Thursday, March 4, 2010

Learning / Studying: How to raise a Puppy!

After we had found Zuko but were waiting for him to grow up enough to come home with us, the homework began! I had dogs as a kid, but so much has changed since then. Also, living in San Francisco, there are many more things to think about - you just can't let the dog out into the huge fenced in back yard to run and play and take care of business!

Several of the blogs listed on the blogroll were a huge help. In addition, there were three books that were a critical part of my education:
 If you are familiar with these books, you'll notice they have very different styles - which was part of the plan. I am not a good "one size fits all" kind of person, so it seemed a good idea to study several approaches.

The "monk book", as many people refer to it, was amazing. It starts with how a puppy grows, the birthing process, how the mother cares for the puppies and then goes through the learning stages of the puppy. I learned so much about dogs from this book! It is great information to have, even if you don't like their training methods.

The Puppy in the House book had great humor and diagrams and lots of good advice. I don't agree using a spray bottle of water for training, nor was it logistically possible for me (big house, where's the water bottle, oops - opportunity passed for correction). However, I like the laid out plan of training by week and month and how to truly survive those first five months.

Before we got Zuko, we started watching the Dog Whisperer on TV and I have to say: Cesar Millan rocks. I am wholly and completely impressed with his ability to retrain dogs who have been abused and neglected. I have to give props to anyone who prevents dogs from being killed due to the abuse of people. I wholly agree with his beliefs that there are no bad dogs, only bad owners. And I personally found out that the energy you project has alot to do with the behavior of the dog.

That all being said, many of the Cesar methods just didn't work with Zuko. The Shiba Shake blog details the same type of challenges I experienced with these methods with a Shiba. I corrected my training style VERY early and had always used a mix of styles so I don't think any harm was done - EXCEPT that Zuko is not a lap-dog and will not be held. Part of this is Shiba nature: "don't restrain me!! don't even think of it!". Part of it could be from trying to cradle him like a baby and get him to "submit" and relax. Our breeder even highly recommended this. For the record, the day I picked up Zuko, the breeder demonstrated this technique to me with Zuko - who at five weeks old refused to submit even then. I knew what I was getting into very, very early.

Next up: what worked and what didn't work!

--- Posted by Zuko's People

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