Although I have had over 40 years experience in handling/showing and raising dogs I do not consider myself an expert on anything to do with them but I have had many, many requests for info that I have found helpful in the past and here is my sharing with all of you. For further questions and 'expert' advice please also talk to your Vet, dog trainer, groomer, etc. I also freely admit to not being the author to some, or all, of the articles and that I have copied (non copywritten material) and adapted to suit my needs.
Reinforcing Good Behavior
A puppy's temperament is somewhat predetermined by the genes he inherits from his parents and grandparents. A well-bred Aussiedoodle should be happy and content if he is properly cared for, with a playful attitude and a trustful nature. Even the best-tempered puppy can be ruined if care is not taken to handle him properly. We offer these suggestions that may help you to keep a happy puppy or to create a more contented one, if your pup was not born with perfect temperament.
Reputable breeders will keep a pup with his litter until he is between 8 and 10 weeks of age. This is to allow him to learn first to be a dog among other dogs, the key to finding his proper place in the world. During the time between 6 weeks and his departure to his new home, the breeder will spend a lot of time socializing the pup and helping him to learn to be a dog among humans. He will be exposed to people who come to visit, especially to children. He will have toys to play with and spend some time alone in his crate to learn to be without his family. His house training will begin and his natural instincts will teach him to keep his home unsoiled.
The new owner needs to follow through on the lessons begun at his first home. Exposure to new situations and new people will continue. It is up to the new owner to see to it that these are enjoyable experiences. A puppy may seem aloof when he first sees a new human. The human should get down on his level and let the pup come to him rather than to grab up the pup. This is especially true when the new human is a child. Sudden moves can be scary, even to a mild mannered puppy.
Children should also be taught that the crate is the puppy's private place and that a puppy that goes into the crate on his own to rest should be allowed to do so. A puppy must never be disturbed while he is eating.
One of the best things you can do for a new dog, puppy or adult, is to enroll him in an obedience class. Puppies can be enrolled in Puppy Kindergarten classes as early as 3 months of age, if they have had all their puppy vaccinations. Obedience training for older pups and adults starts as early as 6 months. Look for a class that uses positive reinforcement and not punishment in its training.
Positive reinforcement is the method of choice in teaching your Aussiedoodle at home. When the dog is doing the correct thing, whether it is eliminating outside or quietly greeting visitors at the door (i.e., not barking and not jumping on them), offer praise and/or a special treat that is used only for training. For the dog that is fearful, the worst thing you can do is to pick him up and cuddle him while he is acting afraid. This is telling him that he is doing a good thing by being afraid. Try instead to teach him something else to do, such as a "sit", "down" or "stay". These are all taught in obedience and puppy kindergarten classes. Whenever he is doing something that is a good thing, let him know it by praising him to the extreme with lots of "Good boy/girl" along with an occasional single piece of training treat.
You will notice that the term "a single piece of training treat" is used often. Overfeeding a dog is never good, so always use caution on the amount of training treats being used.
Teasing a puppy has caused many a happy pup to become a biter or to be fearful of humans. Teasing can be taking away a toy that the pup is enjoying, it can be interfering with eating, pinching or poking at him or any other physical annoyance. Young children are especially prone to sticking fingers in those big dark eyes or pulling on the fluffy ears. They see the pup as another stuffed toy - much to the discomfort of the poor pup!
Tug toys are not a great item for a small dog for several reasons. They teach the dog to defend himself in an aggressive way and they can ruin a young dog's bite by displacing the jaw or pulling teeth out of proper alignment. Tug toys are a part of training for attack dogs!
Chasing a dog appears aggressive to the dog and will teach him to run away from you. If you chase the pup, he will continue to run, either from fear or thinking it is a game. Running away from your puppy is not a good game either. The only time to run from a puppy is if it gets away from you. Run from the pup that is loose and run toward a safe area, preferably one that is fenced and away from the street. Better yet, drop to your knees and call him toward you. Call his name and do so in a friendly (and not in a mean) voice. A higher pitched voice is considered friendly to a dog while a deep voice is used to correct mistakes. Again obedience training will help avoid these situations because a trained dog will come, sit, go down or stay upon command.
When you do have to be away occasionally, perhaps someone can come in during the day to play with the puppy and to take him out to relieve himself. Be sure to provide safe toys, insure there are no electrical cords or other objects that can be chewed and leave fresh drinking water available. Never ever chain an Aussiedoodle or even fence one outside all day long. They are not bred to be yard dogs and this would be considered dangerous, will lead to behavioral problems and quite possibly endanger his health.
