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Educating your puppy in 8 lessons

Royal Canin

(Friends 24×7 Kolkata) First day puppy parenting

Puppy’s first day at home is special and difficult for both the pup and pet parents. Here are experiences of some Kolkata new pet parents.

24*7

Ananya Samajpati

“When I brought Goldy (Labrador) home, I took her out of the crate, comforted and let her sleep on the floor near my bed with a blanket. When she whined, I told her in a soothing voice that it’s ok. I kept the house quiet and softly played a radio in the background. Gradually, she got used to the house.”
–Ananya Samajpati

Akash and Robin

Akash and Robin

“I brought home a two and a half months old English Cocker Spaniel and named her Robin. My first night with Robin wasn’t very pleasant really. As the lights went off, she seemed scared of the new environment and I assumed she had slept off. But in the middle of night a strange smell spread across my room and I got up only to realise that she had pooped. I floundered throughout the night, cleaned up the mess and fed her. A lot of patience was required to make her comfortable.”
–Akash Poddar

Dipu and Cleo

Dipu and Cleo

 

“Cleo was 31 days old when we brought him in. Our first dog, something we had been thinking of for years. We had no idea of how to handle our pup, what to feed him and how to take care. So, we relied on whatever puppy parenting tips we got from the kennel where we got him from. I would say, that our first night with the pup was rather quiet, emotion charged and peaceful. The little fellow just passed out on my wife and daughter’s lap. He took to us as if he had known us for a long time.  We fed him after we had dinner. Not wanting him on our bed the first night itself, my wife  made her bed on the floor so that he was not lonely. Cleo nestled near her feet and dozed off, and as the night progressed, he snuggled closer to her arms in deep slumber.  Dawn saw him licking at her  face and we let him out on the terrace to relieve himself. It was a night of bonding between us, not even indicative of all the action that would follow!”
–Dipu Datta

Asit (R) and Rocky

Asit (R) and Rocky

“Our family travels a lot, and so I have always been against having a dog. This Father’s Day, my kids brought home a black ball of fur. This black ball of fur, whom we named Rocky, jumped onto my lap and snuggled close and drifted off to sleep. All my objections and reasons vanished as I stroked my two-month-old GSD puppy. All through the evening my family and I huddled together to watching him sleep, we were expecting him to sleep through till the morning after his long journey. But when it was time for us to go to bed, our little boy woke up and started playing, that was the end of our sleep that day and for the next few weeks to come. Now my boy is five months old and he is our alarm clock, our mischievous toddler, our ant chaser, our welcome home hug, our bundle of glee and so much more I’d run out of words. Every day with him is grand, but the very first day he leaped into our lives is a day we will always cherish.”
–Asit Samuel

care 24*7

Anirban (R) and Chinni

“My experience with Chinni was very difficult in the early days and weeks. I study more though Puppy Parenting Book and Magazine as well as I already knew about the trials and tribulations with house training and crate-training. Puppies tend to piddle about every 10 to 20 minutes. You have to watch them like a hawk or they will end up using your house as their personal restroom. Chinni had some accidents here and there, but nothing out of the ordinary. The agony came in the evening. Chinni did not take to the crate! She whined, howled and cried, and barked…probably made every noise she could possibly produce, but would not relax and go to sleep. She did sleep once in a while. During those first four weeks the most sleep I got was approximately six hours, broken up three or four times a night by whining, howling, barking…. I was a wreck and I thought Chinni would never get used to her crate. The only way I was able to get her to sleep was to talk to her for 5-10 minutes, telling him what a ‘Good Girl’ she was when she wasn’t crying.”
–Anirban Chowdhury

care 24*7

Aarav and Sheroo

“When Sheroo came first to my home, he was so playful and easily adjusted with his new place and we got many toys for him. He played with us till late night. Later, he easily slept in his bed with his soft toys. My son Aarav was very excited and an unforgettable moment for all of us.”
–Sweta Gupta
(With inputs from Animel Planet, a pet lifestyle store based in Salt Lake, Kolkata.)

An insight into the stages of puppy development!

The right time to get a puppy home has a very high impact on the puppy’s behaviour on the first day at her new home or the way she looks at humans. Let’s see how.

Things that happen to a dog during her critical periods have a great impact on the dog’s life at a later stage, yet they seem totally trivial to us and we ignore them. The ages given below, the early critical periods, are a general guideline and apply to most puppies of all breeds. The ages of the later critical periods may vary depending on the dog’s size and breed. The following stages of puppy development:

Neonatal period (from birth to 12 days old): Mainly two main functions during puppy development from birth; obtaining food (nursing), and staying warm. She needs her

Delano Henriques

Delano Henriques

mother and environment to control her body temperature. She has no control over body temperature at this age. She needs physical stimulation to urinate and defecate. Her mother licks her to get her to relieve herself. No sight or hearing, her senses are not yet developed, and are deficient in her senses of taste, smell and touch. She reacts to hot and cold, and to some extent to pain, and to the smell of her mother.

