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Puppies 4- 6 weeks.

Week 4 to 8 is when change is occurring rapidly for baby puppies.

This blog will deal with the changes in week 4 – 6. In the last blog (click here) I was talking about the puppies being still very much in the xpen. From 5 weeks of age they start to find out ab0ut the big wild world outside of the pen. This has to be done with caution of course as they are susceptible to many diseases and accidents at this age. They have fairly good immunity from disease still from mum but it is not good for them to be in environments where the disease or vaccination status of other animals is not know. As they are tiny they also must be carefully supervised around even the best tempered adult dog. Baby dogs like human babies have no comprehension that a growl is in fact a signal to back off. They just keep coming and can be far to “in the faces” of adult dogs.

Week 4 to 6 milestones are:

  • Now going out and about. They would have been outside more but the weather was too wet and the ground too muddy. However they went into a specially constructed pen in the training center for a few days a week initially then for 5 days in week 6
  • They got to meet new people
  • They carefully started interaction with selected adult dogs.
  • Recall training is started (off lead using pup, pup, pup whenever I wanted them to come to me).
  • Toilet training is started. They are praised for all wees and poos outside. When getting out of the car they are released from their car carrier and placed on the ground where the natural instinct is that most puppies wee. They are told what clever dogs they are and if possible given a treat
  • Car training starts – in a secure car crate
  • Mum helps with all of this training and starts to wean them off her milk
  • Different food sources are introduced
  • Puppies start to explore their environment.
  • Relationship with humans deepens greatly mostly via the provision of food and fun
  • They play more and more with each other and bite inhibition is learnt.
  • A good day/night regimen is formed.
  • Separation anxiety is guarded against by letting them spend time alone away from humans.
  • The start of grooming and handling training by touching feet, noses, ears, mouth etc.
  • They learn that humans are associated with rewards that are delivered for when a behaviour happens that is acceptable. At this age there is only use of +R  and a very light amount of -P (in that if they are whining they don’t get attention) However the owner should be ensuring that no whining occurs as all needs should be predicted before that point.

 

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Louise Kerr
The Pet Care Magician

Louise Kerr (aka The Pet Care Magician) runs the Pet Care Magic club where devil dogs, horrible horses and crazy cats are turned into perfect pets using Relationship Animal Training. The program provides owners and pet professionals assistance with with common pet behavior  training, feeding and grooming issues such as barking, escaping, scratching, aggression and fleas  She consults and writes widely on a range of pet care issues for owners and also assists pet care professionals in setting up and growing their businesses by the provision of customer handling advice, sales and marketing strategies and up to date product information that allows for the differentiation of their pet care business from their competitors. The Pet Care Magic Club is part of Elite Pet Care & Education based in the Nambucca Valley NSW Australia but can be found on internet enabled devices worldwide.

www.elitepetcare.com.au   |    Like us on Facebook

Facebook groups: Talk to me about Positive Reward Based Dog Training  | Dogs, Horses, Cats, Pocket Pets +Animal Businesses (Mid Nth Coast NSW) 

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Miniature Poodle puppies 6-8 weeks

These weeks build on the solid foundation of the previous 6 weeks. If all has been done well then by now puppies are confident, eating well, sleeping through the night, not barking, not whining and interested in exploring new environments, people and animals that come their way. They are not showing signs of being unwilling to go somewhere new and are happy. healthy bouncy puppies.

The highlights of this phrase include:

  • Now actually interacting with adult dogs and learning how to use cut off signals to indicate they are no threat and learning that they can not rush headlong into the face of an adult dog.
  • Learning from their litter mates how to use their teeth in play.
  • Increasing variety of food being introduced
  • More and more outings to puppy safe venues
  • Increased independence from mum and the other puppies
  • Grooming training  starts (this is very important for poodle puppies)
  • Reinforcement of a good day/night routine
  • Being separated from humans and other dogs for part of the time so that separation anxiety is not going to become an issue.
  • Recall training, start of lead training, start of loose lead walking training (being asked to follow a human around without a lead)
  • Introduction of enrichment toys such as food dispensing toys.
  • Spending time as single pups away from other dogs so they can handle being an only dog.
  • Exploring the outside world and finding out about wind, rain, horses, cattle, leaves, trees and that fences mean containment.
  • Learning how not to be afraid during a thunderstorm
  • Learning how not to be afraid when they hear loud sounds like radios, gun shots, trains, cars, trucks, babies crying etc.

