Training Your Puppies - Part 1

Is it useful to give the pup something to chew on?

Yes. Chewing is almost as natural to it as any other body activity. He will enjoy it and will help him 'teeth'. Since chewing is normal and enjoyed by the pup do not make a mistake of allowing him to chew anything and everything. Providing a nutritional chew-stick will also help him prevent chewing furniture or clothing, which is close to the ground like the bottom of skirts of womenfolk, trousers and the like. Make sure it does not pick up the habit of chewing stones and may even eat it. It's difficult to stop, if it is developed as a habit. So provide items which are safe and that will satisfy his instincts.

There are toys often in the shape of a dumb-bell, musical balls, tugs or nutritional chew-bones specially made for the pup. Do not offer him your old foot-wear to play with. He may not distinguish between the bad ones and the good ones. And, please don’t blame him if it keeps your premium shoes! A bone of knuckle or shin is also good after it is boiled and sterilised. But be cautious about bones which are splintered and with sharp edges. Remember never to provide a fish or fowl bone.
 
Are there special toys for dogs? If so, which one shall I choose?
Yes, just like your children, puppies also need toys. Criteria in selecting the toys are:- 1) is it safe for the pup and 2) does it meet the needs of the pup. One of the safest and useful toys is leather bones. Interestingly, leather bones are useful for adult dogs as well. In pups, chew bones can keep them engaged and provide nutrition being a good source of protein.
 
In adult dogs, it also avoids boredom especially when they are left alone. When adult dogs are left alone, they are likely to dig soil, damage clothes and cushions. Leather chew bones will keep them engaged. It is also natural that they may often burry those bones to retrieve later and use; an  instinct acquired in their wild state and still retaining! Leather bones also prevent tartar formation on the teeth, which is often a problem in adult and old dogs. Alternatively, rubber toys often in the shape of bones are also available. They have to be cleaned after 'play' and stored dry and hygienically as they can not be consumed like chew bones. Sterilized natural bones are also used. But they need to be kept very clean, often by boiling and then sun dried. Soft materials made of plastic or rubber should be avoided to prevent being chewed and swallowed. If it is accidentally swallowed, it can result in chocking and intestinal block.
 
Thick hard balls are also available. There are musical balls that will make your pup curious to roll it, observe and hear the sound. Another useful toy is thick cotton braided rope with free loose ends. This is often used when there are two or more pups. They will bite either ends and pull each other and hence it is also called as toy-tugs. This can also be used to play with a pup. One end is made to bite by the pup and the other end slowly  pulled by you. After a while, leave your end so that the pup will feel that he has 'won'. Repeat the game if your pup likes to have another set of game! Avoid tiny items like small bell which the pup can swallow as a whole.
 
How about adult dogs? Do they need toys?
They also need toys, perhaps different variants. If chew bones are preferred, you may give him two or three pieces in a week depending upon the size of the dog.
 
What is the best way to pick up a puppy and hold it?
A puppy or small dog should be picked up and held very carefully. Sometime back, a famous head of a Nation held a dog in the wrong way, which made a lot of hue and cry across the nation. Hence, learn how to do it. This is not because of the public outcry but please consider the humane way of doing it. Place one hand under his chest and tummy and then scoop him up; with your other hand, hold him firmly against you. Never lift up a pup or a small dog by the scurf of his neck or hold by its fore leg.

Should we need to exercise a puppy like an adult dog?
Regular purpose, full-exercise which is often needed by an adult dog is not needed for a pup. Since pups enjoy play, encouraging him to play often is sufficient. Though, don’t wake up a sleeping pup and make him to play. Restrict children in the family or neighbourhood playing with the puppy for a long time. When a new pup is brought home, children are likely to invite their friends to play with the puppy. After playing for a while, let him rest and sleep. Also, attend to his physiological needs like food, evacuations and sleep.

How about exercise for adult dog?
Health of your dog depends much on its exercise. This is as important as good nutrition. Dogs too enjoy active and vigorous exercises like running, retrieving and jumping. You should be careful in training him for jumping.

Some dogs if taught how to jump may often go over the gate or compound wall. If it becomes a habit, you will regret for training him for jumping over. This skill and many other similar skills may be required for special dogs like police dogs, tracking dogs or when dogs are used for military purposes. For a dog which is primarily to be kept as a companion, pet and guard, be careful in training with skills like jump, climb over etc. The quantum of exercise also depends upon the size and breed of dogs. Large breed, mostly of hounds, will need a lot of exercise. If required, discuss with an experienced trainer, breeder or vet. They will guide you to find a convenient regime considering your
time and space available.

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