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Guide to selecting your puppy

Whether you have decided to bring home a mongrel or a pedigree dog, few things should be kept in mind. Yashodhara Hemchandra of Yashbans Kennels gives tips on getting your best friend.

 

There is no better joy or happiness (other than your kids, of course) like having a pet at home. You can laugh your stress out with his antics; your pressure levels subside by just petting him. You can have a great listener to your woes, a loyal companion for your walks. You can even train him to do small chores for you, which he will oblige most willingly. The entire experience of having a dog makes you in turn, one extremely good, caring and responsible human being.

There are many basic and important aspects that a person should look into, before venturing to bring home a puppy. If you are ready to take care of him, just like your own baby, then there’s no reason why you should not bring a puppy home. The next step is to analyse what type of breed is best suited to your temperament, lifestyle, family and surroundings. Decision needs to be taken whether you would prefer to have a lovable, adorable, intelligent, non-pedigree mongrel or a pedigree counterpart. Both can form lovable and affectionate companions.

If you wish to share your life with a pedigree dog, then beware of unscrupulous self-styled breeders. It should also be kept in mind that it takes a lot of time, money, effort, patience and hardwork to own a perfect specimen. And then comes the question, do you want your dog to be a super show dog, an obedience Champion, an excellent breeding dog or a pampered pet. At all times, remember, your pet is going to reflect your personality, temperament and behaviour. If a top class pedigree dog is what you want, then, do not compromise on the quality.

After you have analysed yourself and feel you are an ideal person to own a pedigreed dog, then you must make sure of the following:

  • You must buy your dog from a reputed, established breeder. Make sure that the breeder is totally committed to breeding top, pedigree dogs. Always visit his place and make sure that the kennel you are buying your puppy from is a hygienic, clean place and that all the dogs are well cared for and loved. Once you have come across such a breeder, learn to trust him implicitly and take his advice on the pup, which will be best suited for you.
  • A reputed breeder would have definitely registered the pups with the Kennel Club of India, which is the only one recognised worldwide. Above all, make sure the pup conforms to the breed standards and looks healthy and active.
  • Never, ever buy a puppy because the breeder says that the parents of the puppy are Champions, etc. This is not a necessary criteria at all, for a puppy to become a Champion as well. Instead make sure that the parents (the Dam and the Sire) of the puppy are healthy dogs, conforming to the breed standards, with no visible defects or deformities. Make sure that the puppies shown to you are the offsprings of the Dam and Sire shown to you as parents.
  • Always buy the puppy by seeing the puppy or by the reputation of the breeder. If the pup is healthy, conforming to the breed standards, then definitely he must be having a good lineage. You don’t have to worry about the pedigree at all. However, if you are buying a puppy by looking at his pedigree alone, then you are in trouble. An awesome pedigree need not necessarily mean that the puppy is a top quality one. A pedigree just gives us an idea of the pups’ lineage.
  • Ask the breeder to furnish you a feeding and a vaccination chart.
  • Make sure that the breeder will give you tips on handling your new puppy.
  • Ask for health guarantees.
  • Make sure that the pups are microchipped or tattooed as a means of recognition that he is bred by that particular breeder.
  • Make sure that the breeder gives you the name and address of his or her veterinarian. Also enquire from them if there is any reputable veterinarian in and around your area. In case you opt for a mongrel, then contact animal shelters or animal welfare organisations in your area, from where you could adopt a puppy or dog and give him a life he so aptly deserves.

Once you have brought the puppy home, then following things should be kept in mind:

  • The puppy would have had his initial puppy vaccination at the breeder’s place, in all probability. Find out about his deworming and vaccination schedule. He must be immunised against rabies when he is about six months of age. Make sure he has his yearly shots to give him complete immunisation against various diseases.
  • You must also make sure that you buy your pet’s requirements of food, toys etc from a reputed pet shop. They will be able to advise you correctly and not sell you expired or sub-standard products. They will ensure that all pet products are puppy safe.

Once you have analysed yourself as a capable dog owner, then just go ahead and bring home the new puppy. Make sure you live up to your commitment, not just as the puppy’s new owner, but as a responsible, loving human being. Make sure your puppy feels proud of you. And that you have risen above many, as a caring, loving human being and that you are the chosen one.

