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Puppy-Proofing Your Home



Even show dogs should be house dogs first!

You should consider that a puppy has an absolute right to chew whatever they can get at in your absence. You must put the puppy where either it cannot do any damage, or you do not care about the possible damage. Puppies can eat kitchen cabinets, destroy furniture, chew on carpet, and damage a wide variety of other things. Besides the destruction, the puppy may well injure itself, even seriously.

A good solution to this is a crate. A crate is any container, made of wire mesh or plastic, that will hold the puppy comfortably, with enough room to stand and curl up and sleep, but not too much that it can eliminate in one corner. See the section on housetraining below. Other solutions include fencing off part of the house, say the kitchen or garage or building an outside run. Be sure the area is puppy-proofed.

Please put your pup in an environment it can't destroy. Puppies are too immature to handle temptations. Depending on the breed, most dogs begin to gain the maturity to handle short stints with mild temptations when they're about 6 months old. Consider the analogy with a baby, where you keep it in a crib, stroller, or pen if you are not holding it.

It is essential to puppy-proof your home. You should think of it in the same way as child-proofing your house but be more thorough about it. Puppies are smaller and more active than babies and have sharp teeth and claws. Things of especial concern are electric wires. If you can get through the puppy stages without having your pup get a shock from chewing a wire you are doing a great job! When puppy proofing your home, get down on your hands and knees (or lower if possible) and consider things from this angle. What looks enticing, what is breakable, what is sharp, etc. The most important things are watching the puppy and, of course, crating it or otherwise restraining it when you can't watch it.

Another step in puppy proofing is house proofing the puppy. Teach it what is and isn't chewable. The single most effective way to do this is by having a ready supply of chewable items on hand. When the puppy starts to chew on an unacceptable item (be it a chair, rug, or human hand), remove the item from the puppy's mouth with a stern, "NO!" and replace it with a chew toy and praise the puppy for playing with the toy. If you are consistent about this, the puppy will get the idea that only the things you give it are to be chewed on! Don't stint on the praise, and keep the "No!" to a single calm, sharp noise -- don't yell or scream the word.

There are some products that can help make items unpalatable and thus aid in your training. Bitter Apple and Bitter Orange (available at most pet stores) impart a bitter taste to many things without staining, etc. You should not depend on these products to keep your puppy safe, but use them as a training aid.

 

Teething

Around 4 to 5 months of age, puppies will start to get their permanent teeth. There are several things you can do, both to ease the pain and control the chewing.

Puppies lose their teeth in a distinct pattern: first the small front teeth come out. Then the premolars just behind the canines. Then the molars in the back come out (and you'll see adult molars behind those erupting as well). Finally the canine teeth come out. Sometimes the adult canines erupt before the baby canines have come all the way out.

During this time, some discomfort, including bleeding gums is to be expected. Your puppy will want to chew more during this period of time, but it may also be too painful to do so (hence the suggestions above). You will probably find few if any of the teeth your puppy loses, as puppies typically swallow them.

 

Housetraining

If the dog makes a mess in the house - slap YOURSELF. You didn't do your job, and that's in no way the dog's fault. You let him down. If you can't keep supervise him without help, tether him to you. That way he can't "wander off".
--Mary Healy

The idea is to take advantage of a rule of dog behavior: a dog will not generally eliminate where it sleeps. Exceptions to this rule are:

If the crate is too big (because you got an adult size one), you can partition the crate off with pegboard wired to the sides to make the crate the correct size, and move it back as your puppy grows. RC Steele also sells crate dividers.

To house train a dog using a crate, establish a schedule where the dog is either outside or in its crate when it feels the need to eliminate.

Using a mild correction (saying "No" in a firm, even tone) when the dog eliminates inside and exuberant, wild praise when the dog eliminates outside will eventually teach the dog that it is better to go outside than in. Some owners correct more severely inside, but this is extremely detrimental to the character of puppies. To make the dog notice the difference between eliminating inside and outside, you must praise more outside rather than correcting more inside.

The crate is crucial because the dog will "hold it" while in the crate, so it is likely to have to eliminate when it is taken out. Since you know when your dog has to eliminate, you take it out and it eliminates immediately, and is praised immediately. Doing this consistently is ideal reinforcement for the behavior of going out to eliminate. In addition, the dog is always supervised in the house, so the dog is always corrected for eliminating indoors. This strengthens the inhibition against eliminating inside.

