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Shaping a Pup' Personality

Written by: Bill Knell

Web Site:   Doggie Style

There are two points in the life of any dog when the majority of personality traits of that animal will be shaped the most. The first comes during the time from birth to about eight weeks. Itís common for people to ignore, over or under handle pups during this time and depend on mom for their physical and emotional development. Domesticated animals require more commitment then just constant petting, play or being picked up for the purposes of health examinations or treatments.

It depends on the breed and the individual, but most pups start to drift away from mom by four weeks of age. At that point the puppies should have access to an open area that includes mom, but doesnít severely restrict their movement. The pups should be able to wander freely for at least five feet from mom. This area should be inside a home or structure due to the danger of viral or bacteria infection and can be easily secured by a portable fence or gate.

Giving pups some exploration room also gives them a chance to gain confidence. With confidence comes the removal of excessive fear that every pup has as a natural protection against dangers earlier in life. Those without the ability to roam tend to retain that excessive fear resulting in a pup that is easily frightened and standoffish.

I recall many times in my childhood when a neighborís dog would give birth. It was almost inevitable that the neighbors would find a cardboard box to place mom and her pups in. By the time the pups were five weeks old, mom had enough of her offspring and would leave the box for most of the time. The pups would climb out and get into all sorts of mischief. The result of trying to keep pups restricted to an area too small for them was not only frustrating for all involved, but caused the pups to be in the impossible position of fighting against their instinctive behavior.

Pups that are not given room to wander tend to grow into dogs that love to bolt. Thatís because they develop an instinctive fear of being trapped and will take every opportunity to get away when they can. Although dogs are domesticated pets, itís a mistake to believe that they are not largely driven by powerful instincts. These instincts can be manipulated for better or worse. Giving pups their space and allowing them to separate from mom is natureís plan and should be yours as well.

Proper socialization of pups should begin by the time they reach two weeks of age. If mom cooperates, you should begin to hold and pet each pup allowing a few minutes every day to let them know you are a friend. Soon the pups will look forward to these times and enjoy playing with you. Most puppies will not form lasting bonds with anyone until after they are sixteen to twenty four weeks of age, so thereís no danger of having a pup get too attached to any one person. Unless you plan on naming or keeping the dog yourself, avoid using a regular term for an individual pup.

Sibling adjustment is an important part of personality development. This is the time during the first eight weeks of life when a puppy interacts with littermates. That interaction prepares the pup for life in the real doggy world and will determine how well a dog gets along with their fellow canines and other pets. If a pup is removed from its mom and littermates before seven or eight weeks, that dog is more likely to have problems adjusting to a new home. It will instinctively seek play time with littermates or mom (if itís a sole survivor) that are no longer around and this may bring on depression or even negative behavior patterns. Playing with people is not a good substitute for time with mom and littermates.

The next point of emotional and behavioral growth in a dog occurs when the puppy is transferred to a new owner or during the period of eight to twenty-four weeks of its life. During this time a puppy has to get used to a new environment, new odors and a different lifestyle. This may cause some stress and the symptoms that accompany it (throwing up, loose stool movements and a poor appetite) which may persist for up to a week.

Whether a pup remains with its Breeder or moves to a new environment, the period from eight to twenty-four weeks begins a new chapter in any pups life. During that time they will begin to establish themselves as self-sufficient individuals. Feeding and sleeping habits will be formed, territorial claims will be established and relationships with other animals formed. Positive reinforcement can be used during this period to let a pup know what is expected when it comes to compliance with acceptable behavior.

One of the biggest mistakes a new puppy owner will make is to confuse their animal. Most dogs are creatures of habit. They learn and thrive based on repetition. Constantly relocating food and water dishes, potty pans and sleeping areas will confuse an animal. Infrequent walks for those trying to train their dogs to go outside will cause your pet confusion. Dogs that cannot trust their owners to let them out or walk them will take care of business when and where they feel the urge.

Allow your pup time to itself. Dogs will often stare at members of their new family for what seems like an unusually long period of time. Most people assume this means that they want to be picked up or need something. What they are really doing is learning what you and other immediate family members look like. This, along with a powerful sense of smell, helps them understand which people are part of their family and which are strangers.

One of the first things a pup must learn is not to overreact to strangers. It may surprise you to learn that dogs which are allowed the most access to strangers are the ones most likely to bark at and possible attack them. Thatís because they do not understand that everyone who comes to your door or enters your yard is not an enemy. If you want you pup to get used to regular visitors who are not immediate family members, keep them away from the door while such people enter or exit the home. Allow them to smell and casually interact with regular visitors.