(Yashodhra Hemchandra has devoted herself for over two decades in establishing one of India’s most reputed kennel – Yashbans Kennels. Yashbans is not only a top breeding kennel but also has boarding facility, a grooming parlour, a pet shop and also is a shelter to abandoned and ill-treated animals. She can be contacted at: Yashbans Kennels, Yashbans Farm, Kyalasanahalli, (Off. Hennur Road) Bangalore – 560 077, Ph: 57639548 , 28465321, 9844058080 . Her website is: www.yashbans.com)

Puppy training made fun

A well behaved dog and a happy owner make a perfect combination. Behaviour and training always go together. Training always leads you to understand your dog and also helps you communicate better with him.

 

Apuppy’s first day at home is very exciting. But after a few days of excitement and joy, starts the actual struggle of bringing up the puppy. In most cases, problems start occurring, first being the toilet training extending to not obeying basic manners, teething, chewing habits, etc.

Puppy training should start from the time when she enters your home. Any form of training should always be fun to the dog as well as the owner. Keep it short and simple. It is also important to check the attention span of puppies during training. The owner should be completely involved in the training process, as it helps to create a strong bond between the owner and his dog. Even if you involve a professional, be a part of the puppy  training programme and understand the methods used for training. Always reward your lil’ one.

Training a pup requires a lot of concentration, practice, patience and persistence from the owner. Also, once you start, you need to progress gradually. The first part of training should be the basic puppy  training, which involves teaching good toilet habits, controlling a pup during teething period, getting her used to being around people and other dogs, teaching her good food habits, etc. Then come the basic commands such as Sit, Down, Stay, Fetch, etc.

There are four basic things to teach your new puppy:

Use of word “NO”:

Puppies, by nature, are very playful and mischievous. They tend to do many things, which are not acceptable to us, such as showing affection towards people by jumping up on them or by licking, stealing food, running away with things, etc. Therefore, you should teach the pup, what is acceptable and non-acceptable behaviour from day one.

Follow these simple tips to train your puppy:

  • If you don’t want your puppy to access certain areas of your home, be firm about it right from the beginning.
  • Give your pup lots of different textured items to chew while she is teething but don’t allow her to chew furniture, etc.
  • Make her a cosy bed to sleep.
  • Start using the word ‘NO’ firmly for things you don’t want your pup to do. But, do not scream or hit the puppy, as it will not solve the problem but make it worse.
  • If the pup picks up something and starts running, don’t run after her, instead call her towards you, and show her something more interesting. You can also distract her with favourite treat or toy.

Developing good food habits:

Puppies are usually very greedy by nature. Food is the most important thing for them. They often try to steal food or search for it in the garbage bin.

Here are a few tips to develop good food habits:

  • Fix a routine of your pup’s meals and snacks from the very beginning.
  • Never feed her small bits or snacks, while you are eating.
  • It is a myth that feeding the dogs before you eat will stop her begging for food when you have yours. It is absolutely wrong. Moreover, in a dog’s pack, the leader always eats first and then the members have their share.
  • You can ask your dog to sit comfortably next to the dining table and give her chew bone.
  • All members must ignore her completely (not even eye contact), while having your meal, till you finish. When you finish and clear the table, you can reward her with treat for nice behaviour.
  • Reprimand your dog with a firm word like “Bad Girl” only if you catch her in the middle of the act and not after she has already snatched the food.

Training her not to jump on people:

On seeing their family members, pups get very happy and tend to jump. Here are a few tips to avoid this:

  • All members of the family must follow a routine of not interacting with the pup at the door, when they enter the home.
  • Do not make any eye contact or physical contact, such as patting, when you enter and for at least initial 10 minutes.
  • You can also fold your hands and sit quietly, not allowing the puppy to bite your fingers, clothes, etc.
  • Once her initial excitement is over, call her and pat her slowly, praise her with a treat or have a short fetch game, as a reward for good behaviour. So, it has to be you who starts the interaction.

Practice this routine for some time, until your pup learns it.

