Six Facts You Need to Know to Raise a Perfect Puppy

BentPup

Fact #1: Forget about alpha and pack.

A nine year old child, or a 85 year old grandparent in a wheelchair, can teach and control any dog by following a few, simple, kind rules. There is an excellent, simple way to teach your puppy, and it has nothing to do with alpha or dominance. As neat as it sounds, your family is not in some sort of mythical pack with your dog. You do not compete with your puppy for food, territory or reproduction rights. You do not have to intimidate your puppy into submission. That little guy wants to be your friend!

Access this and other training articles quickly and easily on my new iphone / ipad / android FREE app

Fact #2: : Mother Nature will potty train your puppy.

97.3% of the millions of dogs who ask to go outside, were never taught to go to the door and ask.  Mother Nature did it! The dogs just naturally ask, without any training from humans. Puppies get house trained as a result of a natural, built -in process known as classical conditioning. It has little to do with consequences, scolding or tasty treats. Yes, your actions can enhance potty training, or your actions can unknowingly teach your puppy to pee and poop inside the house. But, the truth is, nature is responsible.  Follow two simple rules, and let nature take its course. Your puppy will “become” house trained.

Fact #3: You have 12 -16 weeks to create a friendly adult dog.

Events during the first few months of your puppy’s life will determine if your adult dog will be a social butterfly or a frightened, shy, neurotic, anxious dog.

***********Every certified applied animal behaviorist is familiar with the mid, 20th century, classic 20-year study of genetics and the social behavior of dogs at Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor Maine.

John Paul Scott and John L. Fuller proved that events and exposures (or lack of events and exposures) during a critical period of socialization affect a dog for life. The critical period of socialization for domestic puppies begins when the ear canals open (about 21 days) and ends at 12 -16 weeks. ********

Here are four simple things you can do right now to introduce your young pup to the good life with a capital “L”.

 

  • Have your puppy meet 10 new people each day
  • Pop open an umbrella – – – just so he won’t be startled when he sees one spring open later
  • Tune into the Cartoon Channel and turn up the cartoons: What an excellent way to get your turbo puppy used to loud, unpredictable noises!
  • Race around your living room on crutches

The idea is to let your young puppy see, hear, feel, and experience everyday events, along with life’s surprises, at a very early age.

There are many easy things you can artfully do to raise an easy-going dog who will experience the ups and downs of life as a natural unfolding of events.

Take advantage of this 16 week

critical window of opportunity.

You will be glad you did!

Fact #4: Your puppy already knows how to come, sit, and lie down

Your puppy already knows how to do every basic obedience command. You just haven’t found the best way to ask your puppy, and you’re not quite sure how to kindly motivate your puppy to want to perform for you. . . (keep reading and you will know). . .  Anyone can learn how to kindly tell their dog WHEN, WHERE, HOW LONG, and WHY to perform basic commands.  It’s easy and it’s not a secret. You will succeed when you start off right with your puppy.  Nurture a relationship based on trust, consistency, clear communication, and rewards for cooperation.

Fact #5: Puppies and dogs do not hang their heads in shame

When your puppy hangs her head and lowers her body, she is not saying, I’m sorry. She is saying, “Please do not attack me, I mean you no harm”. Some of you may be thinking, “but she lowers her head before I even talk to her.” Puppies are observant and smart. They quickly learn to read situations and human body language. Dogs know more about human body language than most humans. But this does not mean they feel guilty or know right from wrong? If you do not believe me, walk up to your puppy when she has done nothing wrong. Use the same body language and tone as you do when there is a mess on the floor. She will lower her head. Does that mean she knows she’s done something wrong?

Fact #6: There are no dog training secrets in this world; you too can be an expert.

Dog training gurus want you to think only they have the secret. Hogwash. There are hundreds of books about dog training. Unfortunately, many of the books are written by people who gained their information from reading other books. Outdated, 20th century information is being sold as new and improved! One reason I studied companion animal behavior and learning, (and canine abnormal behavior modification), was to be able to sort trendy, well marketed information, from realistic everyday solutions with accurate information that applies to all dogs and all owners.

Your search is over. I can help.

The problem you new owners are facing is you don’t have time to sift through volumes of information. It’s tough to find dog-friendly, 21st century information from an expert . . . especially one who has the experience to back up his words.  I work with all kinds of animals: happy, exuberant, fearful, shy, aggressive, and compulsive.

As of December 10, 2009, I have helped 1621 pet owners. 25% of my clients have naughty dogs with aggressive, anxious and fearful behaviors. Veterinarians refer the new puppy and the crazy dog behavior cases to me, because I get good results. I get these results using kind, consistent, easily taught techniques. That number continues to rise, because this is my full time job.

