Puppy-n-Kitten Page.......sit! stay! speak! What's that smell?
Before You Buy.........
Remember, shelters, humane societies, rescue & adoption agencies have a wide variety of dogs and cats to choose from, all year long.
If there is a particular breed you are interested in, more than likely, you will find that breed ready to be adopted out by an agency close to you.
Although there are literally hundreds of wonderful cats, dogs, puppies and kittens available in our shelters, maybe the pet you have dreamed of for years is finally a reality, and you have chosen the perfect breed to fit your lifestyle. If you have educated yourself and done a thorough examination of what you have to offer and the time is right, then the footwork begins.....
Tips to keep in mind when you are considering a breeder:
Responsible breeders operate on a small scale, producing few litters per year. Watch out for breeders who say they always have puppies available.
Look for a clean, well-lit warm and friendly environment for dam and puppies.
Visit a minimum of three kennels, and leave your checkbook at home.
Spend time with the breeder, even if they don't have puppies.
Ask to see a contract and read it thoroughly.
A responsible breeder will talk with you to make sure you are in a position to provide a safe, loving environment, and will mentor you or refer you to a trusted friend who can educate you on training, grooming and raising a healthy companion. We have a list of books that go into detail about temperament, activity levels, medical problems, etc. that are associated with each breed. We keep a few of these books up front in the reception area, feel free to come in and browse.
A wonderful, helpful site to visit when you add a puppy or a kitten to your family is the ASPCA website, "Virtual Pet Behaviorist", dedicated to helping you find solutions to common pet behavior problems.
Now you can get pet-behavior advice from ASPCA experts 24 hours a day, right from your computer. ASPCA's nationally recognized team of animal behaviorists offers possible solutions to a wide range of issues at no charge. Simply type your pet's behavior problem into the easy-to-use database, and you'll receive step-by-step advice -- without leaving home.
During your puppy/kitten's first health visit with us, we will supply you with a carefully put-together package of knowledge to help you with your new family member, raising him to be the happiest and healthiest he can be. Both puppy and kitten care packages have been expanded, covering a wide variety of important health and well-being topics, such as;
* preparing your home and environment for your new pet
* early development
* feeding a healthy diet
* nutritious treats
* preventive care
* health care, and much more
There are samples and generous coupons for food, which are supplied by Iams/Eukanuba. The puppy/kitten package is equipped with a 2-D bar code with "SnapIt" technology. If you have a smart phone, you can download a free app which enables you to scan the package and be taken directly to Iams.com for an endless supply of education for the health of your pets.
Are Over-The-Counter medications from pharmacies safe to give my pet?
Many over-the-counter (OTC) medications, such as aspirin & acetaminophen can be dangerous for your pet. The OTC drug that is most frequently responsible for severe toxicity to pets is the anti-inflammatory pain reliever, ibuprofen ( Motrin and Advil).
Pets metabolize medications very differently than people, even in small doses. Drugs such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) can kill a cat. An incorrect aspirin dose can damage the liver and red blood cells and can cause stomach ulcers, kidney damage, or liver disease in dogs and cats. Signs develop quickly and include salivation, vomiting, weakness and abdominal pain.
Many medicines have a sweet taste that attract your pet, including some products, like Pepto Bismol, that contain aspirin, as well as ingredients that are used to flavor drugs (Xylitol) that are toxic to pets. Call us immediately if your pet ingests a home medical product.
Unless your veterinarian has specifically told you to buy a particular OTC drug from a pharmacy, and gives you dosage directions, do not give OTC medications to your pets.
For more household items/medications/garden supplies that can be a potential danger to your new puppy or kitten, see our "Poisons/Toxins/Hazards" page
"Tilly" (above), enjoying some cage rest
I Am Your Puppy
I am your Puppy, and I will love you until the end of the Earth, but please know a few things about me.
I am a Puppy; this means that my intelligence and capacity for learning are the same as an 8-month-old child. I am a Puppy; I will chew everything I can get my teeth on. This is how I explore and learn about the world. Even human children put things in their mouths. It's up to you to guide me to what is mine to chew and what is not.
I am a Puppy; I cannot hold my bladder for longer than 1-2 hours. I cannot ''feel'' that I need to poop until it is actually beginning to come out. I cannot vocalize nor tell you that I need to go, and I cannot have 'bladder and bowel control' until 6-9 months. Do not punish me if you have not let me out for 3 hours and I tinkle. It is your fault. As a Puppy, it is wise to remember that I need to go potty after: Eating, Sleeping, Playing, Drinking, and around every 2-3 hours in addition. If you want me to sleep through the night, then do not give me water after 7 or 8 PM. A crate will help me learn to housebreak easier, and will avoid you being mad at me. I am a Puppy; accidents will happen, please be patient with me! In time I will learn.
I am a Puppy, I like to play. I will run around and chase imaginary monsters, and chase your feet and your toes and 'attack' you, and chase fuzz balls, other pets, and small kids. It is play; it's what I do. Do not be mad at me or expect me to be sedate, mellow and sleep all day. If my high energy level is too much for you, maybe you could consider an older rescue from a shelter or Rescue group. My play is beneficial, use your wisdom to guide me in my play with appropriate toys, and activities like chasing a rolling ball, or gentle tug games, or plenty of chew toys for me. If I nip you too hard, talk to me in 'dog talk,' by giving a loud yelp, I will usually get the message, as this is how dogs communicate with one another. If I get too rough, simply ignore me for a few moments, or put me in my crate with an appropriate chew toy.
I am a Puppy; hopefully you would not yell, hit, strike, kick or beat a 6-month-old human infant, so please do not do the same to me. I am delicate, and also very impressionable. If you treat me harshly now, I will grow up learning to fear being hit, spanked, kicked or beat. Instead, please guide me with encouragement and wisdom. For instance, if I am chewing something wrong, say, ''No chew!' and hand me a toy I can chew. Better yet, pick up anything that you do not want me to get into. I can't tell the difference between your old sock and your new sock, or an old sneaker and your $200 Nikes.
I am a Puppy, and I am a creature with feelings and drives much like your own, but yet also very different. Although I am not a human in a dog suit, neither am I an unfeeling robot who can instantly obey your every whim. I truly do want to please you, and be a part of your family, and your life. You got me (I hope) because you want a loving partner and companion, so do not relegate me to the backyard when I get bigger, do not judge me harshly, but instead mold me with gentleness and guidelines and training into the kind of family member you want me to be.
I am a Puppy and I am not perfect, and I know you are not perfect either. I love you anyway. So please, learn all you can about training, and puppy behaviors and caring for me from your Veterinarian, books on dog care and even researching on the computer! Learn about my particular breed and its 'characteristics,' it will give you understanding and insight into why I do all the things I do. Please teach me with love, patience, the right way to behave, and socialize me with training in a puppy class or obedience class, we will both have a lot of fun together.
I am a Puppy and I want more than anything to love you, to be with you, and to please you. Won't you please take time to understand how I work?
