As Classes have been temporarily been cancelled the following should help you to work with your puppy at home.
The scheme aims to provide a means of socialising puppies and to lay down a foundation for education and training.
The handouts for the puppy foundation course are available on the Kennel Club website.
Search Kennel Club puppy foundation course and Kennel Club Canine Code.
I shall not repeat what is printed on the handouts but will 'talk' you through the exercises.
Exercise 1 - Responsibility and Care
Read through Section One of Responsibility and Care which can be found in the Canine Code.
If you have any questions or need any clarification please contact me.
Exercise 2 - Cleanliness and Identification
The one thing that most alienates the non-dog owning public is dog owners who do not pick up after their dogs. Please make sure that you have the means to pick up, even if your dog has just 'gone' in the garden, whenever you leave home. This means everywhere and please dispose of you bag responsibly or take it home.
It is a legal requirement that whenever your dog is out in public it has to have an engraved disc or plaque attached to their collar that contains at least your name and address. This is your full address not just your house number and postcode whatever the engraver tells you! If your dog escapes as you open the front door and someone round the corner finds them if they know you live at 22 The Larches they will probably drop them home. If they have only the postcode they probably will not know where 12, AB2 3CD is and life will get a lot more complicated. Obviously it would be a good idea to add any phone numbers as well.
Exercise 3 - Attentive Response to Name
In order for you dog to respond when you talk to him he has to be taking notice of you. If your puppy is looking up at you praise him. There an exercise you can do.
Have your Puppy next to you so you are both facing the same direction (as though you were standing at the kerb).
If puppy is on your left hold a treat in your right hand.
Hold the treat close to puppy's nose.
Keeping the leg next to puppy still step forward on the other leg and lead puppy forward until you are looking at his tail.
Call puppy's name and as you do so turn him around raising the treat slightly so that he is looking up at you. Praise and give the treat.
If you do this two or three times a few times a day eventually when you call his name he will he will automatically turn to look at you.
If you go to Hints and Tips there are instructions on teaching 'Watch' and 'Touch' which also help with getting your puppy to focus.
Exercise 4 - Play with the Puppy
When a new puppy arrives because they do not know what they can do or what is expected of them we tend to spend a lot of time saying 'No' 'Don't do that' 'Stop it' etc. so the play element is very important as it shows the puppy that we are not just there to tell them off but we can be fun as well. It is an important time that helps to build the bond between owner and dog.
Excercise 5 - Socialisation
At the present time this is not going to be easy. A lot of puppies are not being vaccinated which means they cannot even go for a walk . Take your puppy with you when you go out for your exercise but carry them or use a pet carrier or pet stroller. You can also put your puppy in a backpack worn on your front. Expose your puppy to as many sights and sounds as possible, buses, trains, traffic, walk past the queue at the supermarket obviously keeping you distance. Get your puppy used to getting in and out of the car ready for the time when you can go off on your adventures!
Exercise 6 - Handling and Inspection to maintain Health
Your puppy should learn to accept you handling pats of their body so you can check that they are remaining healthy.
Nose: Should look healthy with no nasty discharge, you may occasionally see a 'dewdop' but this is normal. Do not worry if the nose is dry and warm, one quick lick and it will be cold and wet again. If the nose is dry and cracked seek veterinary advice.
Teeth: As you have probably noticed puppies have very sharp teeth! They will start to lose their puppy teeth at about four months of age. Chewing helps relieve the pain of teething by releasing endorphins which is a natural form of pain relief, just as in you will rub the affected area if you bang you elbow for example. Make sure your puppy has plenty of things they are allowed to chew, a variety of textures - rope, rubber hard and soft toys. Your puppy should accept you looking at their teeth and putting your fingers in their mouth.