Just a quick comment on vaccination. I follow the most up to date schedule for vaccination from Dr Jean Dodds, a world expert on vaccination, and do not give the first vaccination (C3) until puppies are 8 weeks of age. I then only give one more after 16 weeks of life and then no further vaccination for the rest of the life of the dog. I also do not microchip until as close to over 8 weeks as possible as I feel it is fairly traumatic for baby puppies. It is required as a condition of sale in my state. The puppies are wormed at 3 and 6 weeks and then again as they are about to go to their new homes.

Regards
Louise Kerr
The Pet Care Magician

Louise Kerr (aka The Pet Care Magician) runs the Pet Care Magic club where devil dogs, horrible horses and crazy cats are turned into perfect pets using Relationship Animal Training. The program provides owners and pet professionals assistance with with common pet behavior  training, feeding and grooming issues such as barking, escaping, scratching, aggression and fleas  She consults and writes widely on a range of pet care issues for owners and also assists pet care professionals in setting up and growing their businesses by the provision of customer handling advice, sales and marketing strategies and up to date product information that allows for the differentiation of their pet care business from their competitors. The Pet Care Magic Club is part of Elite Pet Care & Education based in the Nambucca Valley NSW Australia but can be found on internet enabled devices worldwide.

www.elitepetcare.com.au   |    Like us on Facebook

Facebook groups: Talk to me about Positive Reward Based Dog Training  | Dogs, Horses, Cats, Pocket Pets +Animal Businesses (Mid Nth Coast NSW) 

Relationship Animal Training TM: Facebook page | Facebook discussion group

About Me 

Training puppies for grooming

Establishing a good relationship with a puppy or dog is not just about teaching them to sit, stay or come when called. Grooming is a vital part of their basic training and in my opinion training adult and puppy dogs to accept the grooming process is very much over looked by groomers, trainers and pet parents. The grooming process is not natural for dogs, especially when very aversive equipment like clippers and high velocity dryers are used in the process. Dogs need to be taught to accept the equipment and the handling that inherent in the grooming process.

Puppies such as poodles, have a coat that requires high maintenance and it is important that a relationship with their owners and/or professionals is established based around grooming  as early as possible. This relationship must be one based on trust that they will not be frightened by the equipment required and that the person undertaking the grooming has an ability to observe and interpret canine body language.  If you are not proficient in understanding what a dog looks like when it is scared and how to stop that from happening then you should not be grooming any dog, let alone a vulnerable baby puppy.

Video One shows how to develop a caring and as stress free grooming relationship as possible for a puppy. This miniature poodle puppy is 7 weeks old and step one is to get it used to being up on  a high table and to accept the attention from brushes, combs and being touched in an way that is not natural for a dog. An important point is this is not done after washing a dog. It is undertaken at a totally different time when the pup is totally relaxed. Stacking the activities of a scary wash and then up on  a high table will increase the stress for the pup and set him or her up for failure before you even start.


(the noise in the background of this video is rain on the tin roof)

The second very important point is that restraint SHOULD NOT BE USED during these initial grooming training sessions. My reasoning is that dogs that get frightened of something need to be able to move away from it. Adding any sort to restraint in grooming training will automatically make it an aversive process  so that the pup is unable to learn as it is stuck in fear mode. Learning to handle restraint should be done separately once the puppy is comfortable on the table. The puppy should never be left on the table and all equipment should be placed in advance so that the handler can keep one hand on the pup at all times. This can be done at home by owners using a table with a non slip bath mat. Not only does it train for grooming but it also gives valuable one on one time that enables relationship building. 

The next step in the grooming process is teaching a dog or puppy not to be frightened of a dryer. The high velocity dryer is THE most abusive item of grooming equipment in a dog grooming salon. Most dogs are terrified of it and have every right to be so. It is a piece of equipment designed for groomers who want to do the maximum number of dogs in the shortest period of time. It is one of the big reasons I can no longer subject dogs to the practice of professional grooming. It is vital that any dog that will be attending a professional groomer is trained to accept this practice.  How long it takes for a dog to become ok with this process depends on the skill of the groomer in reading canine body language and the overall socialization and fearfulness of the dog or puppy. This training should NEVER be done when the dog is being presented for its first groom.