Transition period (from 13 to 20 days old): The new born puppy’s eyes open at about 13 days, but can only see movement and objects from about 21 days. She will begin to crawl forward and backwards, and start walking in a wobbly fashion, a few days later. The first teeth appear at around 20 days, and she begins to bite and chew. Tail wagging also begins at this age, indicating that she is not reliant on sight or hearing, as this is still not fully developed. She begins to react to sound at about 20 days, and is startled by loud sounds, but cannot locate the source. This is a period of rapid physical changes. Over a period of a week, the puppy changes – she hears, walks, has bowel movements without stimulation, keeps warm by herself, etc.

Awareness period (from 21 to 28 days old): This is the first week the pup is able to see and hear properly, this change comes so abruptly, over a period of 24 hours. Therefore the pup needs a 100 percent stable environment. Now she has the greatest need for her mother and a familiar environment. Moving the pups to a new location or weaning them during this period will psychologically scar the pups. The pup’s learning begins during this period. This is the time she learns what it is to be a dog.

Canine socialisation period (from 21 to 49 days old):  The pup now learns the species/specific behaviours that make her a dog. To reach her genetic potential, it is of utmost importance that the pup remains with her litter mates and mother throughout this period. She learns to practice body posture, facial expression, vocalising and the effects this has on her litter mates, mother and other dogs she comes into contact with. Puppies need to interact with other dogs, males and females, and not only the mother. She learns to bark and bite, and to be barked at and be bitten. She learns the real dog behaviour; chase games, greeting behaviour, fighting games, etc. This all teaches her the various body postures required to perform various actions, submissiveness, aggression, initiating play, etc.
During this critical period the pup learns one of the most important lessons of her life, to accept discipline. Unfortunately, breeders think because the mother is now correcting the pup, she doesn’t want her anymore. This is incorrect. The mother will actually ‘set up’ the puppy, so she can discipline her. Personally, I think the seventh week of a pup’s life with her mother and litter mates is the most important. I have witnessed this, time and time again during my years in the dog world as an obedience instructor, that dogs removed from the litter before the last day of the seventh week, day 49, have a permanent scar.

Human socialisation period (from 50 to 84 days):  This is the best time to bring a puppy to her new home. I would say no later than seventy days. This is also the best time to (positively) introduce her to the things she is going to have to live with, like other animals, the vacuum cleaner, home noises, children, and men with beards and hats, etc she must not be frightened by them, so introduce them carefully, gently and positively. Everything she experiences now will have the greatest effect on her more than ever again in her life.
Learning at this age is permanent. This is the best time to start positive, non-compulsive, basic obedience exercise, taking her physical abilities and limited attention span into account. Therefore, make 100 percent sure that if you take your puppy to puppy care classes, that the instructor is qualified and experienced in handling puppies, and their classes correctly.

Fear impact period (8 to 11 weeks): Any traumatic, painful or frightening experience will have a more lasting impact on the pup, than if it had occurred at any other time in her life. It is the pup’s perception of the experience that counts, not that of the pet parent. Make the pup’s trips to the vet a pleasant one, ask your vet to oblige and make it a pleasant experience for her. Under no circumstances should elective surgery such as ear cropping, or hernia repairs, be undertaken at this time in the puppy’s life, unless it is life threatening.
(Delano Henriques started training dogs and counseling their pet parents professionally in 2005. He has done a dog training course in South Africa (2008) and started ‘Delriques Kennels’ which is a boarding and training center for dog.)

Best time to get home…
I hope everyone understands puppy development timeline  that, eight weeks is the best time to get a pup home. But sadly in India, most breeders do not follow these norms and pups come leaving their mothers as early as 25 days. Making it even more important to understand ‘the critical periods of a dog’s life’!
Bringing a pup home a first day guide

(Delano Henriques started training dogs and counseling their pet parents professionally in 2005. He has done a dog training course in South Africa (2008) and started ‘Delriques Kennels’ which is a boarding and training center for dog.)

 

Educating your puppy in 8 lessons

puppy care

Like children, puppies learn at different speeds, and so as a pet parent you need to respect the individual pace of development and the fact that your puppy is still very young.

1.Learning his name: Never scream your puppy’s name – he has a very acute sense of hearing and puppy careshouting will just stress him. Instead, say his name slowly and clearly to catch his attention and associate his name with each command.

The first thing a puppy needs to learn is his name, and the shorter it is the easier it is for the puppy to remember.

  • Call your puppy by his name right from the outset.
  • Before you call his name, do something nice with him so that he is encouraged to do what you ask.
  • When he comes to his name, give him lots of love and petting.
  • If he doesn’t come straight away, don’t tell him off–he’ll be even slower next time!

