, and even skin sores.
10. Once thoroughly rinsed, let your puppy shake herself off. Wrap her in the towel and rub her as dry as you can. Remove the cotton balls if they are still in place. You can use a hair dryer on low heat to help the drying process. Until thoroughly dry, keep your puppy warm and protected from chilling.
11. Once she is dry, or almost dry, brush her again thoroughly.
Anal Gland Expression
To be done during the bath for puppies six months and older.
1. The anal glands are a pair of pea-sized oil sacks located under the dog’s tail in the lower part of the anal opening.
2. If your dog suddenly develops a body odor, begins biting at her hindquarters, or scoots her rump on the floor, she probably has an anal gland blockage. Raw sores on her back above the tail can also indicate an anal gland problem.
3. Male dogs may have more difficulties with this than females. The glands are simple to empty once you get the hang of it and it is usually performed during the bath. If you are uncomfortable doing this the first time, have your veterinarian show you how, most are willing to teach you this simple procedure.
4. If you are right-handed, grasp your dog’s tail with your left hand, while continuing to reassure your dog.
5. With your right hand, using your thumb and index finger in a pinching motion, grasp the lower anal opening at the five and seven o’clock positions. Press in and down.
6. A stream of foul-smelling brown fluid, liquid or pasty in texture, will squirt out.
7. One expression of the gland is enough. For any dog over six months old, these glands should be checked and expressed with each bath, usually once a month or so.
1. To begin with, once a week, hold her closely in your arms, (later she will stand) while trimming her toenails with a human fingernail clipper.
2. Be very careful to cut only the part of the nail that is hooked under and not to hit the vein or quick. If you cut the quick, the nail will bleed; use styptic powder to stanch the flow. This is painful, and your dog will remember, so avoid this as much as possible.
3. At first, trim the nails on only one paw per session, speaking matter-of-factly as you work and praising her when you finish.
1. Canine teeth need frequent brushing to prevent gum disease and early tooth loss, and to prevent bad breath.
2. Despite the popular conception, dog biscuits and bones alone do not keep the teeth clean and healthy. They do not completely prevent the build-up of plaque and tartar, which, unless removed, can lead to gum inflammation, tooth root abscesses, and other oral problems.
3. You should brush your dog’s teeth at least once or twice per week, more often if possible.
4. Using a gauze pad wrapped around your finger, a child’s soft toothbrush, or a canine toothbrush and canine toothpaste or baking soda, gently scrub the outside surfaces of the teeth, especially the rear teeth. It is not necessary to brush the interior surfaces of the teeth. Do not use human toothpaste, some ingredients are toxic.
5. Despite your best efforts, a proper dental cleaning under mild anesthesia, will need to be performed every few years in your veterinarian’s office.
1. Grasp the top of her muzzle with your thumb and index finger on the upper lips. This will cause her to open her mouth.
2. Press her upper lips in to cover her teeth and she will not be able to close her mouth or bite you.
3. Take the pill in your other hand and place it as far back as you can reach, past her tongue and into her throat.
4. Release her lips, holding her muzzle shut, and stroke her throat. When you see her lick her lips she has swallowed the pill.
5. If she refuses to swallow, blow lightly into her nostrils and she will swallow reflexively.
1. Using an eyedropper, open the dog’s mouth and drip a few drops at a time on the dog’s tongue.
2. You can also gently pull out the pocket of her lower lip on one side of her muzzle and put the medication into the resulting pouch.
If these methods do not work, it may be possible to put the medication in their food. Check with your veterinarian to make sure that this will not alter the medication.
1. Using a gloved hand, apply a small amount of lubricant, such as Vaseline or K-Y jelly, to the thinner end of the suppository.
2. Using your index finger, push the suppository into the anal opening as far in as it will go. Do not force it!
1. Use an enema bulb available in the baby section of most department and grocery stores.
2. Make up a mild soap suds’ enema, using Castile soap and warm water.
3. Apply a small amount of lubricant (see above), to ease insertion. Do not push the bulb too far in, and squeeze gently.
1. If you have a dog who is a pet and whom you are not going to show, you should have your dog spayed or neutered. Breeding purebred dogs should be left to knowledgeable, responsible breeders.