The important points to note are:

  • No restraint
  • Diffuser off the dryer
  • Dryer on lowest possible setting
  • Start with counter conditioning to just the noise (i.e. dyer on ground and not pointed at the dog)
  • Dryer aimed at the dog for very short bursts of seconds only and never at the head
  • Watch the dog and stop immediately you see escalation of minor stress signs such as lip licking, freezing,  ears back and yawning.
  • The whole process is performed often for very short periods not rarely for long periods. (This is why is cannot be started in the context of a grooming session)

The next video is with a different puppy and shows some of the signs to look for in a pup that is not ok with the process.

  • Pup stopped eating so counter-conditioning was not being effective as pup was too scared by the process. Dryer needed to be further away.
  • Body Language becomes stiffer, more lip licking, not able to head turn and became stuck in one place on the table.
  • Reward used was not high enough and scary object was too close.
  • Pup startles at 1.30 minutes indicating it went into fear mode.

This is just a quick overview of training puppies for grooming using positive force free methods. It is part of a larger body of work I am putting together. If you need assistance on an particular grooming issues please contact us via the comments section or email.

Regards

Louise Kerr
The Pet Care Magician

Louise Kerr (aka The Pet Care Magician) runs the Pet Care Magic club where devil dogs, horrible horses and crazy cats are turned into perfect pets using Relationship Animal Training. The program provides owners and pet professionals assistance with with common pet behavior  training, feeding and grooming issues such as barking, escaping, scratching, aggression and fleas  She consults and writes widely on a range of pet care issues for owners and also assists pet care professionals in setting up and growing their businesses by the provision of customer handling advice, sales and marketing strategies and up to date product information that allows for the differentiation of their pet care business from their competitors. The Pet Care Magic Club is part of Elite Pet Care & Education based in the Nambucca Valley NSW Australia but can be found on internet enabled devices worldwide.

www.elitepetcare.com.au   |    Like us on Facebook

Facebook groups: Talk to me about Positive Reward Based Dog Training  | Dogs, Horses, Cats, Pocket Pets +Animal Businesses (Mid Nth Coast NSW) 

Relationship Animal Training TM: Facebook page | Facebook discussion group

About Me 

Miniature Poodle Puppies 4.5 weeks.

Two weeks since my last post and these two weeks has been seen a large amount of development in the puppies. By 4 weeks they are all up and about and social skills are starting to develop. They are still feeding off mum but I have now implemented supplementary feeding. Not that they eat much, mostly they walk through it, play with and generally just explore it. Today while videoing I did see one of them pick up a piece of dry food in it’s mouth and eat it. What mostly happens is that mum goes in there as the food is taken in and she is gradually teaching them to eat rather than drink. However she did take her piece of chicken in there this afternoon and there was a great deal of interest in it with a couple of the puppies having a taste of it. Mum however will be still allowed to let them drink for as long as she decides is appropriate.

They are now starting to look outside their xpen as I have removed some of the covers so they can start to interact with the other adult dogs and with me as I move around the area.  Mum is now spending less and less time with them and mostly only going in for feeding and if they make a strange sound (which has not happened so far at all). However what this means is that all the clean up is now my duty not hers and this is often the point at which families who have bred a litter for some fun find out the fun is pretty much over and the constant cleaning starts.

They have started to interact with each other in play. This is an essential time for puppies to learn bite inhibition. Bite inhibition is taught by the other pups who provide the feedback when a bite is too hard. A puppy will not continue to play with another pup if bites hurt. At this point I keep a careful watch for any puppy that might be showing bullying tendencies. This is fairly unusual for miniature poodles but does happen from time to time in bigger breeds. The way to deal with that is to quietly distract the bully from the game and institute a short time out session. It is normally is just an indication that a pup is a bit too wound up or a pup is slightly more ahead in development than its litter mates.

About two weeks ago, once mum started to spend less time with them, I added some soft cuddle toys to the pen. Initially this was to give them something soft to cuddle up to but as they are now playing these also become play toys. The benefit of this is that often individual pups will be found sleeping alone not cuddled to one of the others and also once it comes time for them to move off into their new homes they will associate a cuddle toy with positive safe feelings from where they first grew up.

