Articles by Val Bonney
PUPPY HOME CARE.
TO HELP WITH YOUR NEW PUP.
HOME CARE especially while the Pup is young.
If you both work and the dog is on its own during the day, then the dog needs a temporary fenced area to stay in during the day. Generally the whole yard is too big for the pup or young dog.
Too much freedom leads to many problems and reduces your control of your pup/dog in the dog’s mind.
We can say that the more control you have of your pup/dog in the first year, the better control you will have for the rest of the dog’s life.
It is recommended that you purchase, make, or buy some ‘ready made’ panels which are light but strong and clip together. Make an outside paneled area for your pup to stay in during the day. It should contain a water bowl which the pup can’t turn over, a shelter from sun and rain, some toys and an article of your own unwashed old clothing in any resting area,
This is one of the KEY factors in the obedience training of any dog. If you start this very early in the pup’s life (at home) then the rest of its training is very easy. Without it, you will struggle for a long time trying to get the same results.
Right from the very beginning, when you first bring the puppy home start this FOCUS at meal times.
Instead of putting all the pup’s food in a bowl and putting it on the floor to eat from:- Try this.
Take a little of the food from the bowl; hold it in the palm of your hand; crouch down with your hand held down at the pup’s head level and let the pup eat it out of your hand. Do it again and again. Takes one minute or less.
The pup is getting fed straight from YOU. You are a very smart ‘Pack Leader’ as far as the pup is concerned.
The pup starts to look to you for food, it starts bonding with you. It starts to FOCUS on you.
You are the most important person in the world as far as the pup/dog is concerned.
FOCUS is ‘LOOKING AT YOU’. Where you go the dog will want to be.
Get the pup/dog to look at you before you give it a treat.
Develop an attitude of having zero tolerance for BARKING. If your pup/dog barks (even once) do not yell out ‘Shut up’. Go outside and encourage the pup to come to you. Give it a treat for coming. Make sure you hold the treat in the palm of your hand as you do at feed time. Get the pup used to this. Keep doing this until it becomes an automatic reaction from you pup/dog every time you crouch down with your palm held upwards with a treat in it. It will become an automatic recall.
Bring the pup inside (on lead) and the barking has stopped. The pup does not have a clue why you have done this but you know. Stop this bark and any other future barking the dog may do. If a stranger comes into your yard then the pup/dog will bark automatically. You don’t have to teach it to do this.
If you want to stop any other bad habit from developing then stop it just as quickly. Use a NO TOLERANCE attitude.
MAKE HOME RULES EARLY
1. Create a special spot inside the back door, where the pup/dog can see you. The mat and lead are attached to that spot.
Even before you pick up your pup the family should make some home rules so that all the family understand and ensure these rules are kept at all times. One of the things I have noticed over recent years is that some people think that, ’I DON’T WANT THE DOG IN THE HOUSE EVER’. ( This is a strong carry-over from the old days ( ie. Before dogs were washed and brushed regularly and the house stunk of dogs. ) Now you can bring the pup/dog into the house but YOU are still responsible for the dogs movements in the house at all times.
It is suggested that (IF YOU DON’T WANT YOUR PUP/DOG ROAMING INTO EVERY ROOM IN THE HOUSE) you have a special place in the house where your pup/dog can rest and sleep. The pup/dog is happy if it can see you and this is very important for all young pups. Do not separate the young pup from yourselves too quickly. This causes stress and sometimes frantic attempts to get in the house to be with you. You do not have to allow your pup/dog to run through your house whenever it feels like it. If you let it do this once or twice then it is already a habit.
When you allow the pup/dog to come into the house put it on its mat and attach the lead to its collar. Give it a treat; It is not a prison; it is not time out; you are simply developing the dog’s behavior to suit your family and home. You know exactly where it is all the time and YOU have control. If it sleeps outside, the fruit-bats, possums, stray cats, koalas (in some suburbs), lizards, toads and anything else that moves around at night disturbs its sleep which causes your pup/dog to develop a number of other problems which you now have to break.
Have a special mat or spot where the pup stays when it comes in the back door. You put it on lead straight away which is attached to that spot.
THE PUP IS A VERY SIMPLE CREATURE and is happy if it can see you.
It is also highly recommended that you SLEEP YOUR DOG INSIDE AT NIGHT. Don’t leave any food or water down for your pup/dog at night.
Rule 2 Buy a crate for your pup.
(Don’t forget to put some of the family’s old unwashed clothes (that you don’t want anymore) in the crate with the pup.)
In the dog’s mind it is going to bed with you.
PS. Dogs that sleep indoors at night make much better, ‘WATCH DOGS’.
If you separate your pup/dog from you too quickly then, as far as the pup is concerned, it has ‘LOST ITS PACK’. How would you feel if you came home from work one day and your family had all left, and you didn’t understand if they were ever going to come back.