I will give you the benefit of all my experience and education. When it comes to enjoyable, healthy relationships with our animal friends, there should be no secrets.

Print This Post Print This Post

Alan J Turner

How’s Bentley’s Gateway to Free Articles and Serives

Memphis TN


Should I Get Another Dog / Puppy?

2DogsHere’s the deal. Your 7 month old Labrador Retriever is driving you nuts. Walter has so much energy, you can’t seem to wear him out. You take him on 2, 30 minute walks every day, one in the morning and one when you get home from work. He is crated during the day, because Walter would “remodel” your house otherwise.

Every evening, you play fetch for at least an hour. You want to teach Walter some obedience commands, but with your busy schedule, you just don’t get around to it.

Walter knows sit, and will usually come when called, unless he sees a squirrel or other dogs.

People tell you, “Get another dog. They can play and exercise together.”

This sounds like a great idea! If you add another dog, a playmate for Walter, they can wear each other out. Walter will have a friend and your life will be easier. Right?

Things to consider:

Can I afford the expense of another dog?

Expect to spend anywhere from $60 – $235 per month, per dog.

Will Walter  get along with my current dog?

There is always the chance that your friend for Walter may become his enemy! Managing a multi-dog household can be tricky, specially if the dogs are untrained. They might fight over your attention, rawhide chews, or that perfect spot on the sofa.

How will I find the time to train 3 dogs?

When you have 2 dogs, you have the training workload of owning 3 dogs. You’ll need to train Dog A, when Dog B is not nearby. Then you’ll train Dog B, when Dog A is not around. Great, now you have two dogs that will listen to you. Put them together and it all goes down the drain! The dogs act differently when they are together. They are another Dog, let’s call this one Dog AB. So, you really have 3 dogs to train. Train Dog A, Dog B, then train Dog AB.

Will I become a 3rd wheel?

Anyone who has litter mates can tell you. They become very accustomed to each other, so much so that they become anxious when separated. If you have time to work with each dog, without the other dog nearby, you can remain relevant. If the 2 dogs are always together, they may become one unit. And you may be the 3rd wheel.

What if both dogs chew up my stuff?

Dogs play in many ways. They chase each other, wrestle, jump and mouth each other. AND, dog dig together, hunt together and chew together. Monkey see, monkey do! One dog may never dig, but when the other starts, he or she may decide to dig too! Two dogs can destroy a set of patio furniture, or remodel a couch much quicker than 1 dog!

Will Walter teach my new dog bad habits? Or vice versa?

Dogs feed off each other’s ill manners. For instance suppose Walter is a friendly guy to everyone. He watches out the window at passing dogs and people, and rarely barks or jumps at the window. Enter new dog, who is always on patrol, barking and jumping at the window anytime anyone passes by. Walter watches and then decides to get into the act. Now you have two dogs barking and jumping! House training is another issue. If one dog has accidents inside, it’s likely that the other dog will too! Some dogs start to mark their territory when another dog is introduced. So, a problem that did not exist before is dropped into your lap!

Conclusion

When you add dogs to the house hold, you are taking on a greater responsibility for training and meeting the social, physical and emotional needs of your pets. I never suggest that a client add a dog if they are having trouble meeting the needs of 1 dog. On the flip side, if the client has one, well balanced trained dog, another dog could be a great addition!

Alan J Turner – Howsbentley

Dog Trainer – Memphis TN


Your Choice- Obnoxious Dog or Well Mannered Pet

Jack Russell TerrierEvery day, I speak with clients about meeting their dogs’ basic needs. Most of us assume our dogs are getting plenty of exercise and stimulation when the dogs are alone (or with other dogs) in a large fenced area. The dog is in the great outdoors, so she must be getting enough exercise, right?

Wrong. This is not usually the case, unless you have a turbo Jack Russell Terrier, like the one pictured in this post. Crisco hunts and chases critters for hours. Occasionally she’ll dig, because, she’s a terrier! Do not be surprised when your terrier redesigns your flower beds or digs up a shrub. The word terrier comes from the Middle French terrier, derived from the Latin terra, meaning earth. Get it? 🙂

Some dogs do know how to entertain themselves when alone in the yard.

All dogs, and especially guarding types such as German Shepherd Dogs, are at risk for refining territorial aggression if their primary jobs involve constant watching and barking at people and other dogs that pass by the yard. Yikes, that can’t be good!