I have also started to introduce novel safe items to them. Yesterday it was some peelings from the potatoes and carrots I was cooking. Not for any food value, although some were eaten, but to give them a chance to explore new tastes and textures and weird things appearing in their environment. Today it was the empty cottage cheese container with a few morsels of cottage cheese still in it. This provides the game of how many puppy heads can fit in here at once that you can see part of on the video.

They have settled into an excellent day and night rhythm now. Once it is dark they all settle for bed and not a sound is heard from them until we get up the next morning.

Regards

Louise Kerr
The Pet Care Magician

Louise Kerr (aka The Pet Care Magician) runs the Pet Care Magic club where devil dogs, horrible horses and crazy cats are turned into perfect pets using Relationship Animal Training. The program provides owners and pet professionals assistance with with common pet behavior  training, feeding and grooming issues such as barking, escaping, scratching, aggression and fleas  She consults and writes widely on a range of pet care issues for owners and also assists pet care professionals in setting up and growing their businesses by the provision of customer handling advice, sales and marketing strategies and up to date product information that allows for the differentiation of their pet care business from their competitors. The Pet Care Magic Club is part of Elite Pet Care & Education based in the Nambucca Valley NSW Australia but can be found on internet enabled devices worldwide.

www.elitepetcare.com.au   |    Like us on Facebook

Facebook groups: Talk to me about Positive Reward Based Dog Training  | Dogs, Horses, Cats, Pocket Pets +Animal Businesses (Mid Nth Coast NSW) 

Relationship Animal Training TM: Facebook page | Facebook discussion group

About Me 

MIniature Poodle Puppies at 2.5 weeks.

The miniature poodle puppies are now 2.5 weeks of age and are entering a period where they absorb new things rapidly. Their eyes are open and their hearing is developing. They are no longer content with the confines of the whelping box and one by one they have climbed out to investigate the rest of their enclosure. Mum is now spending less and less time with them. Initially she was with them most of the day and all of the night however now her days are spend mostly outside the pen (but still near enough to keep an eye on things) and jumping back in to clean up bottoms, wipe eyes and open the milk bar. When she finishes feeding she might spend a little while in there with them if she has fallen asleep while they feed and at night she comes into bed with me for a few hours then returns to spend the rest of the night with the puppies.  The pups are drinking more at each feed but feeding less often and they are quiet and content with fat milk bellies. In fact, I rarely hear a sound from them.

At  this stage I start to introduce different surfaces for the pups to feel. The newspaper is still down to cope with poos and wees, but I have also introduced an old outdoor seat cover which is slightly higher and rougher. Mum really likes sitting on this so she often goes in and lies down there to feed. This means the pups have to work out how to get to her and how to navigate the slight height involved. This is building problem solving skills in the  pups.

Regards

Louise Kerr
The Pet Care Magician

Louise Kerr (aka The Pet Care Magician) runs the Pet Care Magic club where devil dogs, horrible horses and crazy cats are turned into perfect pets using Relationship Animal Training. The program provides owners and pet professionals assistance with with common pet behavior  training, feeding and grooming issues such as barking, escaping, scratching, aggression and fleas  She consults and writes widely on a range of pet care issues for owners and also assists pet care professionals in setting up and growing their businesses by the provision of customer handling advice, sales and marketing strategies and up to date product information that allows for the differentiation of their pet care business from their competitors. The Pet Care Magic Club is part of Elite Pet Care & Education based in the Nambucca Valley NSW Australia but can be found on internet enabled devices worldwide.

www.elitepetcare.com.au   |    Like us on Facebook

Facebook groups: Talk to me about Positive Reward Based Dog Training  | Dogs, Horses, Cats, Pocket Pets +Animal Businesses (Mid Nth Coast NSW) 

Relationship Animal Training TM: Facebook page | Facebook discussion group

About Me 

Puppies at 2 weeks.

