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Your K9: the whiz kid!

If you think, humans can only understand arithmetic, then you are wrong because our pooches can count upto five and do simple arithmetic calculations as well!

If you have a two-year-old child and a pooch at home, you must have felt it many times that both are equallyfeactures fun and frolic intelligent. Well, it is now a proven fact. At the Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association, Stanley Coren, a well-known expert on canine intelligence at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, stated that our dogs are capable of understanding upto 250 words and gestures. Not only this, they can count upto five and can even perform simple calculations.

The intelligence level of the pooch will undoubtedly depend on its breed as well. For example, Border Collies and Retrievers are two of the most intelligent breeds while Hounds and Terriers are the backbenchers.

Nevertheless, our K9s are intelligent and we all know that…

Training your K9 Kid

A dog’s personality depends on various factors, but you can mould him into a properly behaved member by training him at the right age. Last issue, we gave a few tips to train your lil’ one on socialisation and winning his love and respect. Here are a few more tips on housetraining your pup, preventing him from chewing and jumping. Having a pup at home is both a pleasure and a responsibility. He is very impressionable at this age. Follow these simple rules when he is a pup and later on, as he grows up, train him to follow basic instructions so that you can enjoy each other’s company for life.

Housetraining your puppy

The one reason many potential dog owners don’t adopt a pup is housetraining, which is nothing more than a bit of discipline and perseverance properly communicated to the dog. Dogs, by nature, do not choose to eliminate where they sleep and eat. This seems to arise out of the desire to keep their scent away from animals, like prey and predators. So, even your dog has a natural inclination to stay clean. However, puppies, like small children, generally do not have the bowel control, so make sure they go frequently before they feel urgency. Establishing good habits early in housetraining your puppy is critical.

At the onset, following should not be part of puppy house breaking training – Anger, Hitting, Rolled newspapers, Physical correction, and Rubbing the nose etc.

DO’s

  • Allocate an area that you would want to be your pup’s toilet. Take him there after he eats, drinks or wakes up after a nap. Every dog gives an individual sign that you need to recognise.
  • Provide constant access to the toilet area. If you are at home, take your puppy there every 45 minutes or less.
  • Praise and reward your puppy each and every time possible for eliminating in his toilet area.
  • Feed your puppy at regular times. It will help setting up routine.

Preventing chewing

Chewing is a basic instinct of all puppies and dogs. They use their mouths for grasping food, gaining information about the environment, relieving boredom, and reducing tension. It is a great fun for them but the puppy should be trained to chew on things that are meant only for the purpose.

DO’s

  • Give your dog chew toys. A dog focussed on his toys will most probably not bother about your shoes or carpet.
  • Remove temptations like loose wires, plates with food, cups with beverages, soft toys, electronic gadget, etc.
  • Do not give him toys like old shoes, old carpet piece, old phone etc. If he is allowed to chew them once, sooner or later he will end up seeing your NIKE and ‘Just do it’ (or should we say just chew it)!!!

Preventing jumping

This is another problem, which can be nipped at a young age. Many owners encourage their puppies to jump and then complain when their puppy becomes a 40 kg adult.

DO’s

  • The two times he is most likely to jump is when he sees you after a time gap and when there is a treat you have to offer. In both cases, the power is in your hands. You can withhold the treat or your petting till you get the desired behaviour.
  • As he jumps, just turn your body away sideways and avoid any sort of physical or eye contact with him. No sooner does he stops jumping, turn back towards him and praise or pet him, whatever may be the case.
  • It is important that all family members follow this rule. It doesn’t take much for the jumping habit to form.

(Philip A. Butt is a renowned dog trainer and chief trainer at Commando Kennels, Hyderabad (www.commandokennel.com). He has also trained and donated service dogs for the handicapped at the Kids and Dogs Carnival. He is also Joint Secretary of the Hyderabad Canine Club, conducting one of the country’s best dog show – HyCan at Hyderabad.

He can be contacted at: commandokennels@yahoo.com)