Beagles and hounds may bay or bark for hours on end.

Labrador retrievers and other breeds dig, destroy fencing and furniture, chew low voltage air conditioning wires, lick bar-b-q grills, dismantle wooden decks, scratch back doors, run along fences and bark at the dogs next door, et cetera.

Some of my clients keep their dogs in the back yard because the dogs are ill mannered inside the house. The same dogs are ill mannered in the back yards.

If you want to reduce normal, unwanted behaviors, you’ll need to meet your dog’s basic needs. Make a list of behaviors you would like from your dog. Learn about training methods and teach your dog. Take your dog for daily walks in the neighborhood.

You can have a rude dog who makes your life miserable, or you can have a well mannered pet. It’s your choice. Visit other pages on this dogand site to begin your adventure.

Happy Training!

Alan J Turner

How’s Bentley – Memphis TN – Canine Relationship Solutions

Private and Group Dog Obedience – Memphis, Collierville, Germantown, Bartlett, Cordova TN

Mini Goldendoodle Puppy Training Plan

Mini GoldendoodleLiving with an untrained dog can be exhausting, for years . . . and years.

We often develop elaborate plans for ourselves and our families that include life stages, education, careers, finances, property, vacations, remodeling, and one-time events.

The key to planning any event is to understand your goals and expectations. Raising a mini goldendoodle puppy (or any puppy) is a chore!

People who have a clear idea of their expectations and goals have much more fun!

Here are a few questions to help you with your puppy training plan.

What do I expect to gain from the relationship with my dog?

How would I classify our relationship with my dog – master/slave, buddy/buddy, owner/property, senior partner / junior partner?

How will my dog’s life stages affect my family?

How long will my dog live?

Which skills will s/he need to develop?

Which behaviors make up the skills I desire?

Which behaviors should be first on my list?

Wouldn’t it be neat to develop a global training and care plan for your canine companion? To read more about puppy training plans, skills and behaviors, please visit this dogand page Dog & Puppy Training Plan-Obedience Commands

Happy Training!

Alan J Turner – How’s Bentley – Memphis TN

21st Century Canine Relationship Specialist

The Great Curtain Battle of 1999

Australian Terrier Puppy, BentleyI’ll be perfectly honest. I made all the same mistakes as anyone who every owned and raised a pup. I’ll never forget one of the many incidents when my newly adopted, turbo terrier, 10-week old pup, Bentley, was unsupervised for only a moment. In less than 10 seconds, he breeched a baby gate and enthusiastically bolted into the off-limits, living room.

He immediately attacked the most valuable ornament in the room, the curtains – the very curtains that my wife had so artfully created over a period of months, the very curtains that were so carefully displayed with cascades of expensive silk, the very delicate curtains that flowed from the ceiling and onto the floor into a calm pool of rich texture and colors.

I looked into the room. Bentley was engaged in battle, an incident that would eventually reach epic status and be referred to as The Great Curtain Battle of 1999.

Bentley had the ranks of the curtains pinned to the floor with his massive five-pound body. His head was raised and he was aggressively tugging the draperies in an all out effort to dismantle the entire arrangement! I could envision the rod swaying with each tug. Giving in to my excitement, the word NO loudly exited my lips.

Bentley stopped for about one second, looked my way, and re-engaged the enemy with increased vigor. Oh no, I thought, he accepted my input, not as a signal to disengage but as a challenge to escalate the fight! I moved closer, repeated my futile attempt with a very loud, low-toned NO. Again Bentley modified his attack. He added a curtain-intimidating, terrifying war growl to his assault!

I was standing over Bentley when I delivered my final protest, a very distinct, sub-woofer version of NO (bigger hammer?). At last, he ceased the assault. Bentley stopped tugging. Bentley lowered his previously-high-tilted tail. . . . .

Bentley lowered his previously-high-tilted head. . . . . .

Bentley lowered his previously-forward-tilted pricked ears. . . . . .

In one smooth, sad, motion, he lowered his whole body and urinated on the curtains under his feet.

Post-Battle Discussion

Ignorance is never shy. Ignorance often demands center-plate billing, garnished and displayed like filets of rainbow trout, with colorful spices on beds of multi-textured, wild rice. The Great Curtain Battle of 1999 represents one of the many instances when my delicious lack of knowledge about animal behavior and learning was presented, highlighted, glorified, and consumed by an animal that did not subscribe to popular, inaccurate, non-scientific, communication techniques.

