Puppy’s First Year

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Puppy’s First Year

The most important year of its entire life.

Bringing a puppy into your home is much like bringing a new baby into your home. It becomes your responsibility not only to
look after its physical needs but also to teach good manners, socially acceptable behaviour and to set limits. However, since puppies are beautiful, playful and fun it is very often forgotten that the first year of a puppy’s life is the most important period in its entire life and the ideal opportunity to establish good habits that will be hard to break. If it is old enough to come home it is old enough to start learning.

We need to start young as the puppy passes through the different veryset phases of development.

During the Teething stage from 2 – 4 months of age a puppy is very dependent on its owner and will come when called and will willingly stay with him or her. A proper foundation needs to be set to maintain its bond with the owners. Getting along with the family and strangers is more important than learning to “sit” or “stay.” Dogs that do not get on with people end at rescue places!!! Read the rest of this entry »

Training Basics

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Training Basics.

We do not have to teach dogs to sit, lie down or stand because they already know how to do it. What we do teach them is English as a 2nd language and to want to sit or lie down, reliably when we ask for it.

Food is used as a reward for performing a command and hand signals are used instead of words. The dog learns that he only gets rewarded if he sits when told to do so. Read the rest of this entry »

Feeding

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Dinner TimeFor the first few weeks you should continue feeding your puppy with the food he was fed on. Most breeders supply a sample bag to take home with you. If you want to feed something different then introduce the new food gradually by adding half of the new food to what he has been on. Gradually phase the old food out. Try to stick to a diet that was especially formulated for your breed of dog, especially if it is a large breed dog.

Many puppies are overfed which can lead to a variety of diseases, especially in large breeds. Large breed puppies require a diet that promotes slow but steady growth; smaller dogs often need energy-dense diets. Read the rest of this entry »

Start: Attention & “come”

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Puppies and untrained dogs:

Aim: To teach your dog: 1) to pay attention and look at you. 2) To come when called.

Equipment: Clicker / treat / tug toy. Code: C/T = Click and Treat (See article “Clicker”)
1) Getting Attention:

Getting a dog’s full attention on command can be very difficult. If a dog does not pay attention to you, you cannot teach it anything. Start by selecting a distraction free area at home such as a spare room, a passage, the stoep, garage or a quiet area in the back yard. I prefer the kitchen where I have started the training of all my puppies. Young dogs are easily distracted and if you train in an area where the dog gets distracted and it becomes necessary to repeatedly correct the dog for lack of attention, it soon begins to associate training with “pops” on the leash, becomes stressed and starts giving calming signals such as yawning, smelling or licking of the lips. Read the rest of this entry »

Puppy Classes

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Doggy Dream or Nasty Nightmare?

“A most important quality in a pet dog is his temperament. A dog with a good temperament can be a dream to live with, but a dog with a tricky temperament is a perpetual nightmare. Moreover, regardless of breed or breeding, a dog’s temperament, especially his feelings toward people and other dogs, is primarily the result of his level of socialization during puppyhood — the most important time in a dog’s life. Do not waste this golden opportunity. Solid gold temperaments are forged during this period.”
Dr Ian Dunbar

 

Puppy Classes (10 weeks of age onwards)

 

The most important reasons for puppy classes are; in order:

  1. Teaching bite inhibition during play sessions with other puppies while socialising. A dog with good bite inhibition will cause little or no damage when provoked to bite.
  2. Teaching puppies to enjoy being handled by people and feel safe and comfortable with men and children. A dog that loves people is highly unlikely to bite. One that does not like many people barks and growls frequently and is likely to lunge and bite with deep punctures.
  3. Teaching puppies to respond quickly and willingly to voice commands even when distracted. This is to stop unwanted behaviour before it starts and to protect the dog from danger. E.g. It must stop mouthing, looking at the cat or chicken, go out of the gate etc. when requested and to calm the dog before the behaviour gets out of hand.

Socialising

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Socialising your pup is probably one of the best things you could ever do for him/her. Socialisation involves exposing your puppy to a wide variety of places and situations which he may encounter at some stage in his life and arranging for him to have as many positive experiences with humans and other canines as possible, so that pleasant associations can be built up with the outside world. It also involves protecting your pup from experiences which may be traumatic and cause emotional damage. A pup that is undersocialised may grow up to be afraid of a variety of things: people, dogs, noises, certain objects and new situations. As the dog matures this fear often develops into aggression as the dog attempts to protect himself from what he perceives to be a threat. Fear-aggression can make life miserable for both you and your dog and it is therefore essential to do all you can to prevent it from developing.

Read the rest of this entry »

Puppy Problems

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No one can deny that raising a puppy brings joy, fun, amusement and a special kind of warmth into a person’s life. However, it may also bring days when you feel as if your life has been invaded by a mini-tornado that has left a path of destruction and frustration in its wake. Many puppy problems disappear as the dog matures, but some don’t, leaving countless misunderstood adolescent dogs banned outdoors or abandoned in animal shelters when their puppy antics are no longer tolerated after their cute looks have faded.

Read the rest of this entry »

House Training Puppies

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House-training is one of the first things we attempt to teach our dogs and it is important that we do so correctly and consistently as soon as we acquire them. Most of us adopt our dogs as very young puppies that need to urinate and defecate more frequently than adult dogs and are also more likely to do so as a result of fear or excitement.

