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Frequently Asked Questions

Congratulations on the acquisition of your new puppy. Owning a dog can be an extremely rewarding experience, but it requires a commitment to years of responsible care. This document will give you the information needed to make good decisions for your new puppy's well-being and healthy aging.

What Type of Playing Should I Expect? Can I Discipline a Puppy?
When Should My Puppy Be Vaccinated? Does My Puppy Need More Than One Vaccination?
Do All Puppies Have Worms? How Dangerous Are Heartworms?
There Are Lots of Choices of Dog Foods. How Do I Ensure That My Puppy Is Well-Socialized?
What Can I Do About Fleas on My Puppy? General Flea Information
Flea Control and Insecticides General Tick Information
How to Remove Ticks General Information on Lyme Disease
Lyme Disease Symptoms Lyme Disease Prevention
Lyme Disease Treatment Can I Trim My Puppy's Sharp Toenails?
What Are Ear Mites? Why Should I Have My Female Dog Spayed?
Should I Have My Male Dog Neutered? If I Choose to Breed My Female Dog.
Genetic Heritage Socializing Your Puppy
The Need for Training Housebreaking: the Direct Method
Paper Training: a Poor Method Housetraining: Crate Training
Housetraining: 'Umbilical Cord' Method Bonding with Your Dog
Canine Good Citizen Can My Dog Be Tested?
Who Can Take the Test? Where Can I Go to Have My Dog Tested?
How Do I Become An Evaluator? Is the CGC An Official AKC title?
CGC-A Decade of Success! Training Your Puppy
Teaching the Sit Teaching the Stay
Teaching the Down Teaching the Come
Teaching the Heel House Training Puppies
Bringing Puppy Home Crates
Corrections Witnessed Accidents
Un-witnessed Accidents: Routine
Coccidiosis Parvovirus Infection
Distemper Eclampsia (Milk Fever or Puerperal Tetany)
Kennel Cough

What Type of Playing Should I Expect From a Puppy?

Stimulating play is important during the first week. Stalking and pouncing are important play behaviors in puppies and are necessary for proper muscular development. If given a sufficient outlet for these behaviors with toys, your puppy will be less likely to use family members for these activities. The best toys are Light and movable. These include wads of paper and rubber balls. Any toy that is small enough to be swallowed should be avoided.

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Can I Discipline a Puppy?

Disciplining a young puppy may be necessary if its behavior threatens people or property, but harsh punishment should be avoided. Hand clapping and using shaker cans or horns can be intimidating enough to inhibit undesirable behavior. However, remote punishment is preferred. Remote punishment consists of using something that appears unconnected to the punisher to stop the problem behavior. Examples include using spray bottles, throwing objects in the direction of the puppy to startle (but not hit) it, and making loud noises. Remote punishment is preferred because the puppy associates punishment with the undesirable act and not with you.

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When Should My Puppy Be Vaccinated?

There are many diseases that are fatal to dogs. Fortunately, your veterinarian can prevent many of these by the use of very effective vaccines. In order to be effective, these vaccines must be given as a series of injections. Ideally, they are given at about 6-8, 12, and 16 weeks of age, but this schedule may vary somewhat depending on several factors.

The routine vaccination schedule will protect your puppy from seven diseases: distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, Para influenza virus, parvovirus, corona virus, and rabies. The first six are included in one injection that is given at 6-8, 12, and 16 Weeks old. Rabies vaccine is given at 12-16 Weeks of age. A final booster for parvovirus is often given at 18-20 Weeks. There are two other optional vaccinations that are appropriate in certain situations. Your puppy should receive kennel cough vaccine (Intra Trac II) if a trip to a boarding kennel is likely or if it will be placed in a puppy training class.

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Why Does My Puppy Need More Than One Vaccination?

When the puppy nurses its mother, it receives a temporary form of immunity through its mother's milk. This immunity is in the form of proteins called antibodies. For about 24-48 hours after birth, the puppy's intestine allows absorption of these antibodies directly into the blood stream. This immunity is of benefit during the first few Weeks of the puppy's life, but, at some point, this immunity fails and the puppy must be able to make its own long-lasting immunity. Vaccinations are used for this purpose. As long as the mother's antibodies are present, vaccinations do not have a chance to stimulate the puppy's immune system. The mother's antibodies interfere by neutralizing the vaccine.

Many factors determine when the puppy will be able to respond to the vaccinations. These include the level of immunity in the mother dog, how much antibody has been absorbed, and the number of vaccines given to the puppy. Since your veterinarian does not know when an individual puppy will lose the short-term immunity, he or she gives a series of vaccinations. The hope is that at least two of these will fall in the window of time when the puppy has lost immunity from its mother but has not yet been exposed to disease. A single vaccination, even if effective, is not likely to stimulate the long-term immunity which is so important.

Rabies vaccine is an exception to this, since one injection given at the proper time is enough to produce long-term immunity.

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Do All Puppies Have Worms?

Intestinal parasites are common in puppies. Puppies can become infected with parasites before they are born or later through their mother's milk. The microscopic examination of a stool sample will usually help to determine the presence of intestinal parasites. This exam is recommended for all puppies, if your veterinarian can get a stool sample. Please bring one at your earliest convenience. Even without a stool sample, the use of a deworming product that is safe and effective against several of the common worms of the dog is recommended. It is important that deworming be repeated in about 3-4 weeks, because the deworming medication kills only the adult worms. Within 3-4 weeks, the larval stages will have become adults and will need to be treated. Dogs remain susceptible to reinfection with hookworms and roundworms. Periodic deworming throughout the dog's life may be recommended for dogs that go outdoors.

Tapeworms are the most common intestinal parasite of dogs. Puppies become infected with them when they swallow fleas; the eggs of the tapeworm live inside the flea. When the puppy chews or licks its skin as a flea bites, the flea may be swallowed. The flea is digested within the dog's intestine; the tapeworm hatches and then anchors itself to the intestinal lining. Therefore, exposure to fleas may result in a new infection; this can occur in as little as two weeks.

Dogs infected with tapeworms will pass small segments of the worms in their stool. The segments are white in color and look like grains of rice. They are about 1/8 inch (3 mm) long and may be seen crawling on the surface of the stool. They may also stick to the hair under the tail. If that occurs, they will dry out, shrink to about half their size, and become golden in color.

Tapeworm segments do not pass every day or in every stool sample; therefore, inspection of several consecutive bowel movements may be needed to find them. Your veterinarian may examine a stool sample in his office and not find worm segments, but then the next day they may appear. If you find them at any time, notify your veterinarian.

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How Dangerous Are Heartworms?

Heartworms are important parasites, especially in certain climates. They can live in your dog's heart and cause major damage to the heart and lungs. Heartworms are transmitted by mosquitoes so your dog does not have to be in contact with another dog to be exposed. Fortunately, there are drugs that will protect your dog from heartworms. These drugs are very safe and very effective if given regularly. Be aware that having a long hair coat or staying primarily indoors does not protect a dog against heartworm infection.

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There Are Lots of Choices of Dog Foods. What Should I Feed My Puppy?

Diet is extremely important in the growing months of a dog's life, and there are two important criteria that should be met in selecting food for your puppy. A form of food made for puppies is recommended. Depending on the size of your puppy, it should get puppy food until it is about 6-12 months of age. 

Feeding a dry or canned dog food is acceptable. Each has advantages and disadvantages. Dry food is the most inexpensive. Soak dry food well before feeding to larger breed puppies in order to avoid bloat later in life. Allow dry kibble to sit in water for 5-10 minutes before feeding. It can be left available dry (no soaking) during the day for smaller breeds that may enjoy snacking. Always read the label; not all pet foods (even "super premium") are equal. Store dry food properly so that it remains nutritious.

Canned foods are also acceptable. However, they are considerably more expensive than dry food. They often appeal more to the dog's taste, but they are not more nutritious. If you feed a very tasty food, you are running the risk of creating a dog with a finicky appetite. Certain high-quality fresh foods often round out an excellent diet.

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How Do I Insure That My Puppy Is Well-Socialized?

The socialization period for dogs is between 4 and 16 weeks of age. During that time, the puppy is very impressionable to social influences. If it has good experiences with men, women, children, cats, and other dogs, it is likely to accept them throughout life. If the experiences are absent or unpleasant, the puppy may become apprehensive or adverse to any of them. Therefore, during the period of socialization, your dog should be exposed to as many kinds of social events and influences as possible. 