We are the same you and I, in that we both feel hunger, pain, thirst, discomfort, fear, but yet we are also very different and must work to understand one another's language, body signals, wants and needs. Some day I will be a handsome dog, hopefully one you can be proud of and one that you will love as much as I love you.Love,
by J Ellis -Southern Shadows Rottweilers
The Importance of Socializing Your Dog
Have you ever wondered why some dogs just love people and other animals, while others seem agitated or scared by them? The answer is simple; some dogs have been socialized from a very early age, while others have not.
As a responsible pet owner, socializing your dog may be one of the most important things you can do. For proper socialization of your puppy, it is important to start early. Once your puppy has received his or her series of puppy shots it would be a good idea to enroll them in a Puppy program. These programs are designed to allow puppies to interact with other puppies and humans in a safe, controlled, intimate setting. Most classes will also teach basic behaviors, like sit and down and can help troubleshoot basic puppy development issues.
Conditioning your puppy to new experiences is another important way of socializing. Exposure to different sounds, smells, people and experiences will help to prepare your pet for anything. A trip to the veterinarian's office to get a biscuit, or the groomer's just to say hi, will do wonders. Some outdoor cafe's and coffee shops may allow you to bring your puppy along. The key here is to go to as many different locations as possible to expose your puppy.
At around three months of age, you should consider enrolling your puppy in a Basic Obedience class. Your dog will learn basic commands and continue to gain socialization skills. It is important to have all members of the family involved in the training process. A variety of handlers will also help your dog to feel comfortable in differing social situations. Basic classes also help to build your dog's confidence and strengthen the bond between you.
"Not Carnegie, Vanderbilt, and Astor together could have raised money enough to buy a quarter share in my little dog". Ernest Thompson Seton
A tuff toy for your pup, find a safe one cats just love bags to hide in, filled with treats, keeping him busy for hours
Fluffy may love her ball of yarn, and Rover may chase after that darn stick all day, but pet owners must be cautious when offering toys to their pets. Many household items that become pet toys, either with or without your knowledge, can be dangerous, even fatal, to your furry or feathered friend. If not used in the appropriate manner, some store-bought pet toys can cause problems.
Pet owners should take note of the following potential toy hazards:
*Sticks and bones can splinter and cause choking or vomiting, or they can perforate the mouth, throat or intestine. Hard bones can easily damage teeth. Instead, use hard, non-splintering chew toys to play fetch or to allow your pet to gnaw.
*Soft, latex toys can be shredded by a chewing pet. If the toy includes a squeaking mechanism, the squeaker can be easily swallowed or cause choking.
*Superballs can cause intestinal obstruction if ingested. Other types of balls, such as tennis balls or handballs, may be too small for the pet playing with them and cause choking.
*Towels, socks, underwear and other similar clothing or materials can be swallowed by a rambunctious pet, causing intestinal obstruction.
*Some dogs like to chew on or eat rocks-bad idea! Rocks can cause broken teeth and serious intestinal obstruction if swallowed.
*Be careful if you offer your pet rawhides, as these can also cause intestinal obstruction if swallowed, and some are preserved with arsenic, which is toxic to pets.
*Some cats enjoy hiding out in plastic bags, but if they get their head stuck in the handles and panic, choking or suffocating could occur.
*String, yarn, feathers and rubber bands often offer enticing play for cats, but these can be swallowed whole, possibly lodging in the intestinal tract and causing blockage. If only partially swallowed, this, too, can result in severe problems. For instance, one end of the string can wrap around the cat's tongue while the rest of the string is swallowed. If you ever see your kitty with string (or a similar object) caught in its mouth, NEVER try to pull it out. If the string is lodged internally, pulling it can cut the cat's intestines, killing him. Instead, see your veterinarian immediately.
*Be aware of sharp objects that can cut skin, feet, eyes or ears.
*For birds, bells can be problematic. Most medium-sized or larger parrots can take apart a bell and choke on the clapper.
*Leather, if not specially tanned, can be toxic to birds.
*Paint and wood preservatives can also be toxic to your feathered friend.
Some of the most common hazards are toys that are inappropriately sized for the pet. Generally, the toy is too small for the size of the pet and can be destroyed, causing blockage or choking.
If you notice anything unusual about your pet's behavior or health, call your veterinarian right away. If a toy or part of a toy is swallowed, signs of problems (like intestinal upset or blockage) may occur within minutes or hours; other times, you may not notice anything unusual for days. The obstruction may pass through with no more signs than vomiting or diarrhea. Or it may cause blockage, in which case your pet may be constipated or not want to eat. In any case, if you even suspect that your pet has swallowed a foreign object, call us immediately.
Used appropriately and with common sense, many household and store-bought pet toys can provide hours of entertainment and exercise for your pet. It's a good idea, however, to supervise your pet during play. Not only will this minimize the chance of accidents happening, but you'll also be providing your pet with quality time spent with his or her favorite toy-YOU!
Canine Learning Centers, since 1992, uses proven leadership and positive reinforcement methods that are effective and easy to understand. They offer programs to help you and your dog learn to communicate with each other successfully.
Call or log on to the website for more information on classes, locations, and private in-home training sessions.
Punishment Fails. Now What? What Works Better?
Punishing often fails to correct bad behavior, and oftentimes makes a bad behavior even worse. For a punishment to work, it must occur each and every time the unwanted behavior takes place.
The punishment must be administered within a second or two of the bad behavior, and it must be aversive enough to stop the unwanted behavior in the future, but not so averse as to frighten the pet. This can be a difficult balance. Punishment should not be the first choice for training. Positive reinforcement training; rewards and praise is safer and more effective. Punishment teaches your pet what youdon't want it to do, but it fails to teach it what you expect of it. For example; do you repeat a command over and over, getting louder as you get frustrated? This may teach your puppy to respond only when you speak loudly, and forms an unpleasant association with your training. Work on your training technique by keeping your voice calm, and then reward only when he/she responds the first time. If he/she fails to obey your command, withhold your reward and start over. This will help him/her to understand you expect speedy cooperation, and will help you to break the habit of repeating yourself and raising your voice at your puppy.
The bond between you and your pet may become damaged if punishment during training brings anxious, fearful and confusing feelings. When punishment is used to train an animal that is already afraid or anxious, this may exacerbate these feelings, maybe even worsen them, and may lead to an aggressive personality.
If your dog is exhibiting inappropriate behavior, consult your veterinarian. She/he can assist you in developing an appropriate behavior modification program that uses positive reinforcement which will, in the long run, bring desired results and help to maintain and even strengthen the bond you have with your pet.
Eye Contact! Puppy Class
Life is full of distractions, especially for a puppy or dog! When you have a dog who won't pay attention to you while on walks or at the park, or even at home, an obedience class is definitely in order.
Following are instructions on how to get and keep your dog's attention around distractions such as other dogs.
For handling your dog around other dogs, the best method is to teach your dog to ignore them. Stationary exercises do not work as well for this as moving exercises. If you teach her to give attention to you when you say her name, you can eventually develop the ability to get and hold her attention anytime you wish. With attention (and EYES) on you, she simply has none left to get overexcited about the other dog.
