General Care 

Training Tips
A new puppy or dog should be taken to the vet 
within the first week of arrival or as soon as possible. 
You should set up an inoculation schedule and get a
complete checkup done. Bring any shot information
and a small stool sample so your dog can be checked 
for the presence of worms. Worms are common in 
puppies and although they sound bad can in most 
cases be eradicated easily.

Kennel Cough: (Tracheobronchitis) Kennel Cough is a contagious respiratory infection in dogs. It takes its name from the fact that dogs often catch it while boarding at a kennel where they are exposed to other dog who either have the disease or are carries of it. It is mentioned here because many a puppy that goes through the shipping process can be exposed to the virus. They may be housed with many carriers.  Although breeders may have inoculated, there are no inoculations totally effective due to the many different strains. They may also be totally unaware of the presence of this airborne virus in their kennel. Kennel Cough will generally run its course in a week or two. Over the counter cough suppressants are often used to relieve the irritation along with antibiotics to prevent secondary infection.

Parasites:
You should inspect your puppy or dog routinely for the presence of ticks, fleas and worms.

Ticks can visibly be seen clinging to the dogs skin and can be removed with a pair of tweezers. Disinfect the area with alcohol after removal.
Fleas will make your dog scratch like crazy and can cause red "hot spots" that need to be treated immediately. The first sign is a thinning of the hair in the neck area or base of the tail. It becomes very inflamed and red, quickly developing an intense itch that scabs over causing bare spots in that area. Most over the counter products do not work in the control of fleas. The dog, bedding and living area must be treated simultaneously with Vet strength flea preparations to effectively remove the problem.
Worms The general signs that your dog may have worms are change in appetite, lack luster in their coat, change in stool with possible diarrhea and fresh blood and anemia. Some worms can be seen in the dogs' stool like round or tapeworms and will be unmistakable because they move. Roundworms look like spaghetti and tapeworms look like flat pieces of rice. Hook and Whipworms usually cause fresh blood in the stool and are less likely to be seen. At some point in a dog's life they will get worms. It is not necessarily due to lack of care or unthrifty conditions but part of a dog's life. Dogs get worms in many ways, some can enter the skin by a dog walking through an infected area, by sniffing up the eggs of the worm or by swallowing an infected host such as the flea that carry tapeworm eggs. All worms can be treated effectively with preparations available through your veterinarian.
Special Note:The presence of worms in your dog can change your dogs' behavior. The discomfort can make your dog nippy, aggressive, diggers, object eaters and exhibit other eradicate behavior.

Bathing:
Breeders should bath each puppy very early in life with an anti fungal soap or treat the puppies with a preparation like Fungisan to prevent cradle cap. It also is used to kill any fungus that may lead to bare spots or thinning of the hair in the head and neck region.
Puppies and dogs should be bathed with a soap that is pH balanced and made for their coats. Over bathing is not recommended, usually no more than twice a month is sufficient. To many baths can lead to a dried out coat and itchy skin.

Coat:
Coat care in the Rat Terrier is fairly easy, a daily brushing is all that is needed. This removes any dead hair and keeps the coat shiny and healthy. The amount of shedding that your dog does is dependent upon how your dog is kept. Dogs kept outside most of the day will generally shed twice a year. In early Spring they will loose their winter undercoat and then in late fall they will push out their coat and develop their winter one. If he is kept in the house most of the time he will shed his coat constantly. This can be controlled by the use of over the counter products like Mirra Coat and Linatone or by adding a teaspoon of Olive or Corn oil to his daily diet. A cooked scrambled egg once a week added to his food also gives a nice shine to the coat.

Teeth:
Puppies have 28 teeth and the adult dog has 42 teeth. At four months of age their baby teeth will begin to fall out and the teething process begins lasting through the next several months until their adult teeth are fully in. Brushing of the teeth should be started at a young age with one of the many products on the market. Dogs will actually enjoy having their teeth brushed if they learn it at a young age.  Good chew toys for keeping their gums and teeth healthy are Nyla-bone products and packaged sterile natural bones that are purchased at a pet supply store. They massage the gums and scrap tartar off their teeth. Avoid raw hide bones and table scrap bones as these can splinter or break off and get lodged in your dogs stomach or intestines.

Nails:
Accustom your dog to routine nail cutting if he lives primarily in the house. Start accustoming him to having his feet touched early. A dog can become very difficult if he is not use to having his feet touched or nails trimmed. If they run outside a lot they usually trim their nails down naturally and require fewer trimmings.

Play Toys:
Most hard rubber or latex toys are safe for your dog. Avoid furry stuffed animals and cloth bones because the fur, fibers and string can and will get lodged in the dogs throat causing irritation and worse. Choose a toy by what is safe for your dog not for what you think looks cute.


THE TRAINING CORNER

STARTING ON THE RIGHT FOOT

     So this is your first dog, or you haven’t raised a puppy in ten years! This article was intended to refresh or guide those in making the puppies transition to its new home smooth.

     Preparation for things to have on hand before the puppy arrives are: Crate, food and bowls, (not plastic), chew toys, proper bedding, collar and leash. (very inexpensive, they will outgrow it rapidly).

