How You Can Turn Your Puppy into a Great Adult
"Puppies take work to raise properly. The more attention that you pay to them as
puppies and arrange for them to experience pleasant and happy circumstances,
the more they will develop into happy, well-adjusted adults."
Dr. Nicholas Dodman, BVMS, MRCVS, director of the Behavior Clinic at Tufts
University School of Veterinary Medicine in North Grafton, MA.
When you get a puppy, expect to give that puppy your full attention every time
it is with you for one year. Does that sound like a
lot of time? Well, if you don't do this, you will spend a lot more time over
the rest of the dog's life in corrections and cleaning up.
Both you and the puppy need time off, of course. That is why you should have a
crate, a room or exercise pen where the puppy can't do any damage and an area of
your yard where a puppy can act like a puppy without getting into trouble. Many
people think that crates are cruel; however, we "crate" our children by using
cribs and playpens because we love them and want to keep THEM safe from harm
and out of trouble. It's an excellent tool to use when you have young,
untrained dogs in the household.
During that year, your puppy should never have the opportunity to get into
trouble. You SHOULD give him the opportunity to explore under supervision and
learn what is acceptable and what is not. If he is going to chew on something
unauthorized, you should be right there to see it, give him a verbal correction
just as he is about to close his teeth around the unauthorized item and replace
it with a toy or chewy. If you can't watch the puppy, he should be on a 6-foot
attached to your waist or in his crate or exercise pen or in the safe area
of your fenced yard.
Set your rules now. If you aren't going to want your dog on the couch or bed,
don't allow your puppy on the couch or bed. If you don't want a 55-80 lb. dog
jumping on you, don't reward your puppy when it jumps on you ... lure him into
a sit with a treat and THEN reward him.
After the year is over, you can relax all the rules. Good behavior will have
become a habit. As long as you provide lots of exercise and attention, you
shouldn't have any behavior problems.
Before Puppy Arrives
Buy and Read a Good Puppy Book (Keep it handy and refer to it often for the next year)
Start Puppy Training
-- a helpful, supportive group of pet dog owners
and pet dog trainers who discuss positive solutions to common puppy training
situations like crate/house training, puppy biting, leash training, household
manners and other puppy related questions.
Select a Vet: Get recommendations from friends and family. Interview vets until
you find one you are comfortable with.
Set aside an outside area for use as a "bathroom" patch. It should be an area
of about 10' x 10' away from well-used family and entertainment areas.
Dogs don't need the whole yard for themselves. In many ways, dogs are like
children and need the same type of protection. If you have a swimming pool it
should have a safety fence to protect kids and dogs. A well-behaved adult dog
can have the run of your fenced yard but a puppy will benefit from a smaller
area. Perhaps you can fence off an area in a shady spot. You can invest in a
portable kennel enclosure or install a permanent facility.
Puppy Proof Your Home
Buy the Supplies your Puppy will Need
Adjustable Collar (your breeder may provide this)
Leash - either one of adjustable length or two of different lengths, long and
Food and water bowls - plastic works, but stainless steel or ceramic is better
(bacteria can hide in scratches in a plastic surface)
Grooming supplies - including brush, nail clippers, shampoo
Cleaning supplies - your puppy will have some accidents at first
Dog bed or blanket
Crate. You can get an adult sized crate (Varikennel 500) and use a cardboard
box to block off a space for puppy. There should be enough room for puppy to
fully stretch out in all directions. Providing too much space encourages your
puppy to eliminate in one end and sleep in the other. Crates are wonderful
tools. If you want to see an example of why a crate should be used until your
puppy can handle responsibility, take a look at this
submitted by Morgan
Kelley, owner of Airedales Gussie, Stella, Phoebe & Oliver. Morgan captions it
"why you just really might not want that ever-so-cute Airedale puppy"
Many people think that crates are cruel; however, we "crate" our children by
using cribs and playpens because we love them and want to keep THEM safe from
harm and out of trouble. It's the smart thing to consider when you have young,
untrained dogs in the household.