As with children, dogs do best when they live with a routine. You will find they will adjust to weekend schedules very easily but will be happier and healthier with a daily schedule. A sample schedule can be found in the instructions for crate training. Frequent dietary changes are not recommended because each new food that is introduced creates an additional immune response that can lead to allergies. Research has shown that changing from chicken to beef to lamb, etc. sets up a reaction as the body adapts to each new protein form. It is far better to use a single protein in the diet for the first year and, even later in life, switching back and forth may trigger allergic response. Daily exercise can be worked into his playtime as part of the routine but a young pup does not need vigorous exercise as his immature skeleton and muscles are developing.
With the information provided, we hope you are off to a good start in creating a happy puppy that will fit into your family with ease. The Aussiedoodle is bred to be a companion animal and his family will mean everything to him and he to you. His world will be safer, your relationship better and his security greater with the proper socialization and training.
While many dogs can learn to accept and grow to love the company of their canine housemates, it's natural for a dog to become aggressive or jealous when a new dog enters his territory. Dogs are pack animals and their genetic pack instinct is often triggered when an unfamiliar dog enters their home - causing them to initiate rank drive. Many owners are often shocked and confused when they see their naturally lovable dog enter an unusual level of aggression. To prevent fights and incompatibility problems between the resident dog and the new dog, there are several things you can do.
Consider Sex and Age of Each Dog
In general, a dog will get along better with a dog of the opposite sex. If you plan to introduce your resident dog to a new dog of the same sex, it's best to get the resident dog sprayed or neutered prior to introduction. Spaying and neutering typically only works to reduce dominant behavior if performed before a certain age - usually 6 to 8 months of age. Adult dogs will usually tolerate a puppy over another adult dog because puppies do not typically challenge the authority of an adult dog.
Set Up an Initial Meeting in Neutral Territory
Dogs are less likely to initiate aggressive or dominate behavior if introduced in a neutral territory. It may be ideal to have both dogs meet at a local dog park or at a friend's house in a fenced-in yard. Each dog should be leashed and allowed to observe one another. Leave a decent amount of space between the dogs so that they do not feel overcrowded and can relax. Once the dogs seem comfortable with one another, allow them to interact without the leashes and always praise them for good behavior.
Keep a Positive and Non-Emotional Attitude
When a new dog is introduced to a resident dog, it's important to maintain a non-emotional attitude. Dogs can pick up on fear and will know if you are feeling concerned and may associate the change of emotions on the new dog. As the two dogs are interacting, speak in a calm, friendly manner to positively reinforce their positive interaction. The goal is to make both dogs feel good when they are in each others presence. Never leave the dogs alone during a first introduction to avoid dog fighting.
Reinforce the Established Pack Order
When introducing two dogs, it's best to allow them to establish their own pack order. While the older dog commonly takes the place as the most dominate, this is not always the case and a younger dog may become more dominate. Reinforce the established pack order as much as possible. The dog that is higher in the pack should be fed meals and given treats before the second dog. It's never a good idea to adopt a sympathetic attitude towards the lower-ranked dog, especially towards the beginning of the relationship, as this can destroy the unity and could lead to a dog fight or aggressive behavior.
Introducing a new dog to a household with a resident dog can cause some initial friction. There will be a period of adjustment for both the animals and their owners, but with patience and a sense of control over both dogs, the introduction could be the start of a wonderful new relationship.
Accustom your puppy to many things at a young age. Baths, brushing, clipping nails, cleaning ears, having teeth examined, and so on. Taking the time to make these things matter of fact and pleasant for your puppy will save you a world of time and trouble later in its life.
For example, every evening before the dog eats (but after you have put its bowl down), check its ears by peeking in the ear and touching it with your fingers. Do this every evening until the dog stops fussing about it. Continue to do it and you'll always know if your dog's ears are okay.
Brushing is important, especially for double coated or long-haired dogs when they begin to shed. A little effort now to get your puppy to enjoy brushing will save you a lot of trouble later.
During your puppy's first year, it is very important that it be exposed to a variety of social situations. After the puppy has had all its shots, carefully expose it to the outside world. Take it to different places: parks, shopping centers, schools, different neighborhoods, dog shows, obedience classes--just about anywhere you can think of that would be different for a little puppy. If the puppy seems afraid, then let it explore by itself. Encourage the puppy, but be firm, not coaxing. Your favorite dog food and supply store (unless it's a pet store) is a good place; dog shows are another. You want the pup to learn about the world so that it doesn't react fearfully to new situations when it is an adult. You also want it to learn that you will not ask it to do anything dangerous or harmful. Socializing your dog can be much fun for you and the dog!