2. ‘No’: Make sure your commands are consistent: what you say ‘No’ to one day must not be allowed the next, either by you or anyone else in the family.

  • ‘No’ needs to be associated with anything forbidden, whatever it is.
  • ‘No’ must be totally categorical, and be said very clearly whenever you see your dog do something he shouldn’t.
  • The tone of your voice should be sharp enough to make the puppy stop as soon as you say ‘No’.

3. House-training: If your puppy has an accident indoors in your absence, don’t tell him off! Scolding is only effective if you actually catch your puppy red-handed.

  • Take your puppy out frequently, ideally every two hours throughout the day. If you take him out less often, he will become house-trained more slowly.
  • Make sure you take him out straight after every meal, on waking up and after playtime.
  • Give him lots of praise– verbal and petting – when he performs outdoors.
  • If you notice him going round in circles indoors, wait until he starts doing his business and then pick him up with a firm ‘No’ and take him outside. When he has finished outside, give him lots of praise and petting.
  • Finally, don’t forget that wherever you are – city, country or seaside – you must pick up after your dog!

4. Sit. Lie Down. Stay: These three commands are learnt in order, so you need to make sure that the first one is totally understood before moving on to the next. Your puppy should also be on the lead while you are teaching these commands.

  • Sit: While giving the command ‘Sit’, push down on the puppy’s haunches with one hand, while keeping his head up with the other. As soon as he is sitting, give him lots of praise, using his name, with patting and stroking too.
  • Lie down: Start by asking your puppy to sit, then crouch down next to him. Pull his front paws forward gently while saying ‘Lie Down’, and once he is lying down again give him lots of praise and love.
  • Stay: First get your puppy to ‘Sit’ and then add ‘Stay’ to command. Move a little away from him, and if he gets up or follows you, say ‘No’ and return him to the sitting position, repeating ‘Sit – Stay’. As he gets more used to this command, you can move further and further away from the puppy, although he should be on a leash or tether throughout this learning phase.

5. Walking on the lead: Never, ever hit your puppy with the lead: it should be a symbol of ‘Walkies’, and therefore synonymous with joy, not punishment.

  • First of all, get your puppy used to wearing a collar, and then put the lead on him at 012 home, just for a short time a couple of times a day.

  • The next step is teaching him to walk on the lead outdoors. First, make him sit next to you (either on your left or right side, whichever suits you best, but always stick to the same side), then give the command to ‘Come’ and start walking.
  • Keep the lead loose and move forward at your own pace: the puppy walks near you, his head level with your knees and the leash remains loose.
  • When you stop, tell him to sit and reward him with petting.
  • If the puppy pulls, say ‘No’ while giving a sharp pull on the lead at the same time.

6. Calling your puppy: If your puppy does not respond to Here, walk away in the opposite direction or hide: he will be very worried about finding himself on his own and will come back to you very quickly!

  • Start by associating calling your puppy with meal times. Ask one of the family to keep the puppy away while you’re preparing his meal, and then call the puppy by his name and say ‘Here’.
  • Gradually, through lots of praise and petting, the puppy will learn that when he hears the command ‘Here’ he has to come straight back to you.
  • Do lots of practice of the ‘Here’ command indoors, before moving on to an outdoors training session, during which it is a good idea to have the puppy on a very long lead or tether.

7. Home alone: As much as you can, try and avoid leaving your puppy alone before the age of four or five months; otherwise you run the risk of creating a real anxiety crisis for the young dog.

  • Use the times when he is tired to get him used to being alone.
  • At the beginning, leave the room for just a few minutes. If the puppy cries, come back to him, tell him to be quiet and go out again. When you come back, praise him if he has kept calm.
  • Gradually, you can extend the length of time you are out so that the dog accepts your absence as quite normal and doesn’t expect either elaborate farewell rituals or exuberant reunions.

8. Meal times: Titbits or table scraps will upset the nutritional balance provided by the food you’re giving your puppy. Given too often or regularly they are also bad for his health, encouraging weight gain as well as teaching the dog to beg while the family is eating.

  • Growing puppies need to eat more often– so, until six months of age feed him three times a day, then move to two meals a day.
  • Always feed him at the same time, from the same bowl, and in the same place, which must be as far away as possible from his sleeping area. Always make sure he has a clean bowl full of fresh water.
  • Feed the puppy after the rest of the family – this helps him understand who is ‘boss’, because it mimics pack behaviour.