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What Can Be Done About Fleas?

Many of the flea control products that are safe on adult dogs are not safe for puppies less than four months of age. Fleas do not stay on your puppy all the time. Occasionally, they will jump off and seek another host, and flea eggs are laid off your dog. Therefore, it is important to kill fleas on your new puppy before they can become established in your house. A flea comb will help isolate any adult fleas your puppy may have. The once-a-month oral flea pill "Program®" prevents flea infestation by sterilizing the fleas and preventing their eggs from hatching.

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General Flea Information

Fleas are small, brown or black, wingless insects with flattened bodies. Several types of fleas infest the haircoats of animals, and some may occasionally feed on people. These blood-sucking insects cause considerable irritation and distress to infested pets. Severe infestations may lead to anemia from blood loss. Fleas spread the common dog and cat tapeworm, and carry several viral and bacterial diseases. Flea bites also cause skin allergies, rashes and sores on both pets and their owners.

The best places to look for fleas on your pet are the hindquarters, base of the tail, stomach and groin regions. Sometimes no fleas are found but only tiny, black granules that resemble black pepper. This material is flea feces and consists of digested blood ("flea dirt"). To distinguish this material from dirt, smudge it on white paper or add a drop of water to it. If you see a reddish-brown color, your pet has fleas, even if you can find none.

After taking a blood meal, fleas drop off the animal and deposit their eggs in cracks, crevices and carpeting. A single breeding pair of fleas may produce 20,000 fleas in 3 months.

Eggs hatch after 2-12 days into larvae that feed in the environment. Larvae molt 2 times within 2-200 days and the older larvae spin a cocoon in which they remain for 1 week to 1 year. The long period during which the larvae remain in the cocoon explains why fleas are difficult to eradicate from the environment. A hungry adult flea emerges from the cocoon.

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Flea Control and Insecticides

Since both your pet and its environment contain fleas in various stages of development, a flea-control program must consider fleas on the pet and in the environment.

We are all concerned about insecticide exposure to you, your pets and our environment. The best organic method of flea control is daily use of a flea comb (a special fine-toothed comb which can be purchased in any pet store) on your pet and thorough vacuuming of the environment.. Avon Skin So Soft, and brewers yeast/garlic change the odor of your pet's skin, and will help repel fleas. These natural products however are not useful in flea infestation.

When using insecticides to eradicate fleas, you must apply them correctly and at proper intervals. All pets and the environment itself must be treated to eradicate fleas. In severe infestations, it is advisable to employ a professional exterminator for house and yard treatment.

The oral insect growth regulator Program is a unique product designed to prevent flea infestation. Think of Program as flea birth control. By breaking the flea life cycle it will prevent infestations in the home. It is not an insecticide and therefore is not toxic to your pet. It also does not kill fleas. Adult fleas must be controlled using previously mentioned techniques.

Your veterinarian will help you tailor a flea control program for your individual situation. If you need to use insecticides be sure to keep them away from children. Read the container's label carefully when using chemicals and insecticides.

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General Tick Information

Ticks are blood-sucking parasites that infest most animals and sometimes people. Their life cycle is complex and involves one or more species of animals as hosts. Female ticks deposit their eggs in the environment after a blood meal.

Ticks attach to the skin and feed on the animal's blood. Tick bites may become infected, and some ticks produce a toxin that can cause paralysis and even death. Ticks also spread several serious diseases of animals and people, such as Lyme Disease ehrlichiosis, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

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How to Remove Ticks

If only a few ticks are present on an animal, they may be plucked off individually. Tweezers should be used to remove the ticks as ticks may carry organisms infectious to people. To remove a tick, grab the head firmly while gently depressing the skin around the tick. Pull straight out without twisting. After removing a tick swab the area well with peroxide or alcohol. A red raised area is normal if the tick was embedded, and does not mean that your pet will get Lyme disease.

If you are unable to remove the head along with the body of the tick, usually your pet will eventually eliminate it as it would with any other superficial foreign material. Watch for any signs of infection, e.g. pain, oozing etc, in the area. Call your veterinarian if the area looks infected.

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General Lyme Disease Information

Borreliosis is a widespread serious disease that can affect dogs, horses, cattle, birds, wild animals, cats (not as commonly) and people. White-tailed deer and white -footed mice appear to be natural carriers. The disease is caused by Borrelia burgdorferi, a corkscrew-shaped bacterium. The organism is usually transmitted by the pinhead-sized, dark brown nymphs of deer ticks. Other types of ticks may also transmit the disease.

After the larva hatches from the tick egg, it attaches to small rodents, such as the white-footed mouse. As it feeds on the mouse's blood, the larva becomes infected with the Borrelia organism. The larva matures into a nymph, which feeds on the blood of animals and people. The Borrelia organism is not injected into the host animal until the tick has been attached for 10-24 hours. Though adult ticks can also spread the disease, the nymph stage poses the greatest threat during the summer months because of its very small size.

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Lyme Disease Symptoms

Many people having the disease develop a characteristic rash at the site of the bite within 3 to 30 days. For these people, the disease can be easily diagnosed at an early stage. However, symptoms of Lyme Disease are more difficult to detect in animals than in people.

This characteristic rash does not develop in dogs or cats. Because the other symptoms of the disease may be delayed or not recognized, and because the symptoms are similar to those of many other diseases, Lyme disease in animals is often not considered until other diseases have been eliminated.

Many dogs affected with Lyme disease are taken to a veterinarian because they seem to be experiencing generalized pain and have stopped eating. Affected dogs have been described as if they were "walking on eggshells." Often these animals have high fevers. Other common early signs include lameness, fever, joint swelling and pain, and swollen lymph nodes. Within days, weeks or even months, more serious signs develop, such as heart, brain and joint disorders. Painful joint swelling is the most common advanced sign.

A person is unlikely to contract the disease from a pet unless he were to remove an unattached tick from the pet and allow the tick to feed on him.

The Borrelia organism has been found in the urine of infected animals, but the disease has never been proven to be spread via the urine.

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Lyme Disease Prevention

Protect Yourself: For walks in woods, fields or meadows during the tick season, protect yourself from tick infestation by wearing clothing in a way that prevents ticks from gaining access to your skin (long sleeves and pants with cuffs tucked into socks). Wear a hat to protect your head.

Close Inspection: Always closely inspect your pet and yourself after walking in woods, fields or meadows. If your detect any ticks, do not crush the tick's body during removal. Rather, use tweezers or forceps to grasp the tick's head as close to your pet's skin as possible, and gently remove the tick to avoid separation of the tick's head from its body.

The key to prevention is keeping your dog from being exposed to ticks. Ticks are found in grassy, wooded, and sandy areas. They find their way onto an animal by climbing to the top of a leaf, blade of grass, or short tree (especially cedar trees). Here they wait until their sensors detect a close-by animal on which to crawl or drop.

Keeping animals from thick underbrush reduces their exposure to ticks. Dogs should be kept on trails when walked near wooded or tall grass areas. In areas of heavy exposure, acaracides (not insecticides) and repellents (such as Avon Skin So Softer) can be used to control tick infestation on your pet. Preventive collars (prescription collars only for ticks) are the most effective products available.

The new recombinant vaccination for Lyme disease is safe and effective at preventing the disease. This vaccine uses the same recombinant DNA technology as the human vaccine (which is still in clinical trials). Any vaccine for Lyme disease however, is only going to be partially effective at preventing the disease. This is similar to the flu vaccine in humans. Dogs at high risk should receive the vaccine, but can still occasionally get the disease (due to both overwhelming exposure and different varieties of the organism). There is also a homeopathic vaccine (nosode) available. 

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Lyme Disease Treatment

Fortunately Lyme disease, when caught in the early stages, is easily treated with oral antibiotics. Antioxidant supplements, and other nutrients speed recovery. In the later stages however, intravenous therapy with more powerful antibiotics is sometimes necessary. This is especially true when Lyme disease involves the central nervous system.

Post-Lyme disease syndrome may develop after the organism has been successfully eradicated. This is an inflammatory condition which mimics the actual disease. A regimen of vitamins, minerals, and supplements including natural anti-inflammatory can be used to treat this condition.