Do not commit the classic mistake made by many owners when their dogs exhibit fear or aggression on meeting strangers. DO NOT "soothe" them, or say things like "easy, boy/girl," "it's OK..." This serves as REINFORCEMENT and ENCOURAGES the fear or growling! Instead, say "no!" sharply and praise it WHEN IT STOPS. Praise it even more when it allows its head to be petted. If it starts growling or backing up again, say "no!" Be a little more gentle with the "no" if the dog exhibits fear, but do be firm. With a growling dog, be much more emphatic and stern with your "no!"
If you are planning to attend a puppy class (and you should, they are not expensive) ask the instructor about her/his views before you sign up. If socialization is not part of the class, look elsewhere."
While you love your dear dog and want him to have the healthiest of diets, it's important to know which foods to consume and which must be avoided at all costs. In fact, there are specific foods which are toxic to dogs. Whether its grapes or cabbage or extensive table scraps or bread dough be aware of the list below as toxic food for dogs ... in other words, what not to feed!
We'll start with human food. Baby food can contain onion powder, which can be toxic to dogs. In addition, it can result in nutritional deficiencies especially if fed in large amounts. Simply stated, it's best to avoid since this could be toxic to dogs. That's why it's called baby food and not dog food.
Table scraps in large amounts could be classified as toxic food for dogs. Why? Because they're not nutritionally balanced. They should never be more than 10% of your dog's diet. Fat should be trimmed from meat and bones should definitely not be fed. Cooked meat and cooked fats are carcinogenic to dogs.
Bones from fish and cooked bones can obstruct the digestive system. Not good!
Chocolate, coffee, tea, and caffeinated drinks are bad. They contain caffeine which could be toxic and impact the heart and nervous systems.
Citrus oil extracts result in vomiting. Stay away!
Grapes and raisins contain unknown toxins which can do damage to the kidneys. Definitely considered toxic food for dogs.
Large amounts of cooked liver cause Vitamin A toxicity, which impacts muscles and bones. Yet another item which is toxic to dogs.
Macadamia nuts, like grapes and raisins, contain unknown toxins.
Spoiled food and garbage - just don't go there. Definitely considered toxic for dogs.
Mushrooms can result in shock and cause death.
Alcohol can result in coma and death.
Bread dough can result in a bloated belly and then disorientation and vomiting. Since it yeast that hasn't risen yet, you do not want it to expand in Fido's belly, much less get stuck in the intestines! This, like the other items on the list, could be toxic to dogs.
Onions and garlic, whether it's raw, cooked, or powder in large amounts have the ability to damage red blood cells and cause anemia.
As for chemicals, dogs need to be kept away from all antifreeze spills since this could be hazardous and toxic to dogs. While the sweet smell and taste may be attractive to his sensitive nose, if your dog consumes any amount of antifreeze, rush him immediately to the veterinarian. (Check your garage and driveway for spills and clean these up before your pet has a chance to smell and potentially ingest this!)
Xylitol is a sugar-alcohol sweetener contained in chewing gum and candy. Seizures, lethargy and weakness are the result if dogs consume significant amounts of this chemical.
Ibuprofen, like antifreeze, may smell sweet. Dogs will eat it if they're found lying on the floor and don't be surprised if your dog tries to chew threw a bottle to eat the entire contents. This is definitely toxic to dogs. It causes ulceration and perforates the lining of the stomach, and decreases the blood flow to the kidneys. Yet again, toxic to dogs.
And keep the above mentioned foods and chemicals in mind to prevent your dog from consuming toxins. At The Dog Bowl, nothing is more important than your pets' health and well being. For more information about foods and chemicals which are toxic to dogs or if you think your dog could have ingested a toxic substance please contact your local vet as soon as possible.
Which foods could be dangerous for my dog?
Some foods which are edible for humans, and even other species of animals, can pose hazards for dogs because of their different metabolism. Some may cause only mild digestive upsets, whereas, others can cause severe illness, and even death. The following common food items should not be fed (intentionally or unintentionally) to dogs. This list is, of course, incomplete because we can not possibly list everything your dog should not eat.
Items to avoid
Reasons to avoid
Can cause intoxication, coma, and death.
The leaves, seeds, fruit, and bark contain persin, which can cause vomiting and diarrhea.