Here's how you do it.
1. Have treats on your person (later you may use a toy instead, but it helps to start with tiny, tempting treats, lots of tiny pieces), but keep them out of the dog's sight. To initiate the attention sequence, say "[Dog's Name]!" and YOU MOVE ABRUPTLY away from her. If you want to say "Heel" or "Come" or "Front" or "By Me," that's fine too. The main thing is, say the name--this is going to become the word on which she will learn to look at you--then MOVE.
2. When she moves with you, quickly PRAISE her. This is where you would use a clicker if you wish to use that method, but a word of praise is fine, too. Then instantly whip out a treat and give it to her. Do not show the treats until you are ready to give one. This prevents the treat from becoming, in the dog's mind, an actual part of the command--or a bribe. Each time you give a treat, align it between the dog's eyes and yours. You want eye contact from her with that treat. Soon you will find her seeking your eye contact. Always praise her when she does that, and it's fine to give her a "free" treat for doing it.
3. Okay, you're not done. When you do this sequence, always do at least 3 to 5 in a row. That means each time you 1) say the name, 2) move, 3) praise, 4) whip out a treat and 5) give it. This doesn't necessarily take up a bunch of space, since you want it all to happen very fast. The movement is not over a great distance. You can move one direction the first time, back the other way the second time, etc. But always at least 3 to 5 repetitions in a row before you release the dog's attention. This is what teaches her to SUSTAIN that attention on you until you release it.
4. Practice this exercise everywhere, including at obedience class. You can do this with a toy, especially once you have taught it to her. But don't rush to get away from the food. Food is the easiest thing to deliver with this split-second timing, and will greatly help you in establishing the pattern of attention.
5. By always praising before you give the treat, you are also building up your praise in the dog's mind. This will allow you later to praise at that correct moment, and be able to deliver the treat (or toy) a bit later (when you have to walk across the room to get one, for example) while the praise maintains the continuity in the dog's mind between the action and the reward.
This ability to get the dog's attention any time you want it will serve you when working her around other dogs. Not only will you be able to control her, but if you are consistent about taking her attention off the other dogs EVERY time she gets too interested, you will find that the sight of another dog will start causing her to look at you! Praise this, of course!
Many people believe that socializing a dog with other dogs is for the goal of creating a dog who can just play with any dog she meets, anywhere, anytime. This is not a realistic goal for many dogs, especially after maturity. A much more reasonable goal for her is to teach her to pay attention to you when working around other dogs, and ignore them. You'll notice at dogs shows, this is how the experienced handlers manage their dogs. It's not like a big dog park with all the dogs playing together.
The attention exercise is not extremely time-consuming. Just take a few moments and do it with her in every location where you go together. It's surprising how quickly it becomes habit for the dog to look at you when you say her name--and equally habit for you to positively reinforce her every time she gives you her attention. People will comment on how much your dog loves you, and the obvious bond between the two of you--and they'll be right!
Crate Training Puppies
Every puppy needs to learn the skill of resting calmly in a crate. This skill will be needed at the veterinary hospital, for traveling, and for restricted activity due to illness. It's also a lifesaver for many young dogs during the destructive chewing stage that starts at several months of age and can last until age 2 to 3 years in some breeds.
After a dog has become trained and reliable in the house, the crate will often be needed only for specific reasons rather than everyday use. One critical situation that can call for bringing out the crate again is separation anxiety. The ability to relax in a crate can save a dog's life during this crisis.
Usually it works best to crate the puppy in your bedroom when you're sleeping. If you want the dog to share your bed, wait until the adult temperament emerges. Then if it turns out the temperament is not suited to bed privileges, you will not have the difficult job of teaching the dog to stay off the bed. Teaching a puppy to stay off the bed from the beginning is much easier, both for you and for the pup.
People tend to make the mistake of giving the puppy attention for making noise in the crate. When you do this, you confirm the puppy's instinct that being alone is death (it would be, in the wild), and that calling for help will bring someone. Having the crate in your bedroom for sleeping tends to help because the puppy can hear, smell and possibly see you. Not being alone, the puppy usually finds it easier to get used to the crate. Your sleeping helps set the scene for the puppy to sleep, too.
Keep the puppy on a good schedule of food, water and outings so the puppy's body will have the best chance of making it through the night without a bathroom break. If the pup does need a break, make it very low-key with dim lights and soft voices and no playtime. If you completely avoid going to the puppy when the puppy is making noise, problems usually pass quickly. But make no mistake, lost sleep comes with the puppy-adoption territory! Don't miss the chance to start your puppy off right, or you will lose a lot more sleep over a longer period of time, because crate-training will take much longer.
The worst thing to do is let the puppy yell for a long time, and then go to the puppy. Doing that teaches the puppy to persistently make noise in the crate. It communicates to the pup that you want to be notified with lots and lots of noise! It also causes the puppy enormous stress that can become a lifelong response to being confined in a crate. Adult dogs in this stressed state can break out of crates and badly injure themselves. This is not the future you want for your puppy.
What you want the puppy to discover is that nothing bad happens from being alone in a crate. You also want the puppy to learn that it's okay to let you know of a need, but you will not come in response to loud racket. Check on the puppy after the puppy has become quiet again.
If your puppy isn't making it through the night without a potty break, schedule it so that the puppy doesn't have to wake you up and ask. Realize, too, that the puppy's body will awaken and need to potty whenever someone in the household gets up. That person or someone else will need to give the pup a potty break.
Don't trick a puppy about the crate. Give a treat when the pup goes in, but don't be sneaky about shutting the door. Don't put the puppy into the crate when the puppy is sound asleep, to wake up trapped in a crate. That can cause the puppy to distrust both you and the crate.
Be careful not to abuse the crate. When you are at home and awake, supervise the puppy in person rather than using the crate. Puppies need exercise, mental stimulation and guidance from you in order to grow up healthy and happy. Too much crate time is not humane. Puppies sleep 14 hours a day or so. If the crate time is scheduled so the pup can use it for sleeping, that's ideal. Make the crate a pleasant place to rest. A few safe chew toys and a treat can help the puppy relax and drift off to dreamland. Everyone in the household can sleep better with a crate-trained puppy.
Teaching dogs to walk on a loose leash at all times has almost been a dog-trainer's secret, because it's somewhat difficult to adequately teach in an obedience class situation. But it's really not so hard, and your slip collar should give plenty of control after you've done this program for just one to two weeks.
Okay, here's the secret.
Within one to two weeks, your dog will expect the leash to remain loose, because you will have reacted every time it goes tight. You see, we are the ones who teach the dogs to walk on a tight leash and to pull us! Pulling back on the leash creates a natural response in the dog to pull forward. Letting the dog cause us to go faster makes the dog think "Oh, this is the way to get where I want to go! I should pull!" And just letting the leash remain tight as we walk along is constantly telling the dog we want a tight leash, that a tight leash is normal. Jerking back on the leash may work to stop some dogs from pulling, but it is not a clear message to the dog, and will be perceived by some dogs as unfair and upsetting, to the extent that those dogs will become terribly confused.