General recommendations

  1. Play: Use games as a way to make sure he enjoys learning, through short sessions that are easy to remember and fun for the puppy.
  2. Step by step: While very young, the puppy has a limited ability to concentrate, so a session longer than 3-5 minutes will tire or bore him. You can extend the training sessions gradually, so that by around six months old, the puppy will be able to concentrate, and so learn, for about 30 minutes a day. However, it is really important to make sure that the puppy is fully socialised from an early age by exposing him to all sorts of experiences: going out in the car, meeting children, adults and other animals and so on.
  3. Reward and restraint: Training your puppy is the result of both reward and firmness. Establish a climate of trust and patience with him – along with firmness when necessary.
  4. Rewards: Rewards increase motivation and make the training process easier. To be effective, the training has to give the dog pleasure – for example, you should praise him with petting and a warm tone of voice. Keep the use of treats to a minimum, otherwise you run the risk of early weight gain for the puppy.
  5. Language: Tone of voice is more important to a puppy than the actual words, so suit your tone to whether you are praising, commanding or scolding your puppy. However, you should also make sure that the commands you give (sit, stay, etc) are simple, short and often repeated. Gestures are also a useful way of helping your puppy understand you.

Cool puppy shower ideas…

The little nips, the evolving barks and the quick tail wags are all part of the new member being welcomed into your family. But how about a puppy shower? Let’s make the whole environment really conducive for the little member to come, enjoy and make merry.

A pup deserves a warm welcome into your heavenly abode. So, here are a few tips which can truly make your shower an eventful success.

Do the shower before the puppy comes: While you’re planning the shower, it’s necessary to make sure that you plan the whole event well in advance. You can invite dog-friendly people and their dogs for the party. In case you want to bring the dog home first and then throw the party, you will need to make the necessary arrangements accordingly (though, it would be best if you do so after a good 10-15 days so that the puppy settles down with his new surroundings).

Puppy shower invitations: Let your creative juices flow and put some jazzy ideas to design cool puppy shower invitations. Let the invitees know what to expect in the shower party. You can even mention about the gifts you’re expecting and the kind of gifts the new family member would also fancy.

Decide the menu: Plan enough food and treats for the invitees – both humans and canine friends.

Take advice: Talk as much as you can. Share plenty of stories with your friends about their experiences with dogs and their canine friends. By doing so, not only do you get a chance to learn a lot about what to expect when the pup arrives, but also get to be a part of a great event. This will give you an inkling of what to do right and how to do it when you get the puppy home.

Games to play: Ever played pin the donkey? Well, let’s get creative and change the theme to pin the dog. Though, when you’re playing this, don’t end up pinning a real dog. A poster would do nicely. You can try and involve your human friends in a game of words and crosswords. Include a lot of dog-related words in the crosswords to make the game all the more interesting and innovative. For your dogs, you can always include some dog races and fetch games so that your canine friends do not feel left out of the family spirit.

Capture memories: Create as many memories as you can. Take photographs, record videos and make an excellent collection out of the whole event.

Gifts for the pup: Your pup thrives on love and care, he does not want expensive gifts. Here’s what you can gift your pup.

  • Puppy proof your house: Getting a pup into the house is just like bringing a newborn baby into the house. Protect all the sharp edges of tables, tie up the loose ends and simply dress up all the possible danger zones so that your new family member does not hurt himself unknowingly.
  • Share your precious time with him: Your adorable little pup wants nothing more from you but a bit of your time and see how he blossoms into a mature, well loved dog.
  • Consult your doctor for possible vaccinations: Make a list of all the possible vaccinations required and all the extra things you need to take care of to make sure he’s as healthy as a fiddle.

Now, it’s time to experience the real thing – bring home your bundle of joy!

Cute Hush Puppy dog!

Small, short-legged, scent hound…the Basset Hound is known for both his sense of smell and long hanging ears that sweep the ground!

Hush-Puppy-lWhat’s in a name: The name Basset is derived from French word bas which means ‘low.’ Bassets do have very short legs that keep them low to the ground. Originally bred for tracking hare and rabbit.

Historical connections: Basset Hounds came into the limelight as a popular dog breed during the time of Emperor Napoleon III in France. Famous French sculptor Emmanuel Fremiet, who is known widely for his sculpture of Joan of Arc in Paris, exhibited the emperor’s Basset Hounds at Paris Salon in the year 1853. After a decade, the breed gained global recognition.

For once, wrinkles are cool: Their hanging skin structure gives them a wrinkled and sad but cute look.

Ears… not just for listening: The long trailing ears of Basset Hounds are more than the hearing purpose. This breed with powerful nose uses his floppy ears, which usher on the floor while sniffing, to trap the scent of the thing or object he is tracking after.

Nose… best in the town: Being a breed bred for hunting, Basset Hounds boast of their strong scent power. Even in the indoors, these hound dogs are famous for their ability to detect any eatable items abandoned recklessly somewhere around. Hunters take the advantage of this breed’s sniffing competence to lead them to the direction where lie the objects of their interest.

Don’t go by their size: These dwarf dogs are extremely tall for their stature. They can reach things on tables which other dogs of their size cannot.