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Can I Trim My Puppy's Sharp Toe Nails?

Puppies have very sharp toe nails. They can be trimmed with your regular finger nail clippers or with nail trimmers made for dogs and cats. If you take too much off the nail, you will get into the quick; bleeding and pain will occur. If this happens, neither you nor your dog will want to do this again.

A few points are helpful:


1. If your dog has clear or white nails, you can see the pink of the quick through the nail. Avoid the pink area, and you will injure the quick.

2. If your dog has black nails, you will not be able to see the quick, so only cut 1/32-of-an-inch (1 mm) of the nail at a time until the dog begins to get sensitive. The sensitivity will usually occur before you are into a blood vessel. With black nails, it is likely that you will get too close on at least one nail.

3. If your dog has some clear and some black nails, use the average clear nail as a guide for cutting the black ones.

4. When cutting nails, use sharp trimmers. Dull trimmers tend to crush the nail and cause pain even if you are not in the quick.

5. You should always have styptic powder available. This is sold in pet stores under several trade names, but it will be labeled for use in trimming nails.

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What Are Ear Mites?

Ear mites are tiny parasites that live in the ear canal of dogs (and cats). The most common sign of ear mite infection is scratching of the ears. Sometimes the ears will appear dirty because of a black material in the ear canal; this material is sometimes shaken out. An instrument for examining the ear canals, an otoscope, has the necessary magnification to allow us to see the mites. Sometimes the mites can be found by taking a small amount of the black material from the ear canal and examining it with a microscope. Although mites may leave the ear canals for short periods of time, they spend the vast majority of their lives within its protection. Transmission generally requires direct ear-to-ear contact. Ear mites are common in litters of puppies whose mother has ear mites.

Ear infections may also cause the production of a dark discharge in the ear canals. It is important that your puppy be examined to ensure the black material is due to ear mites and not infection.

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Why Should I Have My Female Dog Spayed?

Spaying offers several advantages. The female's heat periods result in about 2-3 weeks of vaginal bleeding. This can be quite annoying if your dog is kept indoors. Male dogs are attracted from blocks away and, in fact, seem to come out of the woodwork. They seem to go over, around, and through many doors or fences. Your dog will have a heat period about every six months.

Spaying removes the uterus and the ovaries, and heat periods no longer occur. In many cases, despite of your best effort, an unspayed female will become pregnant. Spaying prevents unplanned litters of puppies.

As unspayed female dogs age, the incidence of breast cancer and uterine infections increases. Spaying before the first onset of heat practically eliminates the chance of either. If you do not plan to breed your female dog she should be spayed. This can be done anytime after she is five months old.

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Why Should I Have My Male Dog Neutered?

Neutering offers several advantages. Male dogs are attracted to a female dog in heat and will climb over or go through fences to find her. Male dogs are more aggressive and more likely to fight, especially with other male dogs. As dogs age, the prostate gland frequently enlarges and causes difficulty urinating and defecating. Neutering will avoid or render less harmful all the aggression and ailments common in male dogs. Surgical neutering can be done at any time after the dog is five months old.

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If I Choose to Breed My Female Dog, When Should That Be Done?

If you plan to breed your dog, she should have at least one  heat periods first. This will allow her to physically mature allowing her to be a better mother without such a physical drain on her. Breeding after five years of age, unless she has been bred prior to that age, is not recommended. A first-time litter for a female more than five years old increases the risk of problems during the pregnancy and delivery. Once your dog has had her final litter, she should be spayed to prevent the reproductive problems of older dogs.

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Genetic Heritage

All domestic dogs are descended from wolves. Despite sometimes being very different in shape, size, and color, domestic dogs have retained about 75 percent of their behavior patterns. It is this part of our dogs that we need to understand if we are to enjoy our lives together.

In the wolf pack, there is a definite hierarchy which is strongly maintained and defended. This is how it will be in your family-pack. Adults first, then children, then dog. Dogs are very conscious of hierarchy and will attempt to find their own place if you do not do it for them.

It is important that your dog thinks that he is at the bottom of the pack. Suppose he is on the sofa and you want him to get off. If he is below you in the pack he will do so without argument. If he thinks he is on equal terms you will have to make him. If he considers himself above you he may try to bite because he feels you have no right to tell him what to do.

The greater the difference in hierarchy between yourself and your dog, the more respect he will have for you. The more respect, the more likely he is to comply with your wishes. Setting the ground rules from the start is therefore very important.

How you treat your dog in the first few months will make all the difference to the way he sees his place in your family hierarchy. Even if you have had well behaved dogs before, I strongly advise you to follow these guidelines for at least six months.

Dominant wolves will choose the safest, warmest place in the territory to sleep. It is usually elevated so that they can look down over the rest of the pack. In your house, of course, this is your bed. If you allow your dog to sleep in bed with you then he is immediately on an equal footing with you. For similar reasons it also pays to keep him off the furniture.

In the wolf pack, the dominant wolves will eat first, the rest waiting until after they have finished. For most dogs, dinner time is one of the highlights of their day. Therefore, it is important that your dog be fed after your family. Tidbits should not be given from the table as this can be easily misinterpreted by dogs as being a weakness on your part rather than benevolence. It also prevents the bad habit of begging at the table.

Dominant wolves will present themselves to subordinates for grooming. They will lick their faces and generally pay them attention. A dominant wolf would not be approached by a subordinate uninvited. In order to reinforce your status, it is important to groom your dog every day initially. This also gives you a chance to give him a quick health check, and ensures that you will be better able to handle him if he needs veterinary attention.

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Socializing Your Puppy

The activities below will help your new puppy become a part of your household. Your puppy will become strongly attached to your family between 6-12 weeks of age. This bond will last a lifetime. It is important that your puppy learn that he is a subordinate member of your family. This will minimize the potential for bad habits and behavior problems such as dominance or aggression.


It is important that everyone in the family practice these exercises. Young children should have adult supervision.


While your puppy is small, pick him up frequently.

Look into the puppy's eyes until he looks away.

Rub your puppy's stomach while he is on his back.

Use moderate pressure while grooming or petting.

Don't allow the puppy to stand on or over you during play.

Avoid tug-of-war games. Encourage fetch and retrieval.

Practice taking food away at mealtime.

Teach your puppy to relinquish toys or objects on command ("Drop it").

Praise your puppy for good behavior or when resting quietly.

Never use a command unless you are sure the dog will obey or unless you can make it obey.


Have your puppy obey commands prior to everyday activities such as feeding, playing and going out. ("Nothing in life is free.").


In addition, it is important that you expose your puppy to places, situations and things that he will have to deal with in his adult life: e.g., riding in the car, going to the park (after 16 weeks), schoolyards, vacuum cleaners, cats, crying babies, loud noises, and others. Extremely important to proper socialization is allowing your dog to play with other dogs. This helps accentuate the difference between people and dogs, and teaches proper play behavior.

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The Need for Training

It is important that your puppy learn early on what is considered acceptable behavior in your home. Failure to teach your dog the rules of the house when he is young can result in an unmanageable grown dog.

If you expect your puppy to sleep in a dog bed or crate, make sure you enforce that behavior from day one. Your puppy might cry in response to separation from mother or littermates. A hot water bottle and plenty of TLC should provide some comfort. Be sure the bed or crate is located in a warm area free of drafts. Leaving a radio on in there room draws there attention and will help them with the separation from there litter mates.

Some people do not mind having their dog on the couch. For other people, a pet on the furniture would be an intolerable nuisance. Decide now what your household policy will be and enforce this from the start.

The same holds true for begging at the table, jumping on people, and other objectionable behaviors. If you don't want your puppy to learn any of these habits, make sure your rules are obeyed from the beginning.

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Housebreaking: the Direct Method

Teaching your puppy where you expect him or her to go to the bathroom is probably the most critical part of training. A dog that is not properly housebroken frequently ends up relegated to the backyard or the animal shelter.

The best and most reliable way to house train your puppy is to provide frequent opportunity to eliminate in an appropriate place and to reward this behavior immediately as it occurs. To do this, walk your puppy on a leash at regular intervals (at least every 2-4 hours).

The direct house-training method requires you to be nearby and to start good lifetime habits from the beginning. Other methods may seem easier and may appear to demand less initial investment of time. The direct training method, however, is sure to save you time and energy in the long run.

