Betty waits for her turn with the yoghurt pot!

I do like yoghurt 🙂 not that I have one every day, over the years I have always given my older dog the pot when I am done, to lick out. First it was Truly and Teddy would wait for second pickings, when Truly died Teddy got the pot first and when Pie came along he got it second. Now it is Pie’s turn!

Betty has her turn with the pot!

Now that Pie has taught Betty not to jump on him, it seemed a good time to try out the yoghurt pot with Betty, I don’t give my young dogs food when I am eating generally, but I think this is a great way of emphasing the pecking order to Betty, and I love to see if she has accepted the order of life. As you can see in the photo, Betty pretends not to be interested in what Pie is doing, yet lies close enough to know, and the second he walks away from the pot she has it!


There are some days when I find it so easy to see how troublesome behaviour can start, even as a dog trainer I could easily get things wrong, and do!

Last week Betty had her vaccinations, I was a little concerned for a day or two as her tummy was a bit upset and she was a little quieter than normal,  Friday night she woke me just after midnight vomiting and I was sure I would be taking her to the Vet Saturday morning! I had withheld her fourth meal on the friday because her tummy wasn’t right and having spoken to Annie, her breeder, we agreed I was likely over feeding her, I usually do with my puppies, which shows itself with diarrhea!

Come saturday morning, Betty was back on full form, her energy level was back to normal and her appetite enormous, I gave her a very small breakfast to check out how her tummy was and all was fine and back to normal! How quickly little puppy’s can go from ill to okay!

Now it is hard to tell which was the issue the vaccinations or me over feeding, or both! She is the greediest puppy I have had, even more so than Pie, though only just! Having missed a meal she was sure her throat had been cut and she was starving, eating every bit of rubbish in the garden, so now her hunger could lead to her eating something really harmful! On Sunday I took her for a little walk by the lake near me and she soon found some left over crab pincers (I guess the fishermen use crab meat for bait?), now I am sure this couldn’t be great for a puppies tummy, I did my best to distract her with my tit bits but she was not convinced and finally I had to take it off her. I avoid taking anything food like off of my puppies always, unless it is really dangerous, and I must admit crab pincers are a new one on me.The reason I avoid this so much is because of how puppies learn, if you can imagine in the wild a puppy simply learns what is desirable to eat by whether the other animals want it or eat it, and taking anything away for a puppy means in the puppies eyes we are eating it! Therefore the more any of us take undesirable stuff off of our puppies the more they learn to think this very thing is desirable! I have seen this to such extremes that dogs eat the most unnatural and dangerous items.

So now I have a very hungry puppy and the added danger of her eating more unhealthy rubbish, though the dogs stomach is designed to cope with extreme bacteria! Having returned Betty to the house, Pie and I went out to the lake with rubbish bags, one over my hand, not just to avoid the bacteria but also to avoid leaving my scent in the area the crab bits have been, (Betty would then associate my scent and the crab bits) to clear this unusual rubbish up! Interestingly Pie was not at all interested in the pincers but then I guess he wasn’t exposed to them as a puppy so does not think of them as food!

The tummy issues caused more problems with Betty’s house training, we had got into a good routine, I knew for the most part when she would need to go and as a result her house training was coming along brilliantly, with the variation in her diet and her upset tummy her toilet routine has gone out the window as a result I am out of sync and we have had more accidents indoors, not Betty’s fault as she was not able to go out side so had little choice!

Now I am doing the best I can to fill her up without overfeeding her and rediscover her toilet times!

Betty eating harmless rubbish! Better known as exploring her options!

My puppy group this morning were talking about how their puppies were causing havoc in the living room in the evening, yet feeling that 8pm was too early to leave them out in the kitchen when the family are ready to relax. I have to say I disagreed, 8pm is late enough for baby puppy’s, my Betty is only in the living room if she is dozy and cuddles on my lap or I am just going in and out again. For the most part she stays in the kitchen and utility room, where there are hard floors, at this time in her life carpet is not understood and she is likely to toilet on that type of floor, it is just too like grass in her little mind. By keeping her out of the rooms with carpet, at least for playtimes, toilet training goes smoother and if she does have an accident (usually my fault for not getting her out!) it is easy to clean up!

My puppy owners all reported bad and silly behaviour from their puppy’s in the evening, behaviour worse than any other time of the day, this is often a sign of tiredness and a resistence to resting, by keeping the puppy in the familiar sleeping area they will settle themselves and not develop bad behaviour issues. I would say that many of the behaviour problems I see in older puppies often stems from them being over stimulated in early life, having too much attention can often lead to as bad if not worse behaviour than too little! As the grown up we have to tell them when enough is enough, just as we do with young children.

After 8pm I still take Betty out to the toilet as needed, give her a last meal around 9.30pm, then out to the toilet until I see her have a last pooh! After that she is in the kitchen until I go to bed, when I take her out for one last toilet, this week she then comes upstairs and into her crate for the night, by next week she should be in her crate downstairs. I like my puppy to have the first week, where I shut the crate door at night, by my bed to give them comfort, after that they are fine in the crate anywhere, and I feel okay about it too! I must confess the first two evenings I had Betty, I did keep running around after her until around 10pm, this just meant I was wacked and if I had kept doing that I would have enjoyed her less in the day, and it was not necessary, we all need down time.

