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     Preparing for a new Cavalier puppy

 Written by Pat Kelly

 

 

    If you have not tried to raise a puppy for a while you have probably forgotten the myriad of things puppies can get into in a matter of seconds. Until the puppy is at least 8 to 12 months old  you will need to be ready to either be watching the puppy or putting him up while you cannot keep an eye on him.

 

    One of the reasons many of us are attracted to the CKCS breed is because they are so puppy like even into adulthood. The bad news is that they are often finding things to get into that can cause them serious harm. An easy way to remember how much freedom to give a puppy goes like this

 

"Whatever you would allow a two year old child with no diapers and a pair of scissors to do with no supervision is what you should allow your puppy to do with no supervision."

 

When you take a shower, are talking on the telephone, running across the street to borrow

something from a neighbor, etc. you must put the puppy in his confined "safe" area or be prepared for serious accidents to happen.

 

    To train your puppy you will need a magazine tightly rolled up and taped so it makes a good beating stick. The next time your puppy messes on the floor, tears up your favorite shoes or eats your peanut butter and jelly sandwich take the magazine and hit yourself with it while saying, "I should have been watching the puppy!" The days of rubbing their noses in it, swatting them with a newspaper, tossing them out in the yard when they are bad, etc. is long gone. The Cavalier breed standard calls for a fearless dog. This does not mean they can handle any mistreatment. In my experience, Cavaliers are very sensitive dogs and do not do well using harsh corrections.

 

    Before your puppy arrives I suggest you buy several books on dog training and go by and visit as many puppy classes as you can to help you decide which class to enroll in. Look for a class where the people and dogs are having fun. Look for smiles and listen for laughter. Find out what experience your instructor has with toy breeds and watch how the students are told to handle their dogs. Ask your instructor what training seminars they have attended recently and if they are members of any national Obedience Instructors organizations.

 

    The less progressive dog training classes still use the J&P or J&Y method of dog training (jerk and pull or jerk and yank). Look for a class where they use praise and rewards. J&P dog training classes are no longer acceptable and could be an indication that either the instructor refuses to accept new methods or actually enjoys inflicting pain on dogs. We have learned so much more about training dogs and know that we don't have to brow beat them to work with us.

 

    For the first couple of months, plan to re-arrange your schedule so you can get the puppy out to meet lots of new people and experience lots of new sights and sounds. The critical time to socialize your puppy is from the time he arrives until his 16th week. A Cavalier that comes from a responsible breeder will never be younger then 8 weeks old and will have already been exposed to a variety of sights and sounds before he is sent home to you. Your puppy should not show any shyness, fear or aggression. By heavily socializing your Cavalier puppy you will be giving him a good strong foundation that will carry him through his entire adult life.

 

    Some good books on dog training are:

"Don't Shoot the Dog!" Karen Pryor

"The Culture Clash" Jean Donaldson

"Super Puppy -- How to raise the best dog you'll ever have!" Peter J Vollmer

"Good Owners Great Dogs" Kilcommons & Wilson

"How To Housebreak Your Dog in 7 Days" Kalstone

"Mother Knows Best" Carol Benjamin

"Play training Your Dog" Patricia Burnham

"Competitive Obedience for the Small Dog" Cecil & Darnell

"Second Hand Dog" Carol Benjamin Great for new owners of rescue dogs

There are many many more to choose from --- these are only a few. These books can be ordered through Dog and Cat Book Catalog 1800-776-2665

 

 

 

      House Training Your Cavalier- General

 

 

 

    If possible it is important to design a house-training plan before your puppy arrives. If you keep changing your house training methods it will take much longer for the puppy to figure out what is expected. Be ready to lose a few nights sleep and plan on getting up at least 30 minutes earlier than usual so you can have time to get teach him the right way to live in your home. In just a couple of months you will not remember how much work it was when the new little guy arrived.  But if you do not put in the time and energy necessary at the beginning, your work will be much harder and the training will take much longer.

 

 

    Most puppies cannot be effectively house trained until they are at least 12 weeks old.

