About Newfoundlands  

Sanitation -Part II

by Tracy Warncke

Sanitation means more than just scooping the poop. It also extends to feeding utensils, crates, dog food and your yard. The cleaner you keep your dog and his "belongings" the healthier he will be.

You should wash your dog's food bowl after each meal - yes, just like you wash your own dishes. Little bits of leftover food can spoil. It will also attract flies. Make sure your remove the bowl immediately after feeding time. During the hot summer months food can spoil quickly. The longest lasting and easiest to clean bowl are made stainless steel. Hot soapy water renders a stainless steel bowl clean and shiny! Make sure you rinse well to remove all soap residue. Easier still, buy extras and run them through your dishwasher.

Stainless steel buckets are terrific as they are indestructible (they can't be chewed and the handles don't break off) and easy to clean. They also last forever because they don't rust. In the northern climates where the temperature drops below freezing you don't have to worry about the buckets splitting from the ice. If you have two or three dogs in a run stainless steel buckets might not be quite big enough. You might want to try "horse buckets". These are large, heavy plastic buckets that can take a great deal of abuse. As with your food bowls, your water buckets require a daily washing with hot soapy water. Whether you use stainless or plastic, during the heat of summer an occasional scrubbing with a bleach and water mixture will help keep down the algae that can grow overnight. If your dog is outside a great deal change that bucket twice a day. Don't just add water to fill it up, dump out the old and refill completely (the water you are dumping out is great for watering plants during those dry summer months when the water restrictions are on). This ensures that your dog has fresh, clean, cool water all day and will help minimize the mud on the bottom! Rinse, rinse rinse after any washing and remember to keep those buckets in the shade when it's hot.

Food storage can create problems as well. Try putting your dog food in a garbage can. A 33 gallon (fairly small outdoor metal or plastic can) trash can will easily hold a 40 pound bag of dog food. These containers will prevent mice from getting into the dog food. A tight fitting lid, with bunjee cords will prevent those giant 120 pound, giant black mice from helping themselves to a snack! Keep your dog biscuits in a container with a tight fitting lid as well. This helps to keep them fresh and minimizes any infestation of grain moths. Try to store your dog food and biscuits in a cool dry spot. If this isn't possible purchasing smaller bags more frequently during the hot, humid summer months will help to prevent spoilage as most stores are air conditioned!

Examine your yard for any sources of standing water. Mosquitoes only need a very small amount of standing water in which to lay their eggs. Empty all buckets, tires, garbage cans and kiddie pools of any water when they are not in use. Eliminating the breeding ground will help you reduce the use of chemicals which may be toxic to your dog.

You are aware that most dogs (skunks and raccoons also) find garbage just about irresistible. While there is no simple solution, there are several steps you can take to make it more difficult for your garbage cans to become the victim of a midnight raid. It's more likely you will hear the racket and be able to stop the intruder before your garbage is spread across the neighborhood. Purchase garbage cans with handles that "lock" the lids on. Tight bunjee cords through the handles will help. If possible place your garbage cans in a shed, garage or bin and keep the doors closed.

Finally, a word about your dog's crate. Remember, this is his/her home and it should be kept clean. Wash the pan (the solid metal liner on the bottom) on a weekly basis. Again, bleach and water will kill any bacteria. If you are using any kind of mat (old towels, blankets, rug scraps) wash these on a weekly basis as well. During flea and tick season you might want to wash these daily to kill any eggs that might be deposited. Daily washing is especially important if you dog is ill.

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by Tracy Warncke

From the time your puppy was born it was handled by many people. Washing machines, dryers, television sets, radios, vacuum cleaners and telephones were a normal part of its day. Its breeder spent a tremendous amount of time with each puppy in the litter exposing them to all of life's little wonders. When you picked up your puppy, the breeder strongly recommended puppy kindergarten or obedience school.