United colours of Bassets: Coat colours of Basset Hounds are varied from one country to another. But their common and usual colour is a tricolour of black, tan and white or bicolour of tan and white. Popular tan coloured coat of the breed can have colour variations from reddish brown and red to lemon. But the combination of lemon and white is quite a rare colour.

Excellent pets: They love people and are extremely good with children. They are loyal to their pet parents and hate to be alone.

Love to talk: They love to talk…howl, bark, whine…they use different sounds to express.

Take care of the ears: Their ears need to be clean and dry to avoid infections and ear mites. Their long ears can also fall into the food bowl; puppies can trip over them and bite their ears. Hence, give special attention to their ears while grooming.

Give attention to the eyes: Bassets have droopy eyes and can collect dirt and mucous. Wipe them with a clean damp cloth every day.

Sitting pretty on a logo: The logo of Hush Puppies brand of shoes features a Basset Hound named Jason.

Popular Bassets: Right from Emperor Napoleon and Queen Alexandra upto US President George Washington were blessed with Basset Hounds. The US President was gifted a Basset Hound for his hunting expeditions.

As they were bred to hunt in packs they are very social and gentle.

Famous Bassets

Be it in TV series, music videos, advertisements, magazines… Basset Hounds have made widely acclaimed global reputation. Elvis Presley’s famous song Hound Dog was dedicated to a Basset Hound named Sherlock. The classic TV series Lassie featured a Basset named Pokey who was a close friend of Lassie, a long-haired Collie. Time magazine in 1928 carried a Basset Hound on its front cover on the occasion of the 52nd Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show held at Madison Square Garden, Manhattan. Some of the famous Basset Hounds in movies are Lafayette in The Aristocrats; Toby in Great Mouse Detective; Buster in Toy Story 2 & 3, to name a few!

Educating your puppy in 8 lessons

Like children, puppies learn at different speeds, and so as a pet parent you need to respect the individual pace of development and the fact that your puppy is still very young.

1. Learning his name: Never scream your puppy’s name – he has a very acute sense of hearing and shouting will just stress him. Instead, say his name slowly and clearly to catch his attention and associate his name with each command.

The first thing a puppy needs to learn is his name, and the shorter it is the easier it is for the puppy to remember.

  • Call your puppy by his name right from the outset.
  • Before you call his name, do something nice with him so that he is encouraged to do what you ask.
  • When he comes to his name, give him lots of love and petting.
  • If he doesn’t come straight away, don’t tell him off–he’ll be even slower next time!

2. ‘No’: Make sure your commands are consistent: what you say ‘No’ to one day must not be allowed the next, either by you or anyone else in the family.

  • ‘No’ needs to be associated with anything forbidden, whatever it is.
  • ‘No’ must be totally categorical, and be said very clearly whenever you see your dog do something he shouldn’t.
  • The tone of your voice should be sharp enough to make the puppy stop as soon as you say ‘No’.

3. House-training: If your puppy has an accident indoors in your absence, don’t tell him off! Scolding is only effective if you actually catch your puppy red-handed.

  • Take your puppy out frequently, ideally every two hours throughout the day. If you take him out less often, he will become house-trained more slowly.
  • Make sure you take him out straight after every meal, on waking up and after playtime.
  • Give him lots of praise– verbal and petting – when he performs outdoors.
  • If you notice him going round in circles indoors, wait until he starts doing his business and then pick him up with a firm ‘No’ and take him outside. When he has finished outside, give him lots of praise and petting.
  • Finally, don’t forget that wherever you are – city, country or seaside – you must pick up after your dog!

4. Sit. Lie Down. Stay: These three commands are learnt in order, so you need to make sure that the first one is totally understood before moving on to the next. Your puppy should also be on the lead while you are teaching these commands.

  • Sit: While giving the command ‘Sit’, push down on the puppy’s haunches with one hand, while keeping his head up with the other. As soon as he is sitting, give him lots of praise, using his name, with patting and stroking too.
  • Lie down: Start by asking your puppy to sit, then crouch down next to him. Pull his front paws forward gently while saying ‘Lie Down’, and once he is lying down again give him lots of praise and love.
  • Stay: First get your puppy to ‘Sit’ and then add ‘Stay’ to command. Move a little away from him, and if he gets up or follows you, say ‘No’ and return him to the sitting position, repeating ‘Sit – Stay’. As he gets more used to this command, you can move further and further away from the puppy, although he should be on a leash or tether throughout this learning phase.

5. Walking on the lead: Never, ever hit your puppy with the lead: it should be a symbol of ‘Walkies’, and therefore synonymous with joy, not punishment.

