Blog Archives

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) 

Relationship Animal Training TM: Facebook page | Facebook discussion group

About Me 

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 

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 

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 

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

Facebook groups: Promoting Positive Reward Based Dog Training

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 

Confessions of a cross over trainer

I first started training dogs over 43 years ago with a very patient black Labrador named Lisa and a check chain. Poor Lisa she was drilled every walk and I used a leash pop with the check chain as the cue to make her sit. (Sorry Lisa I really wish I knew then what I know now, Please forgive me). Lisa was a garbage guts and the use of food would have revolutionized our training but I was not to know.

 

Then I got my chow chow called Chi. My first dog that was all mine not the families. I had no experience with a Spitz breed and no understanding that when they didn’t want to do something they just didn’t do it. Neither did the head trainers at the top obedience clubs (who shall remain nameless) that we frequented over her life. More drilling for an hour each day and more leash pops and no food still and very little training at home.  Sorry Chi but you and Lisa must be shaking your heads at me up there in doggy heaven. I did get drops and sits and sort of recalls but never to a competition standard. I just had the wrong dog for obedience I was told as none of the head trainers could work her out either. Barbara Woodhouse was all the rage on TV and “walkies” in a high sing song voice was the catch phrase. Great to get a dog to walk with you but useless for a dog that insisted on pulling me along.

 

Along came my first Belgian Shepherd called Mistral and by this time we were still leash popping with choke chains now renamed check chains but we had also added alpha rolls and be a pack leader to our techniques. This was back in the mid 80’s and it is a wonder I never got my head bitten off. I decided to try out conformation showing with Mistral as I really didn’t have the hours to devote to obedience training. This introduced me to the use of baiting with food or a toy in the ring to get the dogs attention. That worked well, we came to the line up and used food to get the dog to give good eye contact. Why didn’t I think about food for other uses outside the ring?

 

Meanwhile Chi was still barging badly on a lead, dragging me all over town on our walks and I had heard of a trainer that had another method that might be helpful for her. Off Chi and I went to a lady call Chris Johnson (or Johnstone) who introduced me to a more positive method of working with my dog not trying to force her into what I wanted. Well that was an amazing about turn and unbeknownst to me I had started on my route as a positive trainer. In a couple of lessons she achieved what hours and hours of obedience club drilling and lease pops had not. Chi was a different dog and we could enjoy lovely walks and I commenced to implement her techniques on hundreds of dogs from that point on.

 

Many Belgian Shepherds later I am still using food as a bait in the show ring but not so outside the ring. Fast forward to early 2000 and I have Mistral II. Crazy woman, says my ex-husband, why get another dog and call it the name of the first nut case that was Mistral I and expect to be anything other than a handful. Yep he was right Mistral II just refused to get the recall command. A high prey drive that meant she was totally oblivious to even $200 a kg steak waved under her nose when cows were around to chase. I went off and brought Melissa Alexander’s Click for Joy book and a clicker and armed myself with the yummiest of treats. It was OK as a training method if the cows were not around I got much better compliance from Mistral II but I really couldn’t get the hang of clicker training and well old habits die hard. Back to the check chain (which I was fairly well trained in using to check and release) and more hours and hours of obedience club drills. Forward and back, in and out, weaves, sit, drop and stand your dog. She did it but well she never really enjoyed it, neither did Jet or Alexia.

By this time I was also working as a groomer and had gained a reputation of handling very difficult dogs that others were not able to. I had rehabilitated numerous hard to groom dogs and learn many things about what goes on inside a dog’s head. I found out that force achieves nothing but force or aggression back.

 

I decided to enroll in the Certificate IV companion animal studies with Delta Australia and the second of the one in a million trainers came into my life. Kerrie Haynes-Lovell taught me how to use a clicker correctly and the pivotal moment is still strong in my memory. Over at the RSPCA at Yagoona with Kerrie behind my shoulder and me facing a young lab cross (Lisa reincarnated I believe) who was jumping six feet in the air. With Kerrie’s assistance that dog had stopped jumping in about 2 mins. I was hooked.

 

Late in this course I had to produce a video showing me training a complex task with a dog and a simple task with another species. Which dog and which species was the issue. After trials and tribulations with the long suffering Nicky the Belgian cross farm dog, Cherry the miniature poodle, Zena the horse and a unnamed ferret I settled on Zena for the simple other species task and Cherry for the complex task. Neither of these animals had ever been clicker trained and I had jumped into the deep end of the swimming pool.

 

Zena was pretty easy as all I had to go was convince her to touch my hand when she got clicked and rewarded. That took a few sessions as she was being trained with no restraint so when it all got to hard for her she walked off.