Adult teeth should be kept clean. The best way to achieve this is by letting your dog gnaw raw bones or nylabones. Dog foods that claim to keep your dogs teeth clean should be taken with a pinch of salt. Dogs do not chew their food long enough to do any good. Dogs cannot chew as we know it, their jaws do not move from side to side. You can clean your dogs teeth but use a dog toothpaste and introduce the brush slowly over a number of days.
Gums and Mouth: The inside of your dogs mouth should be a nice bright pink colour, even dogs with black skin will have pink patches. Dogs do go pale when they are unwell, just as we do, but the only place it shows is on their gums and mouth. If your dog has a traumatic accident such as falling down stairs or being hit by a car quite often they will take themselves off to bed to 'sleep it off'. Make sure that you can wake your dog every ten minutes and if you press hard on the dogs gum with a finger when you release the pressure the white spot should turn pink again in two seconds. If it doesn't there is something seriously wrong with your dog and they will need immediate Veterinary attention.
Eyes: Should be bright and clear. Your puppy should get used to you holding their eyelids open, as if you were going to put in eyedrops. The whites should be white but if your dog has an allergy to pollen etc. they may be a bit pink. If this does happen keep an eye on them to make sure they do not get any worse as it may be the start of conjunctivitis which is very contagious and will need treating. If the whites turn yellow there is something that really needs treating by your Vet. Your dog has a third eyelid, the nictitating membrane. Under normal circumstances you should not be able to see it. If there is a red blob in the corner of your dogs eye it could be that this eyelid has become infected.
Ears: Should be clean with no build up of wax and dirt. and should not smell. Some dogs can be prone to ear infections especially those with pendulous or hairy ears. If you are going to clean your dogs ears nothing smaller than your finger with some cottonwool wrapped round it should be put in your dogs ear. Never use cotton buds in your dogs ear, if he shakes his head as you introduce it you could damage the ear.
When returning from a walk check your dogs ears for grass seeds, these are easily picked up, especially with dogs who have long, hairy ears. If left a grass seed can work its way into your dogs ear canal causing a lot of damage and pain.
Feet: Your dog should allow you to run your finger through their pads. Again you should be checking for grass seeds which can get caught in the hair between the pads, they then can bury themselves into the dogs foot. In the winter balls of ice can build up between the pads which can cause discomfort although they will eventually melt it can make the foot sore. Be careful on hot summer days, if you cannot hold your hand on the tarmac for four seconds because of the heat it will be hot enough to burn your dogs feet.
Anus, Penis and Vulva: The area under the tail and around the genitals should be clean and there should be no discharge, unless you bitch is in season. Keep the hair under the tail clean, especially if your dog has diarrhea and a lot of coat. Dirty tails can attract flies which lay their eggs on the dog and if the maggots hatch they will start to eat your dog!
Hair and skin: Keep you dog well groomed, even if it has a short coat such as a whippet. Removing dead hair encourages new growth and helps to keep the skin healthy. While you are doing this you can check your dog for any lumps or bumps, cuts, thorns and parasites. Keep up to date with flea and worm treatments, it will keep your dog comfortable and save you house from being a home to unwanted visitors.
Exercise 7 - Puppy Recall
This is one of the most important things you will have to teach your dog, unfortunately it can also be one of the more tricky things as some dogs have the urge to go and explore.
Baby puppies have the instinct to stay with whoever is looking after them so the first few weeks after you bring your puppy home is the best time to teach recall. Unfortunately at the present moment taking your puppy out off lead is not possible so recall raining is going to have to take place in the garden.
Recall has to be fun, if you get cross because your dog has taken a long time to return you will discourage him from coming back next time, would you feel happy about going to someone who is going to shout at you? Start by getting your dogs attention and then call him by saying 'puppy come' if he runs towards you you can keep repeating the come command, if he does not come or stops half way back stop saying come and get his attention again - 'what's this' what have I got' 'puppy, puppy, puppy' etc. When he starts to move towards you again you can use the 'come' command again. This way you are putting the word to the dogs actions so he will learn to associate the two. Eventually he will know that come means run to someone. When the puppy gets back to you make it fun, treats, play and praise.