Dogs left out in a yard or in an area where they can view strangers when you are not present will bark in an attempt to warn off what they consider to be interlopers. Limiting their access to open areas while youíre not home can help keep a dogís natural desire to protect their territory at bay. The two most important rules of dog ownership are to protect your dog against danger and to protect people against your dog.

Whether you are present or absent, you are responsible for your petís well-being and behavior. Always be sure your pet has access to food, water and reasonable shelter. Itís always wise to be sure your pup is in a locked area. This will make it harder for thieves to steal your animal and keep a reasonable separation between your pet and curious children. If your pet attacks someone whether it happens on your property or not, you will likely be held at least partially responsible. Keeping dogs on a short leash during walks is a common sense solution to most social interactions during walks. Keeping dogs kenneled during Vet visits or long car rides is also common sense solution to protect your animal and those who might try and interact with it.

The time to think about what a new puppy may need is before your purchase or adopt one. Depending on size, youíll need to be sure that your pup fits into itís new environment comfortably. Justifying a large dog in a small area by saying that youíll take the dog jogging with you is not responsible. Thereís always the possibility that an injury or change in lifestyle may eliminate that advantage and leave your dog high and dry.

It always astounds me when I see a huge dog that is forced to live in a small area or a dog adopted by a family that clearly cannot afford one. Most people tell a sad tale of adopting the dog rather then risking its extermination. Before you give in to an emotional appeal by the local dog shelter, consider the dogís need for space and your familyís ability to care for a pet. If your pup gets sick, can you afford the Vet bills? Does everyone in your family want the pup? Sometimes taking the wrong dog into your home at the wrong time can create more problems then it solves. Consult a Vet or Breeder before you purchase or adopt.

Setting limits for your pet means as much work for you as it does your dog. Keep a regular schedule, place your pet in comfortable areas that they can get used to and donít become obsessed with your animal. Far too many pet owners over-bath, over-medicate, over-feed and over-groom their dogs. Others stuff their animals full of unneeded food supplements and vitamins. The remedy for this problem is to involve your Veterinarian and the Breeder who sold you your animal in planning for your dogís lifestyle in your home. Most Breeders will give you a breakdown of what to expect from a new pup and what you need to do to keep it healthy.

The positives and negatives in any dogís personality are largely the result of the way it spends the first twenty-four weeks of its life. Every dog breeder and owner must take the lionís share of responsibility for any dogís behavioral development. Being a dog owner means more then filling up a food bowl, letting a dog out in the morning or owning a dog just to save one from extermination. Itís a serious commitment that should be carefully planned for.

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by: Suzanne Clothier

Perhaps one of the most embarrassing behavior problems is a dog who acts aggressively on leash, whether towards dogs, other animals or people. Often these dogs do not exhibit any aggression when off leash. Though puzzling to owners, the difference between off leash and on leash behavior offers a clue to the problem as well as the solution. Recognize that on leash aggression always involves unintentional signals from the owner which create a vicious cycle. Here' how:

At some point, usually in adolescence, the dog growls, barks, lunges at or snaps at a dog or person. The owner is surprised and embarrassed, and not sure what to do. If not handled correctly, the dog may persist in this behavior and get worse over time.

Understandably, the owner begins to anticipate any situation which might trigger this behavior. Spotting an approaching dog or person before the dog does, the owner tightens up on the leash so he can control the dog better, stiffens his own body posture and holds his breath. The dog notices the change in the leash tension, the owner' body posture and breathing, and begins looking to see what has the owner so worried, and once he spots it, begins his aggressive behavior.

Did you know that the first step in attack training is to give the dog something or someone he wants to get to, while using a tight lead and tense body posture to excite the dog into a more aggressive state? In the case of on leash aggression, the owner actually makes the situation worse without meaning to, and the dog simply responds to signals received from the owner.

What can you do to solve the problem? Here' the basics:


Reprinted from http://www.flyingdogpress.com/
Reprinted from Zongoo.com Daily Press & Consumer Information
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Jumping Up 2


by David the Dogman

Teach your dog to sit whenever you ask him to. Sit at the kerb when you cross the road. Sit in front of you. Then when he runs at you, or anyone else, if told sit he will sit.

BUT it has to be practised, and used constantly, not just now and then.

When he sits as you have asked reward him with a titbit...a very tiny one.

Sit while his food is being prepared.

Lying down is another skill that is useful. Lie down, I am busy. Lie down, I want to watch TV. Lie down, while we eat.

