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Archive for November, 2009

Christmas Puppy

Yes, I know, Christmas puppy is a taboo topic. BUT this is a different topic! We just found out we are going to have a new puppy (if all goes well) born on Christmas 2009. We aren’t a fan of christmas puppies, normally because people get them for gifts and they wind up being returned, but this is different. Our puppy will be born then, not brought home.

Here is some advice on getting a new puppy – we’ll update our progress as we go.

First, identify what the puppy is for – is it a family pet? an obedience dog? a show dog? an agility dog? This will drive the energy level that you need. We are going for a family pet first, second and obedience dog and thirdly a show dog. We have two young boys and another lab (Nitro) so we need a little higher energy, but not too wound up! The last thing we need is a dog who needs 2 hours of exercise a day.

Second, pick a breeder. I always recommend looking for a breed and then finding that breed club. They typically will have referrals to breeders. A good breeder has run health tests, has a number of titles on their dogs, and only breeds at most a few times a year.

Lastly, meet the parents if you can. Make sure the dogs they are breeding are socially what you want. I remember my first dog we picked, her mom was a maniac towards strangers – barking, snarling, and we just assumed she was protective. She could have been, so it would have been smart to meet her at another time when she didn’t have puppies.

Happy puppy training!

Teaching Right Turns

I dont normally write about competition level dog obedience but since we are currently showing for our CD (AKC title for Companion Dog) I thought I would write about a problem we are having.

Nitro is a lagger, normally it isn’t too bad but on right turns he is abnormally slow. Here are a few tricks I learned off a great email list for competition obedience

1) walk in a wide circle rewarding when the dog is in the right position (keeping the dog on the inside)
2) toss treats on turns straight out ahead, repeat this a few times then the last time don’t toss but reward in position
3) turn then run

The point is to speed up the dog as much as possible and reward for the best position. I’m also starting to teach full circles instead of just turning. Rally Obedience is a great sport and I highly recommend it to clean up laggers / forgers!

Happy dog training!