Modern-day dog owners enjoy the comforting certainty that their puppies can and will be given a series of vaccinations, so-called “puppy shots,” to protect them from life-threatening canine diseases such as distemper, parvovirus, and rabies. Most of us were indoctrinated in early childhood to schlep Shep to the vet once a year for his annual booster shots in order to extend that vital protection year after year. We accepted without question that a failure to do so was the height of dog owner irresponsibility.
Read any good puppy contracts lately? Probably not. Health and placement guarantees, spay and neuter requirements, limited registration and other legal details are important, but they can (yawn) put you right to sleep. Well, that used to be true, but today some breeders are writing contracts that leave people rubbing their eyes in disbelief because they contradict everything mainstream veterinary medicine recommends. These contracts require puppy buyers to feed an all-raw diet, avoid routine vaccinations, and use holistic therapies instead of conventional veterinary care.
A primary concern of all responsible puppy owners is housetraining. Nothing gets old as quickly as cleaning up piles of puppy poop and puddles of puppy pee. An effective management and training program that prevents accidents is key to successful housetraining (see “Getting Off to the Best Start”), but even the most dedicated puppy owner is likely to slip up and allow at least one mistake. Of course, when that happens, we clean and scrub and remove all traces of urine and feces. We work on two levels: we want the carpet to look good again, and we want the smell of the dog’s mistake to disappear.
The first time I saw Buddy he was a tiny tan morsel nestled in his owner's arms, a perfect pudge of a yellow Labrador retriever puppy eight weeks old, fat, round and chunky with a shiny black button nose, warm brown eyes and milk-sweet puppy breath. His owner, Tena, had carried him into my training class to hand him over to me for three weeks of in-home boarding and training.
they learn how to play so that they can get what they want and have fun. If they are too rough
If you are ever in California, you might want to make it a point to visit Carmel Beach, at the end of Ocean Avenue in Carmel Village, Monterey County. Carmel Beach is a canine utopia. Dogs are allowed, even encouraged, to run off-leash along a breathtaking Pacific Ocean backdrop. On any given day, at any given time, you’ll see Golden Retrievers racing along the sand after tennis balls, Labradors fetching sticks from the surf, Border Collies herding shorebirds, and any and all varieties of mixed-breeds and purebreds romping together in happy groups. Rarely, if ever, does a fight happen. Oh, an occasional brief scuffle maybe, as two ball-obsessed Aussies squabble over possession rights. But it’s hardly ever serious.
Following a rash of reports of puppy deaths at the hands of their trainers, the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT) released a statement denouncing any training methods which cause physical harm to dogs. The last straw for APDT members was the news report of a trainer in Raleigh, North Carolina, who allegedly killed an eight-week-old Shar-Pei puppy by repeatedly using a choke collar and pinning the puppy to the ground to correct it for “puppy biting.” The pup died at its vet’s office, reportedly from damage to the trachea. The APDT was already aware of at least three similar cases: Some weeks prior, two puppies (one in Virginia and one in Hawaii) died when their trainers stuck their fingers down the dogs’ throats attempting to stop them from nipping.
When dog lovers switch their pets from commercial food to a well-balanced, raw diet, they typically report improved health, brighter eyes, a shinier coat, calmer behavior, and easier yard cleanup chores. A puppy's first eight weeks set the stage for a lifetime of health or illness, so it isn't surprising that puppies weaned on raw food grow up to out-perform dogs weaned on kibble or canned food, even if both are fed raw food as adults. Raw-weaned puppies nearly exhaust their breeders' vocabularies, for these are the healthiest / strongest / liveliest / calmest / smartest / most wonderful pups that ever lived.
Bones are usually the issue that sticks in the craw of many people who are thinking of feeding their dogs according to the diet plan called BARF, a humorous acronym for bones and raw foods