Puppies require more frequent walks until they are able to reliably control sphincters. This usually occurs by six months of age. The best method of house training is to take your puppy out within several minutes after each meal, after each nap, and after playing. These are predictable moments during the day when bowel and bladder are most full.

A wave of rhythmic contractions along the length of the digestive tract (the gastro colic reflex) begins when food or water is swallowed. The contractions are particularly strong after eating, which explains why a bowel movement is so likely after a puppy eats. Feed your puppy at scheduled mealtimes and avoid snacks between feedings. The gastro colic reflex may be conditioned by feeding your puppy at regular intervals.

Allowing your puppy continuous access to food or water makes house training more difficult. Prevent "accidents" between meals by taking your pup out before the accidents occur.

It is best to leash walk your puppy within  minutes after each meal. Take him out to the same spot each time. If your puppy is too young to walk on a leash, carry him outside to an enclosed, safe area. Stay nearby and play with or pet him. If your pup is slow adjusting to leash walks, be patient. Avoid pulling the leash and allow your pup to take his time.

If your pup is initially afraid of the leash, leave the leash on indoors for brief periods without holding onto it. When the pup becomes more accustomed to the collar and leash, take the pup for brief leash walks indoors before graduating to walks outside. Daily leash walks throughout a dog's life help maintain good elimination habits.

When the pup prepares to eliminate, begin using a key word or phrase which he will soon associate with elimination (like "hurry up" or "do it"). Use a happy and light tone of voice. . This teaches the pup to void on command so that you won't freeze unnecessarily on a cold winter night while the pup leisurely looks for just the right spot. Praise immediately once the task is completed. Immediate encouragement is necessary for your pup to associate praise with elimination outside.

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Paper Training: a Poor Method

Paper training is not a good housebreaking method contrary to popular opinion. Paper training encourages the pup to eliminate on newspapers spread over the floor in a designated area of the home. This can lead to several problems. The first is that you may confuse your pup by teaching him twice what he need learn only once. When, and if, the pup has learned to void on the newspapers, he must then be retrained to eliminate outside.

The second problem with paper training is that you may unintentionally teach your pup that it is acceptable to eliminate inside your home. Though some puppies stay on the paper, many more "miss" the boundaries set for them. You may think your pup clearly understands that he should void on paper. Instead, he may learn that it is acceptable to eliminate anywhere in that room and may begin soiling in a variety of unacceptable areas in your home. Some owners of small-breed dogs prefer to continue paper training throughout the pet's lifetime, but this should not replace daily walks.

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House Training: Crate Training

Crate training is the easiest and most effective method of housetraining. In addition, it teaches your dog that the crate is his special place away from any stress present in the "outside world". The crate-trained dog tends to be more secure and have fewer behavior problems later in life.

Begin by selecting a crate that will accommodate your dog at his anticipated adult size. Your (adult) dog should be able to comfortably stand and turn to change positions in his crate. If you are purchasing a crate for a large-breed pup, you may decide to obtain several crates of different sizes to accommodate your growing pet. If you decide to purchase just the one for his adult size, you may partition the unused space and enlarge the available space as the young dog grows. Consult your veterinarian about your dog's projected size.

To introduce your dog to the crate, associate the crate with positive things, such as food and safe shelter. Leave the door open until there is no sign of fear. Cover a section of the floor with comfortable and easily laundered bedding, such as a towel or blanket. Play with your pup, tossing favorite toys and treats into the crate. Say "crate" or some other word for the puppy to begin associate with going to bed.

Place food and water in the crate to encourage your pet to consider it a safe place. This also decreases the likelihood that your dog will soil inside the cage. When the puppy enters the crate without hesitation at meal time, gently close the door while he eats. Keep the door closed for gradually longer periods. Let the pup out when he is calm and quiet. Eventually you will be able to leave your puppy in the crate for up to four hours, but no longer except at night. Food and water should not be left in at night .Your puppy should receive food and water in the morning as soon as you have taken him or her outside to go to the bathroom.

Never let your puppy out of the crate for whining, barking or scratching at the door-this will teach him a bad habit. Only let your puppy out when he is quiet and calm.

Immediately after opening the crate, carry your puppy directly outside to the area you want to be used as the bathroom, and set him down. In all likelihood he will go to the bathroom right away. Praise him lavishly.

The crate is your dog's special place where he must never be disturbed or threatened. The crate must not be linked with punishment or your dog will avoid it. Encourage him to use the crate as a resting place. When the pup is ready to nap, place him in the crate with a favorite toy or treat. Never place your pup in the crate or try to remove it from the crate when you are angry. Do not reach in and pull your dog out of his crate.

Some pups do not tolerate crate training initially, becoming very agitated and excessively vocal for long periods of time. If the pup objects to being closed in the crate, you will encourage undesirable attention-seeking behavior, such as whining or barking, by visiting or otherwise comforting the crated pup. Wait a few moments until he is quiet and calm before checking that all is well. This way, you will not encourage undesirable behavior nor will you defeat the potential usefulness of the crate. If your puppy's objections seem excessive or unacceptable to you, the direct training method may be preferable and crate training should be temporarily abandoned. Use of a radio will aid in comforting your puppy.

It is pointless to punish your dog at any age for "accidents" that occur in your home which you do not witness. To be effective, punishment (and praise, for that matter) must closely follow your pet's action. Punishment is ineffective unless it is given immediately (within 3 seconds) after the "crime." No matter how frustrated you may be, clean up the mess and concentrate on the steps to prevent another one.

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Housetraining: the 'Umbilical Cord' Method

This method of house training is best used with the other techniques detailed above. Attach your pup to a long leash that is tied to your wrist or waist. This allows him a certain amount of freedom while ensuring your constant supervision. The pup cannot wander away to have an undetected "accident" and you can anticipate the pup's need to void, taking him directly outside.

This method may be applied as an alternative to overnight crate confinement or isolation in another part of your home. The pup may be leashed to your bed overnight. While some puppies may have "accidents" where they sleep, they may be less anxious when their owners are nearby, and this may positively affect their behavior.

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Bonding with Your Dog

Developing a caring and loving relationship with your new pet paves the way for a trusting, successful companionship between you and your dog.

This bonding, or relationship building, is the first step toward successfully training your dog. When a dog is secure in the knowledge that he is accepted as a member of the family, he will respond more favorably to obedience training.

The theory is relatively simple... Love your dog and he will love you back. You can even change the relationship you have with a dog that has been living with you for a while, by changing the way you treat him.

How to Begin...

Let your dog explore his new home and get to know each and every member of the family. He should receive a lot of affection from everyone. Hug him, play with him, and by all means, talk to him. Even though he doesn't understand what you are saying, he will feel affection through the tone of your voice.

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The following activities and the manner which they are performed will help create a strong bond between you and your dog:

  • Feeding your dog

  • Walking your dog

  • Bathing your dog

  • Taking your dog with you when you go outdoors or in the car

  • Allowing your dog to be with you when you are doing chores

  • Playing with your dog

  • Exercising your dog

  • Housebreaking or paper training (without harsh corrections)

  • Consistent daily routines (for feeding, walking, playing)

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Canine Good Citizen

If your dog has good manners, he or she may be eligible for an award from the American Kennel Club….

Welcome to the AKC's Canine Good Citizen (CGC) Program. Started in 1989, the CGC is a certification program that is designed to reward dogs who have good manners at home and in the community. The Canine Good Citizen Program is a two-part program that stresses responsible pet ownership for owners and basic good manners for dogs. All dogs who pass the CGC test receive a certificate from the American Kennel Club and as of January 1, 1999, they are automatically recorded in the AKC's Canine Good Citizen Archive.

The purpose of the CGC Program is to ensure that our favorite companion, the dog, can be a respected member of the community.

To receive the CGC award, dogs take the 10 item Canine Good Citizen Test. Items on the test include:

Test 1. Accepting a Friendly Stranger
Test 2. Sitting Politely for Petting
Test 3. Appearance and Grooming
Test 4. Out for a Walk (walk on a loose leash)
Test 5. Walking Through a Crowd
Test 6. Sit and Down on Command/Staying in Place
Test 7. Coming When Called
Test 8. Reaction to Another Dog
Test 9. Reactions to Distractions
Test 10. Supervised Separation

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Can My Dog Be Tested?