See, all you have to do is be unpredictable, so your dog has to keep an eye on you to keep pace! The loose leash also causes your dog to pay more attention to you at all times. It keeps you and the dog from becoming dependent on messages through the leash, which are definitely second-best to messages coming from your body and voice. A loose leash makes all training more effective and more humane. The slip collar will give plenty of control with a dog and handler trained to a loose leash. Some dogs will do fine on a buckle collar, but a slip collar can be a good precaution against a buckle collar sliding over the dog's head in an emergency such as another dog attacking it. When kept loose, a slip collar is not obstructing the dog's breathing or causing other problems.
Though a well-trained dog becomes very sophisticated about keeping the leash loose, you will always need to remember to react to a tight leash with your changes of direction, lifelong. Anyone who just walks along with even a well-trained dog keeping the leash tight is telling the dog a tight leash is wanted, and it is important never to give this message. The reason dogs can learn to work on a loose leash in one to two weeks is that it really wasn't a dog problem in the first place. Once we learn how to handle the leash correctly, the dog is happy--and more comfortable!--to cooperate. Puppies can learn this skill right after they learn to walk on a leash. But it takes us humans longer.
House training Accidents: Causes and Solutions
When a dog starts having housetraining accidents, it's easy to believe the dog is acting out of anger or some other defiant motive. That is rarely the case. Let's look at reasons for housetraining accidents, and methods for improving your dog's batting average.
1. Sometimes we think a dog is housetrained when that is not actually the case. Housetraining does not automatically transfer to a new location, either. Dogs need consistent human help to keep the housetraining habits we humans want from them. Be sure not to give your dog too much responsibility for housetraining before the dog is ready. Add freedom a little at a time.
2. Dog instincts can be overwhelmed by the scent of past accidents, whether this dog's scent or scent left by another dog. It's imperative to remove this scent, and people often use the wrong products.
3. Dietary problems cause a lot of housetraining issues. Feeding your dog too much can result in the dog not being able to hold feces until the next relief opportunity. Feeding a high-fiber diet can do the same thing, as can feeding on a schedule that just doesn't work for this particular dog. Any change in food (including treats) can result in loss of control, too. Feed your dog carefully and consistently for the best housetraining results.
4. Intestinal parasites or other illness affecting the intestines can cause the dog to lose control. Having the dog and a fecal specimen evaluated by your veterinarian is very important.
5. A dog with a urinary tract infection, kidney failure, or urinary incontinence from other causes needs veterinary care. In most cases, housetraining problems from these causes can be solved or vastly improved by treating the medical condition appropriately.
6. Orthopedic problems in the dog can make it painful to squat for relief. The dog may wait and wait, afraid of the pain, and then lose control in the house. Sometimes the family thinks the dog's arthritis or other orthopedic pain is under control because the dog doesn't complain. With older dogs and those with known or suspected orthopedic problems, your veterinarian can likely help the dog be more comfortable and at the same time improve the housetraining problem.
7. When dogs are punished for housetraining errors, a common side effect is that they become afraid to relieve themselves in front of people. This makes it extremely difficult to teach the dog your desired relief location.
The solution to this problem is to stop all punishment (even a harsh tone of voice) and start giving the dog rewards for relief. At first you can reward the dog for simply BEING in the relief area. Another step can be to move feces from an indoor accident out to the relief area and reward the dog there. Look for any opportunity to reward the dog for behavior that's moving in the right direction. Dogs are incredibly forgiving.
8. Sometimes dogs become afraid to go to the relief area. This can happen for various reasons, including weather conditions that scare the dog, leaving the dog outside alone too long, the dog being shocked by an electronic fence collar, a nervous temperament in the dog, other animals outdoors, humans teasing or abusing the dog outside, and frightening sounds such as fireworks or gunfire.
Solving this one can require detective work to find the cause, and changing how you handle the dog's relief outings. Usually it works to go with the dog every time at first and give rewards. Gradually as the dog gains confidence, you can probably just stand in the doorway while the dog is outside, ready to let the dog in immediately when the dog is finished.
9. If the dog doesn't have access to the relief area when the body needs relief, that's a recipe for housetraining problems. Take the dog out more often. A journal of accidents can help you spot the pattern of when the dog needs to go out.
10. Separation anxiety keeps a dog from taking advantage of your absence to get in a good nap. During sleep the need to urinate and defecate is suppressed, so the dog can wait a bit longer than at other times. If the dog is anxious, exactly the opposite happens-the stressed body needs to relieve MORE often. A veterinary behavior specialist can help with separation anxiety.
11. Male dogs tend to mark their territory. Female dogs often do, too, but their drive is usually much lower. Larger male dogs often prefer to mark outside for a bigger territory. Your little fella may feel that a corner of the living room makes his territory a nice size. If your house has more than one level, the level less used by the family could seem like a perfect area to his instincts.
Neutering helps this problem. Other solutions include treating it as a housetraining issue, with careful supervision and confinement.
12. Female dogs in estrus tend to urinate frequently. Spayed female dogs don't go into heat, so spaying is one solution for this possible housetraining issue, as well as the potential for staining on home furnishings from the discharge.
13. When there is more than one male dog in the household, you can get dueling tinklers. One marks and then the other has to mark there, too. One solution to this is prevention-avoid getting two males. If you want two dogs, make it a male and a female. If you already have the dueling tinklers, you'll need to use supervision and confinement to manage them. Do not to resort to punishment, which adds more problems, even potentially aggression.
14. When a guest visits your home, your dog may be stimulated to urine-mark indoors. If this happens, your best bet is supervision and possibly confinement as in earlier stages of housetraining, to make sure the behavior doesn't become a habit.
15. A new family member or a family member moving out can trigger housetraining problems. Scent is one reason for this, and changes in the schedule of the dog's feeding, activity and relief outings can also happen. Help the dog with a return to the basics of housetraining, and a previously-housetrained dog is likely to make a nice recovery.
16. A pregnant woman, a baby in diapers, or a child moving from baby to crawling mobile status are all situations that can trigger housetraining problems in some dogs. Here, too, understand that your dog needs help, and go back to the basics to help the dog preserve good habits.
17. An unhousetrained dog in the house can ruin your dog's housetraining, and a cat using a litter box can greatly confuse things, too. Of course the answer is to use supervision and confinement for all the furry family members.
Once they get used to the situation, dogs do quite well with the cat using a litter box in the house while the dog uses the outdoors. Perhaps this is because dogs understand something many humans do not: Cats have instincts that make using a litter box natural, and dogs don't. Do keep pup from eating out of the litter box. Put the box where the dog absolutely cannot get into it. Don't expect training to work when it comes to a dog resisting these treats. Some cats will not use a litter box that a dog raids, so this is important for your kitty's housetraining, too.