2. If you are going to breed your dog, you must have plans for each and every puppy before the litter is even conceived. This is the mark of a responsible breeder.
3. Also, it is overly optimistic to assume that you can recoup your investment or even make a profit by breeding dogs. Few people come out ahead by selling puppies. Most breeders of purebred dogs have an organized breeding plan designed to contribute to or improve on breed standards. Please use caution when breeding to ensure that puppies are an improvement of your breed and will have safe homes to grow.
4.If you decide to go forward and become a breeder, I hope you will embrace the belief that each new litter you produce should represent an improvement over the last.
5. You’ll want to be in touch with known, reputable breeders of your breed so they can help you find an individual dog whose bloodlines will strengthen your dog’s weaknesses and emphasize your dog’s good qualities.
Selecting Breeding Partners
1. First, as complicated as genetics may seem, there is a simple principle to bear in mind in selecting dogs for breeding: Namely, you breed animals who compliment each other.
2. Never consider breeding a dog with questionable temperament! You impose a major disservice on both human and canine communities if you produce another generation of skittish or bad-tempered animals.
3. Dogs are subject to many hereditary defects, some of which are potentially crippling or even fatal. If you decide to breed, you carry the responsibility of ensuring that the dogs you produce will not be affected by the major known hereditary diseases occurring in your breed. Both your dog’s breeder and your veterinarian can and should advise you.
4. Please do not take this warning lightly. Consider how devastated you would feel if the beautiful eight-week-old puppy you placed in a loving home developed a crippling hip problem at one-year-of-age. Ignorance is no excuse for having contributed to this tragic situation.
For more detailed information on breeding and whelping, please find a source directly related to breeding. Consult your breeder and veterinarian, they can answer questions directly related to your breed. There is considerable information needed to breed your dog safely and with effective results. It is your responsibility to research carefully and plan accordingly to ensure your dogs safety and to ensure a high quality bloodline.
When to Spay or Neuter Your Pet
1. Veterinarians have different opinions of when spaying or neutering should best take place. Some animal shelters do the surgery as young as six to eight weeks of age, and believe that the surgery is less of a shock to younger puppies than to older ones. They are under anesthesia for a shorter period of time and the new forms of anesthesia in use today are safer. They also believe that males neutered this young are less aggressive than those that have been neutered as adults.
2. Another school prefers to spay or neuter at six to nine months, before the female’s first heat, or as soon as the male’s testicles drop. They feel that the dogs need to be more mature as the surgery is major and has some anesthetic risk.
3. I prefer this last suggestion. Females, at around six months, before her first heat. Males, between five and seven months, as soon as the testicles drop.
The Benefits of Spaying your Female
1. Possibly the best reason to have your female spayed while she is young is for the health benefits. Mammary gland cancer is much more common in an unspayed (intact) female. If your puppy is spayed before her first heat, (usually around six months), her risk of developing breast tumors is substantially reduced. The odds are still in her favor if she is spayed after her first heat. The longer you wait to spay, the less the benefit will be in reducing her risk of breast cancer.
2. The surgery itself, the complete removal of the uterus and both ovaries, is ordinarily quicker and less hemorrhagic, (bloody) in immature females, reducing the risk of complications.
3. Having your female spayed before her first heat also spares you the stress of having to confine your female who, when she comes into season, sends out enticing messages to male dogs.
4. Spaying eliminates the possibility of an unwanted pregnancy, as well as the regular heat period when females leave blood-tinged stains on carpets and furniture.
5. Finally, the potential for infections, cancers, and other problems involving the uterus and ovaries are eliminated when these organs are removed.
The Benefits of Neutering your Male
1. Diseases of the male reproductive organs related to the presence of male hormones also exist. Although neutering represents an advantage as far as prevention is concerned, this is not usually the primary reason owners have their dogs neutered. Most people want their dog to be neutered because they think it helps make him a better pet. This may be true for the following reasons:
Intact male dogs can act aggressively toward other dogs and people because they are trying to protect and control their
territory. In the male dog’s mind, “territory,” may be your property, his toys, females in heat, a bowl of food, and so on.
Neutering a dog with aggressive tendencies at an early age may reduce these problems.
Neutering is also recommended for aggressive older dogs, although the chances for success are less certain.
A neutered dog has less temptation to roam.