  • First of all, get your puppy used to wearing a collar, and then put the lead on him at home, just for a short time a couple of times a day.
  • The next step is teaching him to walk on the lead outdoors. First, make him sit next to you (either on your left or right side, whichever suits you best, but always stick to the same side), then give the command to ‘Come’ and start walking.
  • Keep the lead loose and move forward at your own pace: the puppy walks near you, his head level with your knees and the leash remains loose.
  • When you stop, tell him to sit and reward him with petting.
  • If the puppy pulls, say ‘No’ while giving a sharp pull on the lead at the same time.

6. Calling your puppy: If your puppy does not respond to Here, walk away in the opposite direction or hide: he will be very worried about finding himself on his own and will come back to you very quickly!

  • Start by associating calling your puppy with meal times. Ask one of the family to keep the puppy away while you’re preparing his meal, and then call the puppy by his name and say ‘Here’.
  • Gradually, through lots of praise and petting, the puppy will learn that when he hears the command ‘Here’ he has to come straight back to you.
  • Do lots of practice of the ‘Here’ command indoors, before moving on to an outdoors training session, during which it is a good idea to have the puppy on a very long lead or tether.

7. Home alone: As much as you can, try and avoid leaving your puppy alone before the age of four or five months; otherwise you run the risk of creating a real anxiety crisis for the young dog.

  • Use the times when he is tired to get him used to being alone.
  • At the beginning, leave the room for just a few minutes. If the puppy cries, come back to him, tell him to be quiet and go out again. When you come back, praise him if he has kept calm.
  • Gradually, you can extend the length of time you are out so that the dog accepts your absence as quite normal and doesn’t expect either elaborate farewell rituals or exuberant reunions.

8. Meal times: Titbits or table scraps will upset the nutritional balance provided by the food you’re giving your puppy. Given too often or regularly they are also bad for his health, encouraging weight gain as well as teaching the dog to beg while the family is eating.

  • Growing puppies need to eat more often– so, until six months of age feed him three times a day, then move to two meals a day.
  • Always feed him at the same time, from the same bowl, and in the same place, which must be as far away as possible from his sleeping area. Always make sure he has a clean bowl full of fresh water.
  • Feed the puppy after the rest of the family – this helps him understand who is ‘boss’, because it mimics pack behaviour.

General recommendations

  1. Play: Use games as a way to make sure he enjoys learning, through short sessions that are easy to remember and fun for the puppy.
  2. Step by step: While very young, the puppy has a limited ability to concentrate, so a session longer than 3-5 minutes will tire or bore him. You can extend the training sessions gradually, so that by around six months old, the puppy will be able to concentrate, and so learn, for about 30 minutes a day. However, it is really important to make sure that the puppy is fully socialised from an early age by exposing him to all sorts of experiences: going out in the car, meeting children, adults and other animals and so on.
  3. Reward and restraint: Training your puppy is the result of both reward and firmness. Establish a climate of trust and patience with him – along with firmness when necessary.
  4. Rewards: Rewards increase motivation and make the training process easier. To be effective, the training has to give the dog pleasure – for example, you should praise him with petting and a warm tone of voice. Keep the use of treats to a minimum, otherwise you run the risk of early weight gain for the puppy.
  5. Language: Tone of voice is more important to a puppy than the actual words, so suit your tone to whether you are praising, commanding or scolding your puppy. However, you should also make sure that the commands you give (sit, stay, etc) are simple, short and often repeated. Gestures are also a useful way of helping your puppy understand you.

discovering obedience in your puppy

Choosing the best puppy for obedience work is not an easy task. There is no one who can guarantee that perfect puppy for the work she may be intended. Just as all human siblings are different with different abilities and coping levels, so are dogs.

Deciding on a puppy’s future before she has had time to develop her own personality, her own gifting, coping

Dog Traing

Nicole Mackie

skills, her relationship with her pet parent, is setting yourself up for possible disappointment. It is best to allow the puppy to make her own choices in life and decide whether or not she is able to cope with obedience training.

Sometimes the hardest thing to do with our dogs is not to do anything and just let our dogs be dogs and enjoy it. Our dogs prefer a good relationship with us where both owners and dogs can live in harmony together.

Empathise…

If we want to understand exactly what a dog is going through when doing obedience training, try pretending to be the dog yourself. You don’t have to be on all fours to do this, just stand on your two feet with a partner. Both of you hold a different end of the lead each, start walking together.

The one pretending to be the dog has to look at the human. You must continue to look at the human and stay exactly at their side without looking where you are going and without moving away. The human can move in different directions just as in obedience training.

Can you keep this up for long without laughing, without losing place, without getting a sore neck, etc? Can you imagine how it must be for your dog to have to do this, often for long periods of time? How is your dog expected to cope if you find it hard to cope? Can you imagine the development of muscle on one side of your dog and not the other as she has to walk on your left, causing an unbalanced dog and the possibility of skeletal problems after excessive or long-term training?