Crates can also be abused. Read this article about the
Do's and Don'ts of Crate Training
A supply of the puppy food recommended by your breeder.
Gates - to block off certain rooms or staircases indoors
In the last few days before arrival, give your house a good cleaning, remove
breakable items from areas where your puppy will be, move all magazines and
books to above puppy level, raise all garbage cans above puppy level.
Spend some time preparing yourself or your family. Small children need to know
how to act around a small puppy. Read the articles on the
Kids and Dogs
From Birth to 10 weeks
The Breeder's Role
As the first humans that puppies encounter,
the breeders' role in socialization is important. Interactions, especially
the first three periods of a puppy's life, can have a lasting impact on
growth and development.
Puppies are much more well balanced if you don't separate the puppy from his
mom and littermates before 8 weeks.
Scientists have identified the period from 8-10 weeks as the "fear period" for
puppies. Traumatic, scary or painful experiences are likely to make a lasting
impression and may affect his reaction to similar stimuli later.
Avoid transporting the puppy long distances during this period, especially by
airplane or train.
Here's a good article on
Puppy's First Week
Housetraining. There are many good articles on the
. The basics to keep in mind:
The dog is NEVER wrong or at fault when it comes to housetraining.
You must stay out with the puppy until he goes, doing both pee and poop. If it
is cold, put on a coat. If it is raining, carry an umbrella. You must stay with
Put the collar and leash on the puppy to take him outside, even if you have a
fenced yard. The leash is not for corrections, but only to keep puppy close.
If you have children, only allow one child at a time to go out with you and
puppy. Puppies are very easily distracted and you want to allow him to
concentrate on the job at hand. No play time until the puppy has done his
Allow him to wander around and sniff at the ground in the designated bathroom
spot. Pace back and forth (movement promotes movement) and chant your chosen
phrase ("get busy, get busy ..."). Choose something you won't be embarrased to
say in public.
If he eliminates, when he has finished, praise enthusiastically and play.
You don't need to wait forever. If you have stayed out 3-5 minutes, keep him on
leash, bring the puppy back in and keep him on leash with you or confined in a
crate. Try again in an hour. Eventually, your puppy will eliminate
appropriately and you can give huge praise and play.
If at any time during the day you notice puppy sniffing the floor and circling
or getting ready to squat, immediately interrupt him and take him outside.
After each success, allow 15 minutes of freedom in the house, before placing
dog back on lead or back into crate.
If you catch him in the act of going in the house, SHOUT! What doesn't matter,
but it needs to be loud enough to stop him in mid-flow, but not so loud that he
runs to hide. This is not an angry shout. Anger is counter-productive.
As soon as you have shouted, run to the door, calling him happily and
enthusiastically and go to the designated spot. It will take him a while to
relax enough to go, so be patient.
Then, put him in his crate or exercise pen or safe room while you clean up the
mess. Use an
odor eliminator made specifically for this purpose. Ordinary household
disinfectants mask the odor from us, but not from your puppy.
If accidents happen, consider it your fault and take your puppy out more
The more frequently you take him out at the appropriate time and the fewer
times he goes indoors, the quicker he will learn.
Adult dogs have better bladder and bowel control and can "hold it" for a longer
time than puppies. The rule of thumb for a puppy is: his age in months, add
one, and that's the number of hours the puppy can "hold it" during the day. If
the puppy is active, he needs to go out more frequently. Even if it has been
less than 15 minutes since the last time you took your
puppy out, take him out
shortly after each feeding
after any excitement (e.g., visitors arriving)
immediately upon waking
last thing at night
SLOWLY extend the time between eliminations to half an hour and then
45 minutes and then 1 hour, etc. After 3 consecutive days of success, increase
freedom by 15 minutes. Watch your puppy. If accidents happen, you
either allowed him too much unsupervised freedom or you have pushed faster than
his bladder has developed. If there is an accident, decrease freedom by 15
minutes for 3 days.