A neutered dog will not embarrass you at important dinner parties by seeking romance with your company’s legs.
And just as important, he won’t be contributing to the already burgeoning population of homeless puppies, something we
should all be concerned about.
2. Let’s face it. Spaying and neutering dogs who are not intended for breeding or for the show ring is the smart and responsible thing to do. If your dog is a pet whom you will not be showing in conformation shows, it makes sense to choose spaying or neutering as a means of having a happier and healthier pet.
Basic Puppy Training
1. Puppy training should take place in this order: Housebreaking, knowing her name, accepting handling and grooming, walking on a lead, heel, sit, stay, down, and come.
2. Dogs are easily trained and resources are readily available to help you train your dog. One way to make training simple is to make it fun for both you and your dog. Early training is based on play and games that bond the dog and person into a loving team.
3. Early puppy training, and all rational dog training, is done a few minutes a day, every day and is based on praise and “No!”. When your dog does something you want to reinforce, praise her for it immediately and every time so she will repeat the action to earn your approval.
4. Praise is verbal: Say “Good Girl!”, in a light, bright voice. Low volume is enough, just sound happy. Use her name frequently. Praise can also be physical: Pats and hugs, scratches behind the ears, or any way that your dog can interpret as approval.
5. Food rewards should be only an occasional thing. If you need your dog to come, and have no treat, will she still respond? I like to save food rewards for the end of training sessions and then use a small bite of something she really likes. Too many biscuits make a dog fat.
6. Use her name with “action commands”: Sit, come, heel, etc. Don’t use her name when giving “non-action commands”: Stay, wait, etc.
7. It is important for you to understand that the properly trained dog will do what she is told the first and only time she is told.
8. During training, it’s okay to give as many commands as it takes to get the idea across, but you must reach the point where you need to say only one “Heel,” “Sit,” or “Stay,” for the dog to respond.
9. Steer clear of the “rising voice syndrome.” Most dogs are not deaf, and they certainly are not insensitive; They are often just improperly trained.
10. Having to repeat your commands with ever-increasing volume and frustration will not produce an obedient animal.
11. You should meet with success if you remain firm and unequivocal.
1. Occasionally take away a toy or food while your puppy is playing/eating it. Praise her, then give it back. This will teach her who is boss and prevent an unfortunate snap if she is interrupted by a small child.
2. Never use your puppy’s nickname during training sessions. Teach her to respond to her call-name and that it means business. Reserve nicknames for play time.
3. To be a good neighbor she must be taught to approach all humans with respect and to threaten no-one.
4. Never shout, her hearing is much better than ours and shouting will only frighten her needlessly.
5. Chewing: Whenever your puppy begins chewing on inappropriate items, distract her, remove the “illegal” item, and give her a “legal”one to chew on; rawhide, chew toys, etc. Praise her when she takes the “legal” item. (Chewing should stop after teething ends, around six months).
6. Inevitably there will be “bratty” days. When this happens, don’t ever strike your dog. When necessary use “time-out.” For a puppy, ten minutes in her crate will generally break the bad day. For older dogs “time-out” can be up to thirty minutes. You must ignore them while in “time-out.”
7. Chewing or biting on you or anyone else should never be tolerated. When this happens, move your hand away, firmly say “No!”, and stop playing with her for a few minutes. Give her one of her toys. If she continues after that, give her a “time-out.” If she still persists, hold her muzzle closed gently but firmly with your fingers and firmly say “No!”. She will not like this and will likely stop the behavior to avoid this from happening again.
8. Nor may she be allowed to chew on her leash or collar. Disengage her teeth from the object and say, “No!”. If she persists, clamp her mouth shut again for a few moments. Be gentle, but firm and consistent. Persistent collar and leash chewing can also be stopped by rubbing hot sauce or cayenne pepper mixed with water onto the collar or leash. Once will usually be enough.
9. Serious, formal obedience training should be postponed until your puppy is six to eight months old. Prior to that age, puppies have little powers of concentration, and intense lessons will only confuse them. As a rule of thumb: Puppies are usually ready for formal obedience training when they stop teething.