Can you imagine the pain your dog may be in after the training of having to keep her head turned to look at you over a prolonged period of time? If you cannot pretend to be the dog by keeping looking at your partner without laughing, how do you think your dog feels. Your laughing may only be displacement behaviour for you. You may not be coping so well or feeling uncomfortable, so you laugh. We all laugh because we feel silly doing it. What can your dog do to express herself? She cannot laugh and she is not allowed to do anything else because she is supposed to be under control.

The side effects…

The dog also needs to express how she is feeling and this could come out in other behaviours such as lead biting or pulling, barking or lunging. This may not happen during training since it is in his best interest to behave in these times but it may happen directly afterwards. Stress creates many problems for dogs and often a stressed dog has a short life due to stress related illnesses.

Understand the canine signals…

One of the best things we can do for our puppy or dog is to learn canine language also known as ‘calming signals’. It is only then that we can really understand what our dog is telling us, what our dog needs and whether or not she likes something or if what we think she may like is really stressing the dog. These skills don’t come natural to us humans and they have to be learnt. Learn what to look. Once we learn these skills, we can develop a very good relationship with our dog living in harmony

the way it should be.

(Nicole Mackie has over 14 years of experience in handling, exhibiting, training, observing, studying and sharing her life with dogs, gaining many qualifications, such as canine behaviour, canine psychology, general animal science and experience veterinary nursing. She is a radio speaker and writer for magazines, works with behavioural problems in dogs and runs socialising groups for dogs with social problems).

A puppy party for kid-friendly dogs

Hosting a puppy party is a great way to help your new puppy begin enjoying and feeling at ease around kids. Puppies under five months old can learn a lot in an easy 30-minute play date. Here are a few tips.

Send invitations to 5-10 kids: Write something like this: “We have a new dog! Bailey is a three-month-old Beagle/Labrador mix, and she loves kids! You are invited to her first puppy party where you can help us teach her how to play nicely with kids. Join us on Saturday at 2:30 pm.”

Proper introductions: Have Bailey on a leash when the kids arrive. Step on it so that she cannot jump on

Children and Dog

ANGELS TOGETHER

the children. Ask them to come over and extend their fist (with fingers curled in) so that she can sniff it. Explain to the kids that dogs use their sense of smell to recognise people and that Bailey sniffs them to learn who they are. Most puppies will be wiggly and interested in the kids. Let the kids pet Bailey gently under her chin or on the side of her neck. Encourage the children to be careful of the dog’s sensitive eyes and ears, which will discourage them from petting the dog on top of the head. People often pat dogs on the head, but dogs really don’t like it, so you’ll be teaching the children good habits for interacting with all dogs.

Pass the puppy: After each child has had a chance to meet the puppy on leash, have the kids all sit in a circle on the floor. Each child in turn will be allowed to call Bailey over, give her a treat, and gently pet her for about 15 seconds. Give a few delicious dog treats to each child in turn. The other kids should be told to ignore Bailey if she comes to them when it isn’t their turn. Once everyone has had a turn, go around again and give each child two more treats. Then you will call a child’s name at random, and he can again call Bailey, give her one of the treats, and pet her gently. When everyone has had two turns in the mixed up sequence, the kids can begin teaching Bailey to sit politely for greeting.

Be a tree: Put Bailey in her crate for a few minutes and, teach all of the children to be a tree—by planting their feet, clasping their hands together and holding them close to their body, and looking down at their feet. Tell the kids that by being a tree they are using body language to teach a dog to be calm and polite. Have a few silly, wiggly practice sessions in which you all hop around and then on cue suddenly freeze into the tree pose. Kids love that. Bring Bailey back over on leash and tell each child to be a tree when she comes close. If she jumps on them, they should ignore her and keep being a tree.

Let Bailey wander around the kids for a minute or two. She’ll be wondering why they are all suddenly so boring. Then give the children each a treat and ask them to stand in a circle so they can practice teaching Bailey not to jump on people. As with Pass the Puppy, each kid will take a turn to call Bailey over. If she jumps up, the child should immediately be a tree and withhold the treat. If she does not jump, tell them to give her the treat. After going around the room a few times, Bailey will quickly learn that keeping all four paws on the ground equals treats and jumping makes people become boring. What a great lesson for a young pup to learn.

Helping the lessons to stick: Put Bailey back in her crate for a nap and take the kids to the kitchen to wash up and get a snack. Over cookies and juice, talk to the kids about all the ways they can help Bailey—and the other dogs they know—by interacting with them in gentle, calm ways. Remind them that they can be a tree whenever they are worried about a new dog or when they are near a dog that is being too silly, such as when they come through the door at a friend’s house and the dog greets enthusiastically. Dogs communicate almost exclusively through body language so tell the kids they are learning to communicate with the dogs in “dog language” and that their new skills will make dogs like them even more than they already do.