Puppies have only a limited control over their bodies. You cannot expect them
to last through a 6- to 8-hour night until they are at least 12 weeks old and
then, some puppies won't have developed the physical control necessary.
Anger or punishment for unwanted behavior is counterproductive. You can
control your anger if you accept the fact that there will be accidents.
Remember that a human baby may be 2 years old before it is housetrained. You
don't get angry at a baby for going in its diaper, right?
Praise for correct behavior and ignoring accidents gets the fastest results.
Consistency in goals and training methods is crucial.
Patience is the key.
Teach your puppy what is acceptable and what isn't. When your puppy is out of
his crate or exercise pen, have lots of chew toys available and watch him at
all times. As soon as he goes to an electrical cord, or a chair leg, distract
him and offer him a chew toy. You will need to do this many, many times. Have
patience and when you don't have time to supervise, put puppy back in his crate
Make necessary veterinary visits fun adventures by taking your puppy's favorite
toys and encourage the veterinarian and staff to give the puppy food treats and
lots of praise.
Your vet's office is NOT the place to let your puppy socialize with other dogs.
Dogs with infectious diseases may have been in the waiting room.
Whenever you call your puppy to you, give him a reward ... a treat and a
scratch and a wrestle. You should NEVER call your puppy and then punish him.
You should NEVER call your puppy and then do something that the puppy will
perceive as punishment ... such as putting puppy in the crate, or bringing him
inside when he wants to stay outside. A reliable "COME" could save your puppy's
life and you must not do anything to weaken his desire to come to you.
If you are ready to go in, but puppy isn't, go to him and pick him up and talk
to him sweetly as you take him inside.
This is the prime socialization period for a puppy to learn doggie etiquette
and interaction with people. Get your puppy used to having his belly rubbed,
ears and paws touched and mouth examined. Expose your puppy to many different
people, different settings (car rides, a friend's home) and different stimuli
(vacuum cleaner noise, kitchen cooking smells and friendly older dogs).
Your puppy may not like to be brushed. Keep sessions short. Be gentle. Use
treats. Everything that you do to make it enjoyable for your puppy will pay
rewards for the dog's entire life.
Enroll your puppy in an organized socialization class to hone his social
development and learning.
You should know, however, that there is some risk of disease involved when
young puppies are exposed to the world at large before they've been fully
vaccinated. Most pups do not get their last set of puppy vaccinations until
about 16 weeks of age, but the critical period of socialization is from
about 3 weeks to about 12 to 14 weeks of age. If you wait until your pup is
fully vaccinated, you risk inadequeate socialization; but if you take your
pup out and about you risk disease! It's a compromise either way, and a
decision you have to make for yourself. Keep in mind, though, the
indications are that many more dogs die from behavioral problems than from
disease! Talk to your vet about ways to cut the risks, while still taking
advantage of this sensitive, critical period of socialization.
by Brenda K. Scidmore & Patricia B. McConnell, Ph.D.
Here are some good
Do's & Dont's
for Puppy socialization.
Start teaching your puppy to
potty on cue (As the dog begins to potty outside, give him a verbal cue such as "Go potty." When he is done, say "Yes" and feed him a treat)
come when called
Some of these articles refer to a clicker, but you can use a word ... "GOOD!" or
"YES!" ... to mark the behavior you are looking for. If you are interested in
learning more about clicker training, check out the
Never leave puppy unsupervised. Never leave food on your counters. It is much
better to prevent the puppy from countersurfing, chewing furniture, etc., than
to punish him for doing so.
Do lots of object exhanges i.e., give your puppy something BETTER in exchange
for whaever he has in his mouth. He will get into the habit of bringing you
things that he finds rather than running away and trying to swallow them.