It was that precise moment when I realized this little guy was sure to place all my ignorance about animal behavior and learning on naked display. This guy was different. Although NO seemed like an effective strategy with my previous dogs, it had failed miserably with Bentley. The urine-soaked silk and the fear that was displayed by his tiny trembling body transmitted my failures quite clearly.

It was obvious that my failure to manage the environment, my lack of preparedness, and my failure to communicate, had taken a toll on my relationship with this young, exuberant pup. . .   . To this day, I am still sorry that I momentarily transformed an exuberant, playful, young, happy, curious, adventurous, pup (a pup with too much freedom and not enough structure) into a fearful, distrusting, unhappy, and confused, urinating pup. . . . . . . (OK, ok,. . . . .  enough with the drama. . .  don’t feel badly for Bentley. . . . . . . . as always, Bentley recovered quite quickly!)

Let’s take a look at exactly what Bentley learned, didn’t learn, and what he might have learned if I handled the incident differently.

Remember, every behavior that is reinforced will be repeated. All the maneuvers of the battle (before the last few seconds when I unkindly crushed Bentley’s enthusiasm) were reinforced, because the immediate consequences of each step were appealing to Bentley. Each step he performed served to achieve his immediate goal. Yes, Bentley learned some valuable lessons, but unfortunately none of them were on my list of concepts and behaviors I wanted to teach.

Bentley learned:

  • it is a great strategy to be persistent when breaking through barriers
  • exciting new items and fun games are on the other sides of barriers
  • charging and battling the curtain were exciting and fun behaviors
  • his assumptions that I would partner with him in battle were incorrect
  • the curtain was a fierce and formidable opponent
  • my approach might be followed by a scary attack

Curtain battles raged for the next few months – apparently no form of punishment was an effective repellant for ‘must-topple-or-pee-on-curtain’ behaviors – and apparently my preventative tactics were flawed

  • the curtain became a permanent magnet for inside elimination because we couldn’t properly clean the silk fabric embedded with numerous dangling chords and beads
  • the curtain was finally retired after numerous battles and soiling had displaced its beauty

Bentley did not learn:

  • about respecting baby gates (quite the opposite!)
  • about ‘staying out’ of the living room (quite the opposite!)
  • about ‘not-battling’ the curtain (most definitely the opposite!)
  • that NO was a signal for him to stop

Was it a Timing Issue?

Maybe the timing of the NO was my major failure?

If I had delivered a protest during his first attempt to break through the baby gate, perhaps he would have learned that breeching barriers in my presence was an unsafe strategy? Hmmm…. not really on my list of target concepts or behaviors I’d like to teach. Can’t baby gates be used as barriers when people are absent? I wanted him to respect barriers in my absence, not only when I was present.

If I had delivered a protest the instant he was bolting into the living room, perhaps Bentley would have learned that bolting into living room was a dangerous strategy? Hmmm . . .  again, not really on my list of target concepts and behaviors I’d like to teach. I don’t want him to be afraid of traveling into the living room.

If I had delivered a protest the instant he grabbed the curtain, perhaps he would have learned that battling the curtain might cause me to attack him? That’s assuming he would have associated the NO with his behavior of grabbing the curtain, an unlikely assumption at best. He would be more likely to associate my approach and my presence with the NO. After all, my approach would be the most obvious event that immediately preceded the NO! Hmmm…. Not quite the relationship I intend to establish. I don’t want my dog to be afraid of my approach!

NO not effective?

It appears that NO was not an effective strategy, but a miserable failure for teaching Bentley anything useful during the Great Curtain Battle. So, what should I have done and how can I use NO effectively in the future?

I should have:

  • Managed the environment by preventing the battle altogether
  • Taken advantage of the initial Interrupt, the one-second pause after the first NO, to Redirect Bentley to perform another, more desirable, replacement behavior and then delivered Praise for complying with my Redirect.

NO can be an effective Interrupter or ‘First Step’ for teaching polite behaviors. Interrupt RedirectPraise is the most efficient context for NO.

The Truths of NO:

  • NO can be an effective interrupter in some situations.

  • More confident pups might translate our lower voice tones or louder volume of voice when we deliver NO as a playful challenge. It’s nothing more than a welcome invitation for confident pups to escalate their activities!

  • Less confident or shy pups become frightened when we bark out stern NOs. They might freeze, flee or urinate in fear. Personally I would never knowingly trade my enthusiastic, happy, curious, mischievous turbo terrier for a fearful, frozen, fleeing, or urinating pup!

  • Compliance with NO is dependent upon the pups’ personalities and the situations at hand. It depends on the volume and the tone of the word NO. It depends on the levels of cooperation we have previously developed with the pups.