Teaching command “Sit”:

Most of the pups learn to sit very quickly, with the use of a treat or biscuit. But later when the dog learns how to sit on command, many people stop giving treat or praise. That’s when she starts ignoring the owner and will only sit when you have a treat in your hand.

Here’s how to teach your dog to sit

  • Take a piece of your dog’s favourite treat. Hold the treat in front of her nose and move the treat up towards the top of her head high enough that she can barely reach it.
  • If your dog lifts her front paws off the ground, you are holding the treat too high.
  • When your dog lifts her head and shoulders to get her treat, her bottom should go down and soon she will be in the sit position.
  • Praise her by saying “Sit, Good girl, sit” and give her the treat.
  • You can even gently touch your dog’s back, signalling her to sit.
  • Practice this several times until she learns to sit at the ‘sit’ command.

Puppy Training class: Pooja Sathe offers a pet dog training course, puppy care course, which is a 6 weeks course, where the owners have to bring their pets for the class and all aspects of training are explained to them. They work step by step with their lil’ ones and the pups also gets socialised.

For more info, contact Pooja Sathe at 9820596903.

Your puppy

Once your puppy is weaned from his mother, he’ll need to eat a special diet formulated just for his needs. This article gives some facts on the advantages of prepared foods, and on moist vs. dry dog foods.

As the owner of a new puppy, you will want him to grow up fit and healthy, and reach his full genetic potential. It’s not hard to help him do this; all you have to do is to provide your puppy with the correct diet right from the start.

In this section, we will go over some of the things you should know about feeding your puppy the food he needs to grow up strong and healthy.

Why nutrition is important :
First, your puppy will need a very digestible diet so that his body can absorb all the nutrients. Second, it’s important that he really enjoys his food so that he’ll eat all of it.

Therefore, it really matters what you feed your puppy. In fact, he needs special nutrition with just the right amounts of protein, fats, minerals and vitamins. After all, a puppy needs up to two and a half times as many calories as an adult dog does.

A puppy’s diet must also be balanced in order for him to receive the right amount of nutrients. In addition, the food should be concentrated to allow him to take in all the needed nutrients with a small amount of food.

Weaning puppies :
Puppies are normally weaned from their mother’s milk onto solid foods when they’re three to four weeks old. You should give them their food in small portions three or four times a day. If you’re buying from a breeder, your puppy should have been weaned onto a solid diet by the time you take him home at the age of eight to twelve weeks.

When you bring your puppy home :
Changing homes and leaving the mother is stressful for puppies. It could cause an upset stomach. If this happens, take your puppy off solid food for two meals and just give him small quantities of water to drink. Then, you can gradually introduce boiled rice over 24 hours, before you reintroduce his normal puppy food again. If, however, the diarrhoea or vomiting continues for more than 24 hours, or becomes more severe, contact your vet.

Once your puppy has settled in, you will likely want to change his diet to the type or brand of food you have decided on. Make sure you replace the original food with the new food gradually, over a period of three to five days.

The benefits of prepared foods :
Proper nutrition is necessary for your puppy’s health. Some dog owners prepare home-made foods for their pets. However, it’s difficult, even for an experienced breeder, to get the nutritional balance just right. The best idea is to get your puppy used to eating prepared foods from the very start.

The advantages of prepared foods are:

  • They meet nutritional requirements: balancing the proper amounts of protein, fats, carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins.
  • They are easily digestible.
  • They don’t require any food supplements. Just do not forget to put down a bowl of fresh water.
  • They are convenient to use and can be stored for long periods.

Which type of food should you choose :
There are two main types of complete dog food: moist (in cans) and dry (in packages). Both types are made from meat and grains and provide balanced nutrition, with all the necessary nutrients.

Dry foods have certain economic and practical advantages: they are more economical, they do not need to be stored in the refrigerator and they will keep for a day in the bowl. Moist foods, on the other hand, provide your dog with a highly enjoyable eating experience.

Two stages of development: puppy and young dog :
All dogs go through two stages of development: puppy and young dog. These are both very important periods in a dog’s development, as they determine what kind of adult the dog will be. Puppies are very active and grow rapidly. For this reason, they need special food that will meet their energy requirements.