     Remember, when your puppy first comes home he is like a new born baby. He knows nothing about life and the proper ways to act. You must teach him everything, from potty training to advanced commands.

     Now would be a good time to talk about the developmental stages that a puppy goes through. Designing a good environment for the development of a puppy depends upon knowledge of the periods of development. It is, of course, important at all ages to provide adequate nutrition and to prevent disease. Beyond these requirements ideal care varies from period to period. In the neonatal period a normal mother will provide optimal care for her puppies. If you are raising a litter yourself, attention should be concentrated upon making sure that the mother is well nourished and allowed to care for her puppies undisturbed. The most that the owner needs to do is to inspect the puppies once a day for possible illness or accidents. This inspection may lead to secondary benefits. Experiments strongly indicate that young animals benefit from the stimulation of handling.

      In the period of socialization there are two basic rules for producing a well-balanced and well-adjusted dog. The first of these is that the ideal time to produce a close social relationship between a puppy and his master occurs between 6 and 8 weeks of age. This is the optimal time to remove a puppy from the litter and make it into a house pet. If this is done earlier, especially at 4 weeks or before, the puppy has little opportunity to form normal social relationships with other dogs. It will form close relationships with people but may have difficulty adjusting to its own kind even in mating or caring for puppies. On the other hand, if primary socialization with people is put off to a much later period (the outside limit being about 12 weeks), the social relationships of the puppy with other dogs may be very good, but he will tend to be timid and to lack confidence with people. Although all dog breeds have the capacity to develop a close social relationship with people, the importance of this relationship varies with the dog’s future use. A strong relationship is highly important with pet dogs, working dogs, and those hunting dogs which work under close direction. It is probably not so important in most hounds, with which the dog-human relationship is not so essential for successful hunting.

     The second general rule is that the young dog should be introduced, at least in a preliminary way, to the circumstances in which it will live as an adult, and this should be done before 3 or 4 months of age. The young puppy from8 to 12 weeks is a highly malleable and adaptable animal, and this is the time to lay the foundation for its future life work. Dogs left in a kennel untill 4 months of age or older are frequently poorly adapted to any other life.

     A puppy needs to be properly socialized with humans and should be well educated about the outside world. If he is left isolated within the confines of a singular existence you will have a terrified dog creating extreme behavior that could lead to biting or a panic response.

IMPORTANCE OF A CRATE
     One of the most useful devices for raising a puppy is a wire dog home. This device can aid in housetraining puppies. It can also save hundreds of dollars in damage to household items. Since the home is portable, it can easily be taken along on trips. This makes overnight visits or vacations with the family pet more enjoyable. People who raise, train and show dogs have been aware of the benefits of wore pet home for years. Unfortunately, the new pet owner may not be as well informed.

     A recommended procedure to prevent problems is based on several canine tendencies. These are the pup’s preference to bed down with, or in the presence of others, to bed down in a sheltered, den-like atmosphere and to learn through association.

1.  The home should be large enough for an adult dog to stand and turn around unimpeded. A wire home is recommended for proper ventilation and so it can see its surroundings.
2.  Assemble the home and place it in the bedroom. The bedroom is recommended because the pup wants association with others.
3.  Introduce the pup to the home by placing several treats in and around it. Also, feed the pup several meals inside the home. (Any time the pup is in the home, be sure to remove collar and tags from the pup to prevent possible entanglement).
4.  Well before bedtime, place the pup in the home and offer a treat. Close and lock the door.
5.  Leave the room, but remain just outside in order to audit the pup’s behavior.
6.  At the first sign of any separation responses (such as barking or howling), intervene with a sharply raised voice. The idea is that the pup associates its behavior with the startling raised voice. Some pups will not respond to a raised voice, but most will respond to the sounds of a shaker can (a soda can with a few coins inside) or a newspaper slapped sharply against the door.
7.  Usually, the pup settles quietly in the home after three to eight attempts at emotional responses. After the puppy is quiet, keep it inside for about 10 minutes. Do not praise or pet the pup immediately after releasing it. This can reinforce the desirability of leaving the home.
8.  After and interval of 30-45 minutes, repeat the procedure. Extend the pup’s quiet time in the home to about 30 minutes.
9.  While the pup is in the home. Provide one chewable toy.
By the time bedtime arrives, the pup has associated being quiet with being inside the home. Also, the effects of separation are lessened because the home is in the bedroom where a family member sleeps.
Be advised that, usually after waking, the pup will need to eliminate. It will probably whine or bark, since dogs tend to avoid eliminating in their bedding areas. The pup can then be taken outside to eliminate.

This Procedure Has Several Advantages:
1.  The pup does not form the habit of eliminating in the house.
2.  The pup can be placed in its “den” when it cannot be watched during the day.
3.  The separation reflex is reduce, curtailing possible side effects related to stress.
A pup who has been successfully crate-trained will prefer its “den”. As the pup matures, it will voluntarily seek out the pet home and enter it at the appropriate time. The owner can enjoy peace of mind knowing the dog is quite comfortable and not destroying the house.