Regrettably many cavaliers take much longer. To expect them to "hold" it for any length of time is to prepare for disappointment. The rule of thumb is anything that goes in the puppy will soon come out of the puppy, so practice the twenty-minute rule. Take the puppy out on the hour, twenty minutes after the hour and twenty minutes before the hour. When a puppy wakes up from a nap he'll have to potty, when a puppy plays for more then about five minutes he'll have to potty, when a puppy eats he'll have to potty - get the picture?

 

 

    There are two ways to house train. One is if you are a stay at home puppy owner, the other if you work outside the home. Part of your house-training plan needs to include some basic equipment. I believe in using a crate as a place for the puppy to go and rest when it needs some quiet time and as a way to keep him from getting into trouble when you can't watch him. If you do not feel comfortable using a crate then you will need to come up with some way to provide the pup with a safe place.  This is really crucial to the success of your training.

 

 

 

  House Training- For the Stay at Home Puppy Owner

                                

 

 

 

     1. DO NOT let the puppy out of your sight for one second until you know you can count on him to stay out of trouble.  With Cavaliers this appears to be no earlier than 4 months, with many Cavaliers taking much longer to mature.

 

2. If you do let your puppy out of your sight or you do not take him out often enough and he has an accident take a magazine, roll it up real tight then hit YOURSELF on the head with it saying "I should have been watching the puppy!"

 

3. Choose one area where the pup is supposed to eliminate and always take the dog to that spot.

 

4. When you take the puppy out to eliminate take treats with you. When the puppy goes potty praise it like it's the best thing the puppy has ever done and give it a small treat. The puppy will learn to enjoy going outside to do his business.

 

5. With your puppy on a leash, take the puppy to it's "spot" using the same word that tells the puppy it's time to go potty.  Word of warning: use a word that you won't mind saying in public in case you are at a rest stop and need the dog to "go".

 

6. If you use the twenty-minute rule, mistakes should be few and far between. When you see puppy starting to sniff, circle or squat, quickly and gently pick up the puppy and take it to its elimination spot. Do not drag it across the floor, do not scream at it, just pick it up and take it out.  If the puppy does have an accident remember to hit yourself with the magazine then promptly clean up the spot by soaking with straight vinegar or a product designed to eliminate pet doors. Do not use any product with ammonia to clean up a wet spot because the ammonia acts like a beacon to the puppy and tells it that this is where he is supposed to pee.

 

7. Dogs will naturally keep their "den area" clean.  House training is all about teaching the puppy that the entire house is his "den". The challenge is that you have to introduce the puppy to freedom room by room, and not give him free reign of the whole house. If you are not watching the puppy you need to put him in a safe confined area. I prefer a crate because when a puppy is in a crate he cannot eat sheetrock, linoleum, power cords, carpet, books, kids toys or water hoses etc.  If you do not want to crate your dog find a small space where he can be safe from danger. To help keep your puppy confined in a safe area you will need a crate or a very small confined space, or attach the puppy to a leash then attach the leash to your belt loop.

 

8. To help the puppy get through the night, take water away about one to two hours before bedtime.  It is best to let your puppy sleep next to your bed during at least the first few weeks, so if he has to go potty during the night he can let you know. The moment you hear the puppy whine or cry, PICK HIM UP and carry him to his eliminating spot.  Many accidents occur because the puppy can't make it all the way from his sleeping spot to his outdoor spot.  When he has to go, he has to go!  Tell him his potty word and give him a few moments to do what he has to do.  If he doesn't do his business bring him back in and put him in his safe area.  Wait for fifteen minutes and take him out again.  It does not take the puppy very long to figure out that his potty word means it's time to do his business.

 

9. It is also important to teach the puppy that he has to go on a variety of surfaces and during all kinds of weather. If you take him to a cement area and he doesn't go put him up for fifteen minutes then take him to that spot again.  If it is raining put your raincoat on and go out in the rain with him.  Again put him up for fifteen minutes and take him out again if he didn't go the first time.

 

10. I have a set of bells by the back door that I ring each time I take the puppy out.  Then I teach the puppy to ring them when he is old enough to go to the door by himself. It comes in handy because the puppy learns to let you know when it's time to go!