What is most important to keep in mind is that dogs of different breeds reach maturity at different times. Dogs of the toy or small breeds stop growing at around 9 to 12 months, while dogs of the large breeds continue to develop up to 18 to 24 months.

However, we can generalise by saying that for all breeds, the initial stage – when a puppy reaches half of its adult weight – ends
between five and six months.

Proper nutrition allows for the puppy to reach his full genetic potential. If he’s overfed, a puppy can develop bone anomalies, which are more common in puppies of the large and giant breeds.

THE TEN GOLDEN RULES OF PUPPY CARE

Puppy care

Sridevi with Bruno

Rule 1 – Training starts on day one

Since dogs aren’t born fully trained, your puppy will be looking to you for guidance. Good training plays a big role in ensuring a happy and successful relationship between you and your dog. Through puppy care and training, your dog will learn to understand what his human companions expect of him and be better equipped to fit into his environment. Likewise, the better you understand your dog’s behavior, the more rewarding your relationship will be.

Rule 2 – A puppy needs a balanced diet

What you feed your puppy really matters. In fact, he needs special puppy balanced diet chart that contain nutrition with just the right amounts of protein, fats, minerals and vitamins. A puppy’s diet must also be balanced so he receives the right amount of nutrients. Food should be concentrated to allow him to take in all the needed nutrients with a small amount of food. And always make sure your puppy gets plenty of fresh, clean water.

Rule 3 – Keep your puppy well groomed

Start grooming your puppy at an early age. The earlier your dog gets to know the procedure, the more readily he will get used to it.

Rule 4 – Puppies need regular dental care

Taking care of your puppy’s teeth now will prevent a lot of problems later on in his life. In fact, the number one health problem for dogs, apart from being overweight, is periodontal disease. The accumulation of tartar and plaque and the resulting gingivitis can lead to more serious disease. So start brushing your puppy’s teeth now, because most dogs over two years of age who haven’t received regular dental care have these dental problems, so start with best puppy dental care in the same you brush your teeth everyday.

Rule 5 – Best Way to Exercise your puppy daily

Part of the normal routine for a healthy puppy is regular exercise. The amount your dog needs will depend not only on his size, but also on his breed. Don’t make the mistake of over-exercising your puppy, however. A growing puppy’s bones aren’t yet strong enough to cope with the extra stress this puts on him.

Rule 6 – Regular vet check ups

Ideally, you should choose a vet even before bringing your puppy home. Then, once your puppy is home, you should take him in to the vet within the next day or so for an overall check-up. In the first few months, there’ll be several visits to the vet for various vaccinations and spaying/neutering. Once your pup reaches adulthood, at least one visit a year is required to ensure his ongoing good health.

Rule 7 – Give your puppy home health checks

You can play a big role in keeping your puppy healthy by doing health check ups at home. Checking his weight, coat and skin, eyes and ears, teeth and gums, and doing spot checks can prevent little problems from turning into big ones.

Rule 8 – Introduce your puppy to other dogs

One of the best ways to teach good canine manners is to allow your puppy to interact with an adult dog. Most adult dogs won’t be aggressive toward a puppy though sometimes, a big dog will find a way to put a puppy in its place, perhaps with a growl or a snap. Don’t prevent an adult dog from doing this, since puppies learn to limit the strength of their bite and how to control themselves. If you prevent an older dog from controlling a puppy, then the puppy soon learns to think of himself as the boss and that he can do anything he wants.

Rule 9 – Reward good behaviour

Positive reinforcement is a powerful way to make your puppy a well-behaved member of your family. Reward him with a treat or praise when he does what you tell him. This will encourage the repetition of good behaviour and will increase the likelihood that he will repeat the desired behaviour in the future.

Rule 10 – Be patient

Raising a puppy requires a lot of love and even more patience. Educate yourself by reading dogs and pups magazine as much as you can about raising a dog, talking to other dog owners and communicating with your vet. This will eliminate many “surprises” along the way, and will put you well on the path to building a strong, long-lasting relationship with your puppy.