Thank them for helping you get Bailey off to a good start, and ask them to continue to help you by not petting Bailey if she jumps on them. Using these simple tips, you will soon have a dog who loves hanging out with kids and enjoys gentle, calm interactions with them.

Send out your invitations right away. Kids will be clamoring to come to your puppy party!

(Colleen Pelar, CPDT, CDBC, is the author of Living with Kids and Dogs . . . Without Losing Your Mind. Since 1991, Colleen has been the go-to person for parents trying to navigate kid-and-dog issues. Because a knowledgeable adult can improve every interaction between a child and a dog, Colleen is committed to educating parents, children, and dog owners on kid-and-dog relationships. For more information, visit www.livingwithkidsanddogs.com).

My four months old English Mastiff puppy

Q: My four months old English Mastiff puppy is on dog food. Her weight is 29 kg. What quantity should I feed her per feeding – I feed her three meals a day. My puppy is not ready to walk long distances. At what age will she be ready to walk long distances? Do advice her exercise needs according to her age.
-Prabhakar R Patil, Kolhapur

Dr KG Umesh: Feed the required quantity as mentioned on the pet food label, three to four times a day. All dogs need exercise but the amount depends greatly on the individual dog. Puppies don’t need to be encouraged to exercise. However, you have to be careful not to over-exercise them because their bones aren’t very strong. Large breed generally becomes adult by 24 months of age. The rule is to exercise them a little, and often, probably not lasting for longer than 20-30 minutes for each exercise. Exercise to your dog’s abilities, not yours.

Q: I have a three years old female German Shepherds, who is facing skin problem at chest and thigh. My vet prescribed medicines. After using the medicines on a regular basis, my observation is that the problem reduces in a slow manner but also spreads in the other areas rapidly. I am facing this disease with my dog since last 5-6 months. Please advice.
– Suman Kar, Chittaranjan

Dr KG Umesh: German Shepherds are highly susceptible to certain chronic skin diseases. All chronic or recurring skin problems require some lab tests to find underlying cause. Your vet can do simple skin and blood tests that will help to identify causes like parasites, allergies, fungal or yeast infection, etc. Therefore, my approach would be to find underlying cause and then your vet will be able to recommend suitable shampoos and medications that will eliminate the cause and therefore recurring problem.

Q: Buddy- my four and a half years old Golden Retriever’s platelets count is very less (76000) and is undergoing treatment since Dec’10 for the same. It increased from 55000 to 76000. Moreover he’s got a ringworm problem too. Lately the test showed a reduced thyroid too. Please advice.
– Anupam Sharma, Mumbai

Dr KG Umesh: It is difficult for me to suggest specific treatment or diagnostic plan with the available information. Considering his multiple medical problems, I would suggest a complete medical examination and lab tests to arrive at a confirmatory diagnosis. These medical problems may be complications from an underlying disease or may be unrelated also.

Q: My two and a half months old Lab male puppy is frequently urinating and defecating inside the house. How do I house train him?
– Amrutha Sanish, Mysore

Dr KG Umesh: House training rarely presents a problem with puppies who have been reared under normal conditions. A young puppy needs to urinate and defecate frequently as he has a very small bladder and bowel. This gives you as a puppy owner plenty of opportunity to praise your puppy for performing in the right area, allowing him to learn quickly. Do not punish your puppy for doing wrong. It is your responsibility to ensure that you take your puppy to the chosen toilet area as frequently as he needs to go, generally as soon as he wakes up, after every meal and at hourly intervals. Take your puppy outside, wait with him until he performs and then praise him by giving him a snack or playing with him. Whilst he is learning, it is essential that you wait with him, so that you can praise him at the correct time. Young puppies will inevitably have ‘accidents’. It is important to ignore these, and to clean up well so that the smell does not linger, as this may encourage him to repeat the performance on the same spot. Do not scold your dog for mistakes, but rather reward him when he is correct and he will soon want to go outside. It is also possible to train your dog to urinate and defecate on command.

Q: How can I take care of a Rottweiler during summer?
– Kannan Ramakrishnan, Bangalore

Dr KG Umesh: Generally dogs eat less in summer because of heat or heat stress. But energy requirement increases with increase in ambient temperature. This means he may need to eat more during hot summer. A well-balanced nutritionally complete diet like Pedigree confers some protection against the effects of heat stress. Feed during cooler part of the day, if possible or increase frequency of feeding. Remember to give them plenty of water so he doesn’t become dehydrated in the warm weather. It’s extremely dangerous to leave a pet alone in a vehicle/room/outdoors in the sun – even with a window open – as an overheated car/room can have fatal consequences. Avoid exercising your pet in the midday heat and stick to early morning or late afternoon when temperatures are cooler. It’s important your pets get their annual vaccinations and regular worm/parasitic treatment during summer.