If dogs have been trained at home and are well-mannered, owners can have their dogs tested. Clubs and training programs in almost every city can provide CGC training to owners and dogs who need to learn a few more skills before taking the test.

Who Can Take the Test?

All dogs, including both purebred and mixed breed dogs are welcome to participate in the CGC program. Dogs must be old enough to have received necessary immunizations such as rabies vaccines, and there is no age limit on the test. A dog is never too old to be a good citizen.

Where Can I Go to Have My Dog Tested?

Your local AKC dog club should be able to do CGC testing for you and your dog. The AKC's Canine Good Citizen Department can provide you with the names of clubs and evaluators in your area. Local specialty clubs, AKC judges, some 4-H leaders, therapy dog evaluators, veterinarians, vet techs, groomers, private trainers, kennel owners, animal control and police K-9 officers can give the test. If your trainer is not familiar with the program and would like to learn about the program, the AKC can provide the trainer with assistance in becoming an evaluator.

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How Do I Become An Evaluator?

Canine Good Citizen evaluators should be individuals who have enough experience working with dogs that they would be able to determine in the course of administering the CGC test whether or not a dog is safe, well-mannered, and under control. Evaluators can be any of the dog related professionals listed above.

To become an evaluator, the first step is to contact the AKC and request the Evaluator's Packet. This packet includes all of the printed materials related to the CGC Program. When the first CGC test is administered by a new evaluator, a Test Summary Form (included in the packet) is mailed to the AKC. When the AKC receives a completed Test Summary Form, the evaluator is added to the Evaluator database.

Staff of the Canine Good Citizen Department are available to provide training for clubs and groups wishing to begin Canine Good Citizen Programs.

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Is the CGC An Official AKC title?

The CGC award is not an official AKC title because the testing is not administered by our licensed judges. Owners should be proud of the award and recognize that the CGC is gaining credibility and recognition in our communities. Participating in this program helps spread the word about the importance of responsible dog ownership.

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CGC-A Decade of Success!

As the CGC approaches its tenth anniversary, it is one of the most rapidly growing programs in the American Kennel Club. There are many exciting applications of this wonderful, entry level that go beyond the testing and certifying of dogs.

Many other countries (including England, Australia, Japan, Hungary, Denmark, Sweden, Canada, and Finland) have developed CGC programs based on the AKC's CGC Program. A CGC Neighborhood Model has been established, police and animal control agencies use CGC for dealing with dog problems in communities, some therapy dog groups use the CGC as a partial screening tool, and some 4-H groups around the country having been using the CGC as a beginning dog training program for children.

A number of specialty (one breed only) clubs give the CGC at their annual national dog show. Dog clubs have discovered that the CGC is an event that allows everyone to go home a winner. Veterinarians have recognized the benefits of well-trained dogs and there are some CGC programs in place in veterinary hospitals. State legislatures began recognizing the CGC program as a means of advocating responsible dog ownership and 14 states now have Canine Good Citizen resolutions.

In only one decade, the Canine Good Citizen Program has begun to have an extremely positive impact in many of our communities. This is a program that can help us assure that the dogs we love will always be welcomed and respected members of our communities.

To receive CGC materials, including the Evaluator's Getting Started Kit and CGC testing materials, contact the AKC Order Desk at (919) 233-9767.

Evaluator's Promo (Getting Started) Kit - #GK9PR1

Participant's Guide (list of skills, how to train) - #GK9GC2

For test kits call the Order Desk.

To receive technical assistance with the CGC Program, contact:

Canine Good Citizen Department
American Kennel Club
5580 Centerview Dr.
Raleigh, NC 27606
(919) 852-3875

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Training Your Puppy

Puppies can be started in training as early as 8 -9 weeks of age. At this age they are little sponges, just waiting to soak up some knowledge. Being dogs, they are also pack animals and willing to follow their pack leader - YOU! Training them at a young age will not only make them easier to live with but will help to ingrain you as the pack leader to help you through their "teenage months". Whenever any training is done, only one person should do the training so as not to confuse the puppy....then, after puppy has thoroughly learned a command, the "trainer" can teach the rest of the family the proper commands. All puppies should learn the basic commands of sit, stay, down, come and heel. When the puppy is older, I highly recommend going to an obedience class. There you can build on what you have taught the puppy and the puppy will be able to socialize with other dogs and learn that it must be well-behaved in public and not just at home! A well-behaved dog is a good canine citizen and a welcomed companion and family member. A well-behaved dog is a positive reflection of a responsible dog owner.

When training a puppy, or any dog for that matter, you should remember the 4 P's of Puppy Training - Patience, Practice, Praise and Persistence!

Being patience builds a good trusting bond between the puppy and the trainer, making your efforts more rewarding for both of you....another P - pleasant! Have patience and show the puppy what you want....then lavish the Praise. Since puppies are "walking stomachs" up to about 4 mos., treats used with praise can be a mighty motivator!

Being Persistence while the puppy is learning is essential so that the puppy doesn't get mixed signals from you. Never give a command unless you are prepared to enforce it. If you ask the puppy to sit for a treat and he doesn't, show him, then praise him. Later, when you are watching the TV or cooking and you tell the puppy to sit or down, remember that you must stop what you are doing and make sure he does it. The puppy has no way of knowing that this is or is not a training session.....he hears you give a command, so it is up to you to see that it is carried out - or don't give it in the first place!

Practice often and the best time to do that is before feeding that way puppy will be very interested in the treats and you will have his full attention! Always reward the puppy immediately after he does what you've told him use either the treats and/or praise. ( I prefer to use both, eventually giving treats only occasionally.) Puppies have short attention spans, so it's best to have several very short sessions. That way neither you nor the puppy will get tired and bored and training will be fun for the both of you.

DO NOT PUNISH! Puppies cannot read your mind and they are not spiteful. It actually takes about 7 weeks of practice for the puppy to truly understand the lesson. If he's doing well for about 4-5 weeks, then suddenly seems to draw a blank at one of your commands, don't get angry. Dogs sometimes reach a "learning plateau" about the 5 or 6 week, more or less depending on the dog, where they seem to have forgotten every thing they've learn. It's simply a phenomena of dog training and not some evil plot by your dog. Just go back to the the puppy what you want and praise, praise, praise. This lasts about a week and then they snap out of it.

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Teaching the Sit

I like for the "trainer" to either kneel beside or in front of the puppy to start this exercise. The use of a favorite treat will make this quite easy to teach. First, place one hand gently on the puppy's rear, hold the treat in the other hand at about eye level and raise it up and back so that the puppy will lift his nose straight up. They will naturally start to back up at this point, but your hand on his rump is there to prevent this. Usually a gentle pressure downward will encourage the puppy to sit. If not, try cupping your hand under the tail just behind the "stifle joint". [ The stifle corresponds to our knee and if you've ever had anyone "clip" you behind the knee, then you know the effect you're looking for with this maneuver. ]

As you show the treat to the puppy, call him by his name - "Fido" [or whatever! ] to get his attention, then use the command "SIT". Do not repeat the term, just let the puppy back into it. People often just keep repeating "sit,sit,sit,sit......" , when the whole idea is to say it once and the dog should do it. Remember that persistence/ consistence thing? You wouldn't want to accidentally give the puppy the idea that he doesn't have to sit until the fifth time you say the word, would you? :-)

As SOON as the puppy sits, give him the treat and praise, praise, PRAISE! When practicing doing the sit exercise for young pups, only do it about 3-4 times during a session - or once or twice if he does it well, then quit for a while. Always end on a positive note with both of you being winners!

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Teaching the Stay

Teaching the stay is a progressive exercise, never progress to the next level until you and the puppy have mastered the current level. To start, I like to sit next to the puppy and ask him for the "sit". ( Go back to the page for teaching the "Sit" and use that technique to get puppy to sit, if necessary.) Then I say "Stay" and count to 10, then praise. Next I ask for a sit, then give the command "stay" and count to 20, gradually progressing to 1 minute that I did NOT have to repeat the command &/or that the puppy got up. In between each "Sit/Stay", I walk the puppy around with lots of Praise at the end of the sit/stay exercise.

Once the puppy is steady for one minute with you sitting or kneeling beside him, start the process again with you Standing Up beside him if your puppy has correctly mastered the first part, you will quickly progress to a one minute sit/stay with you standing beside him. do not go to the next level until the current exercise is mastered!