  • Compliance with NO also depends on how motivated the pups are to complete their current undesirable activities. For example, NO might work well when your pup is snooping in your closet, a closet that he has investigated many times before. The same pup may ignore the NO if he just breeched a baby gate and is exploring a forbidden room. Those craft projects spread out on the floor are so stimulating and desirable that he doesn’t even seem to hear the word NO!

  • NO is an Interrupter. Used alone, NO is an incomplete sentence. NO is only one third of a valuable teaching sequence, InterruptRedirectPraise.

  • After delivering NO, we should immediately take advantage of the NO Interrupt and complete our sentence. The best teachers enthusiastically engage and Redirect their pups and dogs to perform an alternate, acceptable behavior.

  • The instant our animals start to comply with our Redirect request, we should deliver Praise, some sort of reward, thus increasing the replacement behavior via positive reinforcement.

  • To use this sequence, we should identify, teach and practice the Redirect behavior in many situations before we use it in real-time. We should take our dogs through each grade of performance! For instance, we should practice sit in mildly distracting situations before we practice sit when guests come into our homes or when kids are running.

Manage the Environment

On the day of the Great Curtain Battle of 1999, Bentley the 10 week-old puppy had lived with me for about six days. By day two, I realized this turbo puppy was likely to ‘explore-himself’ into trouble anytime he was unsupervised for a few seconds. Recognizing that it was only a matter of time before he conquered the gate, I should have attached a tether, a sort of umbilical cord. To use this prevention tool, get an 8-10 foot line and attach one end to your pup and the other end to your belt. A tether is a management tool, not a teaching tool.

Management Tools

Management tools are short-term, preventative measures. Think of them like diapers on a baby. We all know that babies will eliminate anytime, anywhere. We all know that it’s impossible to teach a 3-month old baby about potty training. We all know that the day will come when it is time to teach the child potty skills. So, until the time is right for teaching, we use a temporary management tool. We use diapers.

The same applies to our pups. It’s impossible to teach them everything they need to know in one or two days, or one or two months! We all know that pups and dogs will get into the trash, jump up on counters, urinate in homes, steal our clothes, tug the curtains, chew the furniture, jump up on guests, bolt out doors and gates, run into the streets, dig in the gardens, et cetera.

With all this ‘knowing’ going on, it’s amazing that 90% of most complaints about unruly canine behaviors would be non-existent if the people used short-term, preventative, management tools, like leashes, tethers, secured baby gates, and crates. None of these short-term tools teach our dogs, but, like diapers, they can serve a very useful purpose during periods when teaching cannot take place.

It’s tough to teach pups how to behave nicely when they are happily engaged and practicing unruly behaviors. If you haven’t yet taught your pup how to behave around guests and your dog is soon-to-be exposed to visitors, use the diapers! Attach a leash to prevent your dog from practicing mug-the-guests behaviors!

Goals of Off Leash Obedience or Guard Dog Performances by the Family Dog

p_480_320_1E6B3BD9-8F00-48B9-BC22-54B4AE73B475.jpegOkay, so you want your puppy to stay in the yard, when off leash. You want your puppy to ignore that sandwich your toddler is dangling at her nose level.

You want your puppy to sit calmly while you vacuum. You want your dog to protect and guard your home and family.

You want your puppy to grow into a combination of Lassie, a Guide Dog for the Blind, or a canine Police Officer.

Good for You!
Lofty goals are great, for without them man would not have accomplished space travel or the Internet!

But, before your puppy can get a PhD in pet performance, she must learn basic obedience commands. She should graduate from Kindergarten, attend Grade School, pass Middle School, excel at High School level behaviors, and then attend College and Graduate School. And, your puppy will need an expert teacher.

You get the idea. All these goals may be within your reach. But, you’ll never know unless you learn a bit about communication, motivation, and how dogs learn. You’ll never know unless you form a training plan, apply your knowledge during every interaction with your canine companion, and you practice every single day, with increasingly higher levels of distractions.

You will be your dog’s Kindergarten mom, Grade School principle, Middle School counseler, High School mentor, and College Professor.

You, my newly appointed animal training intern, are on a steep learning curve. You, my enthusiastic new puppy owner, have much to learn, and much to do, if you want to reach those goals.

Don’t fret.

Dog training is not quantum physics! Anyone can learn how to succeed. Here are your first steps.

Meet your dog’s physical, social and emotional needs.

Kindly prevent your puppy from practicing unwanted behaviors.

Establish a meaningful method to communicate. Condition a reward marker.

Enact the Rewards Awareness Program.