Get your puppy used to the leash by taking him for very short walks. Let the
puppy set the pace and keep the sessions very short. You want the puppy to be
having fun and not get tired. Long walks put too much pressure on their
cartilage and tendons. At first, just let them take you where they will,
keeping a loose leash. This is not the time for leash corrections ... you are
just letting them get used to being on a loose leash. If the puppy starts
sitting down, you have gone too far. Turn around and if he doesn't eagerly
start toward home, pick him up and carry him. You will SLOWLY increase the
time, watching your puppy to make sure he isn't getting tired.
Puppy Socialization (8 - 21 weeks)
This articles has excellent suggestions on helping your puppy learn to cope
with new situations by getting him out one day a week to a new situation he has
never seen before. This takes time and effort, but will be well worth it when
you reap the reward of a calm, stable adult.
You will think you have an alligator, not a dog. Read the articles on the
for hints on how to teach your puppy bite inhibition. To get a taste of what
you will be dealing with, read
Terriers are Just Different!
Permanent teeth begin coming in between 5 and 6 months, creating a need to chew
to relieve gum discomfort.
If you haven't done so already, now is an important time to join an
Internet Airedale List.
It is very comforting to find out how many others have survived puppyhood.
Don't over-exercise your puppy (no long boring walks, no jumping on and off
furniture or steps on concrete, etc). When your puppy flops and goes to sleep:
let him. He needs to do that to grow strong and
healthy. And please, don't overfeed your puppy. Studies have shown that
puppies should be kept very, very lean throughout their first year so that they
do not grow too fast in some respects compared to other respects
(e.g, ratio of cartilage, tendons and muscle to bone). Joyce Miller,
The growth plates of an Airedale don't close until about 18 months. You can do
permanent damage if you allow him to jump repeatedly above elbow height or jog
him for too far.
Your puppy should experience many different environments. Socialization should
continue and be developed as the puppy learns to cope with new situations.
Notice and reward quiet behavior; if the pup is sitting or lying down, quietly
chewing on a toy, or just being companionable, reward him --- tell him he's a
good boy; give him a treat and then let him go back to what he was doing.
Have a variety of toys and chews that you rotate so your dog doesn't get bored
Continue practicing object exchanges.
Do a lot of 1 minute training sessions.
Use meals to practice some obedience skill -- usually sit or down stays. No
Will you survive? Will your hooligan ever become civilized? Read about
16 week old Airedale.
The puppy enters a second intensive chewing stage.
Females come into heat unless spayed first and males experience dramatic
fluctuations in male hormone levels.
If you spay or neuter your puppy before 6 months, you will avoid many behavior
problems. Veterinarians can safely sterilize puppies after 8 weeks of age,
providing the pups weigh at least 2 pounds.
Channel your puppy's energies into interactive, learning games and activities.
Enroll in a formal obedience training class. Avoid classes that use harsh
methods. If the trainers aren't using reward-based methods, don't join.
Stay in touch with your breeder. If you chose the right breeder, he or she
wants to hear how things are going and is your best source for help with
The Terrible Twos
: A puppy often behaves like an unruly child.
Re-read your puppy book to remind yourself this is just a phase he is going
The outside world is becoming more interesting and he will seem to have
forgotten everything you have taught him.
Don't get angry. Patiently insist that he do what you require. Punishment will
only put more distance between you and make the outside world seem more
A common problem is that your dog does not come back when called, no matter
what rewards you offer. Until he gets through adolescence, it may be better to
attach a long line to prevent him from learning to run off.
Luckily, adolescence doesn't last as long in dogs as in children. It lasts
longer in Airedales than in many breeds, but if you continue to train with
extra patience, you will be rewarded with a great adult.
Monthly Photos of an Airedale Puppy During the First Year
The Perfect Puppy
by Gwen Bailey
Track Your Pup's Progress
by Arden Moore in
from Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine (May 2001 issue)
And to the many members of the internet Airedale lists who offered their
suggestions and encouragement ... thanks!