In general, consistency is MUCH more important than severe corrections when training a dog. Before a dog understands what you want, severe corrections are not useful and can be quite DETRIMENTAL. Crating allows the owner to have total control over the dog in order to achieve consistency. Hopefully, this will prevent the need (and the desire) to use more severe corrections.

Housetraining is relatively simple with puppies. The most important thing to understand is that it takes time. Young puppies cannot wait to go to the bathroom. When they have to go, they have to go NOW. Therefore, until they are about four or five months old, you can only encourage good behavior and try to prevent bad behavior. This is accomplished by the following regime.

With these two rules goes the indisputable fact that until a puppy is housetrained, you MUST confine them or watch them to prevent accidents.

This means that the puppy should have a place to sleep where it cannot get out. Understand that a puppy cannot go all night without eliminating, so when it cries in the night, you must get up and take it out and wait until it goes. Then enthusiastically praise it and put it back to bed. In the morning, take it out again and let it do its stuff and praise it. After it is fed and after it wakes up at any point, take it out to eliminate.

Make it aware that this is not play time, but understand that puppies get pretty excited about things like grass and snails and leaves and forget what they came outside to do! Use the same spot each time if you can, the smell will help the puppy remember what it is to do, especially after 12 weeks of age.

To make life easier for you later on, use a key phrase just when the puppy starts to eliminate. Try "hurry up," "do it," or some similar phrase (pick one and use it). The puppy will begin to eliminate on command, and this can be especially useful later, such as making sure the dog eliminates before a car ride or a walk in the park.

Don't let the puppy loose in the house unless it has just gone outside, and/or you are watching it extremely closely for signs that it has to go. The key to housetraining is preventing accidents. If no accidents occur (ha!), then the dog never learns it has an option other than going outside. When you are at home, rather than leave the pup in the crate, you can "tether" the puppy to you -- use a six foot long leash and tie it to your belt. That way he can't get out of your site in the house and go in the wrong place.

 

Crying at Night

Your puppy wants to be with the rest of the "pack" at bedtime. This behavior is highly adaptive from the standpoint of dog behavior. When a puppy becomes separated from its pack it will whine, thereby allowing it to be found and returned to the rest of the group. This is why so many books on puppies and dog behavior strongly recommend that you allow your puppy/dog to sleep with you in your room to reduce the liklihood of crying at night.

Try moving the crate into your bedroom. If your puppy whines, first make sure it doesn't have to go outside to eliminate. This means getting up and taking it outside. If it whines again, or doesn't need to go outside, bang your hand on the crate door and say something like "NO, SLEEP" or "NO, QUIET". If the puppy continues to whine, try giving it a toy or chew toy and then simply ignore any continued whining. If you don't reinforce the whining by comforting it (other than to take it outside -- which is OK), it will eventually learn to settle down. Also, be sure to have a vigorous play session JUST BEFORE you are going to go to bed. This should poop it out and it will sleep much more soundly.

Alternatively, you can designate a spot for your puppy on the bedroom floor. Keep the door closed or put a leash on it to keep it close to the bed. When it whines or moves about, take it out to eliminate. Otherwise, as above, say "NO, SLEEP."

Puppies that cannot sleep in the bedroom for whatever reason may be comforted by a ticking clock nearby, and a t-shirt of yours from the laundry.


Things to think about now... bringing your curly pup home and early socialization

2001 Pedigree

Those First Weeks at SoftMaple & The Bio Sensor method of early puppy stimulation

Countdown to 2001 litter

Your Curlies General Health (ears/eyes/teeth,etc)


Back to the Puppy Diary!


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Order your copy of The Puppy Diary


Or mail a check to:
$19.95 ($5.50 Shipping and Handling)
Cathy Lewandowski
8282 Soft Maple Road
Croghan NY 13327


About the Book

Follow a litter of puppies from birthday until they go to their new homes. The diary contains lots of pictures, tips on puppy rearing, some breed specific information, and lots of information on the care of any breed of dog.

I started doing an on-line puppy diary since many of the people that would be getting one of my pups would not be able to travel here to see the pups. I did not want to put a bunch of cute puppy pictures online, and encourage anyone to have a litter just because they wanted to see cute puppies! Breeding dogs, if done the right way, is a lot of work. Lost sleep and sometimes heartache. It takes a lot of time, effort and money to raise a litter of puppies. Once I started doing The Puppy Diary, I realized I had a captive audience. These people logged on every day to see the pictures, and read what was happening. I used this opportunity to cram as much education into each day as I could. Health, Coat issues, grooming, feeding, socializing, vet care, puppy evaluations, shipping puppies.... you name it! I tried to put it in The Diary. It was suggested that I make it into a book. Well here it is! There are 560 pictures and over 300 pages of living with and watching one litter grow up.