Bones from fish, poultry, or other meat sources
Can cause obstruction or laceration of the digestive system.
Generally too high in protein and fats.
Chocolate, coffee, tea, and other caffeine
Contain caffeine, theobromine, or theophylline, which can cause vomiting and diarrhea and be toxic to the heart and nervous systems.
Citrus oil extracts
Can cause vomiting.
Can cause pancreatitis.
Fish (raw, canned or cooked)
If fed exclusively or in high amounts can result in a thiamine (a B vitamin)deficiency leading to loss of appetite, seizures, and in severe cases, death.
Grapes, raisins and currants
Contain an unknown toxin, which can damage the kidneys. There have been no problems associated with grape seed extract.
You should consider that a puppy has an absolute right to chew whatever they can get at in your absence. You must put the puppy where either it cannot do any damage, or you do not care about the possible damage. Puppies can eat kitchen cabinets, destroy furniture, chew on carpet, and damage a wide variety of other things. Besides the destruction, the puppy may well injure itself, even seriously.
A good solution to this is a puppy Exercise Pen. The Exercise Pen is either metal or plastic sides (I prefer the metal pens because they are smaller for storage) that the puppy will be confined in but yet have the ability to "learn" - you should put in a bed, food, water, toys, and a potty area (I like the potty pad frames with a plastic grate on top so the puppy cannot shred the pad). Depending on the puppy, when I put them to bed at night, I will either leave them in the exercise pen with access to an open door crate or put them in a crate with bedding, soft toy and their nighttime "cookie".
Please put your pup in an environment it can't destroy. Puppies are too immature to handle temptations. Depending on the breed, most dogs begin to gain the maturity to handle short stints with mild temptations when they're about 6 months old. Consider the analogy with a baby, where you keep it in a crib, stroller, or pen if you are not holding it. It is essential to puppy-proof your home. You should think of it in the same way as child-proofing your house but be more thorough about it. Puppies are smaller and more active than babies and have sharp teeth and claws. Things of especial concern are electric wires. If you can get through the puppy stages without having your pup get a shock from chewing a wire you are doing a great job! When puppy proofing your home, get down on your hands and knees (or lower if possible) and consider things from this angle. What looks enticing, what is breakable, what is sharp, etc. The most important things are watching the puppy and, of course, putting the puppy in the exercise pen when you can't watch it.
Another step in puppy proofing is house proofing the puppy. Teach it what is and isn't chewable. The single most effective way to do this is by having a ready supply of chewable items on hand. When the puppy starts to chew on an unacceptable item (be it a chair, rug, and especially the human hand), remove the item from the puppy's mouth with a stern, "NO!" and replace it with a chew toy and praise the puppy for playing with the toy. If you are consistent about this, the puppy will get the idea that only the things you give it are to be chewed on! Don't stint on the praise, and keep the "No!" to a single calm, sharp noise -- don't yell or scream the word.
There are some products that can help make items unpalatable and thus aid in your training. Bitter Apple imparts a bitter taste to many things without staining, etc. You should not depend on these products to keep your puppy safe, but use them as a training aid.
A short checklist: * Breakables up out of reach * All wiring and cords put out of reach behind furniture, or encased in hard plastic flexible tubing (available at hardware stores, can be cut to size) to slow puppy down * Anything small enough to be swallowed (pennies, bounce balls, shoelaces, bits of paper, socks, nuts, bolts, wire) removed from the floor * Block access behind furniture wherever possible * Put children's toys and stuffed animals away Many times I have seen puppies run around with things in the mouth and wondered where in the world did you get that.
Above all else, enjoy your new puppy in the safe environment you created for him. If you feel your home and yard are "child proof" then your puppy should be safe there, too. Remember to supervise your puppy closely when you first bring him home to make sure you have not missed something dangerous to his safety.
One last word of warning is to NEVER leave your puppy in your backyard when you are not at home to supervise him. You could come home and find him missing or badly injured. Please take care to ensure his safety whether you are home or away.
It’s a dilemma that’s faced countless mums and dads. What do you do when your child asks for their first dog? What do you say when it seems like you can’t walk through the local park without your little boy or girl seeing a cute, playful puppy and turning to you with a look that says: “oh please can I have one”. As a good mother or father, you want to give your child all he or she wants in the world. But as a responsible parent you also want to make sure that both you and your child are ready for a dog. So how do you achieve that?