The miniature poodle puppies are now 2 weeks old.  There is hardly a noise out of them as they have all settled in a lovely routine of feed and sleep. It has been hot the last couple of days so they are starting to sleep apart from each other rather than in a tight bundle. Cherry is gradually spending less time with them now that they are more settled. Their bellies are full of lovely milk and they sleep contentedly, even the black puppy that I called a boy on the last post but is a actually a girl. They are starting to get up on their feet and very shortly eyes will open.  This is when I start to work with them as their eyes open and they gain an awareness of their external environment.

puppies 1 puppies 2 puppies 3

Here are some photos taken this morning. I am sorry about the watermarking but there are scammers on the internet that lift photos of puppies and try to scam money from people

Here is video also taken this morning.

Regards

Louise Kerr
The Pet Care Magician

Louise Kerr (aka The Pet Care Magician) runs the Pet Care Magic club where devil dogs, horrible horses and crazy cats are turned into perfect pets using Relationship Animal Training. The program provides owners and pet professionals assistance with with common pet behavior  training, feeding and grooming issues such as barking, escaping, scratching, aggression and fleas  She consults and writes widely on a range of pet care issues for owners and also assists pet care professionals in setting up and growing their businesses by the provision of customer handling advice, sales and marketing strategies and up to date product information that allows for the differentiation of their pet care business from their competitors. The Pet Care Magic Club is part of Elite Pet Care & Education based in the Nambucca Valley NSW Australia but can be found on internet enabled devices worldwide.

www.elitepetcare.com.au   |    Like us on Facebook

Facebook groups: Talk to me about Positive Reward Based Dog Training  | Dogs, Horses, Cats, Pocket Pets +Animal Businesses (Mid Nth Coast NSW) 

Relationship Animal Training TM: Facebook page | Facebook discussion group

About Me 

Puppies Day 4

Relationship Animal Training starts from the first day a puppy is born and it is now day 4 for Cherry’s miniature poodle litter. Sadly one pup (brown boy) did not make it past day 1 so there are now 4 puppies. In those circumstances I believe it is best to let the mother decide if the pup should or should not survive. Nature knows a lot more than I do about survival of the fittest and Cherry gave clear indications that she did not want to feed this pup as she repeatedly pushed it away.

At day 4 Cherry has already trained the pups to accept some very short periods where she is not with them. Never far away she has a strong sense of what the individual noises mean. There is a certain noise that means “mum come here now we need you” verses “mum we are babies who just need to make a noise to get us off to sleep”

The little black boy is slightly behind his three sisters when it comes to development, however that is normal for boys. He still whimpers slightly when mum is away but is getting faster at settling down against his sleeping sisters as there is safety in numbers. I have also included one of Cherry’s favourite toys in the whelping box so that her smell remains when she is taking toilet breaks. At this stage she is still spending all but a few minutes of her day with them. As soon as I was awake this morning I opened my eyes to find her standing next to my bed, saying hello,, however she quickly returned to the pups.

There are implications here for later puppy training. The first is that of prevention of separation anxiety which is a reasonably common and serious behavioural issue in dogs. At this early age the puppies are very dependent on their mother for their emotional security and safety. As they are still blind and deaf they rely on her scent and body warmth to feel secure. They are not yet secure in just the presence of their litter mates for more than a few minutes. Cherry is aware of this but has already started the slow process of teaching them that she is not required 24/7. The very interesting observation however is that she is doing this using finely honed skills of positive reward, negative punishment and wonderful innate canine judgement. She returns to them only when they are quiet and ignores them when they are lightly grumbling and about to drift off to sleep on their own. Of course she manages the situation by going immediately to them when she knows they need her for other reasons.

The second implication is for teaching no barking. Rewarding a dog for barking by constantly talking to it or otherwise paying attention to the barking is counterproductive to achieving a quiet dog. Cherry is teaching the puppies how to appropriately ask for her attention. 

I am resisting the urge to cuddle and interfere.

Regards

Louise Kerr
The Pet Care Magician

www.elitepetcare.com.au   |    Like us on Facebook

Facebook groups: Talk to me about Positive Reward Based Dog Training  | Dogs, Horses, Cats, Pocket Pets +Animal Businesses (Mid Nth Coast NSW) 

Relationship Animal Training TM: Facebook page | Facebook discussion group

Louise Kerr (aka The Pet Care Magician) runs the Pet Care Magic club where devil dogs, horrible horses and crazy cats are turned into perfect pets. The program provides owners and pet professionals assistance with with common pet behavior  training, feeding and grooming issues such as barking, escaping, scratching, aggression and fleas  She consults and writes widely on a range of pet care issues for owners and also assists pet care professionals in setting up and growing their businesses by the provision of customer handling advice, sales and marketing strategies and up to date product information that allows for the differentiation of their pet care business from their competitors. The Pet Care Magic Club is part of Elite Pet Care & Education based in the Nambucca Valley NSW Australia but can be found on internet enabled devices worldwide.