Establish a Reward System.

This dogand site is filled with instructions and tips about raising and training a dog.

Look around and begin your adventure!

Happy Training!

Alan J Turner
How’s Bentley – Memphis
21st Century Canine Relationship Specialist

Meet Your Dog’s Physical Needs for Balance – Commercial, BARF, Frozen & Organic Diet, Food Choices

ReddogPhysical needs are related to the physical well-being of the dog. Routine vaccinations are one example of physical health requirements.

Grooming and bathing, quality food and clean water are other obvious needs. Shelter from environmental extremes and refuge from everyday household commotion are important for the physical health of your puppy.

The ability to move about, sufficient bathroom access, and daily exercise are components of physical needs.

Health Care

Routine Home, Health Inspections

Some health problems can be easily recognized by routine home, health inspections.

Ear infections are common, especially in dogs with floppy ears. If your dog is constantly shaking his or her head or scratching his or her ears, there’s likely to be an infection.

Ear infections are stinky. To determine if your pup’s ears are infected, place your nose directly into your pup’s ear and take a whiff. Do this a couple of times every week so you’ll notice any changes in the odor, before the infection develops into a serious problem. Contact your veterinarian if your dog’s ears are smelly!

Skin irritations are another common problem. Visually inspect your dog’s skin for signs of redness. In addition, you can sniff your dog’s skin. Any changes in the odor of your dog’s skin could be signs of a problem.

The consistency of your pup’s stools is another indicator of overall health. Generally speaking, you should be able to pick up your dog’s stools with a napkin. If your puppy has loose or runny stools, contact your vet.

Veterinarian Wellness Checkups

Wellness checkups are much more than disease protection and a quick once-over. Extensive blood work and a thorough examination are helpful for identifying potential health problems before they affect the life of your animal. Blood chemistry results are compared and contrasted from year to year.

Comprehensive wellness exams provide veterinary professionals with a baseline for measuring the pet’s medical health.

Disease Prevention

Check with your veterinarian if you have any questions related to the prevention of global or regional health threats to your dog. I live in Memphis, TN. In the southeast, we have a saying.

There are two types of dogs, dogs that are always on heart worm and parasite prevention and dogs that are on the path to contracting parasites and heart worm disease.

Grooming

To all social mammals, grooming is a form of social interaction, a sort of bonding exercise.

Routine grooming has benefits beyond a neat coat. Brushing stimulates healthy skin. Grooming teaches your dog to accept handling, a most helpful coping skill.

Some puppies accept grooming and others view handling as an opportunity to bite. Please read subsequent chapters about socialization and play biting for tips on how to teach your pup to accept routine grooming.

Bathing

Bathing requirements vary greatly from breed to breed, as do ear and dental examinations. Check with your veterinarian and groomer about a schedule best suited to your dog.

Dental Care

Dental problems can develop into dangerous, life threatening conditions. Dogs with squashed faces (brachycephalic breeds) are at a higher risk for developing dental problems than breeds with a wolf-like muzzle.  This is because the same number of teeth is condensed into a smaller area.

Dirty teeth can affect the health of the heart. Talk to your vet about starting a dental care program suitable for your breed.

There are many consumable products advertised to improve your dog’s dental health and breath. Chewing bones and other, hard, abrasive chew items can help to reduce tarter.

I’m not sure if eating a mint flavored chew item actually improves long-term breath or not. I have fed Bentley some of these and never noticed a long term change in the odor of his dog breath. Try some and see for yourself.

Diet Choices

Pet food is a multi-billion dollar industry. Choosing a food can be very frustrating because you will hear different advice from everyone.

If your dog is healthy and happy on his or her current diet, then my advice is to stick with that diet.

If your dog has chronic medical or behavioral health issues, then perhaps a diet change is warranted.

One of the first questions I hear from clients is, “What do you feed Bentley?”.

I feed Bentley a prescription diet purchased from my veterinarian because of his heath condition, chronic pancreatitis. A portion of his meal is canned food placed in a bowl. The remaining portion of his meals is dry food, delivered as treats when training.

Even though the ingredients are not what I consider to be of the highest quality, the balance of nutrition, fat, and protein is well suited for his medical condition.

Dry versus Wet Food

From a nutritional point of view, it stands to reason that wet or canned foods may contain more nutrients than their dry counterparts. Quality of ingredients, storage, and processing affect the nutritional value of all foods.

Many people claim that dry dog foods are better for dogs because dry foods help maintain clean teeth.