18. Some pups have been raised in conditions that forced them to live in their own waste. This damages their instincts to keep the den area clean. Since the housetraining of a dog requires that instinct, you will need to help this dog regain it. Don't use a crate or small area that forces the dog into contact with the waste. Use a larger confinement area for awhile, so the dog can get used to being clean. Keep the dog's area very clean. Eventually you may be able to use a crate with the dog.
19. Sometimes, due to past management, a dog has a long-established habit of relieving on a surface you need the dog not to use, such as carpeting. It will help to keep the dog off carpeting except when you can pay full attention to redirect any elimination behavior to the proper place.
Be a Detective and a Friend
You can see from this long list that a lot of things can throw off a dog's housetraining habit. Think about what could be causing your dog's problem. With your veterinarian's help and possibly the help of a behavior specialist, you can make it better. Housetraining is a habit. The dog doesn't understand why we want this, and yet dogs are so adaptable that most of them can be helped to develop the housetraining habit and to restore it when something has interfered. One way dogs help humans to live longer, healthier lives is by needing our care. This is a day-to-day reason to get out of bed and out of the easy chair and to think beyond our own problems. You could even say that housetraining is good for us!
Jumping Up On People
How many dogs have been relegated to back-yard living because they jump all over family and guests whenever anyone walks through the door? Then when someone goes out to visit the lonesome dog, the jumping is worse because the dog is even more excited to see someone. Only now the dog is dirty, too. Not good! Let's talk about how to solve this problem once and for all.
The Champion Jumper
If your situation is a big dog jumping up on people, you need first aid! Here are some ways to cope today until training can take full effect and your dog stops jumping.
Please note that none of these techniques are enough to teach the dog not to jump on people in general, and none of them will apply to all dogs. Because dogs, people, and situations vary so much, these are options, but you'll have to decide which ones you can use in a particular situation:
1. If you see the dog about to spring, but is still on the ground in front of you, one thing that often works is to take both hands, palms down, and cross the hands, using them to block the path of the dog's face from coming up. Many dogs will stop the jump if you do this.
2. If someone else has the dog on leash, or for some other reason the dog can't come forward, step back out of jumping reach. Be careful about doing this if the dog is on a bed, sofa or table. It will keep the dog from jumping on you, but could put the dog at risk of injury from crashing to the floor. Timing is important in these situations, as is the ability to read and predict the dog's movements.
3. Swivel your hip into the dog as it leaps on you. This shouldn't harm the dog, but will deflect the force of the jump off the more vulnerable parts of your body.
4. Step forward and invade the dog's space. This move needs to be timed accurately, and used only with dogs who are not fragile or aggressive.
5. If the dog has a collar on and you are side-to-side with the dog, hold the collar without letting your wrist bend. Your grip is stronger this way. Be careful, though, because some dogs become aggressive when you take them by the collar! This is for the friendly goober dog who just wants to lick your face.
6. Get closer to the dog initially, rather than moving away or even jumping away as many people instinctively do. Don't lean your head away from the dog. Tilting the upper part of your body or your head backward actually induces some dogs to jump on you. You may be able to prevent the jump by simply starting your encounter with your hands at the dog's level and petting.
7. Support the dog, once it has jumped up on you, by the part of the leg between the elbow and the "wrist" (do not hold by the paws, which have smaller bones and are more easily injured) and hold it up on hind legs for a bit longer than the dog enjoys. This won't work for all dogs, but works extremely well for some. Speak pleasantly to the dog while you do this, but keep your voice calm.
8. Give the dog a ball or other toy to hold. Many dogs will even learn to go get the toy themselves as an aid to self control.
You're not doing anybody or their dog a favor by letting the dog jump on you. Don't ever ENCOURAGE someone else's dog to jump on you!
The ideal training to give your dog about jumping on people is to make sure it never works for the dog to get petted, starting in puppyhood. Don't let anyone pet your puppy unless all four feet are on the ground. Jumping up on people is a behavior that humans TEACH dogs.
If you teach your puppy that all petting happens when four feet are on the ground, your big dog will not be jumping on people. Instead, the dog will develop sweet ways of greeting people such as laying a head lovingly against your knee.
But since most people don't know this, chances are you have an adolescent or adult dog who is jumping on people. What do you do now? It's the same principle as with the puppy, only it will take longer. No petting when the dog is on hind legs, at least for a few months.
Attack this problem on more than one front. Here are the ingredients for training your dog to greet with four on the floor:
1. Teach your dog to sit, even when excited. You'll start this training in unexciting situations and gradually build to more and more exciting situations until the dog is totally steady. It takes time and practice. When the dog is IN the sit position, give petting, praise, and treats. Do not praise AFTER the dog has gotten up, because that is not the desired behavior. Praise and reward DURING the desired behavior, the sit.
2. When you come into the house, come in quietly. Excited greetings when you come in not only encourage a dog to jump on you, but also increase your dog's risk of separation anxiety, so the calm entrance is a good idea all around.
3. When you have guests arrive, keep your dog under leash or other control for about 15 minutes until everyone is settled. This is the time of wildest excitement for the dog, and it will be much easier for the dog to muster self-control after this initial period. Eventually you will want to train this behavior without a leash, too.
4. Never let anyone pet your dog on hind legs. When the dog has been jumping and stops jumping, be sure the person DOES pet the dog as a reward for getting it right. This is the crucial training step that most people miss. Teaching the dog not to jump isn't enough. We have to teach the dog that the petting will come when the dog is doing the right behavior. Put your focus on this moment.
5. If you are going to do anything to interrupt your dog's jumping, keep in mind that your goal is a dog who is safe with people. Punishing a dog who is in the act of trying to be friendly to a person could result in making the dog lose trust in people. A leaping dog is also susceptible to injury if kicked, stepped on, or otherwise handled forcefully.
The best correction for jumping up is to withhold attention. Keep you hands to yourself and turn a hip toward the dog, turn your back on the dog, or leave the room, until your training has progressed to the point of being able to get the dog to 'sit' on cue.
One good way to teach your dog to greet without jumping is a simple cue to go to the person's knees. Start by putting your open hands, palms facing outward, on the fronts of your knees. You'll be bent forward to get your hands here. Tell your dog ''come cuddle'', and your dog will likely be drawn to your inviting hands. Pet your dog.
Do the come cuddle practice over a few sessions until the dog responds quickly. Then find someone else to help you, have them take the position, point to them, and tell your dog to"go cuddle. Have them encourage the dog verbally to come to them, and give petting when the dog arrives. Then you call the dog to come cuddle to your hands at your knees.
Do a few repetitions back and forth, stopping before the dog gets bored. Repeat this once in awhile, and soon you'll find when you say go cuddle, your dog will aim for a person's knees even if their hands are not there. Prompt the person to lean down and pet the dog at knee level-be firm with people that they must not ruin your training by inviting your dog to jump up on them!
You may not mind your small dog jumping up on you, but give this some thought. You're not going to want the dog to spoil someone's clothing by clawing at their legs. A little dog jumping and expecting to be caught can be injured if the person misses. It's safest to teach your little dog to jump up only on cue, and put front feet on your hand.