About Me 

The puppies are born

Relationship animal training TM starts before puppies are born. The selection of the right mother and father, ones who complement each other in temperament and structure and then the appropriate health screening of these dogs to determine if any hereditary health defects are present. Then comes the feeding, training and housing to ensure these two dogs will not pass on any environmental health or behavioral issues. 

The care of the mother is paramount during the 61-63 days of pregnancy, keeping her well fed, wormed, free of parasites and as unstressed as possible. Then you sit and wait while her belly gets larger and larger. The final few days are spent ensuring the mother has somewhere warm, dry, comfortable and safe (from her perspective) to have the babies. If all goes well she will do much of what needs doing with no intervention from you however that is not always the case. In either situation be prepared for at least one sleepless night or longer in the case of large litters.

In Relationship Animal  Training TM it is important that the person who bred your pup knows how to bring them into the world correctly, right from the time of conception, as everything that happens from that point on will affect the temperament of your dog. At the time of whelping trust the mother to know what to do and resist the urge to intervene. The role of the human guardian and leader is to trust the mother to know what is best and to support her needs, keep her safe from infections and provide the nutrition and safety she needs to raise the pups in as stress free an environment as possible. If the mother is stressed then Cortisol is released and this has effects on her and the puppies.

From the human perspective we want to get in and fiddle with the pups. We are desperate to know what colors and sexes they are and to intervene every time there is the slightest noise. Good mothers know what to do, what noises to react to and what noises to ignore. They know just the right amount of roughness required to stimulate the puppies’ senses and to clean their bottoms and umbilical cords. They know to eat the afterbirth and to break the sack around the babies’ noses. If they don’t then they should not be used to breed from

Here is Cherry Coco and her pups the day after birth. She appears to be a bit rough at times but is actually stimulating the pups as required and knows when to have some time away from them and when to settle down and sleep while they feed and fall asleep cuddled close. The first week it is time for mum and puppies to be left alone, in a secure place of least interference so that the bonding that is required happens. This forms the start of Relationship Animal Training TM  because a puppy that has not been conceived well from a well bred, health tested mother and father and then allowed to be brought up as a dog by another well adjusted dog is not going to get the best start possible in its life as a human companion.

Follow the blog to watch this litter of pups progress through all the stages of Relationship Animal Training TM  for puppies.

Regards

Louise Kerr

The Pet Care Magician

www.elitepetcare.com.au   |    Like us on Facebook

Facebook groups: Talk to me about Positive Reward Based Dog Training

Australian Pet Professionals | Dogs, Horses, Cats, Pocket Pets +Animal Businesses (Mid Nth Coast NSW) 

Louise Kerr (aka The Pet Care Magician) runs the Pet Care Magic club where devil dogs, horrible horses and crazy cats are turned into perfect pets. The program provides owners and pet professionals assistance with with common pet behavior  training, feeding and grooming issues such as barking, escaping, scratching, aggression and fleas  She consults and writes widely on a range of pet care issues for owners and also assists pet care professionals in setting up and growing their businesses by the provision of customer handling advice, sales and marketing strategies and up to date product information that allows for the differentiation of their pet care business from their competitors. The Pet Care Magic Club is part of Elite Pet Care & Education based in the Nambucca Valley NSW Australia but can be found on internet enabled devices worldwide.

About Me 

Puppy Grooming tips guest article on about.com

I have had the pleasure of being invited to write and article for About.com Puppies site this week. The article is titled Puppy Grooming Tips -How to Prepare Puppies for Grooming and can be viewed here. It out lines a protocol that teaches pet owners the steps they can take to ensure they will have a puppy that will accept grooming techniques or handling at vet visits. This protocol is however also useful for all puppies, especially those living with children. Puppies and dogs do not always accept hugs from humans and this can be the reason why children and adults get bitten. If a puppy is trained using this protocol they can become accepting of the way humans approach them and need to hug and hold them.