I’ll accept that dogs who actually chew dry food may receive some teeth-cleaning benefits from dry foods. But, I’ve met many dogs who only ate dry food and their teeth were very dirty. Maybe this is because they didn’t really chew the food or maybe it’s an individual trait of that dog.

For whatever reasons, some dogs need annual teeth cleaning by a veterinarian and other do not. Ask your vet for a teeth cleaning schedule that’s best for your dog.

Diet and Behavior

I am not a nutritional expert. I have absorbed information from those who I consider to be well educated in the field. I do know there is a link between diet and behavior.

Diet affects physical health. Physical health affects behavioral health.

Studies with children indicate that children who eat a balanced diet have a learning advantage over those who consume a less balanced diet.

Any parent will tell you that their child’s behavior is influenced by the amount of junk food the child consumes.

I always address diet when discussing problem behaviors.

There have been small studies about diet content and abnormal behaviors in animals. These studies claim that protein and carbohydrate levels can affect behavioral health.

My success with diet changes and behavioral improvements is unclear. Since I always present a multi-point behavior modification program which includes diet change, it’s difficult to measure the effects of the diet change.

In 1% of my behavior cases, changing the diet did cause dramatic improvements. I know this because the clients admittedly did nothing but change the dogs’ diets.

More apparent is the relationship between defecation and diet. Dogs who eat foods with more “junk” produce more, larger stools. Sometimes this can be a factor to consider while house training.

Commercial Foods

There are commercial foods marketed for toy dogs, working dogs, large breeds, puppies, adults, seniors, et cetera.

Some foods are advertised to be breed- specific, such as food especially for Yorkshire terriers.

I’m not sold on the necessity of selecting breed-specific foods, but I’m no expert. I avoid food marketed as suitable for all life stages.

Life-stage and weight control foods make sense to me.

Puppies require different levels of nutrients than seniors. Seniors need different levels of fiber, fat, protein, etc., than younger dogs. Overweight dogs should consume fewer calories.

Contact your veterinarian with any questions regarding the best food for your individual dog at his or her current life stage.

Rendered Foods

Dog foods contain ingredients that originate from the same sources as our people food. Lamb, rice, chicken and vegetables are common ingredients. The quality is usually of a lower grade than served to people.

Most commercial dry dog foods are rendered so that we can easily store and serve the product. Rendering is a type of heated reduction or extraction process in which fat soluble and water soluble products are separated from solid products.

Homemade Diets

There are some who profess that a B.A.R.F. diet is the best for our canine companions. Bones And Raw Food make up the B.A.R.F. diet. I haven’t been exposed to studies about the effectiveness of the diet, but I believe  the B.A.R.F. diet has merits.

Many people prefer to make their dogs’ food. There’s no question that fresh foods are more nutritious than processed foods.   I have no doubt that some people research and learn how to meet the nutritional requirements of their pets. Their dogs may indeed live longer, healthier lives than dogs on commercial diets of lesser quality.

Some of my concerns with homemade diets are related to balance and life stages.

Unless the people follow a well researched recipe, the animal may not receive necessary nutrients in the ideal quantities. In addition, life stage nutritional requirements may be overlooked in home made diets.

Another concern when discussing home made diets, especially the B.A.R.F. diet, is a group of bacteria known as salmonella.

Improper handling of raw foods places humans and pets at risk for illness.

Common symptoms of salmonella infection are diarrhea, fever, or abdominal cramps.

Frozen & Organic Diets

There are alternatives for those who do not want to prepare home made foods nor feed a traditional dog food. Frozen and freeze dried raw diets as well as organic dog foods are other choices.

I question some claims posted by some niche-food manufacturers.

I wonder how a very small company can purchase organic ingredients, process, package, (sometimes freeze), and ship the finished product for a fraction of the cost I would incur by only purchasing the same ingredients.

Add in the cost of business and payroll taxes, insurance, various other business expenses plus a small profit and the math simply does not support their claims.

These and other non-traditional dog food selections might be good choices for those who want to purchase a higher quality diet, assuming the maker follows sanitary guidelines, has a nutritionist on staff,  and uses the stated ingredients in quantity.

Table Scraps

Some people feed their dogs table scraps. Others pride themselves on never feeding people food. Some randomly toss food to their dogs when eating at the table.

Feeding dogs from the table can create a begging, obnoxious dog or can create a wonderfully polite dog!  It depends on the timing of the delivery. If you toss a bite immediately after your dog whines or barks, then obnoxious behaviors will increase. If you toss a piece when your dog is waiting quietly, then polite behaviors will increase.

Feeding table scraps might temporarily upset your dog’s digestive system.