Now, with the puppy on your left side, tell the puppy to stay and step DIRECTLY in front of him......your toes and his toes are practically touching and you are looking down at his adoring little face :-). Remember to always tell the puppy what to do, then do it. In this case, you tell him "Stay", THEN you step in front. This is an excellent habit to get into when working with any dog and it's a lot less confusing for the dog! Again, you are working up to a one minute sit/stay. If he even looks like he's considering getting up, remind him to stay but don't become a broken record by saying a stream of stay, stay, stays.

Puppies are usually pretty good at this, so a good time frame to progress from sitting beside the pup to standing in front for one minute is about 7 days.....sometimes a lot less, but do not get overconfident ......remember we are dealing with a puppy - short attention spans rule!

Once the pup is steady for one minute with you in front, try stepping in front and standing there about 15 seconds, hold your hand up ( in a "stop"....hand up, palm towards the pup) and give another stay command, then back up one step. Do this exercise until you can work up until 2  minutes. Once mastered, back up 2 steps, 2 minutes....then 3 steps, work up to 2 minutes and so on until you can stand about 10 feet away and the puppy will remain in place for 3 minutes. can pass the Novice class' long sit exercise!

The secret to having a dog be reliable on the long sit is to build steadiness at close range - the quicker to correct him - and then to add distance.

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Teaching the Down

As soon as your puppy has mastered the sit and stay, you are ready to start on the down. If you haven't quite got the hang of it yet, please re-read those two pages and get the puppy steady on those first.

With the puppy in the "sit" position, next to you and on your left side, show him the treat....about his eye level, use the command "Down" and then letting his nose follow the treat, lower your hand  towards the floor and the puppy's toes. He should follow the treat to the floor..... at least, that's the idea! Common handler mistakes are: lowering the treat too fast and lowering, but holding the treat too far in front of the pup, causing him to get up and go towards it.

Sometimes you have to put your free hand on his rump ( if you have a "popper-upper") or give a gentle pressure downward at the shoulder to get them started. If he's still not getting the idea, you can use your free hand to "walk" his front feet out until he gets the idea. As SOON as he is down, give him the treat and praise, praise, Praise! Remember to get in the habit of only saying the command "Down" once..... don't be a broken record.

After your pup is consistently going to the down position, you can practice the Down/Stay..... all you have to do is use the same formula as you used for the Sit/Stay.

* Hint - it's best to do this either inside when it's hot or cold outside, so that both of you will be in a comfortable place. Nobody likes to sit or lie on cold, wet ground or out in the broiling sun. Prime yourself for success by using that big, ole human brain's common sense!

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Teaching the Come

I like to teach the come in two parts......the formal and the informal.

First, the Informal: Get a pocket full of treats and hook the pup up to a long line, rather than a short leash. Go out in the front or back yard and just follow the puppy around. When he's not paying attention to you, call his name and say "Come!" Use the happiest voice you can muster to say it, then "reel" him in! Get down on his level and praise, praise, Praise.....with LOTS of PETTING and TREATS. * It helps if you laugh a lot, too! :-) After everyone calms down a bit, get up and walk around the yard again until he's lost interest in you ( that might be a problem if it's a Ridgeback and you still have a pocketful of treats!). Then call him again, if he doesn't come, reel them in and go through that whole routine of praising and treats. I like to do this exercise about 3 times then quit for the day. The next time you do this exercise pick a different spot....if you were in the backyard, go to the front. After your puppy starts anticipating your little "game", you'll need to go to a place where there is more of a distraction - like a park or an empty lot or a schoolyard, etc. It doesn't take long for the puppy to get the hang of this exercise. You should gradually leave off the treats and go with the praise......we don't all walk around with treats in our pockets on a normal day!

The Formal ( also known as The Recall): Your puppy should be steady on the sit/stay if you are working alone. If you have someone to help - even better! Begin with laying out a long line....about 15-30 ft. Have the puppy to sit and hook the line to his collar. ( If you have a helper, have them stand behind the puppy so they can hold the collar lightly when you walk off.) Tell the puppy to "Stay" or "Wait" and walk to the end of the long line, turn and face him. Get down on your knees or sit on the ground.....put a BIG smile :-) on your face, look the puppy's name and say "Come". (* Use "come" ONLY once*) Then clap your hands and/or throw them out wide - it's that "invitation" thing. Puppy should come barreling at you, if not, use the long line and reel him in. Either way, PRAISE and PET for one full minute as if he had done it perfectly! Do this part of the come exercise for one week, then move on to the second step. Be sure to vary the time between when you get down and call the dog. Otherwise, they will begin coming when they see you get down on the ground......It's so much fun!

NOTE: Coming should ALWAYS be a fun thing. NEVER call your dog to do something to him he doesn't like - a bath or cutting his toenails, for example. You should just walk over and get him in those instances.

Second week of the formal COME starts out similar to the first. The basic difference is instead of getting all the way down to the ground, you get on your knees but are upright, so you are getting taller all the time. You still give the sit and stay commands, call his name and tell him to "come", give lots of praise, but as you are praising, gently touch his rump and ask him to sit, then continue to praise.

The third week, you bend down or if you still have good knees ;-), you squat down, call the dog and as he starts to you -  straighten up. You still ask for a sit and give praise from the upright position. **If your pup is motivated by treats you can still give treats along with the praise.

By the fourth week, you are standing upright as you call the puppy. Now you can start adding a formal hand signal if he's coming straight to you and not swerving off to smell the bushes or running right passed you. Visualize this - how do you motion for someone who is a good distance away? Arm out and swing it into and across the chest.....something like that? Well, this is also a good hand signal for the "Come". When you get ready to call the dog, say his name and give both the command "Come" and the signal at the same time. Eventually, all you will have to give is the signal......and you'll be able to wow those relatives with you silent signal to call your pup! As with the informal COME, you gradually leave off the treats but be lavish with the praise!

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Teaching the Heel

Tradition says a dog heels on the owner's left side.....that's from long standing field work, but unless you are interested in obedience competitions, you can have the dog on whichever suits you.

If your puppy is not leash-broke, just put the lead on him and follow him around the yard. Then get a pocket full of goodies and show the treat to him and let him follow you around awhile......There! That's what lead training is and you are on your way to teaching the HEEL.

I don't think it's necessary that the dog be in a sit position to start the heel exercise. Just have him on the side you have decided on and call his name ( We always call the name to get his attention.) and give him the command "Heel". Start off straight ahead, encouraging him with the treat and your happiest voice. Go about 10 or 15 steps, straight ahead, then stop and praise, praise, Praise! Do a couple of heels in a straight line and add stops. In obedience competitions the dog is required to automatically sit when you stop, so if you like that idea, then ask your puppy to sit when you stop. The puppy should be doing sits fairly consistently before you try it from the moving heel exercise.

Once you and the puppy are moving together with the puppy by your side and not charging ahead or hanging behind you, get out those treats and encourage him to go left or right with you. As in any exercise, one thing builds on the other. Prime yourself for success by mastering one part before starting the next.

As you gain experience, you can add more turns, circles, go around objects like trees, lawn furniture and give a more realistic nature to your training. Also add all those other commands you've learned......instead of a sit, ask the puppy to down. While you're heeling, stop, have the puppy to sit and tell him to stay. Step in front of him, count to 30, return around behind him and praise. Just like us, dogs get bored, too! Vary your exercises so neither of you will get bored. Young puppies have short attention spans, so make your sessions short - say 10 or 15 minutes at a time. Better to have two short sessions a day than one long one.

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House Training Puppies

House training your puppy begins long before you bring him/her home. Not soiling his quarters is both an instinctual quality as well as a learned behavior.

The dam assumes the bulk of the responsibility of keeping both puppy and the nest clean. Some mothers are more diligent about this than others, regardless, this is where the learned behavior begins. As soon as the puppy begins to crawl they will instinctively attempt to crawl away from the dam to relieve themselves.

As a breeder, we can do much by keeping the area as clean as possible by frequent changes of absorbent material. As the puppy grows, so should the size of the puppy pen. We want to encourage the pup to relieve itself as far away from the sleeping area and feeding area as possible. By increasing the size of the puppy pen we also minimize the chances of a pup soiling himself with feces.