One good use of having the dog put front feet on your hand is to more easily slip your other hand securely under the dog's rear to pick up your little one. No matter how small the dog, a two-handed lift is an important safeguard against dropping the dog.
Many of us see no reason to teach our dogs not to jump up. We don't mind, and if a friend or relative needs the dog not to jump, we simply put the dog on leash.
We get older, though, and our dogs age even faster than we do. Besides age, many physical problems can arise that make jumping up downright dangerous. At some point in your dog's life, the jumping will become a hazard to the dog. Your dog will live with less risk of pain.
The non-jumping dog's life will include more petting and love, because it's so much easier and more enjoyable to pet a dog with four feet on the ground. Or perhaps by invitation, your dog can put two feet on your lap. Okay, the whole dog can be on your lap, if you wish it and after you've done your homework of teaching your dog how to show love without jumping!
Kathy Diamond Davis
Some very helpful advice when deciding on your next family member......
Wendy Volhard's Puppy Aptitude Test Â© 1981, 2000, 2005For more information, go to www.volharddognutrition.com
'Puppy Aptitude Testing' was named Best Film on Dogs for 1981 by the Dog Writers Association of America
CHOOSING THE RIGHT PUPPY FOR THE RIGHT HOME!
Getting a dog or puppy on impulse is rarely a good idea. Remember that dogs, like cars, were designed for a
particular function. You need to decide what you want, a Corvette or a Suburban, a Fox Terrier or a
When the various breeds were originally developed, there was a greater emphasis on the ability to do a job, such
as herding, guarding, hunting, drafting, etc., than appearance. If a particular breed interests you, find out first
what the dog was bred to do. There are so many different breeds to choose from and if there is a secret to
getting that 'perfect puppy', it lies in doing your homework.
DECIDING WHAT KIND OF DOG TO GET
The well-trained dog begins with some idea of what role the dog is expected to play in your life and then
selecting a dog that is suitable for the job. Following are some of the reasons for selecting a dog:
Playmate for the kids;
A special activity, such as hunting, herding, breeding, showing in conformation, or competing in
Status symbol (not wise); or
A combination of the above.
Some dogs are able to fill all of these expectations, while others have more limited talents. Getting a dog for a
status symbol usually means one of the guarding or rare breeds, and often these represent some special
challenges. If you want a rare breed, first find out why it is such a rare breed and if there are any potential
Conversely, one of the most popular dogs and number 1 in American Kennel Club registrations is the Labrador
Retriever. The reason is simple - a Lab is a good multipurpose dog that can serve as a companion and playmate
for the kids, is naturally protective, generally enjoys good health, makes a good guide dog, and with little time
and effort can be transformed into a well trained dog.
You also need to take into account your own life style and circumstances. For most of us this means a dog that
can satisfy our need for companionship, is easily trained and doesn't require a lot of upkeep.
KEEPING UP APPEARANCES
Everyone has his or her own preference and there is an enormous choice, from the four-pound Yorkshire Terrier
to the 200-pound Mastiff. Many dogs come in different sizes, such as Poodles, or Schnauzers. Other have a
smaller version that is similar in appearance, such as Collies and Shelties, or Dobermans and Miniature
Pinschers, or German Shepherds and Corgis, or Greyhounds and Whippets, the 'poor man's race horse'.
Tidbits: Poodles and Terriers don't shed but have to be groomed regularly. Unless you are willing to spend the
time and effort learning how to do it yourself, this means periodic visits to a professional groomer, an expensive
Breeds with long hair require more upkeep than those with short hair. Pretty obvious when you think about it,
but often completely overlooked when selecting a puppy or dog. Some breeds, like Briards, Poodles,
Wirehaired Dachshunds and Terriers don't shed, a most desirable feature. On the other hand, unless you are
willing to learn how to groom your dog, it means regular visits to the grooming parlor, visits that are not cheap.
Some breeds, such as terriers and some of the herding dogs, bark a lot more than others. If you live in an
apartment such a dog would not be a good choice.
Bet You Didn't Know: Why does the breed standard for many dogs sound so similar when describing the dog's
temperament? Because so many of them were written by the same man. In 1874, J.H. Walsh, under the pen
name of Stonehenge, published 'The Dog: Its Varieties and Management in Health', the first major effort to
describe the more than 60 breeds recognized at that time.
THE TIME FACTOR
In selecting a dog or puppy be aware of the time factor. How much exercise does this particular breed require
and are you in a position to give it to your dog? Some breeds require less exercise than others, but many require
2 daily 20-minute walks, at a minimum, and some, such as the Sporting breeds, much more. Just letting the dog
out in a backyard is not sufficient.
In the selection process you need to remind yourself continuously that your dog is going to be with you
anywhere from 8 to 16 years. And, the older he or she gets, the more important regular exercise becomes.
How much time do you have available to devote to training that cute little bundle of fur? If you have little or
no more that 10 to 15 minutes a day, then you need to select a breed that is easily trained and doesn't require
WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FOR
A good place to start is The Complete Dog Book by the American Kennel Club, which describes the breed
standards for the different breeds recognized by that organization. Two other excellent resources are Roger
Caras Dog Book: A Complete Guide to Every AKC Breed (Dorset Press, 1992) and Paws to Consider:
Choosing the Right Dog for You and Your Family by Brian Kilcommons and Sarah Wilson (Grand Central
Another wealth of information can be found at dog shows, where you can see a large variety of breeds and talk
to their owners and breeders. But remember, they are obviously and naturally biased.
To help you get the dog you want we have devised a simple test, which is amazingly accurate in predicting
inherited behavioral tendencies and how the puppy will turn out as an adult.
WHAT IS PUPPY TESTING?
Some of the tests we use were developed as long ago as the l930's for dogs bred to become Guide Dogs. Then
in the 1950's, studies on puppies were conducted to determine how quickly they learned. These studies were
actually done to identify children's learning stages.
Top Dog Tips: The ideal age to test the puppy is at 49 days of age when the puppy is neurologically complete
and it has the brain of an adult dog. With each passing day after the 49th day the responses will be tainted by
Later on in the early 60's more tests were developed to determine if pups could be tested for dominance and
submission. These tests determined that it was indeed possible to predict future behavioral traits of adult dogs
by evaluating puppies at 49 days of age. Testing before or after that age, effected the accuracy of the results,
depending on the amount of time before or after the 49th day.
We took these tests, added some of our own, and put together what is now known as the Volhard Puppy
Aptitude Test, or PAT. PAT uses a scoring system from 1-6 and consists of ten tests. The tests are done
consecutively and in the order listed. Each test is scored separately, and interpreted on its own merits. The
scores are not averaged, and there are no winners or losers. The entire purpose is to select the right puppy for
the right home.
The Tests Consist of the Following:
1. Social Attraction - degree of social attraction to people, confidence or dependence.
2. Following - willingness to follow a person.
3. Restraint - degree of dominant or submissive tendency, and ease of handling in difficult situations.
4. Social Dominance - degree of acceptance of social dominance by a person.
5. Elevation - degree of accepting dominance while in a position of no control, such as at the veterinarian or
6. Retrieving - degree of willingness to do something for you. Together with Social Attraction and Following a
key indicator for ease or difficulty in training.