10. Spend these first few months getting to know one another. You can begin some of the more basic lessons, such as housebreaking, teaching your puppy her name, how to walk on a leash, and accepting handling and grooming. This is also a good time to establish good habits, such as keeping her off the furniture, discouraging her from begging at the table, and any other “pet- peeves” you may have. Let your puppy learn early on what is acceptable and what is not.
11. Have confidence in your dog as you set off to train her, and your dog will show confidence in learning. This confidence is established by your consistently responding to a particular action with the same reaction. This means that certain actions (such as a puppy who bites) are always prohibited, and certain others are always encouraged. Inconsistency is the deadliest enemy of good training.
12. Training is really the practice of consistently doing the same thing, in the same circumstances, over and over. Expose dogs enough times to predictable signals and they learn to respond accordingly.
13. While working with your puppy, remember that you should keep the sessions short, tasks should be easy, and your approach should be positive and upbeat.
14. Never use any kind of training collar to exert constant pressure on the dog’s neck. Any type of collar is abusive when used in an abusive fashion. In the right hands, and used correctly, training collars and leads are effective and humane tools.
15. Even if you go to formal classes for an hour each week, training sessions should take place regularly once or twice each day! Gradually increase the amount of time you spend training your dog from fifteen to thirty minutes. Longer sessions will not only tire your dog, but will also tire the trainer, and overall training will suffer.
16. Few things are worse for training than boredom, and that’s exactly what is bound to happen if you try to pack too much learning into a session.
17. Be businesslike during training, but don’t forget to be friendly, (not frustrated) and offer your dog lavish praise. At the completion of each training session, take time to play freely with your dog, easing the pressure and communicating the idea that there will be time for fun as well as work.
18. When beginning training, be realistic; it will take a good deal of work before the dog understands what she is meant to do, for this is the first time she has ever been asked to perform on command.
19. If you are kind and patient and skillful, your dog will soon learn to do as asked, and without rancor, because she will realize that each time she responds correctly, you are immediately pleased.
Rewards and Corrections
1. A dog who is praised when she does right and corrected when she does wrong will soon learn acceptable behavior.
2. In training language, when an animal is rewarded for doing something right, it is called “positive reinforcement.” For dogs this can be pats, praise, hugs, food or other treats, toys and so on.
3. Corrections in dog training range from a loud noise or words, indicating to the dog he is doing something wrong, to a quick snap of the leash.
4. Corrections should be given in a fair, unemotional fashion. Striking, hitting, or kicking a dog is never an appropriate training tool.
5. When your dog needs to be corrected, remember that corrections are simply one more training technique, whether they are used in training sessions or when teaching the dog manners in the house.
6. Many dog owners make a basic, destructive mistake of prolonging their displeasure with a dog that either violates the training or seems slow to learn. You must understand that dogs forget an event after a few minutes; They only know from your reaction that you are unhappy with them. You must catch a dog in the act of doing something wrong; If you don’t, FORGET IT! Disciplinary action must be as closely connected with the misdeed as possible for positive results. Holding a grudge is destructive.
7. In most cases, a sufficiently authoritative vocal correction makes the appropriate impression. When you are using corrections and they don’t seem to be working, analyze the positive rein-forcement you are giving the dog for the right behaviors. Sometimes, more rewards for doing the right things can be more helpful than more corrections.
8. Never strike your dog, with one possible exception. That exception is when a dog threatens to or is biting a person. In this case, you’ll have to use your judgement, based on your knowledge of your dog and of the circumstances surrounding the incident. Don’t take any act of serious aggression as anything less than serious.
9. Dogs who have shown any tendencies toward aggression absolutely require obedience training. Consult your veterinarian and/or trainer for advice on handling an aggressive dog.
10. Never try to soothe or comfort a dog who is in the midst of lunging at other animals or people from the end of the leash. It will only reinforce this performance, because you will actually be praising the dog for acting like a monster. A better approach is to correct the dog, get her under control, and then praise the acceptable behavior so she will associate praise with civil behavior.
11. We’ve said that it is unacceptable to hit your dog. When we say this, it means not to hit your dog with anything including your hand, a newspaper, a stick or anything else.
12. You should also never threaten your dog. This is often the cause of “hand-shy” dogs who cringe at the sight of hands, upraised or not. The dog that expects a beating every time she sees an upraised hand has good reason to try to escape to safer grounds.