You can always tell the puppies that come from clean and meticulous breeders. These are the puppies that seem to house train in no time with very little effort. Then there are those pups that will soil there own crate and lay in it with no remorse. That is the difference a quality breeder can make.

House training puppies should be looked upon as a training exercise. In that light, we can expect a slow progression towards an attainable goal. We can expect mistakes, which will occur with less frequency as training progresses. We try to make the process as clear and simple as possible, so the concept is clear to the pup. We try to minimize the chances of failure by being in control of the variables.

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Bringing Puppy Home

From the moment you bring your puppy home, you must be in control. This means that you are either watching your puppy or he is confined to his crate. There can be no exceptions to this rule. Every mistake that he makes is a behavior that will have to be relearned.

Try not to change your pups diet until after a week or so in his new home. The changes in environment are stressful enough, without adding undue stress on his digestive system with a new food. Chances are it will cause loose and frequent stools that will only complicate the house training process. Any reputable breeder will send food home with there puppies.

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It is important that your crate be sized properly. If the crate is too big, your pup may decide its okay to set a corner aside as a toilet area. If too small he will be uncomfortable. This doesn't mean that you need to purchase several sizes of crates if you have a large breed. You can buy one crate that will accommodate your dog when he is full grown. You may place a box inside it at the back, so as to make the inside smaller. Place smaller boxes inside as your puppy grows.

We do not want a young puppy to be in his crate any longer than three hours without being given the opportunity to relieve him/herself. Puppies metabolisms are such that they need to consume and excrete at a far greater rate than an adult dog.

As a general rule of thumb, when your puppy is out and supervised, he should be taken outside to receive himself...

  • Every 2 hours.

  • Immediately upon waking

  • After playing

  • After feeding

  • After drinking.

It is important to designate an area of your yard as the toilet area. It does not need to be very large. Your pup will soon associate this place with the appropriate action. Once he is finished his job, remove him out of the toilet area to reduce the chance of play with or eating stool. It is much easier for you to keep this area clean than to hunt all over your yard for piles of feces. Taking the time to do this now will save much time in the future, and reduce damage to your yard from urine burns to lawns and shrubs.

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Mistakes will inevitably happen, it is important not to take it personally. The only time you correct a puppy for soiling in the house is if you catch him/her in the act. Period! After a few seconds, puppies do not associate the correction with the behavior. Any strong correction, i.e.: shouting, posturing that is intimidating, physical corrections of any kind, will invariably encourage submissive behavior that will result in more accidents.

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Witnessed Accidents

Walk over to puppy calmly, pick him/her up, say a sharp "NO!" and take out side to finish the job. Give the puppy lavish praise when he/she does relieve themselves in the appropriate area. Bring puppy in, put him/her in the crate while you clean up the mess, out of sight.

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Un-witnessed Accidents:

Put puppy in crate as you normally would. No verbal interaction. Clean up the mess. Leave puppy in the crate until the next potty time, we want to be sure that he/she goes in the appropriate place the next time so as to not reinforce the previous transgression.

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Puppies and dogs thrive on routine. If house training is to be successful, then we must develop a routine that is both manageable for us and the puppy. We have planned to constantly monitor the puppy while he is out of his crate. We have taken him/her outside every 2 hours, after playing and immediately after he wakes and after all meals.

It is a good idea to feed your puppy his/her final meal in the early evening and to withhold fluids after the final meal. By doing this you will minimize the number of times you will have to get out of bed at night to take junior out.

If you follow the concepts in this article you will be surprised at how smoothly the house training will go. Remember that until your puppy is 6 months old, he/she will be susceptible to accidents due to not being able to hold it long enough, changes in metabolism and hormonal changes due to growing, teething. etc.

These concepts are those that I use on my own puppies and have worked for me. I hope that you find these principals helpful in laying a foundation of trust and respect between you and your puppy.

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What is coccidiosis?

Coccidiosis is an infection with a one-celled organism; these organisms are classified as protozoa and are called coccidia. Coccidia are not worms; they are microscopic parasites which live within cells of the intestinal lining. Because they live in the intestinal tract and commonly cause diarrhea, they are often confused with worms.

How did my dog become infected with coccidia?

Oocysts (immature coccidia) are passed in the stool of the dog. They remain in the environment and eventually sporulate (mature) into a more developed oocyst which can infect the dog again. Other dogs, cats, or mice may also become infected. This process can occur in as little as 6 hours, but it usually takes 7-10 days. If the sporulated oocysts are swallowed, they mature in the dog's intestine to complete the life cycle. If the oocysts should be swallowed by a mouse, the dog may also become infected by eating the mouse.

What kinds of problems are caused by coccidial infection?

Most dogs that are infected with coccidia do not have diarrhea or any other clinical signs. When the eggs (oocysts) are found in the stool of a dog without diarrhea, they are generally considered a transient, insignificant finding. However, in puppies and debilitated adult dogs, they may cause severe, watery diarrhea, dehydration, abdominal distress, and vomiting. In severe cases, death may occur.

How is coccidial infection diagnosed?

Coccidiosis is diagnosed by performing a microscopic examination of a stool sample. Since the oocysts are much smaller than the eggs of the intestinal worms, a very careful study must be made. Infection with some of the less common coccidial parasites is diagnosed with a blood test.

How is the coccidial infection treated?

The most common drug used to eliminate coccidia is a sulfa-type antibiotic. It is given for 10-14 days. Other drugs are also used if diarrhea and dehydration occur. If the sulfa-type drug is not effective, others are available. Reinfection of dogs is common so environmental disinfection is important. The use of chlorine bleach, one cup in a gallon of water (500 mL in 4 liters), is effective if the surfaces and premises can be safely treated with it.

Are the coccidial parasites of my dog infectious to humans?

The most common coccidia found in dogs do not have any affect on humans. However, less common types of coccidia are potentially infectious to humans. One parasite, called Cryptosporidium, may be carried by dogs or cats and may be transmitted to people. This parasite has also been found in public water supplies in some major cites. Good hygiene and proper disposal of dog feces are important in minimizing risk of transmission of all canine parasites to humans. Although there is risk of the dog transmitting these two particular parasites to humans, it does not warrant removing the dog from the household except in very rare instances.

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Parvovirus Infection


What is Canine Parvo?

Canine parvovirus (CPV) infection is a relatively new disease that appeared in 1978. Because of the severity of the disease and its rapid spread through the canine population, CPV has aroused a great deal of public interest. The virus that causes it is very similar to feline distemper, and the two diseases are almost identical. Therefore, it has been speculated that the canine virus is a mutation of the feline virus. However, that has never been proven. 

How does a dog become infected with parvovirus?

The causative agent of CPV disease, as the name infers, is a virus. The main source of the virus is the feces of infected dogs. The stool of an infected dog can have a high concentration of viral particles. Susceptible animals become infected by ingesting the virus. Subsequently, the virus is carried to the intestine where it invades the intestinal wall and causes inflammation. Unlike most other viruses, CPV is stable in the environment and is resistant to the effects of heat, detergents, and alcohol. CPV has been recovered from dog feces even after three months at room temperature. Due to its stability, the virus is easily transmitted via the hair or feet of infected dogs, contaminated shoes, clothes, and other objects. Direct contact between dogs is not required to spread the virus. Dogs that become infected with the virus and show clinical signs will usually become ill within 7-10 days of the initial infection. 

How does this disease affect the dog?

The clinical manifestations of CPV disease are somewhat variable, but generally take the form of severe vomiting and diarrhea. The diarrhea may or may not contain blood. Additionally, affected dogs often exhibit a lack of appetite, depression, and fever. It is important to note that many dogs may not show every clinical sign, but vomiting and diarrhea are the most common signs; vomiting usually begins first. Parvo may affect dogs of all ages, but is most common in dogs less than one year of age. Young puppies less than five months of age are often the most severely affected and the most difficult to treat.

How is it diagnosed?

The clinical signs of CPV infection can mimic other diseases causing vomiting and diarrhea; consequently, the diagnosis of CPV is often a challenge for the veterinarian. The positive confirmation of CPV infection requires the demonstration of the virus in the stool or the detection of anti-CPV antibodies in the blood serum. Occasionally, a dog will have parvovirus but test negative for virus in the stool. Fortunately, this is not a common occurrence. A tentative diagnosis is often based on the presence of a reduced white blood cell count (leukopenia). If further confirmation is needed, stool or blood can be submitted to a veterinary laboratory for the other tests. The absence of a leukopenia does not always mean that the dog cannot have CPV infection. Some dogs that become clinically ill may not necessarily be leukopenic.

