DogMa's Blog

17. Jan, 2022

Any encounter, good or bad, that your canine puppy or adult experiences will influence its mental growth and will dictate how it will respond to that stimulus in the future. The canine puppy should be socialised correctly, especially while going through critical stages of development. This, in due course will help with the way in which your Dog deals with life's experiences.

The puppies’ breeder should deal with the first few weeks of their life but by the time the pup is ready to leave the nest, at approximately 7-8 weeks of age, you, as the new caretaker should know the following:

Between the ages of 3-7 weeks the first phase of imprinting (canine and human awareness) or socialisation will start, with the brain developing rapidly now, sound, and visual socialisation is a must, if disturbances (fear) to unfamiliar stimuli are to be kept to a minimum. Communication through body language starts at around four weeks of age along with the first tail wags and puppies will start to claim rank or position within their pack of siblings. They will do this through playing and play fighting and their position within their siblings may change from day to day.

Socialisation falls into three phases. After the imprinting phase mentioned in the previous paragraph comes the true socialisation period.  At around 8-12 weeks the puppy will start to recognise people and other canines as fellow-members of its pack and with whom it will form relationships/bonds. If a dog does not have sufficient contact with people between the 3rd and 11th weeks of his life, timidity and fearfulness may be the result and the pup will find it more difficult to develop a bond with humans.

The more contact a dog has in this period with people, with other dogs, other animals and with objects, in short, the more he is involved, the more inclined it will be in later life towards well-balanced behaviors. Smell, touch, skin contact and above all, play, are all of vital importance to a positive mindset and sociable puppy.

The dog must be handled regularly and have the opportunity to become thoroughly familiar with the scent of humans, male, female, old and young. It is also important that the pup has adequate contact with its own kind when applicable to be able to build and maintain communication skills with its own species in the future. This does not mean constant play with strange dogs/pups. This only gives your puppy the idea that all dogs are there to be played with and this is what can cause you problems in the future. Teach your puppy how to be calm around strange dogs which means choosing good role models for them to learn from.

Between now and around 4-5 months is when the young pup will discover who in this pack is in charge. So, any boundaries and rules that have been established will be tested for consistency and this is a time when you will need to “step up” and support the important structure that has been set in place by you to maintain balance. Calm corrections, guidance, consistency and structure are needed at this time.

By the time your pup is about 6 months old socialisation should have been maintained and reinforced because whatever is learnt by this stage will dictate how the dog adjusts into adulthood and throughout its life and I hope we all want a calm and confident puppy. Throughout this period the young pup should be introduced to as many unfamiliar places as possible as this will help to eliminate undesirable fearful behaviour later when it is in place or surroundings that are new to it. Remember it is also about educating said pup on what is expected from it when it is experiencing different places so that good behaviour can be guaranteed in the future.

Lack of sufficient exposure to strange or unfamiliar noises can also lead to the Dog becoming hypersensitive upon hearing something it does not recognise. Much of these stimuli can be administered by a knowledgeable breeder but must be continued by you, as the guardian and educator, through sensible acclimatisation. A good example of sound preparation is playing a recording of fireworks at various levels to desensitise your puppy when November 5th arrives.

A puppy that acts fearfully should not be comforted but given support by you as the protector, as the puppy will often see your efforts as a sign of affirmation of that fear. Lead by example and remain calm, wait for the puppy to recover, and then praise and move on. A pack leader would ignore or correct the unwanted behaviour and only give positive attention when the behaviour displayed is desirable. This will encourage a confident, balanced state of mind.

Both male and female dogs go through a period of adolescence between approximately 9 to 36 months, depending on the breed:

A female will have her first season (reproductive cycle) normally between 6 months and 1 year, and this will last for approximately 21 days. Her disposition can be affected by this hormonal change in different ways. It is important to remember that all these variants in her behaviour should be treated with a calm assertive energy and, where appropriate, she will need to be corrected for any inappropriate behaviour. (It should be taken on board that these variants in her behaviour, however, are not a true sign of her temperament).  Should you decide not to breed from your female Dog however, she should be spayed about three months after her first season finishes as, at this time, her hormones will likely be back in balance.

During this period of adolescence, the male's testosterone levels will also begin to rise, and he will start to lift his leg when urinating. He will start to mark territory when on a walk.  He will try to assert himself more with other dogs and humans both those within and outside of your pack. Other signs of adolescence are the testing of boundaries such as not coming when called and a general disobedience. All of these should be handled by correction or consequence, and it is important to realize that the youngster is not doing these things with negative intentions. They are not rationalising the situation and trying to “tick you off”. These behaviours are perfectly natural and are a normal part of your dog's development. What is important here is how you as their leader deal with them and your consistency with doing so.

Laying a strong foundation for a puppy starts with their breeder but as their future guardians and educators it is up to you to continue this from the day they arrive in your home. Build a bond of trust and respect, communicate clearly and fluently in a way that they understand. If you don’t know how or you are struggling, ask for help sooner rather than later and please remember that your dog speaks a very different language and has completely different values.

by DogMa

9. Dec, 2021

Those who have a new puppy a crucial part of their development is being properly socialised with other dogs. Please be selective and only choose dogs that are good role models and that display a strong trust and connection to their owners. Dogs that are overly excited and display no self control, which sadly is more common today, are NOT the right dogs for your puppy to meet. Dogs who are in front of their owners on the end of a flexible leash or off leash, head high and moving at speed in your direction, no matter how friendly, can be overwhelming for a puppy and if you like the picture this dog and its owner portray you are only creating the same for your dog by allowing them to meet. Keeping your dog in a calm neutral head space will keep them out of trouble in the long run.  Set your puppy up for success. If you don't know how then call DogMa or an experienced trainer in your area who can help you.

by DogMa

5. Aug, 2021

SMART WORDS!!!
BEFORE YOU GET A DOG - READ THIS! ... and then think long and hard about how you will adjust your life to include your new addition ...