I am sure may conscientious, caring breeders raise litters similar to the way I do. Its is a good look into the time, money, commitment it takes to bring up a litter of pups. Some of the things that go on behind the scenes, that the eventual puppies owners (family), never realize go into the litter. Enjoy my litter as I see them. Day to day

Contents

Chapter One (Week One) ... Page 1

Seger comes into season
Happy Birthday!
Removing the Dewclaws
Start of the Bio Sensor program

Chapter Two (Week Two) ... Page 48
Coat issues.
Tail Gland Hyperplasia
Do Curlies Shed?

Chapter Three (Week Three) ... Page 94
End of Bio Sensor Exercises
Worming The puppies
Eyes are open
First pup escapes from the box

Chapter Four (Week Four) ... Page 130
Weaning. The great food fight!
Introduction to the puppy play room
Shark Cage

Chapter Five (Week Five) ... Page 156
Field dog? Show Dog? CPE?
Happy Mothers Day!
First Stacked pictures

Chapter Six (Week Six) ... Page 195
Toys! Toys! Toys!
What’s In A Name?
Kids and Dogs
Introduction to Wings

Chapter Seven (Week Seven) ... Page 236
About Puppies and Retrieving
Socialize your puppy
First Shots & Vet Visit
Splish Splash, first bath!

Chapter Eight (Week Eight) ... Page 286
Shape up or ship out!
Requirements to ship puppies
See all the pups!


SoftMaple 2004 Litter


This Site Created By SoftMaple Curlies


Breeding: What We're Taught

There are many platitudes in the dog world, such as "A fast maturing puppy will fade" and "Only breed when you'll keep one for yourself." This last maxim is even used to chastise breeders who do not keep a puppy from every litter. The idea is that in every litter there will be a star puppy who should be grown out by the breeder.

The fact is that not all litters produce show puppies. Keeping even the best puppy from a mediocre litter will not achieve the breeder's objectives. It would be best to place these puppies in permanent companion homes and try something different the next time around, but this is not often done in our breed. Instead, the breeder keeps the best in a particular litter, grows out the pick puppy, and takes her to dog shows. Dog shows are unforgiving and soon identify mediocrity. A determined person will put many shows on an average dog in an attempt to "prove" her breeding program. It would be better to make a more critical evaluation of puppies at 8 weeks and come to more realistic conclusions about their future prospects.

Another example of conventional wisdom involves litter frequency. This is carried to extremes when people start judging breeders by numbers: "Did you know she had (three, four) litters last year?" As if this were something shameful. In our breed, which has fallen from 36th in AKC registrations to 100th in a decade, this so-called wisdom is hardly wise. We need dedicated people who are willing to study, spend the time, and do the work necessary to breed dogs. Having one litter every few years does not make one a breeder, nor does it provide a person with the experience required to whelp and raise puppies or to develop a consistent line of dogs.

When you have questions and problems with a litter, who do you call? I call someone who has been breeding dogs for 50 years and, at one time that I remember, had three litters at once. He is in another breed, and has never been criticized for the excellent job he did with his puppies. Spring always found him whelping at least one litter for himself, and perhaps a few more for other people. We need these master breeders desperately: They have a wealth of knowledge to share about breeding dogs and raising puppies. We also need more ways to record their knowledge, share it with others and preserve it for the future.

We need dedicated people in our breed and, in fact, in every breed to continue the lines and to work to breed the best dogs possible. As baby boomers retire from breeding dogs over the next two decades, we will have to recruit new breeders to carry on. Holding people back with worn-out phrases will not work.

There is room for everyone, for those who can breed only occasionally and for those who will become the master breeders of the future. We need to encourage and learn from those who have the time, resources, and dedication to spend shaping the future of our breeds.


Reprinted from the June 2006 AKC Gazette breed Keeshonden breed column. Written by Deborah A. Lynch. Deborah A. Lynch is the Executive Vice-President of the AKC Canine Health Foundation. She has been a breeder and exhibitor of Keeshonden since 1971 under the Foxfair prefix. She is a member of the Keeshond Club of America and is past President of the Buckeye Keeshond Club. Deborah has also been a member of the Dog Writers Association of America and has judged her breed both in the USA and England.



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