Last night Betty had her first vaccination, 😦 she was so pleased to see everyone in the vets waiting room, her tail didn’t stop wagging! She was especially pleased to meet the 12 week old Labrador sitting next to us, who’s poor owner had bite marks all up her wrists, though the puppy looked very sweet! Betty was wearing her collar and lead, which she is used to now, and the Labrador was not, though four weeks older, her owner commented on Betty wearing hers and said she had not introduced the collar as yet! What a shame, the puppy was now ready to go out formally and would have no previous experience of wearing the collar!

One of the reasons I introduce the collar and lead and anything else needed later is to give the puppy something to think about, it is giving them these tasks that helps reduce play biting, a bored puppy, that is one that just gets to do their own thing all the time will be worse at play biting for sure! In fact I do not wait, as you will know by now, to take my puppy out. Now I do not take them to high risk places where many dogs will have been, but my friends houses and the paddocks near my house are all great for stretching and solialising and training, all of which helps prevent the puppy learning and practising behaviour we do not want!

Betty yelped when she had the injection:( and was very sad afterwards, sleeping most of the evening, unusually for her! I opted not to have her micro chipped yet as that is even more painful and I do not want her to be anxious about the Vets so early in life. I will wait until she is a little older as she seems to have a low pain threshold, unlike Pie who didn’t flinch at injections or the chip! It is a touch life for the young:). Today is the first time her pooh has been less than firm (despite all the garden bits she enthusiastically eats) which is the stress and possibly the vaccination, though she is fine in herself! I am sure she will be completely back to normal tomorrow.

Betty on the move!

Betty with some of her sisters!

Betty being important

Up until today I had only taken Betty on several short car journey’s, I hadn’t planned it that way, it was how my life was last week, she was fine in the car but a bit squeaky. It might have been easy to think she didn’t like the car because of the squeaking, but I suspected that she was already finding the trips exciting! Yesterday I had to go to Colchester and I decided to drop in to see Annie and the remaining puppy’s with Betty. The journey is about forty minutes and Betty squeaked a bit for the first ten minutes in her crate, then slept!  No more squeaking coming home either, I will ensure we do more longer trips over the coming weeks to make sure she learns to settle in the car.

It is only because I know her temperament and my experience of dogs, that I knew it was the life experience she was having that was producing the wrong behaviour in the car, how easy it is to go wrong with puppy’s, but once spotted can be put right easily too!

Betty was very excited to be back at her first home, she was full of herself with the other puppy’s, I could almost hear her telling them what a girl of the world she is now. she strutted round them full of self-importance! Her Mum Gracie was so pleased to see her, Gracie is a lovely Mum and even loves to play with her babies, many bitches are fed up with their pups by this time.

Betty was a little more demure in the garden with the bigger dogs though!

Bronte is Annie’s puppy from Buffy, (see “a story of a whelping” blog) and two weeks younger than Betty, I am sure Bronte and Betty will be great friends as they grow up! Annie’s dogs are like extended pack to mine and vice versa as we are great friends, meet regularly and have each others dogs to stay.

Annie's puppy the long awaited Bronte!

Pie trains Betty!

June 15, 2010

Betty trying to convince Pie that she is more interesting than his bone!

I am fascinated watching Pie and Betty, I don’t have them together all the time, they spend a good time apart or I will lose my puppy to Pie! And I need and want a good relationship with both of them! But when they are together I love to watch the interactions, in a little over a week Pie has taught Betty not to jump on him when he is lying down, well for most of the time! She does forget sometimes when she is very excited, how has he taught her you ask? 🙂 He is a lesson in determined persistence, he never loses his temper, the volume goes up sometimes to a bark, but mostly it is a grump noise that deters her! Every time she jumps on him he grumps, it took sixish times for her to get the message (the 6 repeats to train anything applies to this too it seems!), sometimes he backs up the grump with walking away, sometimes he stands up to bark then lies down again. Betty ends up squirming on her back looking as cute as she can to win him over, and submitting to boot! Sometimes, when she is half-hearted in her attempts he simply ignores her. The most I have seen him do under severe provocation is to hold her nose in his mouth, but he can’t be biting as I have not heard Betty squeal once, he hasn’t frightened her once! Pie is a very good puppy trainer! Every day and on every occasion he repeats the same similar procedure, and now he is reaping his reward, he can lie in the kitchen or garden nine times out of ten without being pounced on. Betty tries every angle, playing with his tail is allowed until she hits his tail bone, when the grump comes again!

My old Teddy, the dog that Pie grew up with was more fierce with him, I wonder if that was because Pie was a tougher puppy, but I suspect it was more to do with Teddy being a tougher leader, as was his Mum, Truly, who he grew up with.

I know in the wild the pack leader varies in how bossy and tough they are, it is about personality types, just as in people.