It is important to understand a pup’s limitations in this area and to handle house-training in a positive manner. It is better to engage in a concentrated effort over a few weeks, at the end of which you are likely to have a fully house-trained dog, than to make sporadic attempts at house-training over several months with unreliable results.

  Read the rest of this entry »

Destructive chewing

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Dogs are animals and animals love to chew. This is especially true for puppies and young dogs. What they do with their teeth can be both instinctive and learnt behaviour. Thus it is perfectly normal for dogs, especially puppies, to explore their world through their noses and their mouths. They chew to ease teething discomfort, to play, to satisfy hunger, to establish dominance, and to relieve boredom. Chewing releases tension which builds up in the dog’s mouth and face and is often related to stress/ anxiety (e.g. separation anxiety) or a lack of mental and physical stimulation. Once puppies have their adult teeth they continue to chew to settle them into the growing adult jaw. This can continue up until 12 to 14 months of age. During this time the dog has a biological need to chew. It helps to exercise and develop their jaws and to keep their teeth and gums healthy. If they do not have something suitable to gnaw, they will find something else to get their teeth into. Read the rest of this entry »

Getting started: Heeling

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Heeling. With acknowledgement to Paul Anderson.UK.

Aim: To teach the dog to follow your left hand. C/T = Click and Treat
Equipment: Tasty food in the left hand and Clicker in the right hand.
Instead of the Clicker you can say, “Yes” and treat. Read the rest of this entry »

Basic training rules

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Basic Training Rules:

Never correct or scold your dog after calling him to you or punish him after he has done wrong!

Pick up after your dog. Do not allow your dog to play or interfere with other dogs in training. Play with and exercise your dog every day.

Be patient! Never lose your temper! Never use violent tugs or slaps or kicks to punish your dog! Remember, you are going to have fun with your dog. If either you or your dog is frustrated, take a break and try again later. Read the rest of this entry »

Training tips

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The Settle Down command

The “settle down command.” To teach this command you have your dog on a leash, You have it lie down beside you and you put the leash under your foot so that if the puppy tries to get up, it self-corrects it.You’re not pushing the dog down; the leash is holding it down. Do that for half an hour at a time each day and it teaches your dog to be quiet. A lot of people who have a very active dog think “oh my god, I’ve got to take it out for another hour’s exercise.” All you’re doing then is giving yourself an incredibly fit dog that needs four or five hours of exercise a day.What the dog really needs to learn is to settle down by your foot. Eventually you’ll be able to take it off the leash and your dog, no matter whether your home, at the office or at a friend’s house, just sits down by your foot and stays here. Read the rest of this entry »

Come

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“COME” Basic command training steps.

Training rule: Never correct your dog after calling him to you!
If he deserves a correction, go to him and give the correction.
“Stop doing what you are doing!”

Step 1 Teaching the meaning of “Come” with food:

The aim here is for an immediate response from the dog and at the same time to make it a pleasurable experience for him. At home, on walks etc always have food handy to reward your dog when he comes to you; Click and Treat, make a big fuss, “Good come“, and “Good dog“.
In an enclosed area two or more family members can take turns calling the pup (or untrained dog) back and forth. Sit or bend down when you call the dog.
It is important that the dog associates the word “Come” with something good such as food or hugs. Dogs soon learn that when they respond to “Come” a leash is attached to them and their freedom ends, so they become reluctant to come to the owner. So, call the dog, praise, hug and treat and send him to play some more before you call again. When the puppy or dog comes perfectly every time, the food treats or tug games are gradually reduced to about half the time. Treats are now reserved for the best efforts. When he starts reacting consistently to the word “Come”, we go on to the next step. Read the rest of this entry »

Jumping up

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Jumping up is possibly the most common complaint of dog owners.
Human greeting culture consists of shaking hands or bowing. Dogs on the other hand lick and sniff each other and jump up as a submissive greeting. Puppies jump up and lick the corners of adult dog’s mouths to get them to regurgitate food for them to eat. It is instinctive behaviour and the purpose of jumping on humans is also to get at our faces and to get attention.
This jumping up is retained when they join their human pack where, at first, it is regarded as “cute” until it becomes annoying, hurts or spoils our clothes. We allow it when they are small and resent it when they grow up. Read the rest of this entry »

House Training Adult Dogs

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HOUSE-TRAINING for the ADULT DOG

(See PUPPY for house-training puppies)                             

In the excitement of bringing home a new dog, things like house-training are often far from our minds, however, the very first thing that we should do when our your new dog or puppy arrives at your home, is to show him the toilet area that must be used, because he will have no idea where it is allowed to relieve himself. We must make sure that we show the dog in such a way that he can understand and you certainly do not want to spoil the first days by having to reprimand him for making a mistake. Read the rest of this entry »

Why & how to play with your dog

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Playing with your dog, especially while he is young, is extremely important as it helps to build and strengthen the bond that you have with him and encourages him to see you as his main source of fun and entertainment. This means that when you are out together, your dog will be more likely to obey a recall, even when engaged in play with other dogs, because he knows that returning to you does not mean an end to his fun, but rather an opportunity for more fun. Games also provide a healthy and socially acceptable way of satisfying a dog’s prey-drive. Energy and skills that would naturally be used for hunting can be redirected into harmless activities such as retrieving and tug-of-war. A dog that is focused on fetching his ball on the beach is far less likely to chase birds and joggers. Games and toys can also be very effective incentives and rewards for obedience training.

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