13. Training does not occur by scaring a dog into making her do what you want and not do what you find unacceptable.
Teaching your Puppy to Accept Handling and Grooming
Both you and other people must be able to handle your puppy for a variety of reasons. Keeping a dog clean and healthy requires such handling. You and your veterinarian must be able to examine her. You will need to give her medications at times or dress a wound and if she is unmanageable your dog may suffer or have to be sedated to be treated. If you have a breed that requires professional grooming, the groomer must be able to do her job with minimal fuss and without danger. Whatever breed, you will want to do routine maintenance and grooming yourself (baths, nail trimmings, cleaning ears and anal glands). A well-balanced dog will also allow you to clean her teeth, which can prevent infections and lengthen her life.
So, lets start your puppy off right, teaching her to accept handling from the beginning. Follow these “Handling Lessons” with a play time.
1. Once per day, put her in a standing position on the floor, and gently hold her there by placing one hand under her chest, behind her front legs. Give the command “Stand!”
2. Stroke her all over, taking each paw and leg into your other hand and rub all over including the pads of her paws. Continue commanding her to “Stand!”
3. Stroke her ears and touch them gently, inside and out.
4. Stroke her underside, genitals, and tail, all very gently, while continuing to give the “Stand!” command.
5. Open her mouth by pulling back her lips gently and running your finger along her teeth and gums, (outside surfaces only).
6. Praise her continuously in a soft gentle voice, as your doing this. As well as being a great bonding experience, it feels very good to her. Look at it as “petting.”
7. Keep her standing this way, while continuing the “Stand!” command, until you are done.
8. Each “handling session” should last approximately ten to fifteen minutes. After the session, give her a tidbit: a piece of kibble, a dog biscuit, a piece of cheese or meat. A quarter-inch piece is plenty. Follow this with some play time.
1. Place a finger through the puppy’s collar and tell her to “Wait!”. At the same time, put your other hand on her chest to hold her still and to keep her from pulling or twisting. Do not scold her for struggling, just ignore it.
2. When she settles down and stops struggling, praise her and let her go. Do this several times a day so she learns that a pull on her collar means she must hold still and wait until you release her. This can be done with puppies as young as eight weeks old.
3. Once this lesson is learned, attach her leash to her collar and let her walk around dragging it. Do this frequently including several play sessions. Let her sniff and paw at it, but not chew it.
4. After a few days of dragging the leash, pick it up but hold still. If she has learned the “Wait!” lesson, the pull on her collar will make her hold still and wait for you.
5. Give this a few tries, and when she has learned to wait at the tug of the leash, take the next step.
6. Pick up the leash and a small squeak toy, call the puppy’s name and invite her to “come on”. Pat your left leg and squeak the toy. With the toy as a lure, bring your puppy to your left side and take a few steps, urging her along.
7. She will move beside you, sometimes only haltingly, and sometimes only to try and get the toy. Hold the toy on your left side close to your body and praise her for following. Try this several times a day for about five minutes.
8. Pick training times when she is too tired to resist you and stop before she loses interest.
9. Once she has learned to follow you willingly, Your ready to move onto “Heeling” lessons.
1. Using the method of leash corrections, (a gentle snap of the leash), position your dog on your left side and start to walk while calling your dog’s name and giving the command to “Heel!”: “Fido, Heel!”
2. Give the command just as you take your first step, simultaneously giving a light tug of the leash to persuade your dog along.
3. Remember to step first with your left leg, the one closest to the dog if she is positioned correctly, and use only as much force on the snap as is necessary to get the dog moving along with you.
4. As you walk along, continue to urge the dog to walk at your left side, (neck and shoulder opposite and level with your left leg) by snapping the lead and giving the command, “Fido, Heel!” Use praise each time your dog is in the correct position.
5. If you are kind, patient, and skillful, your dog will soon learn to do as asked and will realize that each time she responds correctly, you are immediately please with her.
6. Practice heeling in brief, but lengthening sessions, two or more times daily, until you have to give only one command as you start walking.
7. Practice moving in circles, around corners, and other maneuvers, while keeping the dog at your side, until you are certain that the dog is moving along with you on her own accord. While going over each new lesson, be sure to incorporate past assignments into your regimen in order to keep the lessons fresh.