My thanks to Amy Shojai who hosts the site for the opportunity and to Karen Deeds from Canine Direction for the inspiration for the article.

Regards

Louise Kerr
The Pet Care Magician

www.elitepetcare.com.au   |    www.petcaremagician.com |  Like us on Facebook

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Groomers who chose to use positive methods to groom dogs and cats

Australian Pet Professionals

Louise Kerr (aka The Pet Care Magician) is the owner of Elite Pet Care & Education based in the Nambucca Valley NSW Australia. She consults and writes widely on a range of pet care issues including feeding, training and grooming dogs and cats. Her online pet care magic subscription program deals with common pet behavior  training, feeding and grooming issues such as barking, escaping, scratching, aggression and fleas. Pet care professionals are trained to handle customer issues by the provision of up to date programs to differentiate their pet care business from other competitors. About Me 

Getting a new dog or puppy?

If you are a dog lover and spend any time on social media you would probably have noticed the debate that is raging about the RIGHT place to get a new dog from. Today I will attempt to define the pros and cons of each of the options that are available today in Australia.

Option 1:

A  cute  puppy  from  the  next  door  neighbors  or  friends.

These are cross bred dogs, mutts, Heinz. There are a variety of names that have been used to describe these dogs over the years. They were the dogs I grew up with 40 years ago.  Most families had a dog, not all of them were de-sexed and they were often free to roam. Parents often thought it was educational or cute for the kids to see the miracle of birth. There was an idea that that if a bitch had a litter of puppies it would settle her down or prevent some illnesses. When the puppies got to 4 or 5 weeks they were given away to family or friends. Many of these ideas are still prevalent today and there are still many non de-sexed family dogs deliberately or accidently becoming pregnant.

Pros:

  • Cheap if not free
  • You have often seen the puppy since birth
  • You know where they have come from
  • You know the people who have raised the puppy
  • Puppy may have been raised in a family environment.

Cons:

  • You often don’t know who the father is
  • No allowance has been made for any health conditions in the parents that many have been passed onto the puppies.
  • The mother and puppies have often not received appropriate medical care during the pregnancy and whelping.
  • The parents of the puppy were ill suited as parents of puppies on levels of temperament, coat and body construction.
  • Puppies are often removed at too young an age and miss out on essential early socialization with litter mates and mum.
  • Free means that those taking them have not always thought through the long term consequences of the decision.
  • The puppies have not been raised by a professional who understands how essential the first 14 weeks of a puppy’s life is to producing well adjusted adult dogs.
  • Mother may have been too young for pregnancy and/or not suitable as a brood bitch
  • Dog is often not micro-chipped, wormed and vaccinated.
  • Puppies are not much fun after 4 weeks and they can get given away to get rid of them, so they don’t always end up in the most appropriate home.

Option 2:

A purebred or cross bred puppy from a pet shop.

Pros:

  • In NSW you get a 7 day period of refund if dog is not healthy or not the dog for you.
  • IF the shop is accredited with Pet Industry Association of Australia (PIAA) you have the back up of the code of ethics they are bound by. (This includes where the pups are sourced from and at what age and their basic health care while in the shop)
  • Dog is micro-chipped, wormed and vaccinated
  • You often get to chose from a few different options for puppies
  • Shops with caring management try to place the right pup in the right home however these shops are not common.

Cons:

  • Not all shops source dogs at the correct age or from appropriate breeders or have the knowledge to provide a good quality pup.
  • They may not know the history or breeding of the puppy or may have been told misleading information.
  • What you get told you are getting is not necessarily what you are getting
  • They often have no understanding of early socialization needs of puppies.
  • They often have no knowledge of long term grooming and training needs of the puppy and worse you are often told incorrect information e.g. oddles rarely need clipping.
  • Pet shops may sell to anyone who has the money to buy but are not necessarily the best owner for that dog.
  • You may pay a large amount of money for a cross bred dog that is labelled as a designer breed (e.g. Cavoodle, Labradoodle)
  • You have no way of knowing if the dog spent the early part of its life in a family situation
  • Puppies may be inappropriately housed in the pet shop.