In dog training it is far more productive to be gently persistent, by repeating over and over the exercise or deterring a behaviour the dog will learn and retain training only through these consistent repetitions. Where as if “scare” tactics are used the dog simply freezes, learns nothing and once recovered from the scare will repeat the old behaviour.

Betty is truly learning not to jump on Pie, and I am coming to appreciate Pie in a new way. My dear Teddy, who died last February, was a saint of a dog, and it has been tough for Pie to become top dog in my heart, but he is working his way through just as persistently as he is training Betty!

Betty learns not to jump on Pie!

Sarah giving great body language for the recall

Sharon looking great on heelwork!

Sarah looking very pleased with Charlie!

We start by getting the short recall right!

more short recall for Charlie

Jane and Freddy can do the short recall too!

A lovely shot of great lead work!

We all need a tea break, well we had worked hard!

We had a great morning, and the sun shone for us too! The dogs responded well to the strutured training, by the time we felt brave enough to leave the safety of the fenced garden and go into the paddock,  the dogs were responding well. Anne and Sharon had been to the training session a month before so were able to advance more, I was thrilled to see the improvement in their dogs and in their handling!

Recall on the long line out in the fields

The long line is our safety net!

I found a new product last summer to help with those brown patches on the lawn and bushes, it is called “dog rocks” and is a rock mined in Australia. You put the rocks in the dogs drinking bowl and this naturally occurring rock does the rest. It takes about six weeks to kick in so get some now to get the process working for you!

Visit the site for more information or go to my links page for link.

For first time dog owners the world can seem a dangerous place for their precious puppies! But I have to tell you puppies have remarkable constitutions, this is a born scavenger and nature equipped them with a stomach that can withstand most natural materials and decomposed matter!

If you allow your human squeamishness to interrupt your puppy eating rubbish every time, and this will be frequent while the puppy is young, you will be giving out this message: I want what you have, it is something I am interested in and I am competing with you to have “it” first! Young dogs learn from older dogs in the pack what is valuable in this world, if the other dogs are interested then it must be good! You or the humans in the puppy’s life play this part in a human home.

If you don’t want your puppy to keep showing interest in stuff then you must not either! If you are too disgusted use some tasty food to distract your puppy from the thing, do not let your puppy see you remove “it” or you will be back to encouraging again. By using something tasty to distract you will be actively demonstrating that there is something better to eat as well as demonstrating your lack of interest which over time will teach your puppy not to go for inappropriate things to eat.

Stones are one of the commonest problem that I come across especially in new dog owners, though some more experienced owners do make the same mistake. The reality is that puppies will pass small stones easily, and they are bound to consume a few in discovering that stones are not food, by distracting the puppy over and over with a tasty tit bit you will soon persuade them to leave stones alone! If not this problem can soon escalate to eating larger and larger stones that could block the bowel and endanger your pets life or incur large vet bills.

The other downside of not addressing this issue is that the puppy can become possessive over something as simple as tissue if you constantly remove them from her.

here is a list of stuff that puppies can and should be allowed to explore that are harmless and will if ignored soon be forgotten:

  • Tissue, including kitchen roll, toilet paper
  • Paper in any form
  • Cardboard
  • Wood pieces (do not throw or play with sticks)
  • Tea towels (leave old ones lying around until they get bored or old bits of cloth)
  • Ash, bits of coal
  • animal excrement!

Dogs will take food that is left out, if I leave my kitchen with food on the side I don’t expect it to be there when I return! It is the nature of the dog to scavenge, and fighting this natural behaviour will just give you a headache and spoil your relationship with your dog.

If your dog is already possessive about any or all of these items please contact me, this is curable!

What to look for if you think your puppy has eaten something dangerous

  • Lethargy
  • Sickness
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite

call your Vet immediately!

Let the training begin! Here is the first step of preventing or curing food possession in any dog, any age!

Follow the steps on the clip and repeat every day for  2 weeks, if your dog is already food possessive you may need to continue for a month, it will work, if you have any questions or comments please post them?

Dry food is ideal for this process, wet food can be used, but if you have a food possessive dog please consider changing to a good quality dry food. Contact me if you want more guidance.

Please show tell all the dog owners you know about this simple method of preventing food possession, it will save lives and injury to people!

More information coming on upcoming posts, watch this space!

When we want or don’t want a dog to behave a certain way  we have to consider the outcome that we are seeking. With food possession by being clear about this result could never be more important. There are still people that believe that if we take a dogs food away from it we are proving he is seeing us as the boss, this is not so. Even the most submissive animal in a wolf pack will not give up food to a superior wolf, even the pack leader! Animals respect ownership of food, it is too dangerous not to. So must we, I would not tolerate anyone repeatedly taking food from my plate, let alone my plate of food, you might get away with it once or twice but with repetition I would become guarded and dangerous! 🙂

The reality is that when a dog is eating it is necessary that we can move near the dog without him feeling threatened or on guard, the worst case scenario is that someone trips up and lands in thd dogs bowl, and what we want is for the dog to not react negatively.

The video in this post demonstates the out come that is required, over the  next posts I will teach you how to achieve this behaviour!

Please give your comments and questions!