If you say DOWN when he jumps up, the word does not mean lie down on the ground and keep still...it means stand on four legs and dont jump up. So you need to use another word, like LIE, or FLAT, for him...

Also QUIET is often the noisiest word in the English language for dog owners ...and all it does is make him think you are helping him bark. So WHISPER "quiet."

When he is excited and jumps at you, turn round and walk away. Pretend you cant see him. Don't speak or shout at him as that is still acknowledging him and he wants your attention. Only speak when he has settled down...it will take time at first but he ought to learn that jumping up is useless as nothing nice happens when he does it...or nasty for that matter. Nothing at all happens.

If he asks to be petted, DON'T. Keep your hands away. Don't sit and stroke him absent mindedly as that gives him too much attention and makes him feel much more important than you are. When he goes away from you, then you can call him and YOU pet him, not because he has forced you to, but because you want to. I have petting times...when I call my dog and make a fuss of her...not too much or she will over excite.

If he asks to play, dont play. Ignore him. Then a few minutes later, IF it is convenient, you call him and start to play.

Pack leaders eat first, and you are the pack leader...he isn't...so he has to learn that...but just eating before him will show him you are boss.

Pack leaders go through doors first...so he must not rush through in front of you.

His change of diet ought to help, but it wont happen overnight...it will take about six weeks, as he will still have the elements of the old food in his system. Many foods on the market have the same effect as those that excite hyperactive children. I had help with this from someone who works with them in the NHS. One Smartie can cause a problem if red is what triggers a child. The same with the dogs. Can be colouring, preservatives or content.

(By the way, red dyes in carpets can cause skin problems.)

If you have been shouting at him, and most people do...dogs can be very annoying...then stop, and WHISPER to him. Their hearing is fifty times more acute than ours...they can hear a beetle walk across the floor.

Commitment, Firmness, but kindness.

Do you have any problems with your pet? Then why not send your problem to DAVID THE DOGMAN. David is a Canine Behaviourist who works and lives in Marbella, Spain. Tel/Fax (00345) 2883388. His web site is located at: http://www.thedogman.net. David has his own radio and TV shows, and writes for many newspapers and magazines. David has been working with dogs for many years and started his career in Israel, working on the Border Police. He has been involved in all forms of training, including air sea rescue, air scent work, and has trained dogs for finding drugs. David has devoted the past 10 years to studying behaviour and the very passive approach. He does not use choke chains, check chains, or any form of aggression.

David The Dogman is available for private consultations in your home, for further details telephone; Tel; (95) 2883388

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Affection


By: David the Dogman

Pets are an important part of many families. A recent survey by the American Animal Hospital Association of 1,206 pet owners in the United States and Canada showed that more than 80 percent of the respondents were female and an incredible 48 percent of these said they rely more on their pets than on a spouse or child for affection.

"Pets can provide their owners with unlimited affection and unconditional love," says Dr. Jay Geasling, president of AAHA. "In return, many people treat them like members of the family."Significantly, 50 percent of dog and cat owners said they had given their pets a human name such as Molly, Sam or Max. More than 60 percent include news about their pets in their holiday postcards, and 36 percent include a photograph of their pets with correspondence. An amazing 27 percent said they had taken their pets to a professional photographer to be part of family photographs or to be photographed with "Santa Claus" or the "Easter Bunny."

Nearly 50 percent take their pets in the car on errands and 53 percent vacation or travel with them. Twenty-Five percent blow-dry their pets after bathing them, 45 percent provide a special bed, and 75 percent buy special premium pet food. Nearly 60 percent of pet owners said they love their pets so much that when the pets die, they will bury them on family property. Although nearly 80 percent of the respondents were dog owners and 61 percent cat owners, 11 percent had birds, 6 percent own "pocket pets" such as a gerbil or hamster, and 5 percent own a reptile. Another 13 percent had other types of pets ranging from fish to horses.

Walking in a public place with a dog is one way to ensure it is unlikely you will be robbed. Lou Castle, an Internet friend who is head of Los Angeles Police Dogs who has handled thousands of cases of robbery on the streets, tells me that he has not known one victim who had a dog with them at the time.

Commitment, Firmness, but kindness.

David has his own radio and TV shows, and writes for many newspapers and magazines. David has been working with dogs for many years and started his career in Israel, working on the Border Police. He has been involved in all forms of training, including air sea rescue, air scent work, and has trained dogs for finding drugs. David has devoted the past 10 years to studying behaviour and the very passive approach. He does not use choke chains, check chains, or any form of aggression.