Exercise 8 - Basic Puppy Positions
Sit, Down and Stand.
These are good exercises to teach your puppy to respond quickly to commands. This is because you can be in total control of your puppies actions while you are teaching.
With your puppy in a stand hold a treat on your dogs nose, have the treat on your fingers and place your thumb over it to stop puppy eating it but he can still smell it. Keeping the treat in contact with puppy's nose lift your hand up and back over puppies head. As you do so puppy will lift his head to follow the treat and hid bottom will go down so puppy will end up in a sit. As he does this say 'Sit' and when the maneuver is complete let the puppy eat the treat while you praise him. Before puppy moves say 'OK' .
By repeating this exercise your puppy will earn to sit on command and not move until you tell him to.
With the puppy standing hold a treat on the puppies nose, lower your hand to the floor pushing your hand between the front legs with the back of your hand touching the floor. Your puppy will drop his nose and 'fold up' into a down. As he does this say 'down' and when he is in position give him the treat. Say 'OK' and let him get up.
Have your puppy in a sit. Hold a treat on his nose and keeping his head parallel with the floor push gently on his nose, you may have to put your other hand under his tummy to help lift him. He should kick his back legs out and end up standing without moving forward.
Exercise 9 - Walking in a Controlled Manner
Otherwise known as walking to heel. When you get your puppy home get him used to wearing a collar. He might spend a day or two scratching at it but he will soon get used to wearing it. The first t ime yiu attach a lead do not hold the end of the lead and follow your puppy around the garden. if you do this you will just be teaching your puppy that when wearing a lead he can go where he wants. The first time he wears a lead encourage him to walk beside you with enthusiastic praise and treats. You can do this for a minute or so a few times a day so that waling beside you becomes second nature.
With an older puppy you can do the same but say the word 'heel' when he is in the right place. If he pulls or wanders off to the side give a quick flick on the lead and say 'no', when he comes back into position give him a lot of praise.
Exercise 10 - Stay for 10 seconds
Once your puppy has learnt to sit and go down you can start to teach them to stay. This is an exercise you cannot rush as once you dog learns that they can move they will keep doing it.
Put your dog in a sit, hold the lead over his head but have no contact with the collar, just have a slight bend in he lead. Take one step to the side, keeping your hand over his head and telling him to 'Sit' or 'Stay'. If he moves flick the lead up and say 'no', keep giving gentle flicks until he sits again then step back to him and praise.
Exercise 11 - Take Article Away
For a puppy one of the best games is to pick up something and get your owner to chase you around trying to get it back. You only have to do this a couple of times for your puppy to learn what fun it can be. When your puppy comes into your home he has no idea what he is allowed to play with and what is out of bounds. When your puppy picks up something he should not have Do Not React, act as though you are pleased and encourage him to come to you. Say in a pleasant voice such things as 'what have you got there' 'is that for me' 'what a clever boy, show me. When he comes to you do not instantly grab the article, stroke the top of his head telling him how clever he is . then slowly take the article and give him something he can have. If you do this he will be happy to give up articles and when you come to teach retrieve he will be more confident in holding things for you.
Exercise 12 - Food Manners
Puppies have to learn that they can only eat when they are allowed to. Up until you bring your puppy home he will have had to compete for his food with the rest of the litter. He now has to learn not to snatch everything he wants. This will also help to teach you dog that you are in charge, in a group of dogs the more dominant ones eat first so getting him to wait before eating will put you higher up the pecking order in your dogs eyes.
Hold some treats in your hand an offer them to your puppy, close you fingers over the treats and let him worry at your hand. (This can be painful but you will have to grin and bear it!) When he gets bored and backs off you instantly feed him a treat. Keep repeating this until your dog automatically waits to be fed rather than trying to mug you for food.
Never be tempted to feed bits off your plate as they soon take this for granted and start helping themselves.