You've heard many people say "I don't need to go to training class, my dog behaves beautifully in the yard." Well, what happens when that owner is walking the dog down the street and they encounter another dog? Or, when they are at the vets office and that well behaved dog suddenly becomes terrified when confronted with all those other dogs and cats? What's happening? The dog was not "socialized". In other words, it was not taught to behave around other animals in a variety of situations.

One way to help puppy with social skill is puppy directions, share, play nicely and learn the alphabet. Puppy kindergarten is basically the same. Puppies learn to listen to their owners, not growl when a toy is taken away, become accustomed to strangers and other puppies, strange objects such as umbrellas and folding chairs. They also learn a few basic commands such as come and stay in a loving, reassuring manner. In other words, they learn social skills.

These social skills create mentally "sound" dogs. Because they have been exposed to a variety of situations, slowly and lovingly, they are stable in just about any situation. Imagine a dog about a year old that has lived in a very quiet house and/or neighborhood. Everytime the garbage trucks come down the street the dog barks frantically and tears around the house. At the vet's office it tucks it's tail between it's legs and growls at other dogs. It shies away from the vet. One day construction starts on the empty lot next door. The tailgate of the dumptruck slams shut with a loud resounding "BANG!" The puppy takes off like a shot, hiding behind the sofa, shaking fiercely and wets on the floor. Because of it's reaction, the owner decides to take the dog to obedience school. Because this dog hasn't seen another dog since it was a baby puppy, all it want's to do charge the other dogs. Frustrated because of the dog's lack of attention and seeming inability to learn, the owner drops out of school ... then several months later, the dog ends up in the pound, unwanted and terrified.

If this dog has been properly socialized, in all likelihood none of the above would have happened. Study after study has shown that properly socialized puppies are easier to train. We all know that a well behaved dog is a lot easier to love. While you cannot prepare a dog for everything that will happen in it's life, you can teach it to not be fearful. If you start early and work hard with a lot of love and kindness you will end up with a dog that you can take anywhere.

Puppy kindergarten classes are usually held by clubs/trainers that also offer regular obedience classes. These classes are very structured with very specific rules such as: puppies must have proof of vaccination (prevents spread/outbreak of disease) and be a certain age/weight (so you don't have 9 month/90 pound puppies playing with a 3 month/30 pounder!)

To locate a class in your area, talk with your vet. He is a wonderful source of information. Ask if he knows of any dog clubs or dog training clubs in your area. Dogs clubs/training clubs can sometimes be difficult to locate as the members are volunteers and the organizations are non-profit. This means that their phone numbers normally aren't listed in the phone book. But, many will run ads in the paper (usually Sunday) announcing the start of obedience classes. Watch for Dog Show or Match announcements. These can also help you track down a "Kennel Club".

While you are sitting in your vet's waiting room, ask the owners of other puppies or dogs if they know of any good trainers. Check the newspapers under the animals for sale column or your local yellow pages. Classes, though sometimes are to find, are out there and lots of fun - track one down for your puppy's mental health - it's well worth it.


Come Puppy Come!

By Frank and Carol Winnert

Come Puppy, Come! may be the most important lesson you ever teach the new canine member of your family, as it could save its life. A really consistent response to the command can remove the dog from dangerous circumstances, such as oncoming cars or a threatening dog.

This lesson needs to be taught at a very early age, and probably is most easily learned at that point in the puppys development. Begin as soon as the puppy begins tottering around. Its a good time to teach him his name as well as to come. Sit on the floor and call the puppy in a warm and welcoming manner. If he doesn't come at once, lure him with a small treat of food. And, when he arrives in front of you, offer immediate hugs and lots of praise. Make every trip to you a positive reinforcement of the command.

Be sure that the puppy responds EVERY time you give the command. If he chooses to ignore you, first try the food lure and as a last resort, physically have someone bring him to you. Consistency is the important factor. He needs to understand that COME means every time!NEVER use negative reinforcement when training a puppy to come. If he has done something naughty, carry him to the scene, but don't call him and then punish him when he comes. Hell soon learn that COME can be negative.