 

Continue to do these house training exercises and you will have a dog that will go potty on command in a few moments and you will not have accidents all over your house.

 

 

    If you do all these things and the puppy continues to have accidents it is important to have your veterinarian make sure he isn't sick.  Sometimes bladder infections can cause puppy to pee in the house even after he has gone outside. If your puppy was raised in an unclean environment where it could not get away from the place it had to go potty it could prove to be very difficult to house-train.  Puppies who are forced to live in theirown mess get to a point where they don't care about cleanliness.  When that happens you are often unable to get the dog house trained. There are many reasons for not buying a puppy from a pet store.  One of those reasons is because you do not know how it was raised and it might be impossible to get it potty trained.

 

 

     House Training- If You Work Outside the Home

                                

 

 

 

    Here are some tips to help house train your puppy if you work outside the home. Until your puppy is at least 16 weeks old try to arrange for someone to come home during the lunch hour to let him out to do his business and to play with him. Plan on taking vacation so you can spend a couple of days with the pup when he first arrives.  Be ready to lose a few nights sleep and plan on getting up at least 30 minutes earlier then usual so you can have time to get him ready for leaving him alone for the day.  In just a couple of months you will not remember how much work it was when the new little guy arrived but if you do not put in the time and energy necessary at the beginning your work will be much harder and the training will take much longer.

 

 

    Part of your house-training plan needs to include some basic equipment.

 

I believe in using a crate as a place for the puppy to go and rest when it needs some quiet time and as a way to keep him from getting into trouble when you can't watch him. If you do not feel comfortable using a crate then you will need to come up with some way to provide the pup with a safe place.

 

1. Invest in or borrow an "X" pen (metal exercise pen) or a puppy proof play pen. Purchase a small crate and buy a ton of puppy pee pads.

 

2. Before you leave the puppy in his pen be sure to put him in there for long periods of time so you can check to make sure he isn't eating or climbing his way out.

 

When you get up in the morning the first thing you should do is PICK UP THE PUPPY and carry him outside. Follow these rules:

    Choose one area where the pup is supposed to eliminate and always take the dog to that spot.

 

   When you take the puppy out to eliminate take treats with you. When the puppy goes potty praise it like it's the best thing the puppy has ever done and give it a small treat. The puppy will learn to enjoy going outside to do his business.

 

    With your puppy on a leash, take the puppy to it's "spot" using the same word that tells the puppy it's time to go potty. Word of warning: use a word that you won't mind saying in public in case you are at a rest stop and need the dog to "go".

 

3. Assuming he will stay in his pen, feed the puppy as early in the morning as possible, give him time to do his business at least once and preferably twice if he is under 12 weeks old. Play with him quite a bit to get him good and tired.  Put one or two toys in his crate along with a chew toy and a Kong toy stuffed with small pieces of dog cookie. After you have had a good play with the puppy take him out one more time to do his business then put him in his pen and say goodbye. Do not fuss over him when you leave just say 'Bye' and take off.  If you have a stuffed Kong toy and the puppy is already tired he should settle down easily to play with the toy then take a long nap.

 

4. When you get home from work IMMEDIATELY take the pup outside. The moment you walk in the door drop everything, quietly go to the pup, pick him up and carry him outside.  Do not make a big fuss when you first arrive. Act like it is no big deal that he hasn't seen you for several hours.  While you are at home with your baby DO NOT let the puppy out of your sight for one second until you know you can count on him to stay out of trouble.  With Cavaliers this appears to be no earlier than 4 months.  Many Cavaliers take much longer to mature.

 

5. If you do let your puppy out of your sight or you do not take him out often enough and he has an accident, take a magazine, roll it up real tight then hit YOURSELF on the head with it saying "I should have been watching the puppy!"

 

6. If you use the twenty-minute rule, mistakes should be few and far between. When you see puppy starting to sniff, circle or squat, quickly and gently pick up the puppy and take it to its elimination spot.  Do not drag it across the floor, do not scream at it, just pick it up and take it out.  If the puppy does have an accident remember to hit yourself with the magazine, then promptly clean up the spot by soaking with straight vinegar or a product designed to eliminate pet odors. Do not use any product with ammonia to clean up a wet spot because the ammonia acts like a beacon to the puppy and tells it that this is where he is supposed to pee.