In some instances, ingesting large quantities of high fat table scraps can permanently affect a dog’s digestive system.

I never feed Bentley substantial quantities of table scraps, but he does get people food.

Feeding table scraps will aggravate Bentley’s chronic pancreatitis.

I often let Bentley lick my empty plate. If he waits quietly and patiently, I rinse the plate and place it on the floor. Bentley doesn’t really get any food or food juices from the rinsed plate.

People Food Treats

Some people food can be used as training treats.

I often use carefully selected people food for training treats.

Many of my clients use boiled chicken, turkey, other low-fat meats, organic cereals, and bits of fruits and vegetables. All these are great training treats. Unsalted, plain popcorn is another favorite.

I do not feed high fat, high salt treats like corn and potato chips as well as any candy, cakes, ice cream or sweets.

Happy Training!

Alan J Turner

Canine Behavior Counselor – Memphis TN

Aggression, Fear, Puppy Manners, Obedience – Private and Group Animal Training and Behavior Services

The critical period of socialization for puppies begins when the ear canals open at about 21 days of age. The period ends anytime from 12 to 16 weeks of age.

West Highland TerrierYou have a very brief window of opportunity to socialize your puppy.

During the last century, experiments and studies concerning genetics and the social development of dogs were prevalent.

It is well documented that dogs that were deprived of social interactions with people and events during the sensitive or critical period of socialization were adversely affected.

The critical period of socialization begins when the ear canals open at about 21 days of age. The period ends anytime from 12 to 16 weeks of age.

Genetics and the Social Behavior of the Dog by John Paul Scott and John L. Fuller is a well-regarded book which documents experiments about the critical period of socialization.

Pups that are exposed to various events, multiple settings, other pups, other species, friendly dogs and a diverse mix of adults and children during early developmental periods are less likely to develop fearful or aggressive behaviors.

In addition, the normal physiological development of organs associated with the immune system can be enhanced or retarded because of increased or decreased early social interactions.

According to many studies, well-socialized puppies grow into dogs that navigate stressful situations well. Poorly socialized pups are more likely to become dogs that freeze, flee, or fight when presented with stressful changes in their environment.

Inside the circles of medical and behavioral health professionals, an ongoing controversy exists.

Medical health professionals are concerned about exposing non-vaccinated pups to life threatening diseases.

Veterinary personnel routinely instruct puppy owners to restrict their pup’s excursions into non-sterile outside environments until the pups are fully immunized at 16 weeks. Their advice is warranted. Dangerous health risks are present in public areas.

The deadly parvo virus can survive for months in the environment. Roundworms and other intestinal parasites can live for years in the soil.

Many dangers are passed via animals’ stools. If you are in a public area, don’t allow your puppy to sniff stools or other dogs’ rear ends!

Behavioral health experts contend that more dogs are relinquished or euthanized due to behavior problems than all medical conditions combined.

From a behavioral health point of view, pups should be exposed to diverse situations during the period from 8-16 weeks. With early exposures, fewer dogs would develop fearful and aggressive behaviors.  This controversy has a simple solution.

Expose your 8-16 week-old pup to stimulating situations that don’t threaten his or her developing immune system.

Take your young puppy on car rides, visits to friends and neighbors homes. Hold controlled play sessions with healthy, vaccinated pups and friendly dogs. Invite many people to your house so that your pup can meet all types of people.

Happy Training!

Alan J Turner, CBC  – How’s Bentley – Memphis TN

Certified Companion Animal Behavior Counselor – Canine Specialization


Add a Pup?

TwoDogs

I know many suggest adding another dog to give your pup a playmate.

Adding another dog has exercise and social benefits, however; I never mention add-a-pup as a solution for families that are having difficulties meeting the training needs of one dog.

Owning two untrained dogs is at least three times the work as one.

You’ll need to separate them for teaching sessions. Dog A must be trained. Dog B must be trained. When you put them together, they are another dog, Dog AB. You’ll need to practice with Dog AB too!

Some people prefer to send their dogs to day care. If your pup is not stressed by the noisy and rowdy environment, send him off for a day to play with other puppies.

Sometimes it’s tough to determine if puppies are playing or fighting. If the puppies often reverse roles and neither is hiding from the other, then the rough play is normal.

Reversing roles is when Pup A chases Pup B, then Pup B chases Pup A.

If one puppy is on top, and then the other pup is on top, the play is normal. Relax and enjoy the show!

Print This Post Print This Post

Happy Training!
Alan J Turner – Companion Animal Behavior Counselor and Trainer, Canine Specialization
Puppy Help