Play the "COME" game on a consistent basis, but remember that your puppy has a very short attention span. A "come" or two is enough at any one time, so he doesn't lose interest in the game. Make sure that he is successful each and every time he responds to your command. Hugs and kisses work very well with puppies, and they are so rewarding to you too.

Soon your puppy will be a youngster interested in moving out and exploring the world. Controlling him will be much easier if he has learned his "come" well. With the exciting lure of the wide outdoors, you will need to reinforce your command many times. At first, put a long line on the puppy. Let him wander and snoop a while and then call him in your warmest and most welcome manner. Don't be surprised if your wonderfully trained puppy from the house refuses to come when he has found the wonderful, enticing smells of the whole outdoors to distract him. But, DO insist that he come when called. A gentle reeling of the rope will probably be necessary. Do it every time. One slip-up gives him the message that "come" is an arbitrary command.

It will probably be some time before your puppy can be trusted to respond absolutely reliably to your "come" command. Don't give him the opportunity to disobey. They learn that lesson all too easily. Keep him on a line dragging behind him so that you can control him even though he thinks he is running free.

Of course, there is no absolute certainty that a dog will always respond to your command. There would be far fewer accidents if we could count on their responding every time. BUT, you can save yourself a lot of heartache and just plain aggravation by teaching your puppy that he MUST COME.

Please note, the above system works with older dogs too! You just need to have more patience and practice longer!


Trimming Ears, Feet and Hocks

by Penny Shubert

Just as a clean Newf is not only healthier but more of a joy to its owner, so too, does proper trimming have benefits beyond appearance. Feet that look like dust mops don't work that way. They do, however, trap outdoor mud and magically release it on the carpet. Besides being harder to keep clean, shaggy feet provide an excellent environment for the development of fungus infections of the pads. Untrimmed ears also help foster the growth of fungus infections by reducing air circulation and trapping moisture.

Trimming can be done on the floor (don't try it on carpeting or your rug may develop some bare spots), but its a lot easier on your back if you have a low (24") grooming table on which to stand your dog. A grooming arm or friend to help keep the dog on the table is very helpful. Always remember a dog can move faster than you can and you will be working with sharp scissors. The equipment I suggest for basic trimming is a greyhound comb, a Universal slicker brush, a pair of 6-1/2" ball-tipped curved scissors and a pair of thinning shears (approx. 30 tooth--double edges preferred). Always start with a bathed, dried and brushed dog.

To trim a foot, stand your dog on the table. Pick up the foot and with the curve of the scissors pointing away, trim the hair on the bottom of the foot flush with the pads. Put the foot down on the table and brush the hair up between the toes. With the scissors pointing straight down and the curve towards the dog, trim the front and sides of the foot. Keeping the scissors along the line of the toes, trim the hair sticking up between the toes down to the level of the hair on the toes to make a rounded arch. Brush the foot again with the slicker and repeat trimming until no more extra hair comes up. Finally, for the front feet, point the scissors down with the curve towards the dog and trim the bottom of the feathers rounding them into the bottom of the foot to keep them from dragging on the ground.

To trim the hocks, comb the hair straight out all the way around. Stand the dog so the foot is positioned correctly (i.e., the hock is perpendicular to the table). Trim the sides of the hock vertically the width of the foot so they are parallel. Then trim the back of the hock vertically so it is parallel to the front. Round off the edges to make an oval hock. Then round the bottom into the foot at the same angle as the feathers were rounded on the front feet.

Comb the hair on the ear and use the scissors around the edge to trim the hair and define the shape. Then use the comb to lift the hair and the thinning shears to blend the length from short at the tip to round up to the length of the hair at the top of the head. Finally, lift up the ear and use the scissors to trim the long fuzzies under the ear to blend with the neck.

Don't be afraid to trim your Newf. If the end result doesn't look like what you wanted, remember you're dealing with one of natures great renewable resources and in a few weeks you'll have another chance to try your hand. Keep telling what a good looking guy (or girl) he is and regular trimmings can be fun for you and your dog.

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