 

7. By the time the puppy is 12 weeks old he should be able to hold it a little longer so you could wait thirty to forty five minutes between breaks. As he matures the time span can be longer and longer.

 

8. Dogs will naturally keep their "den area" clean. House training is all about teaching the puppy that the entire house is his "den". The challenge is that you have to introduce the puppy to freedom room by room and not give him free reign of the whole house.  If you are not watching the puppy you need to put him in a safe confined area.  I prefer a crate because when the puppy is in the crate he cannot eat sheetrock, linoleum, power cords, books, carpet, water hoses etc. If you do not want to crate your dog find a small space where he can be safe from danger. To help keep your puppy confined in a safe area you will need a crate or a very small confined space or attach the puppy to a leash then attach the leash to your belt loop.

 

9. To help the puppy get through the night, take water away about one to two hours before bedtime. It is best to let your puppy sleep next to your bed during at least the first few weeks so if he has to go potty during the night he can let you know. The moment you hear the puppy whine or cry, pick him up and carry him to his eliminating spot.  Many accidents occur because the puppy can't make it all the way from his sleeping spot to his outdoor spot.  When he has to go he has to go!  Tell him his potty word and give him a few moments to do what he has to do.  If he doesn't do his business bring him back in and put him in his safe area.  Wait for fifteen minutes and take him out again.  It does not take the puppy very long to figure out that his potty word means it's time to do his business.

 

10. It is also important to teach the puppy that he has to go on a variety of surfaces and during all kinds of weather.  If you take him to a cement area and he doesn't go put him up for fifteen minutes then take him to that spot again.  If it is raining put your raincoat on and go out in the rain with him.  Again put him up for fifteen minutes and take him out again if he didn't go the first time.

 

11. I have a set of bells by the back door that I ring each time I take the puppy out and then teach the puppy to ring when he is old enough to go to the door by himself.  It comes in handy because the puppy learns to let you know when it's time to go!

 

Continue to do these house training exercises and you will have a dog that will go potty on command in a few moments and you will not have accidents all over your house.

 

 

    If you do all these things and the puppy continues to have accidents it is important to have your veterinarian make sure he isn't sick. Sometimes bladder infections can cause puppy to pee in the house even after he has gone outside. If your puppy was raised in an unclean environment where it could not get away from the place it had to go potty it could prove to be very difficult to house-train. Puppies who are forced to live in their own mess get to a point where they don't care about cleanliness. When that happens you are often unable to get the dog house trained. There are many reasons for not buying a puppy from a pet store. One of those reasons is because you do not know how it was raised and it might be impossible to get it potty trained.

 

 

 

 

   Submissive Urination- Peeing when they say hello

                                

 

 

 

    We have all seen dogs, especially puppies, who leave a little trail of piddle when we reach down to pick them up. This action of leaving a wet spot is called submissive urination and is not because the dog is not housebroken. Submissive urination is usually seen in dogs that lack confidence due to genetics or poor socialization. These dogs are acting the only way they know how and urinate as an act of surrender. Some dogs can be easily over stimulated and might urinate if excited. Many dogs are able to develop control as they mature and get more socialized but submissive urination is often genetically linked, so some dogs could have this weakness their entire lives.

 

    If you scold a dog for submissive urination you will make the problem worse. If your dog only urinates in the presence of certain people do some desensitization exercises by having these people meet with you and your dog over several sessions. Have the people come to visit at separate times and enter your home as though it's no big deal. Ask them to basically ignore the dog, don't look at it, pet it, etc. for about 5 minutes. If the dog approaches the visitor that's fine but do not approach the dog. After a few minutes, the visitor can briefly look down at the dog and smile, wait a few minutes more then look at the dog, smile and say the dogs name. By now the visitor should be able to slowly reach down and gently touch the dog without causing too much piddle.

 

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