The above crate becomes your pup’s new home. It is happy to have this home for the rest of its life. It has your scent from your clothes which is essential to the dog family (because YOU are its new family), and you can take the crate anywhere you go or put it anywhere you wish, as the dog matures.
You may need to buy two crates for your dog in its lifetime.
The first crate you buy for your young pup may need to be made out of strong plastic because if you leave it at home on its own in its crate and a sudden storm arises it may try to escape. These airline transport type crates are more soundproof, of solid construction and the pup can’t hurt itself.
Later, as the dog matures, you can purchase a crate (for your full sized dog) made out of soft materials or a wire crate which is very cool.
You can buy crates today which are light and easy to handle. You can get them at reasonable prices on the web. You can try www.pethomes.com.au and click on the top site that comes up. Sometimes at less than half the price elsewhere.
Rule 3 Don’t leave any food down during the day for your dog to graze on.
Pups and dogs need to get their food from YOU. Why!!! Because you are their PACK LEADER and in the wild they need to look up to a strong and smart pack leader who brings the food home for them to eat. If you let them eat (all their food) out of a bowl on the floor then YOU are not in the picture.
Many animals, birds and insects bring the food home for their young. This begins the important family bonding process which you must develop with your pup/dog in its first months with you. If you do this then your obedience training of your pup/dog will be a whole lot easier.
Many very young pups need to go to the toilet at night. However, the pup is generally able to hold till morning once it reaches thirteen or fourteen weeks of age. Some pups need longer and others need less. If your pup winges at night and you think it may need to go to the toilet, then pick it up like a loaf of bread. Don’t talk to it, don’t pat it or make any unnecessary movements. Take it out very quietly to go to the toilet, take it back to its bed, lights out and you go back to bed.
If you make a fuss of your pup it will become a habit and you will still be doing it months later. Another bad habit to break.
ALL YOUNG CHILDREN
Rule 4 Teach all young children that when the pup first comes home that it is not a toy. That the children have to walk slowly and quietly and must not play any rough games with the pup. No running up and down the hallway with the puppy in pursuit. No tug of war games.
Hi, mums and dads!! This can be a tough one. It is very important that all children realize that the smallest movement stimulates excitement in the pup. All pups love small children. Each child has ten arms and twenty legs and they all move at the same time. After just one or two days of this the pup automatically thinks that every time it sees the child that it is OK to play with, jump on and bite at such a toy which moves. The child is hurt and you have another behavior to correct.
Explain to the children before you pick the pup up that there will be plenty of years ahead for playing with the dog.
In the early months, if the children are inside the house then the pup should be on lead in a quiet spot. The children should be advised to pat the pup/dog only under your supervision. This needs to continue until the pup can see the children, walk past them and treat them as just another person.
WARNING!! NEVER ALLOW ANY CHILD TO
(A) LOOK STRAIGHT INTO A PUP OR DOGS FACE (B) CONTINUALLY GIVE THE DOG BIG HUGS AROUND THE NECK.
If the dog thinks the child is trying to overtake the dogs place in the PACK then it will strike to put the child back in its place.
Pups/dogs generally do not accept any authority from a child under about ten years of age. The voice is generally not mature enough to give the dog any feeling that it should obey this infant.
There are exceptions and we have experienced a seven year old who brought her Border Collie to training classes and the dog obeyed her every movement. We are great believers in children training their dogs under supervision.
To sum up.
1. Make a safe, suitable, quiet place outside for the pup/dog.
2. Buy a suitable crate.
3. Sleep dog/pup inside, in crate (with family members old, unwashed clothing in it.) If you wish to sleep the pup on a dog bed then attach a lead to its collar and the other end to a heavy piece of furniture or a screw in the skirting board of the wall. This is so the pup/dog can’t wander at night. WANDERING AT NIGHT IS A ‘NO NO’ IN THE DOG WORLD.
4. Get the pup/dog to look at you each day.((‘FOCUS’))
5. Teach children the importance of quiet behavior and only pat the pup under your supervision.
6. Keep your pup/dog as quiet as possible in the first months.
7. Then maintain your control for the rest of the dogs life.
These are hints for those who want a dog without the many problems that can arise. Read, ‘Who’s the Boss?’, watch the DVD and understand this wonderful pack animal who will be perfectly willing to live with you and do what you ask because he/she is part of your family. You don’t have to teach your pup/dog how to or when to protect your home and you will always get total loyalty. ENJOY.
Val Bonney (Canine behavioural Specialist/International Trainer – Author – Senior Obedience Judge/Member of U.K..Trainers Assoc - Member of Aust. Trainers Assoc. _ Member of Empire Who's Who.).