7. Touch Sensitivity - degree of sensitivity to touch and a key indicator to the type of training equipment
8. Sound Sensitivity - degree of sensitivity to sound, such as loud noises or thunderstorms.
9. Sight Sensitivity - degree of response to a moving object, such as chasing bicycles, children or squirrels.
10 Stability - degree of startle response to a strange object.
During the testing make a note of the heart rate of the pup, which is an indication of how it deals with stress, as
well as its energy level. Puppies come with high, medium or low energy levels. You have to decide for
yourself, which suits your life style. Dogs with high energy levels need a great deal of exercise, and will get
into mischief if this energy is not channeled into the right direction.
Finally, look at the overall structure of the puppy. You see what you get at 49 days age. If the pup has strong
and straight front and back legs, with all four feet pointing in the same direction, it will grow up that way,
provided you give it the proper diet and environment in which to grow. If you notice something out of the
ordinary at this age, it will stay with puppy for the rest of its life. He will not grow out of it.
HOW TO TEST
Here are the ground rules for performing the test:
The testing is done in a location unfamiliar to the puppies. This does not mean they have to taken away from
home. A 10-foot square area is perfectly adequate, such as a room in the house where the puppies have not
The puppies are tested one at a time.
There are no other dogs or people, except the scorer and the tester, in the testing area
The puppies do not know the tester.
The scorer is a disinterested third party and not the person interested in selling you a puppy.
The scorer is unobtrusive and positions him or herself so he or she can observe the puppies' responses
without having to move.
The puppies are tested before they are fed.
The puppies are tested when they are at their liveliest.
Do not try to test a puppy that is not feeling well.
Puppies should not be tested the day of or the day after being vaccinated.
Only the first response counts!
Top Dog Tips: During the test, watch the puppy's tail. It will make a difference in the scoring whether the tail
is up or down.
The tests are simple to perform and anyone with some common sense can do them. You can, however, elicit
the help of someone who has tested puppies before and knows what they are doing.
1. Social attraction - the owner or caretaker of the puppies places it in the test area about four feet from the
tester and then leaves the test area. The tester kneels down and coaxes the puppy to come to him or her by
encouragingly and gently clapping hands and calling. The tester must coax the puppy in the opposite
direction from where it entered the test area. Hint: Lean backward, sitting on your heels instead of leaning
forward toward the puppy. Keep your hands close to your body encouraging the puppy to come to you
instead of trying to reach for the puppy.
2. Following - the tester stands up and slowly walks away encouraging the puppy to follow. Hint: Make sure
the puppy sees you walk away and get the puppy to focus on you by lightly clapping your hands and using
verbal encouragement to get the puppy to follow you. Do not lean over the puppy.
3. Restraint - the tester crouches down and gently rolls the puppy on its back and holds it on its back for 30
seconds. Hint: Hold the puppy down without applying too much pressure. The object is not to keep it on
its back but to test its response to being placed in that position.
4. Social Dominance - let the puppy stand up or sit and gently stroke it from the head to the back while you
crouch beside it. See if it will lick your face, an indication of a forgiving nature. Continue stroking until
you see a behavior you can score. Hint: When you crouch next to the puppy avoid leaning or hovering over
the puppy. Have the puppy at your side with both of you facing in the same direction.
Top Dog Tips: During testing maintain a positive, upbeat and friendly attitude toward the puppies. Try to
get each puppy to interact with you to bring out the best in him or her. Make the test a pleasant experience
for the puppy.
5. Elevation Dominance - the tester cradles the puppy with both hands, supporting the puppy under its chest
and gently lifts it two feet off the ground and holds it there for 30 seconds.
6. Retrieving - the tester crouches beside the puppy and attracts its attention with a crumpled up piece of paper.
When the puppy shows some interest, the tester throws the paper no more than four feet in front of the
puppy encouraging it to retrieve the paper.
7. Touch Sensitivity - the tester locates the webbing of one the puppy's front paws and presses it lightly
between his index finger and thumb. The tester gradually increases pressure while counting to ten and stops
when the puppy pulls away or shows signs of discomfort.
8. Sound Sensitivity - the puppy is placed in the center of the testing area and an assistant stationed at the
perimeter makes a sharp noise, such as banging a metal spoon on the bottom of a metal pan.
9. Sight Sensitivity - the puppy is placed in the center of the testing area. The tester ties a string around a bath
towel and jerks it across the floor, two feet away from the puppy.
10. Stability - an umbrella is opened about five feet from the puppy and gently placed on the ground.
SCORING THE RESULTS
Following are the responses you will see and the score assigned to each particular response. You will see some
variations and will have to make a judgment on what score to give them.
Came readily, tail up, jumped, bit at hands 1
Came readily, tail up, pawed, licked at hands 2
Came readily, tail up 3
Came readily, tail down 4
Came hesitantly, tail down 5
Did not come at all 6
Followed readily, tail up, got underfoot, bit at feet 1
Followed readily, tail up, got underfoot 2
Followed readily, tail up 3
Followed readily, tail down 4
Followed hesitantly, tail down 5
Did not follow or went away 6
Struggled fiercely, flailed, bit 1
Struggled fiercely, flailed 2
Settled, struggled, settled with some
eye contact 3
Struggled, then settled 4
No struggle 5
No struggle, strained to avoid eye contact 6
Jumped, pawed, bit, growled 1
Jumped, pawed 2
Cuddled up to tester and tried to lick face 3
Squirmed, licked at hands 4
Rolled over, licked at hands 5
Went away and stayed away 6
Struggled fiercely, tried to bite 1
Struggled fiercely 2
Struggled, settled, struggled, settled 3
No struggle, relaxed 4
No struggle, body still 5
No struggle, body froze 6
Chased object, picked it up and ran away 1
Chased object, stood over it and did not return 2
Chased object, picked it up and returned with it to tester 3
Chased object and returned without it to tester 4
Started to chase object, lost interest 5
Does not chase object 6
8-10 count before response 1
6-8 count before response 2
5-6 count before response 3
3-5 count before response 4
2-3 count before response 5
1-2 count before response 6
Listened, located sound and ran toward it barking 1
Listened, located sound and walked slowly toward it 2
Listened, located sound and showed curiosity 3
Listened and located sound 4
Cringed, backed off and hid behind tester 5
Ignored sound and showed no curiosity 6
Looked, attacked and bit object 1
Looked and put feet on object and put mouth on it 2
Looked with curiosity and attempted to investigate, tail up 3
Looked with curiosity, tail down 4
Ran away or hid behind tester 5
Hid behind tester 6
Looked and ran to the umbrella, mouthing or biting it 1
Looked and walked to the umbrella, smelling it cautiously 2
Looked and went to investigate 3
Sat and looked, but did not move toward the umbrella 4
Showed little or no interest 5
Ran away from the umbrella 5
WHAT DO THE SCORES MEAN?