Can it be treated successfully?

There is no treatment to kill the virus once it infects the dog. However, the virus does not directly cause death; rather, it causes loss of the lining of the intestinal tract. This results in severe dehydration, electrolyte (sodium and potassium) imbalances, and infection in the bloodstream (septicemia). When the bacteria that normally live in the intestinal tract are able to get into the blood stream, it becomes more likely that the animal will die. The first step in treatment is to correct dehydration and electrolyte imbalances. This requires the administration of intravenous fluids containing electrolytes. Antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs are given to prevent or control septicemia. Antispasmodic drugs are used to inhibit the diarrhea and vomiting that perpetuate the problems.

What is the survival rate?

Most dogs with CPV infection recover if aggressive treatment is used and if therapy is begun before severe septicemia and dehydration occur. For reasons not fully understood, some breeds, notably the Rottweiler, have a much higher fatality rate than other breeds.

Can it be prevented?

The best method of protecting your dog against CPV infection is proper vaccination. Puppies receive a parvo vaccination as part of their multiple-agent vaccine given at 8, 12, and 16 weeks of age. In some situations, veterinarians will give the vaccine at two week intervals and an additional booster at 18 to 20 weeks of age. After the initial series of vaccinations when the dog is a puppy, all dogs should be boostered at least once a year. Dogs in high exposure situations (i.e., kennels, dog shows, field trials, etc.) may be better protected with a booster every six months. The final decision about a proper vaccination schedule should be made by your veterinarian.

Is there a way to kill the virus in the environment?

The stability of the CPV in the environment makes it important to properly disinfect contaminated areas. This is best accomplished by cleaning food bowls, water bowls, and other contaminated items with a solution of 1/2 cup of chlorine bleach in a gallon of water (133 mL in 4 liters of water). It is important that chlorine bleach be used because most "virucidal" disinfectants will not kill the canine parvovirus.

Does parvovirus pose a health risk for me? How about for my cats?

It is important to note that at the present time, there is no evidence to indicate that CPV is transmissible to cats or humans.

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Canine Distemper is a common and often fatal disease of dogs. It is caused by a virus and is spread most often when animals come in contact with the bodily secretions of other animals who are infected with the disease. Pet owners can also unknowingly bring the infection home on clothes, shoes or car tires. Even indoor pets are not free from the threat of distemper as it is also an airborne virus and can infect pets through open windows and doors. 

Over 50% of dogs and 80% of puppies who become infected with distemper will die. Of those who survive, many will have permanent damage to their nervous systems and will suffer from seizures or paralysis for the rest of their lives.

The frequency with which Distemper occurs in the world’s canine population coupled with the severity of the disease make regular vaccination the only responsible choice for any pet. Most veterinarians recommend euthanasia for dogs who develop the disease .

The symptoms most commonly associated with Distemper are red, runny eyes and a nasal discharge. Dogs seem to just have a cold at first but the disease worsens rapidly. Vomiting, diarrhea and fever soon develop, followed by various disorders of the nervous system. Puppies three to six months old seem particularly susceptible to the disease.

Fortunately, Canine Distemper is easily preventable. Puppies require a series of vaccinations beginning when they are six to eight weeks of age. These vaccinations are repeated at three to four week intervals until a high level of immunity is achieved. Yearly boosters thereafter keep dogs safe from infection. Currently, there are no drugs available that will cure Distemper. As with most viruses, supportive treatment to strengthen and nourish the body and prevent secondary infection is all that can be done. When recovery occurs, it is a lengthy process and as stated earlier, most dogs who survive are left with life-long debilitating conditions.

Until your puppy or dog receives his Distemper vaccination, keep him away from areas such as parks or kennels or any area where he is likely to come in contact with other dogs. This will help minimize the risk of exposure to this serious disease.

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Eclampsia (Milk Fever or Puerperal Tetany)

Eclampsia is an acute, life-threatening disease caused by low calcium levels (hypocalcemia) in dogs and more rarely in cats. The lactating animal is especially susceptible to blood calcium depletion because of lactating. The bodies of some lactating dogs and cats simply cannot keep up with the increased demands for this mineral that they receive from their diet. Please remember that the diet may be fine for these affected individuals, but they lack the ability to quickly shunt calcium to their milk without depleting their own bodies.

Eclampsia is most commonly encountered 3 to 4 weeks after giving birth, (the puppies are drawing the milk from there mothers heavily and quickly at this age) but it can occur anytime, even while pregnant. Litters do not need to be large to cause eclampsia but usually heavy milkers are at a greater risk, as are dogs of smaller breeds. The puppies and kittens themselves are not affected as the mother’s milk appears to be normal during this period. This is probably one of the most miss diagnosed problems that I know of. A lot of the veterinarians will treat for poisoning as they have a lot of the same symptoms.

Signs of eclampsia

Eclampsia is a very serious disorder but fortunately the signs are fairly easy to recognize, especially when coupled with the period of lactation. Initially, the affected animal will be restless and nervous. They will pant heavily and their body will shake as if they were extremely cold. Within a short time, she will walk with a stiff gait and may even wobble or appear disoriented. The legs appear to be stiff. Eventually the animal may be unable to walk and will lay with their legs straight out and stiff. Body temperature may increase to over 105° F and respiration rates will increase. At this point death can occur if no treatment is given. 

Treatment of eclampsia

If you suspect eclampsia, (call your veterinarian first and let him know that she is nursing pups and that you think she is having a calcium deficiency) she needs to get calcium immediately into her system as her condition will decrease rapidly. If you cannot get her into a veterinarian here are some things to do.Take her away from her puppies. If she will drink give her milk. If she will not drink and you have no calcium tablets on hand you can use tums. They are very high in calcium. You may need to force her to take these. Tilt her head up and using you thumb at the back of the jam force her mouth open. keeping your thumb in place take the other hand and using your pointer finger push the pills down her throat. Keeping her head up take your thumb out of her jaw and let her swallow. Initially you may need to give her about four pills. In one hour if you do not see an improvement again give her the same dose. If she is doing better and will drink you can give her milk at this time. It is a good idea to keep her away from her puppies for awhile and to keep her on the calcium supplements until her puppies are weaned. When you are planning a litter calcium supplements are something important you should try to keep on hand. You can buy these at your local pet supply.

If she responds well to treatment, her young can gradually be allowed to nurse.

Prevention of eclampsia

Always take note of your nursing mothers condition. Don't wait until the signs are strong. If you feel that she is starting this problem give her some calcium. At the first on set she will drink milk and treatment is quick and in an hour she is recovering. The longer you wait the longer the recovery. Calcium supplements are not always needed through the entire pregnancy unless this problem arises. Then you should supplement until her pups are weaned. 

In conclusion, it is of great importance for breeders to be able to recognize the signs of eclampsia. If you feel your female is showing these signs, remove the  pups to prevent further nursing and seek veterinary assistance.

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Kennel Cough

Kennel cough (Infectious Tracheobronchitis) is a widespread disease that affects the respiratory system of dogs. It is highly contagious and can be acquired through exposure to other dogs, such as at a pound, groomer or kennel. Dogs most at risk are puppies, older dogs, and toy breeds. However, any dog can be at risk.

Infected dogs do not show symptoms until 7 days after they have contracted the disease. The major symptoms that owners should look for is dry coughing that occurs randomly. Sometimes it may seem that the dog is trying to vomit or has something caught in its throat. The dog may also have watery eyes and/or nasal discharge. Severe infection can result in fever and loss of appetite. The coughing can last as long as 3-4 weeks so it is important for a veterinarian to examine the dog and prescribe antibiotics if necessary.

The organisms most commonly involved in kennel cough include Bordatella, canine parainfluenza, and canine adenovirus 1.

To help reduce the risk of contracting the disease, it is important to isolate any dogs that are suspected of carrying the disease. Also yearly and regular vaccines are recommended to help reduce the risk of contracting the disease. If your dog goes to the groomer, kennel, or park, regular vaccines are recommended. The vaccination used to reduce the risk of illness is known as the Bordetella or kennel cough vaccine.

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