“I am a Dobermann, cataloged one of the most intelligent and most feared dogs, I have served the US Navy and I will not narrate my dark past on the German side. They called me the devil's dog, today they ask me to behave like a Poodle, they have gone so far as to wear clothes ...

I am a Malinois:
Gifted among dogs, I shine in all disciplines and I am always ready to work. Today they ask me to relax on the couch all day.

I am an Akita Inu:
My ancestors have been selected to fight with other dogs. Today they ask me to be tolerant of my peers, and they blame me for my reactivity when one of them approaches me.

I am a Beagle:
When I followed my prey, I gave a voice so that the hunters could follow me. I was leading the dance.
Today they put an electric collar on me to silence me, and they want me to return to the call in a snap of fingers.

I am a Yorkshire Terrier:
I was a rat catcher, fearsome in the English mines. Today they think that I can't use my legs and they always hold me in their arms.

I am a Labrador Retriever:
My vision of happiness is a dip in a pond to bring my master the duck he just shot. Today we forget that I am a sports dog, I am fat and I have to babysit the children.

I am a Jack Russell Terrier:
I am capable of facing a fox larger than me in its own den. Today they blame me for my damn character and want to turn me into a parlor dog.

I am a Siberian husky:
I got to know the great spaces of northern Russia, where I could pull sledges at impressive speed. Today I only have the walls of the garden on my horizon, and my only occupation is the holes I dig in the ground.

I am a Border Collie:
I am cut out to work eight hours a day, and I am an incomparable artist of herd labor. Today they blame me because in the absence of sheep, I try to control bicycles, cars, children from home, and everything that is in motion.

I am...
I'm a 19th century dog

I am handsome, I am alert, I am obedient, I can put up with being in a purse ... but I am also an individual who needs to express his instincts, and I am not suitable for the sedentary life that you want me to carry.

Spending eight hours a day alone on the patio, seeing you a little at night when you come back, and being entitled to any activity just a short walk to the bathroom will make me deeply unhappy.

I'll express it by barking all day, turning your garden into a minefield, relieving myself on the inside, being unmanageable the few times I'll find myself on the outside, and sometimes spending my days on my cushion, then you'll think I'm happy to To be able to enjoy all this comfort while you go to work: in reality I will be in full depression, because it is not the preference of the human, but also that of the dog of the XXI century.

If you like me, if you dream of me forever, if my beautiful blue eyes or my athlete look make you want to possess me, but you can't give me a real life of a full dog, a life that is really worth living, and if not you can offer me the job my genes claim ... then quit me.
If you like my rhythm but are not ready to accept my character traits from rigorous genetic selection, and you think you can change them with your only good will ... then quit me.

I'm a 19th century dog, yes. But, deep there, the one who fought, the one who hunted, the one who pulled sleds, the one who led a herd still sleeps. And sooner or later, you will wake up. For better or worse.”

Elsa Weiss Éducation Canine / Cynopolis

6. May, 2021

I am a strong advocate of zero on leash greeting. By that l mean when my dog is on leash we will not under any circumstances greet another dog in any form--no sniffing, no body contact, and no playing.

Why?

Because dogs are very black and white creatures. The more crystal clear the direction, the less stressed and confused they will feel.

When my dogs are on leash they know it is not the time to get excited or concerned when they see another dog. There is no exception.

This rule is very easy to understand and follow.

When l see another dog, l do not keep saying "leave it leave it" or cooing to my dogs with baby talks such as "now let's be a good girl, we can play later but not now okayyyy?"

I do not make a big deal out of it; l just ask them to follow me and keep walking.

By not making it a big deal l am not sending them the message that other dogs are supposed to make us worried or excited. I am also not building them up to anticipate a correction when we pass the dogs.

By making sure there is no exception, l am not confusing them (e.g. if you are good l may let you sniff, if you know that dog we can play a bit, if you do not react l will let you say hi later, l am running late so we cant say hi now, you have been a bad girl so no sniffing this time, you can say hi to girls but not boys...).

There is only one, not two or three or four, proper response. My dogs are not confused about what they should do when they see another dog on the walk. They know they need to ignore all these dogs and follow my lead at all time. That's it.

Confusion adds stress and anxiety; a good leader is supposed to give very clear instruction to his pack.

With clear directions, our dogs can relax and follow our lead with a calm state of mind.

By Perfect Companion K9 Dog Training

3. May, 2021

When you bring home a new puppy, it’s so easy to forget that this adorable, cute little furry being, is an apex predator, animal canine species dog - with its own set of species specific behaviours and instincts. It often doesn’t occur to us that as a dog, it is entirely different from us. Dogs have their own set of customs, rituals, needs, desires, habits, thoughts and emotions. They are different from us genetically, emotionally and socially and they communicate differently from us. So by not understanding their nature we superimpose our standards on them. Dogs can only see things from a dogs perspective.
Dogs operate on a survival level and their needs are not as complex as ours. They are not motivated politically, environmentally, economically or religiously. They have no morality or ethics as we know them. They don’t chew your best shoes because they have no values or they have no respect for you or calculate revenge on the something you have done to them or failed to do. They do this because they are opportunist, it’s pleasurable and rewarding.
Understanding the species as a whole will help you make better decisions when teaching your dog how to live in our environment. Educate yourself and respect the species you choose to share your home with. You and they will be much happier in the long run.