Option 3:

A purebred puppy from a Canine Council Registered Breeder (e.g. Dogs NSW)

Pros:

  • Ethical and educated registered breeders should know the genetic history of the mother and father and have decided a mating of two individuals will produce top quality pups.
  • You have the ability to return the pup if it is not right for you or has health issues
  • You have predictability of what your pup will be like due to use of pedigree dogs that consistently produce type and often temperament.
  • You can order before the pup is born and can watch their development from an early age.
  • Registered breeders are guided by a voluntary code of ethics
  • Australian Kennel Council stipulates a breed standard to which dogs should be produced to conform to.
  • Most registered breeders perform stringent health checks to ensure that know genetic diseases are not passed on.
  • You will get asked many questions to determine your suitability to own one of their puppies.
  • Puppies may be raised in a family situation by some breeders

Cons

  • Being a registered breeder is no guarantee of expertise. It is a guarantee that they pay the fee each year.
  • The code they adhere to is voluntary and rarely if ever policed.
  • You have not guarantee that the dog that is stated as the father is in fact the father as you are relying on the honestly of the breeder.
  • The breed standard in use is subject to considerable personal interpretation and there is evidence that it may not always produce dogs of excellent health and function.
  • Registered Breeder does not necessarily ensure they have an understanding of the importance of early training and socialization, many do but not all.
  • Puppies may be raised in a kennel environment, despite where they are when you view them.

Option 4:

Cross bred or purebred from a large commercial organisation

Pros:

  • Depending on the business and the state it is located in it might be under strict council controls to maintain cleanliness.
  • Some have certified trainers attached
  • Purchase of pure and cross bred puppies often available.

Cons:

  • High volume of puppies produced therefore quality may be compromised in order to produce quality
  • Puppies are often not raised in a family environment
  • Can be high stress environments which may affect the development of the puppy
  • If not registered and inspected then they may not be producing quality puppies.
  • Puppies are often expensive
  • Can be owned and run as businesses and not have the interests of pet owners as number one priority.
  • May be limited in terms of allowing for behavioral needs of puppies.
  • Puppies are often cross breeds with less predictability of type and temperament
  • Rely on the honesty of the business that the puppies are what they say they are
  • May receive limited information on long term needs, including grooming, of the puppy.

Option 5:

Puppy from a breeder registered with Master Dog Breeders and Associates (MDBA) or

Australian association of pet dog breeders (AAPDB)

Pro:

  • AAPDB members are independently audited each year
  • MDBA code of ethics allows for possible inspection (unknown if it is policed)
  • Code of ethics of each organisation is at least as good as Canine Councils.
  • Purchase of cross bred dogs developed for pet market may be possible
  • Puppies may be bred in family environments

Cons:

  • Limited facility in the code of ethics to allow for behavioral requirements of puppies
  • Puppies are often cross breeds with less predictability of type and temperament
  • Relying on the honesty of the business that the puppies are what they say they are
  • May receive limited information on long term needs, including grooming, of the puppy.

Option 6:

Rescue a dog from a shelter or rescue organisation.

Pro:

  • Cheaper option as you usually get de-sexing involved in the purchase price
  • Good option if you want to avoid having to get a puppy and deal with puppy issues
  • You may be saving a dog from euthanasia.

Cons:

  • Dogs may come with behavioral issues that have to be fixed at considerable cost as they may not have been adequately assessed or have had behavior modification training.
  • It is hard to go to shelters and not feel obligated to save a dog.
  • Usually limited knowledge of the dogs behavioral and health background
  • Not all rescue organisations are professionally run.
  • Dogs from shelters/rescues may develop behavioral issues due the inherent stress experienced by dogs residing in these types of facilities.

 

Regards

Louise Kerr
The Pet Care Magician

http://www.elitepetcare.com.au   |    www.petcaremagician.com

Louise Kerr (aka The Pet Care Magician) is the owner of Elite Pet Care & Education based in the Nambucca Valley NSW Australia. She consults and writes widely on a range of pet care issues including feeding, training and grooming dogs and cats. Her online pet care magic subscription program deals with common pet behavior  training, feeding and grooming issues such as barking, escaping, scratching, aggression and fleas. Pet care professionals are trained to handle customer issues by the provision of up to date programs to differentiate their pet care business from other competitors.

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