The scores are interpreted as follows:
Mostly 's -
Strong desire to be pack leader and is not shy about bucking for a promotion
Has a predisposition to be aggressive to people and other dogs and will bite
Should only be placed into a very experienced home where the dog will be trained and worked on a regular
Top Dog Tips: Stay away from the puppy with a lot of 1's or 2's. It has lots of leadership aspirations and may
be difficult to manage. This puppy needs an experienced home. Not good with children.
Mostly 2's -
Also has leadership aspirations
May be hard to manage and has the capacity to bite
Has lots of self-confidence
Should not be placed into an inexperienced home
Too unruly to be good with children and elderly people, or other animals
Needs strict schedule, loads of exercise and lots of training
Has the potential to be a great show dog with someone who understands dog behavior
Mostly 3's -
Can be a high-energy dog and may need lots of exercise
Good with people and other animals
Can be a bit of a handful to live with
Needs training, does very well at it and learns quickly
Great dog for second time owner.
Mostly 4's -
The kind of dog that makes the perfect pet Best choice for the first time owner.
Rarely will buck for a promotion in the family
Easy to train, and rather quiet.
Good with elderly people, children, although may need protection from the children
Choose this pup, take it to obedience classes, and you'll be the star, without having to do too much work!
Tidbits: The puppy with mostly 3's and 4's can be quite a handful, but should be good with children and does
well with training. Energy needs to be dispersed with plenty of exercise.
Mostly 5's -
Fearful, shy and needs special handling
Will run away at the slightest stress in its life
Strange people, strange places, different floor or ground surfaces may upset it
Often afraid of loud noises and terrified of thunder storms. When you greet it upon your return, may
submissively urinate. Needs a very special home where the environment doesn't change too much and where
there are no children
If cornered and cannot get away, has a tendency to bite
Top Dog Tips: Avoid the puppy with several 6's. It is so independent it doesn't need you or anyone. He is his
own person and unlikely to bond to you.
Mostly 6's -
So independent that he doesn't need you or other people
Doesn't care if he is trained or not - he is his own person. Not likely to bond to you, since he doesn't need you.
A great guard dog for gas stations!
Do not take this puppy and think you can change him into a lovable bundle - you can't, so leave well enough
INTERPRETING THE SCORES
Few puppies will test with all 2's or all 3's - there will be a mixture of scores.
For that first time, wonderfully easy to train, potential star, look for a puppy that scores with mostly 4's and 3's.
Don't worry about the score on Touch Sensitivity - you can compensate for that with the right training
Tidbits: It's hard not to become emotional when picking a puppy - they are all so cute, soft and cuddly. Remind
yourself that this dog is going to be with you for 8 to 16 years. Don't hesitate to step back a little to
contemplate your decision. Sleep on it and review it in the light of day.
Avoid the puppy with a score of 1 on the Restraint and Elevation tests. This puppy will be too much for the
first time owner.
It's a lot more fun to have a good dog, one that is easy to train, one you can live with and one you can be proud
of, than one that is a constant struggle.
CHOOSING A BREEDER
Once you have done your research and you have decided which breed is most suited to your lifestyle and
expectations, it is time to choose a breeder. You can meet breeders at dog shows, through the local newspaper,
or popular dog Magazines, such as The American Kennel Club Gazette, Dog World or Dog Fancy.
Here are some of the criteria you want to follow in selecting a breeder:
Choose an experienced breeder, one who has had several litters and who knows his breed.
Choose a breeder who has shown his dogs and has done some winning, which is a fairly good indication that
his or her dogs conform to the standard of the breed and will grow up looking like the dogs you saw that
attracted you to the breed in the first place.
Choose a breeder who is using our Puppy Aptitude Test. If he or she hasn't heard of it, show it to them;
avoid one that says 'I don't believe in that.'
Choose a breeder whose dogs are certified by the applicable registries against breed-related genetic
disorders, such as eyes, hips, etc.
Choose a breeder where you can interact with adult dogs, and get some idea how long they live.
Choose a breeder where the dogs are well housed and everything is clean.
The majority of breeders today show a great willingness to have their puppies tested, and are interested in the
results. It shows them the inherited behaviors of their breeding stock, valuable information for future breeding.
The results make it easier for them to place the right puppy into the right home where people will be happy with
them. After all, no breeder wants a puppy returned when it's 8 months old and may have been ruined by being
improperly brought up.
Whatever you do, don't try to pick a puppy by having the entire litter together - you will not be able to pick the
right one for you. Always interact with a puppy individually, away from its litter mates.
GETTING A DOG FROM A SHELTER
Don't overlook an Animal Shelter as a source for a good dog. Not all dogs wind up in a shelter because they
are bad. After that cute puppy stage, when the dog grows up, it may become too much for its owner. Or, there
has been a change in the owner's circumstances forcing him or her into having to give up the dog.
Most of the time these dogs are housetrained and already have some training. If the dog has been properly
socialized to people, it will be able to adapt to a new environment. Bonding may take a little longer, but once
accomplished, result in a devoted companion.
While you can't use the entire puppy test, there are some tests that will give you a good indication of what to
1. Restraint - try putting the dog into a down position with some food, and then gently rolling him over and see
what happens. If the dog jumps up and runs away or tries to bite you, this is not the dog for you. Rather
look for a dog that turns over readily, but squirms around a bit. Apply just enough pressure to keep the dog
on its back; ease up if it struggles too much. Intermittent squirming is OK, constant squirming is not OK.
2. Social Dominance - directly after the Restraint Test, if the dog didn't struggle too much and if you think it's
safe, try sitting the dog and just stroking him, getting your face relatively close to him talking to him softly,
to see if he licks you and forgives you for the upside down experience. A dog that wants to get away from
you is not a good candidate.
3. Retrieving - crumple up a small piece of paper and show it to the dog. Have him on your left side with your
arm around him and throw the paper with your right hand about six feet, encouraging the dog to get it and
bring it back. You are looking for a dog that brings the paper back to you.
Guide dog trainers have the greatest faith in this test. A dog that retrieves nearly always works out to be a
Guide Dog because it indicates a willingness to work for the owner. Other organizations that use dogs from a
shelter, such as those who use dogs to sniff out contraband or drugs, and police departments, place almost sole
reliance on this test. They know that if a dog brings back the object, they can train him to do almost anything.
Wherever you get your dog, use the tests that you can do and act accordingly. By the way, it's not too late to
use some of the tests with the dog you already have. It just might explain some of your dog's behaviors.
THE LEAST YOU NEED TO KNOW
There are many breeds to choose from and if there is a secret in getting that ''perfect puppy'', it is doing your
A good place to start is 'The Complete Dog Book' by the American Kennel Club, which describes in detail
the different breeds recognized by that registry.
Carefully consider the time you have available for the necessary up-keep and exercise the dog requires.
Don't get a dog on impulse!
Use the Volhard Puppy Aptitude Test in selecting your dog, whether a puppy or an older dog.
For more information, go to www.volharddognutrition.com