Elderfox's Blog

Thoughts of an elder writer-in-progress


on August 22, 2010

You now have THE puppy: The registration has been sent to the AKC/CKC and you’ve chosen a “call name” .  Boundaries, housebreaking, and the benefits of crating are being practiced as well as keeping yourself apprised of the puppy’s health (having chosen and visted a Veterinarian).  A  proper diet is meeting the puppy’s choosing as well as being a foundation for conditioning.   Now comes your Canine vocabulary: and using  “commands”  is best taught while you are feeding, grooming, playing and training the puppy to walk on leash.    This list includes: No; Lie; Wait; Down; Okay; Come; Watch; Sit; Heel, Stand, Stack, Show, and the occasional “NOOO!” Of course not all of these commands will be taught at once and a good breeder will have assisted in the pre-training from almost the birth of your puppy;  and should include toenail clipping, at least twice a week; a lot of cuddling and acquainting the puppy with a variety of places (a table, bath tub or sink, getting wiped with a damp cloth; collars –even leads– all being done while concentrating on the puppy rather than a lot of screaming or squiggling around).  As the puppy reaches 8 weeks the puppy should be happy  and pretty much adjusted to the table, toenail cutting, looking at teeth, and bathing.  (An introduction to the hair dryer should be done with the puppy in your lap and dryer kept off the face the first few times, then advancing to the table without the noose–the noose can be introduced with  lots of petting and constant assurance).  CAUTION:  Never leave your dog on a grooming table unattended, especially a puppy!  A noose may not be needed in many instances, but can be beneficial in training the “stand” command.  Using the word “lie”  place the puppy on it’s side on the table and gently stroking, while persisting and firmly keeping the puppy in the “lie” position.  Don’t flop the puppy on it’s side, or restrain it forcefully;  Hold the puppy against your chest and bend over to the table  Use praise and gentleness, and “good dog” in a soft voice while puppy relaxes.    Keep in mind the puppy is in a vulnerable position.   Use long hand strokes along the up-side of the puppy.  Use a firm “Stand” command when YOU allow the puppy to rise to its feet.   During the table “work” you can begin to introduce grooming and “baiting”.  Bait  is small bits of cheese, cooked chicken, roast beef,  sliced baked hot dog,  pieces of carrot, liver, even kibbles.  (Note: Next blog:  information re preparing “baits” of various kinds and a “trick” to keep the dogs attention in the ring, even when the pocket is empty 🙂  Don’t let the puppy grab greedily or bite the “hands that feeds it”.  Use the  word “Gently” and “Good boy/girl”, “Take it” –To keep the puppy from snatching at the food: hold the bait between the thumb and forefinger and the back of the hand toward the puppy using the little finger to tap the puppy’s nose when it grabs at the bait or your hand with a firm, quiet “No” command.  When the puppy waits, give the bait with a praise “good boy/girl”.   Using the table permits you to have the dog at a height which is comfortable for you while at the same time allowing the puppy to become comfortable on a table (especially for grooming, looking at teeth, being judged, at the vets office;  don’t allow a puppy to jump up onto or off a table– it takes two to help a large coated breed (Newfoundland, Chow, Kuvas, etc)–lifting front feet to table, one person gently leads the dog forward using the collar, while the helper lifts the rear to the table; some tables can be made or  lowered  for large breeds.  Acquainting your future show dog early on with the table, to groom, dry after a bath, cut toenails. et al., will be good prepation for show days.

One other (and you will thank me for it) an early training command that will become beneficial is “potty“.  When taking your puppy outside or placing in an exercise pen, watch closely and when the puppy squats use the command “potty” repetiously with lots of “gooood boy/girl”.  Use a quiet, gentle tone of voice so as not to disturb the action you are training the puppy to do,  withiut him/her knowing it…and good luck.

NEXT TIME:  BAIT(ing) and more vocabulary.


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