 

Cherry was much harder. She belonged to my business partner and had a number of behavioral issues as a reactive dog. She also had had limited training and I had decided to get her to discriminate between two different margarine container lids called one and two on command.  An inexperienced dog and inexperienced trainer and a deadline for assignment submission to a person who would see all the faults wasn’t fun. But cherry got it and a bonus was for the first time ever this training made her relax and sleep properly. 30 minutes of training and she would then curl up on the lounge and snore for 2 hours. Bliss!

 

Since then I have started many dogs using reward based training, always off lead where possible. I have trained many dogs who have been trained under force based punishment methods and rehabilitated all of them. I still have not stopped Mistral II from chasing cows as it is not possible to undo hardwired genetic behavior, she is managed so she does not get a chance to chase them.

 

Would I ever go back to force based punishment methods? No way as using positive reward based methods means I have fun, the dog has fun and my client has fun. It is a delight every time I find a new dog and owner that this wonderful method can be used to change their lives and in a very short few minutes “fix” serious behaviors that owners had not had success fixing before.

 

BUT I am so sorry I never worked this out 43 years ago.

 

Regards

Louise Kerr
The Pet Care Magician

www.elitepetcare.com.au   |    www.petcaremagician.com

Promoting Positive Reward Based Dog Training

Like us on Facebook

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

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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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.

Puppies – the first 14 weeks are critical to overall life!

Recently I have been working with a new mum, not the normal human type of new mum but a four legged, hairy one. I use the term working with very deliberately  as Cherry is an experienced mum with her third litter and now 9 puppies over the last six years and she knows a lot about how to raise healthy, happy well adjusted puppies. Having a keen interest in Animal Behavior I have used the experience to carefully observe how and what she does to raise her puppies and to refine what I do to ensure these puppies will be successful in their future homes.

It is tough watching a dog give birth as it is a long drawn out process and each pup is born enclosed in a sac of fluid attached to an individual placenta. As humans we naturally think we know best and want to jump in and immediately take over. In fact many dog owners do just that, breaking the sac, removing the placenta and then cleaning up the puppy and eventually putting the puppy back with mum sometimes not until after she has finished birthing all the babies. As Cherry has done this a few times now, always successfully,  I have to respect that she knows exactly what to do and sit back and let her do it, without interference.  This was her third litter, she had no difficulty delivering any of the babies and it was all over and done with in a much shorter time than usual. There are important benefits for both mum and babies if the bitch is allowed to break the sac, eat the placenta and then clean and stimulate the puppies. Puppies that are born first will not suffer is they are ignored for a short while as the next puppies are born, so long as it is not freezing cold and the whelping box is of sufficient size.

Cherry for the first week spends all her time with her puppies. Leaving only briefly to eat, drink and defecate. Rushing back at the first noise from them to jump back in enclose them under her body and encourage them to nurse.  Puppies in the first week or so also make a fair amount of noise day and  night as  they adapt to their new world. Then over the following weeks she gradually spends more and more time further away from them and her reaction to their noises changes. She is never far from them and when not in the same room it is evident she is listening carefully to even the slightest noise. Initially she reacts to every noise but does not automatically go to them, in fact she stops and assesses the reason for the noise and determines if the puppies will self calm first. She assesses the situation and determines if there is a threat, if the puppies need feeding or if one has got lost from the others.  As the weeks go on she gradually spends less and less time with them, until by approximately 4 to 5 weeks she is only checking on them from time to time, gradually removing herself and letting them work out how to find food, water and comfort. She also makes it harder for them to feed, increasing the amount of good stress the pups experience and thereby learning to handle stress. She gradually transfers care for their needs such as food, poo cleaning and socialization over to me.

Dr Ed Bailey writing in Gun Dog Magazine in an article called “Producing Behaviourally Sound Dogs”  talks about the window of secondary socialization and states:

“The window of secondary socialization is open widest from birth through six weeks, before the development of the fear response which starts gradually in the fifth and sixth week and then rapidly escalates during the seventh to the tenth weeks. After six weeks old, the sponge like social learning in pups gradually decreases until the window closes when pups are 12 to 14 weeks of age. The primary and secondary socialization that has not gone on during the time when the window was open is never going to happen.”