8. When heeling is looking good, you are ready to move onto teaching “Sit!”
1. The sit command, in obedience training, means that the dog will sit at the handler’s left side with the shoulders square to the handler’s knee.
2. The dog should sit facing ahead. In fact, truly well trained dogs will heel by their handler’s side and automatically sit as soon motion has stopped, such as coming to a street corner.
3. As with all other skills, there are several methods you can use to teach your dog to sit. One uses physical guidance and another uses a food lure.
4. To teach your dog to sit using physical guidance, Start by heeling the dog at your side. When you stop, give the command “Sit!”, and place your left hand on the dog’s back legs. Tuck her legs and guide her into the sitting position while your right hand uses the lead to hold her head up.
5. Make the dog sit for a moment, then give the heel command and start walking once more. Again, stop, give the command “Sit!”, and guide the dog into position. Continue this while increasing the length of time you make her stay in the sitting position.
6. With consistency and repetition, your dog will soon sit automatically when you come to a stop, and wait for you to either start moving again or given an established release, such as, “Okay!”
7. Finally, when your dog has learned the full meaning of sit and to sit when you stop walking, you are ready to teach the sit from any position.
8. Concentrate on this phase, continuing the pure sit training until your dog will sit on command without the need for physical guidance.
9. When this is accomplished, you can begin to introduce the “Stay!” command.
1. To teach the stay command, first, place your dog in a sitting position at your left side while on the lead.
2. Tell the dog to “Stay!” placing the palm of your left hand in front of the dog’s muzzle.
3. As you say “Stay!”, pivot by stepping out with your right foot so that you are directly in front of the dog.You should now be facing the dog.
4. Repeat the “Stay!” command in a coaxing but firm voice and keep your hands on the dog, if necessary, to reinforce the command.
5. During the first few attempts, don’t try to make your dog stay for more than five to ten seconds before releasing her.
6. Slowly increase the time and the distance you step away while cutting down on the repeated vocal commands, until your dog will stay with one command for at least three minutes.
7. Once your dog understands the command to stay, she should remain in a seated position until you release her with a release command, such as “Okay!”
1. To teach your dog to lie down on command, begin with your dog sitting at your left side.
2. As with the sit, there are several ways you can teach down. One method involves using physical guidance and the second by using a food lure. I will describe the physical form, for using food lures repeatedly can lead to obesity.
3. To teach down using physical guidance, kneel beside your dog. Reach over her back with your left arm, taking hold of her upper left front leg.
4. Take hold of her right front leg similarly with your right hand.
5. Tell the dog “Down!” and put her gently into the down position by lifting the front feet off the gound and easing the body down until the dog is in the lying position.
6. This way there is no struggle between the two of you.
7. Your dog is comforted by the fact that your arm is held securely around her and will not feel the urge to struggle against the pressure of the leash or handly bracing her front legs.
8. Once your dog is in the down position, release your grasp slowly, sliding your left hand around and leaning it on your dog’s back. Continue saying “Down!” as you do this.
9. Make sure the dog stays in the down position for a few seconds, then release her using “Okay!”
10.After a few days, you should be able to stand straight up and give only one command “Down!” for your dog to lie at your side.
11. Your goal is to improve your dog’s down until she goes down even when you are several feet away from her, still on the leash.
1. Perhaps the most important basic command a dog must learn to respond to immediately is “Come!”
2. Come is the last of the training exercises because your dog should first know how to respond to the other command we’ve covered.
3. While your dog is heeling at your side, take a sudden step back and say “Fido, Come!”
4. As you give the command, snap the lead gently to make the dog turn around to her right while walking, and get her headed back toward you.
5. When your dog is facing you again, keep walking backwards, urging her to come towards you with gentle snaps of the lead and repetitions of the “Fido, Come!” command.
6. Continue working on “Come!” until your dog will come to you and sit in front of you.
7. Notice that there is never a tug of war going on between you and your dog in teaching her to “Come!” on command.
8. Always offer plenty of praise when your dog does as she is told. This is especially important with the “Come!” command.
9. Never call your dog to you to punish or reprimand. You want your dog to learn that coming to you means good things will happen.
10. At this point, learning should be easy for you and your dog. Now sit back and enjoy your well-trained and well-behaved, lifelong friend and companion.