     The pup should now be left in the home over two to three hours. The amount of time depends on the dog. In any event, if the dog has been crate-trained, the owners will never find it necessary to dispose of the animal because of destructive behavior occurring during their absence.

************************************************************************************

HOUSEBREAKING HINTS
     The average dog does not fully housebreak until he is about 5 months old. They tend to go through up and down periods during their growth development. Dogs are easy to train because they are pack animals with strong instincts to follow a leader. Learn to understand your dog’s inherited behavioral instincts and work with—not against—them.
     Don’t expect to completely housebreak a puppy under 14 weeks of age. Very young puppies can’t hold bladder and bowel movements for long periods. If you take the following guide lines into consideration, the task of housebreaking should move along much easier.

1.  Feed your dog a nutritious diet on a consistent time schedule and he will eliminate on a consistent schedule.
2.  Do not feed doggy treats or table scraps between meals during the training period.
3.  Teach control of bodily functions by creating a “den” and confine him to it until it’s time to go out. Supervise your puppy at all times when he’s out of his den.
4.  Select one location outdoors as his toilet area. Use this location consistently.
5.  Take your dog to his toilet area first thing every morning, after every meal or drink of water, after naps. After play periods or excitement, and before bedtime.
6.  In between, stay alert for such signs as whining, acting restless, sniffing the floor, or going around in circles. As soon as you see any of these thins, rush him out to his toilet area.
7.  Stay outdoors with the dog and praise him lavishly when (and every time) he relieves himself.
8.  Use verbal praise and petting, NOT FOOD, as a reward.
9.  Clean up promptly after your dog.
10.  Keep the dog himself clean and well-groomed.
11.  Scold the dog verbally if you catch him relieving himself in the house. Rush him outside immediately. If you do not catch him, it’s to late for a correction to have any effect. (Note: if the dog does have an accident in the house, put him in another area while you clean up. DO NOT let the dog see you clean up the mess. You are not his maid).
12.  Follow a strict timetable. The more vigilant you are in the beginning, the more successful your training program will be. Many, many dogs can be housebroken in 7-14 days

    The secret to housebreaking is to understand two things: 1. Again remember that dogs are pack animals, a dog’s pack instincts allow him to respect and respond to a strong, clear leader, and 2. That the dog is a den animal by nature, with an instinct to keep his den clean. So, the simplest and quickest way to housebreak is to take advantage of his instincts and housebreak the natural way—using a crate to simulate denning.

    Purchase and use a crate which the dog will learn to regard as his den. With very few exceptions, he will not soil his quarters unless he is ill and can’t help it. And, of course, you will need to set up a schedule that he is ale to maintain. You will also take him from his crate directly outdoors before he relieves himself, and your house will stay clean, too! Following are some sample housebreaking timetables to help you set up your own housebreaking schedule. You MUST  use a strict but not a hard hearted system.


DONT’ START BAD HABITS
     One of the most important things to learn in early training, is to not start bad habits. What we think is cute now may come back to haunt us later. Some of the bad habits that we start our puppies doing end up being paid for later on. The following is a list of common ones that most pet owners make.

     Spoiling, remember, you have purchased a dog and not a child. Dogs are not capable of thinking like a human beings. Remember that we are training them in a fashion that they can relate to and understand.

     Feeding table scraps, some people food every now and then is ok, but when your dog won’t eat his own food that becomes a problem. Being a dog, they require the nutrition and balance that good “dog food” contains. Of course if you choose to cook for your dog and supply him with the proper requirements, you can. Just don’t expect him to start eating dog food ever again.

     Rushing to the puppy every time it whines. To a dog, negative attention is just as fulfilling as positive attention. If you pick him up every time he demands it, you’ll be carrying him around all the time. Not only is that unreasonable, it also makes him unable to be by himself with any confidence. At one time or another, the dog will be left by himself. So it’ s better to have a well adjusted dog to begin with.

      Jumping up on people. You may feel it’s ok to jump on you because you say “He just wants to show his affection”. But you won’t appreciate it when those cute little muddy feet are on your best pair of pants and your rushing out the door for an appointment. Also company will say “Oh I don’t mind”, but they most certainly do. They’re just being polite.

     Letting the puppy wander off leash. If they stay beside you that’s fine, but once they go off and do not return it becomes a problem. You are now allowing the puppy to have a mind of its own and think it is ok to just go where ever he pleases. What he doesn’t know is that the neighbors do not like him eliminating in their yard or that cars can kill him.

     Improper toys are allowing the puppy to play with articles that lead to improper behavior. Some examples are your shoes, snatching your towels or clothing, and anything your house is made of. Playing fetch with a stick leads to coming back to chew on your coffee table which is also made of wood. Cloth tug of war toys lead to pulling down curtains and some times the apolstery of the furniture. Rawhide is the basis for most shoe chewing and the danger is that small pieces can break off, get swallowed and then swell in their intestines leading to blockage. Proper toys include latex balls, frisbee’s, nylabone or gummybone. Basically puppies develop association behavior and if not channeled properly from the get go, can develop into real problems later.

BACK