PRODUCING BEHAVIORALLY SOUND DOGS

By: Dr. Ed Bailey -Originally published in Gun Dog Magazine

The major reason dogs are surrendered is behavioural issues, many of which can be prevented by puppies experiencing as much as possible in this first 12 or 14 weeks. In the first couple of weeks of life noises made by puppies are not those of fear, they are just the noises you hear from all young animals, including babies. They need to be in a regular environment with televisions on, radios, all sorts of people and other animals coming and going and consequently hearing and experiencing a wide variety of stimuli. They should be exposed to noises such as thunder and lightning, car engines, vacuum cleaners, fridge motors etc as all these are noises that many dogs may find scary.  They need to be handled sometimes slightly roughly, held up in the air, have noises, ears, eyes, feet and legs touched and manipulated. They need to experience brushing, nail trimming and the feel of clippers against their coats. They should walk in different surfaces see different dogs, people and inanimate objects. The more puppies experience in the first 14 weeks the better. Cherry will not run to their aid if they appear frightened as she knows that it will teach them to be afraid of things. A bitch that has a generalized level of anxiety does and therefore raises puppies that also develop or have inherited her generalized anxiety.
Baby puppies need to be allowed to play, sometimes roughly with their litter mates and mother in order to learn good canine communication. To find out what is and is not ok to do to other dogs and in time to humans.  They learn what a lip curl, growl and snap means, they learn how hard to bite another animal and what areas not to bite. They learn how to show another animal that they are “just playing”.  Pups as they move closer towards leaving their litter mates also need to learn how to be a single dog, hopefully with a stuffed toy for company and humans in their lives for many hours but not for every hour of the day. But overall of great importance is that they need time to learn and experience all these things before the critical window of socialization closes. New pet owners need to understand all these requirements and chose a puppy that comes from a breeder that also understands and provides for these needs. If this happened every time for every puppy I would be exceptionally happy to never again have to perform a fearful dog consultations where sadly it is too late to provide what can only have impact in the first 14 weeks of a puppy’s life.

Remember to  “kiss the dog, hug the cat and tell your goldfish you love them” and be thankful that you brought your puppy from a breeder who understood what an awesome responsibility it is to bring puppies into the world.

Tell me your stories about where you got your dog from and how you think that impacted on its behavior.

Regards

Louise Kerr
The Pet Care Magician

http://www.elitepetcare.com.au

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 behaviour, 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.

My dog is too young to train – How young is too young to start training your puppy?

As a professional dog trainer I am regularly approached by puppy owners who understand it is important to train their dogs but have been told that they should not start formal dog training classes before 6 or even 12 months of age. When I had my first dog as an adult many years ago I wanted to go to dog training but as this was 30 years ago and the majority of dog training options was obedience clubs using punishment methods that involved check chains and force based training we were never allowed to start a dog less than 6 months of age. The belief being that a dog was not intellectually able to process training techniques until that age. I agreed with this premise then as the methods used were not suitable on a young dog.
Dogs however are learning from the day they are born. There is even some scientific evidence that what is happening to the mother during her pregnancy also has an effect on the personality development of the puppies. How the dogs are raised by the breeder and the dam during that critical 0 to 8 week period is another factor in determining if your puppy grows up with behavioural issues that need to be addressed.
Dogs learn, good and bad (defined according to our rules but not their rules) and they will continue to do what works for them all day every day. If behavior does not work for them it will be extinguished over time. Hence dog trainers see many older dogs that have learnt to jump up, bark, urinate in the wrong place or run away.  The older notion of a “training session” as the only time we train our dogs is no longer accepted. We train our dogs and they train us every minute of every day. A dog that is a well adjusted happy member of your household is one that is given clear guidance, leadership and a consistent rule structure from the time they are born.
As humans we also fail to understand what dogs find rewarding and we think that yelling at a dog for barking or pushing them away when they are jumping up punishes them, in fact it does the opposite, it rewards the behavior ensuring it will continue. The normal human behaviour when an owner has a dog that is barking is to yell at it or punish it. However in the dog’s mind that is rewarding the barking. Owners who present with barking dogs in our consultation service have some difficulty in understanding that the way to fix a barking dog is to ignore the barking and praise the dog when they stop barking.
Of the hundreds of dogs I have trained over the last 40 plus years the best results are achieved in dogs that are started with positive reward based training at a very young age. In any litters that I am involved with we start gentle age appropriate hands free training at 4 weeks of age. I have had puppies as young as 8 weeks started in training classes who soak up the methods and are astounding in what they can achieve.
Older dogs are not impossible to train however they first need to be untrained in the unwanted behaviours they have adopted. Yes you can teach old dogs new tricks but it is a slower process and the owners need to be more involved in the training process. Some behaviour are so entrenched that it becomes more of a management issue than a training one.  For some dogs especially fearful ones, they are so damaged that medication is required.
Here are a couple of video’s that demonstrate what can be achieved with just two young dogs.
Here is Mister B as a young puppy in his first formal training session.

 

Here is an 11 week old Border Collie puppy that has a large range of fun behaviors at such an early age

I would love to hear your training success stories with your young dogs. What has been your experience when training very young puppies and at what age do you start training?

Regards

Louise Kerr
The Pet Care Magician
http://www.elitepetcare.com.au
http://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 behaviour, 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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