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Clicker Training


By: David the Dogman

Since things started the primary means of controlling dog behaviour has been with a collar, leash and the strength of the trainer' hand. Most pet dog owners do not have the strength and skill required.

Over the past 12 years a new form of dog training has developed based on the system used by Karen Proyer, pioneer marine mammal trainer now known as the "Clicker" which is used for dolphin and whales. The training of dolphins is based on a positive reinforcement-primarily a bucket of fish.

Pryor' experiences planted seeds in the minds of many trainers and behaviourists who thought if marine mammal trainers can control 600-pound sea lions without shouting and force then why cannot we adopt a similar technique with dog training?

Marine mammal trainers use whistles and clickers since they are aware that before they can even say the word "Good" the mammal has swam 30 feet in the air. As soon as a mammal reaches the highest part of a jump he will know that unless he hears a click he will get no fish. The mammal now learns that a wanted behaviour he gets a click and a food reward, no click then he does not receive any reward.

Over the past few years I have often mentioned that the more we talk to our pets in training the less they understand. I have also urged owners to never punish or correct a dog unless they are able to give a positive reinforcement of either a kind voice or a treat of some kind, like a liver treat.

It is important to try and shorten praise words to one word like "Good" rather than "Now that' a clever boy". A good behaviour "Click and treat". If any dog knows you have a treat he will sit, when he does click and treat. The dog might get up, as he does say "Up" click and treat. If he lays down just as he does say "Down" click and treat. When the dog comes to you, then say "Come" click and treat.

You will be amazed at how quick the dog will understand simple one-word commands that are followed by the click and treat. Remember he only gets the click when he does the required command.

Clickers are now all the rage in the USA and are now getting started in the UK.

Commitment, Firmness, but kindness.

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Barking


By: David the Dogman

Barking at night
The simple answer is to ignore the dog. By barking, it is training you to respond. You might have a few noisy nights but you will be showing it that barking is not productive. Certainly do not respond by shouting or scolding. If you do so the dog will only know that its barking has been productive by making you bark as well.

Barking, excessive
The reason for excessive barking in one word is FEAR, and it is frightened because it has not been socialized. It is nervous of every sound it hears and barks in a futile attempt to send the perceived threat away. Sometimes a dog which constantly whines, cries, barks, or is destructive, suffers from skin problems brought about by scratching and licking themselves because of the stress of being left. Generally this is not a problem with dogs which have been socialized through training classes at an early age. The solution is socialzation through obedience classes and home management.

Barking when the owner is out
This is a big problem caused by bad owners. The dog is a pack animal and if, as a member of the family pack, it is given the freedom of the home by being allowed to rest on the furniture and sleep in bedrooms, then it will suffer a form of stress when the pack goes off to work because it expects to go with the pack. When people leave home they should not look, touch or talk to the dog for about 10 minutes beforehand. The same applies when coming home: ignore, no talking, no patting, no looking, nothing. This way, the dog understands that its barking has not brought the owner back. If it has been barking while you were away and is rewarded by your attention when you come back, it then thinks it was its barking that brought you back to the house. A dogís bark is said to be worse than its bite. It certainly is for the neighbors of a constantly barking dog left alone for too long, unsocialized and with uncaring owners. Hopefully no readers would permit their dogs to be such a community nuisance.

Barking at the postman
The postman or any kind of regular deliveryman is regarded by your dog as an intruder and so it barks and is immediately rewarded by the postman going away. It thinks it has frightened off the intruder and done its duty. Talk to your postman and try to get him to cooperate. Tell him you will leave a tit-bit outside the door and ask him to push it through the letter-box before the letters. The tit-bit will be a better reward for your dog than chasing the postman away.

Barking when the telephone rings
If you shout (bark) at your dog when it barks at the telephone ringing, you are encouraging it to bark more. It feels there is danger if you react. Get a friend to phone you at several agreed times. When the phone rings do not move and do not speak. After your friend has done this a few times your dog will no longer bark when the telephone rings.

Barking from balconies
When a dog barks from a balcony at someone passing by, it is simply asserting its dominance, firstly by looking down on humans and secondly by successfully telling them to shove off. As far as the dog is concerned, it is objecting to someone invading its territory. And even more pleasing, its barking is rewarded by the passerby walking away. Answer: ban the dog from the balcony.

Barking deterrent
Abistop is a French invention resulting from chemosensory research into the dog barking problem. It is attached to the dogīs collar and automatically emits a small spray of citronella whenever the dog barks. Brief exposure to cintronella immediately distracts dogs but does not cause them distress and even smells pleasant to humans. It is effective but expensive at £90. A cheaper method might be a quick squirt of water from a plant spray bottle or putting a bit of food in front of the dogís nose. It cannot eat and bark at the same time.

