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Puppy Don'ts

written by Pat Button
submitted by Judy Bohnert

As in anything there are always things NOT to do.

Number 1 in my books is don’t get sucked into buying over priced mutts that breeders refer to a “Highbreds” such as your cockapoos, labradoodles etc., etc.  Don’t be fooled!  These are plain and simple mutts.  These pups are sold at ridiculously high prices and you are being taken but good.  Just a few years ago people sold this type of dog as a mutt and they either gave them away or charged a small amount. Generally there is no genetic testing whatsoever.  So if momma or poppa dog has a serious genetic problem it is just bred on to your puppy.  Breeders are advertising these over-priced mutts everywhere.  You don’t have to be an Einstein to figure out why – the money is just pouring in.  And probably the poor momma dogs are bred every time they come into season and the breeders start breeding them when they are far to young.  You’ve heard the term “Puppy Mills”.  The term represents ugly, filthy and brutal.  Knowingly you would not buy a puppy from a mill but when you purchase puppies from a pet store or a know breeder of many breeds that is what you are unknowingly doing.  Most times registered purebred pups can be purchased cheaper then these “Designer” mutts.  Before buying check things out.  Don’t get taken.

Before you stop training any exercise make sure you aren’t quitting too soon. I’ll use the potty area exercise as an example.  Puppy is older now and is good about going to his potty area to eliminate when you are with him.  So now you are going to go out with him but only go three quarters of the way.  Puppy will probably want to stop where you are.  Walk puppy to the area, give the command, and then turn and go back slowly.  Stop and wait for puppy to do his job then call him to you.  Each day you go a little less distance as long as puppy continues to go to the area himself.  If he eliminates before he gets to his potty area,  you must quickly run up to him and say, “no, go potty” and take him to the potty area.   If this happens he has not grasped the aspect that he is to go in the potty area ONLY.  So go back to square one.  Don’t rush things.  When teaching always take it one step at a time.  If you do this puppy will not need to be reprimanded.  He cannot possibly do what it is you want him to do if he does not understand.  You understand English he does NOT.   They understand body language and tone of voice first.  Eventually they understand words but tone of voice they understand immediately.  If you are playing with puppy your voice is usually on a higher note.  When disciplining lower the voice and make it sound like you are growling.  After all that is what momma dog does and it is something puppies understand.

Another thing I see all the time and it is NOT necessary is when people take their male dogs for a walk and permit the dog to stop and urinate on anything and everything.  This makes me growl!  I have had 4 male dogs, even when intact, not a one of them thought they had to stop and piddle.  Why?  The answer is simple.  From the get-go I would not stop but just kept walking.  They caught on really quick.  They do not need to urinate along the way.  Especially if you have pottied them before you left your yard.  Once they get this through their heads stopping along the way is never a problem and your neighbours will like you and your dog.

If your dog has an accident along the way, always carry a plastic bag in your pocket, and pick it up.  This is just part and parcel of owning a dog.  Too many irresponsible people haven’t picked up after their dog and that is why we cannot take our dogs for a walk anymore in city parks.  My dogs are all trained but I cannot take a walk in the park and with them.  I wish I could.

Never strike your dog.  Use your voice to scold but do not hit.  Your hand should represent kindness and comfort not pain.  If puppy has been really bad, take him by the scruff of the neck give him a shake use a very growlly and stern NO or Stop It.

When playing with puppy use a puppy toy but not your hands or feet.  Teach children not to jump up and raise their hands into the air as this will only make puppy jump up too and very possibly knock the child down.  If a toy is always used then puppy will not be so apt to go for feet and hands.

Get puppy used to having you touch and feel his feet.  Get a soft brush and brush puppy gently and regularly.  Do not allow playing or mouthing.  If puppy persists with this behaviour just growl at him and say “stop it” in a very firm voice.  Make puppy sit still or have puppy lay on his side and try again.   Eventually, if you persist, he will sit or lay quietly and accept his grooming.  If you are not sure on how short to cut puppy’s nails have your veterinarian show you.  This is a very big part of owning a dog as nails have to be cut weekly or bi-monthly.  It is important that you learn how to do it properly.  If you cut too short the nail will bleed and hurt the puppy.  Even seasoned dog owners usually keep a product on hand called “Quick Stop” to shorten the bleeding when a nail has been cut to short.  It happens, unfortunately, but really try to have it happen as seldom as possible.  Some people use a grinder and actually grind the nails.  This eliminates cutting into the quick and ending up with the bleeding.