The truth is that we can’t expect a young child to understand all the factors that need to be taken into consideration when you bring a new dog into a home. So it falls to us, their parents, to weigh them up instead. To do that we have to ask ourselves some questions. Why does our child want a dog? Do they really understand what it means? Are they capable of looking after a puppy? By answering these questions we, as parents, will be able to decide whether to say yes or no.
Here’s a guide to some of the questions you need to ask in deciding whether your child is ready for a dog.
Do you want a dog too?
If you are getting a dog purely to please your child, then the chances are it’s the wrong decision. You need to want a dog yourself. After all, when your child is asleep and at school, it’s going to be your responsibility to look after it. If the idea of having a dog in the house is something that’s strongly opposed by you or your partner, then you really should think again. It may upset your child in the short term, but that will be outweighed by the long term unhappiness it may cause your family.
Why does your child want a dog?
It’s really important that you understand your child’s motivation for having a dog. Are they asking for one purely because a friend has one? Is it something they’ve talked about consistently? Or is it a recent ‘fad’? Do they talk about the responsibilities that come with dog ownership –grooming, bathing, taking it for regular walks, checking its general health? Do they understand that a dog is for life, not just for the time when it isa playful puppy?
Why do you want your child to have a dog?
Ask yourself why you want your child to have a dog. Again, if you are getting a dog purely to placate your son or daughter, to stop them constantly nagging you for a puppy, then you are making a mistake. This is no reason for getting a dog. If, on the other hand, you feel that you want your child to experience the unique pleasure and companionship that comes from owning a dog, that’s another matter. Equally, if you want your child to learn responsibility through dog ownership, that too is a positive.
Is this a long term decision?
Are you sure that this is something that your child – and your family as a whole – is going to be committed to for the long term? It’s the easiest thing in the world to fall for a puppy. Anyone can go aaaah and fawn over a cute, eight-week-old dog. But dogs don’t live for a week. They can live for fifteen years – and more. Will your child be there for the dog in a month, a year or a decade from now?
Is your child good with animals?
Many children are comfortable around animals. Some, however, are not. It’s important that you think about this in advance of getting a dog. If your child has shown an interest in other people’s dogs or perhaps looked after a friend’s pet, that is a good indication that they may be suited to owning a dog. If you’re in doubt about their rapport with dogs, ask a friend if you can borrow their pet for a day or two. See how your child reacts and behaves around the dog. This will give you a strong indication of how they would be around their own dog. Also, think about how your child is around other animals, such as cats, horses or farm animals. Do they seem scared or intimidated by them? Do they shy away from them? If so, it’s a sign that they are not a natural ‘animal person’ and may not be suited to a dog.
Does your child get easily bored?
Is your child someone who sticks at things? Or does he or she tend to go through phases, being obsessed with toys, tv programmes or friends for a week or two before dropping them forever? If it’s the latter, then getting a dog may not be the right thing for your child. The chances are they will get bored with it too.
Is your son or daughter a sensible child?
The way your child behaves around their dog is going to be crucial. For instance, if they are going to treat it like a toy and squeeze its nose and tug at its tail, then the relationship with the dog is going to end badly – and quickly. If, on the other hand, your child has a grown-up and responsible attitude to dogs, there’s a good chance they will make a great dog owner. Again, seeing your child inter-acting with a friend or family member’s dog will give you a good clue.
Is your child a quick learner?
Some dog training principles can be understood by children. For instance, the ‘pack leader’ methods taught by trainers such as Cesar Milan and Jan Fennell, can easily be grasped by even the youngest members of the family. In Fennell’s method, for example, to establish their leadership of the pack, the human members of the household make a point of eating in front of their dogs before giving them their meals. (Dogs associate the eating order with leadership.) Children can easily understand this – and apply it. The faster they are to learn, the better.
Have you sought out advice?
You should read as much as you can about children owning dogs. There are many quality books out there and, of course, the web is full of great advice. In addition you should talk to people. Chat to friends, family, local dog owners, especially those with young children. Ask them about their experience. Listen and draw on their advice.
A friendship that is second to none
Having a dog can be a brilliant, life-affirming experience for a child. A faithful, good-natured dog can provide young people with love and affection, friendship and devotion that is second to none. It can also teach them important lessons about responsibility and show them how to empathise and understand the creatures with whom they share the world.
Choosing the right time to give your child his or her first dog is crucial. Get the timing wrong and you could ruin their chances of ever forming a strong relationship with a dog. Get it right and it could be the beginning of a beautiful relationship.
By asking yourself – and your child – the right questions, you can go a long way to ensuring that you get it right every time.