Commitment, Firmness, but kindness.

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Punishing a Puppy


By: David the Dogman

I think the message I have is that we cannot ever expect a puppy to think human...therefore it is quite reasonable for us to think like a dog. A very good book on the market is called Think Dog...by the late John Fisher, well worth getting.

When puppies annoy the bitch she will use eye contact and facial expression first. The youngster will carry on the unwanted behaviour then the mother will give out a low growl which will increase in volume with a show of teeth. If this is not enough to produce the desired result the bitch will to all intense and purposes fly in at the youngster. This is not a full blown attack, far from it, it is dress rehearsal for the pup, conditioning him for life later on. No contact is made although from the resulting noise mainly from the puppy, one could be excused for thinking that the litter had been reduced to one pup.

It is interesting to note that the bitch will immediately console the puppy and start to lick it all over...and this behaviour is observed every time the youngster steps out of line.

From this we can learn that the puppy has been taught by the bitch the correction and reward. Correction...Growl (our voice NO)...the moment the behaviour stops the lick (we simply stroke the pups head). Now what we are doing is copying the mother. This way the puppy is never fearful of us.

In my humble it is cruel to punish a dog for anything after the act. In other words if you come home and find a mess, destruction etc. then ignore this. The puppy or indeed the dog will never understand he has done wrong. To come home and shout will make any dog put his tail between his legs and cower or shy away. Many owners will say "You see...he knows he has done wrong". He does not know anything other than the human has arrived back at the den and is aggressive.

Commitment, Firmness, but kindness.

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Punishing a Puppy


By: David the Dogman

I think the message I have is that we cannot ever expect a puppy to think human...therefore it is quite reasonable for us to think like a dog. A very good book on the market is called Think Dog...by the late John Fisher, well worth getting.

When puppies annoy the bitch she will use eye contact and facial expression first. The youngster will carry on the unwanted behaviour then the mother will give out a low growl which will increase in volume with a show of teeth. If this is not enough to produce the desired result the bitch will to all intense and purposes fly in at the youngster. This is not a full blown attack, far from it, it is dress rehearsal for the pup, conditioning him for life later on. No contact is made although from the resulting noise mainly from the puppy, one could be excused for thinking that the litter had been reduced to one pup.

It is interesting to note that the bitch will immediately console the puppy and start to lick it all over...and this behaviour is observed every time the youngster steps out of line.

From this we can learn that the puppy has been taught by the bitch the correction and reward. Correction...Growl (our voice NO)...the moment the behaviour stops the lick (we simply stroke the pups head). Now what we are doing is copying the mother. This way the puppy is never fearful of us.

In my humble it is cruel to punish a dog for anything after the act. In other words if you come home and find a mess, destruction etc. then ignore this. The puppy or indeed the dog will never understand he has done wrong. To come home and shout will make any dog put his tail between his legs and cower or shy away. Many owners will say "You see...he knows he has done wrong". He does not know anything other than the human has arrived back at the den and is aggressive.

Commitment, Firmness, but kindness.

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Can Dog' See Color?

It is not true that dogs are completely colourblind. While dogs do not have the same color vision as humans, they are able to tell yellow from blue. Like a human with red-green colourblindness, they are unable to tell the difference between red and green.

The reason for this limited range, in both the colourblind human and the dog, is that there are only two kinds of colour receptors in the retinas of their eyes. While most humans have three kinds of colour cells, with three different receptor molecules sensitive to blue, greenish-yellow, and red, dogs only have receptors for yellow and greenish-blue.

Canine eyes also lack another human trait: the fovea, an area especially dense with detail-sensing cells. As a result, their detail vision is not as good as ours. But they make up for this by having much better night vision and greater sensitivity to movement.

Commitment, Firmness, but kindness.

Do you have any problems with your pet? Then why not send your problem to DAVID THE DOGMAN.

David is a Canine Behaviourist who works and lives in Marbella, Spain. Tel/Fax (00345) 2883388. His web site is located at: www.dogman.net

David has his own radio and TV shows, and writes for many newspapers and magazines. David has been working with dogs for many years and started his career in Israel, working on the Border Police. He has been involved in all forms of training, including air sea rescue, air scent work, and has trained dogs for finding drugs. David has devoted the past 10 years to studying behaviour and the very passive approach. He does not use choke chains, check chains, or any form of aggression.

David The Dogman is available for private consultations in your home, for further details telephone; Tel; (95) 2883388

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