Vodka Saves Pup from Anti-Freeze

Sydney: An Australian vet saved a puppy that was dying after drinking anti-freeze – by giving her vodka. The puppy, an American Staffordshire named Cleo, licked radiator fluid off spare car parts in a garage in Truganina. Within 30 minutes, she was swaying on her feet, rejecting food and at risk of kidney failure, according to the website news.com.au.

Owner Stacey Zammit, 27, rushed Cleo to the vet, who said the puppy was hours away from renal failure. “It was only a 6.6lb (3kg) dog, so it doesn’t take much of the anti-freeze for it to become poisoned”, said vet Scott Hall.

Alcohol stops a chemical reaction in the liver that causes kidney failure. The vest used a bottle of vodka that a nurse had in her car. – orange news

Orange News

My First TV Shoot

This is the advert that started me off in the TV training business. I got a call one evening asking whether a) I could train a Shar Pei to sit in the back of a car and b) how long would it take. I told them I could, and that it would take me 5 minutes. They wanted me to show them, so I drove over there, grabbed the nearest dog (there were 32 to choose from) and clicked him in to the car, then clicked him to sit and put his head out of the window. They were gobsmacked, as apparently the trainer they had employed had had that same dog (coincidence that I picked him) for 2 weeks and had not even managed to get him in to the car!!

Because the time frame was now very tight, they asked me to train 3 dogs, in case one fell sick on the day. I insisted on a car to practise with, which was a problem as the car was only being flown in from Germany the day before the shoot. So they leant us another car, which was gutted (all the seats pulled out) and we practised with that.

The footage was shot on top of Sanlam Centre in Randburg. We were on set for 9 hours on the 3 May 2001. In the end they only filmed one dog, Bent-Lee (the others, Fugley and Dix-E spent the day in crates). They were so impressed with the footage they got that they scheduled another shoot out at Haartebeespoort Dam on 11 May. At that shoot we had to lie down on a flat bed car (no superstructure and we were only about 6 inches off the ground) and zoom up and down the road to see if the dogs ears would flap back. Which if course they wouldn’t because of the way they sit on the dogs head. The police were there and closed the roads each time we barrelled down the road on the back of this low slung vehicle (apparently this is the same vehicle that is used to film planes taking off – the owner of the car has 3 of them which he hires out exclusively for film companies). Anyway it was a lot of fun, and the last few shots of the dog and car zooming off in to the sunset were shot there.

This ad won an Orchid award for being “entertaining, nice and short, and making a point without belabouring the whole exercise”.

Some suggestions for breeders on helping puppies to get a good, confident start in life

As soon as your puppies ears open you can start conditioning them to the sound of the clicker. Click every time they are allowed to feed off their dam. Click when you’re weaning them on to solids. They soon learn to associate the sound of the clicker with food, which is after all, a necessity to survival.

This article deals mainly with sensory perception in young puppies. Every day you try to introduce your puppies to different sensations in the categories of touch, smell, sound, warm/cold, vibration, sight, taste, etc. Once they are clicker conditioned (i.e. have learned that the sound of the clicker means something good is about to follow), you will find that the pups become very keen to explore new things in their environment. Start with just one or two new things, and then work up to half a dozen or so if you can. If you can keep records on how they respond, you might find some very interesting patterns developing. Try and manipulate their nails every other day (not necessarily cutting them every time, but always holding the clippers near and extending the toes and paws), and handle all body parts and mouth every day. If you click and treat whilst doing this, the puppies will soon look forward to the interaction, and often start to initiate it.

Touch – give them different surfaces to walk on – carpet, sandpaper, bubble wrap, cardboard, linoleum, cement, loose paper, different fabrics, grass, etc. Once again, click and treat them for having the courage to experiment with these strange feeling surfaces.

Smell – introduce them to different scents. Aromatherapy scents are useful for this. You will find they respond differently to some. Anise tends to be very calming and if introduced repeatedly in calm situations during their youth could be used in a stressful situation (on a cottonball) to be reassuring on a subliminal level. Carry puppies around from about four days onwards for five or ten minutes at a time. Some people believe this makes the puppies do some scent imprinting on the human smell and makes them more people social.

Sound – introduce them to different sounds they will experience in everyday life – radio, alarm, telephone, television, vacuum at a distance and then closer, toilet flushing, different voices…. Remember to always click and treat if the puppy is confident enough to voluntarily approach the sound to investigate it.

Warm/Cold – introduce them to differences in temperature. Try putting the pups in a cold glass pie plate and time how long it takes them to get out of it. Give them ice cubes and warm baked potato to play with.

Vibration – let them sit on the toilet lid while you flush, hold them to your throat while you sing, wrap carefully in a towel and sit them on a running vacuum (don’t be surprised if they drop off to sleep). Several short and longer car rides a week, starting with their first trip to the vet. Keep it positive by clicking and treating for confident behaviour.

Sight – make sure their environment is well lit once their eyes open. Make a puppy mobile a few inches off the ground. Cut out bright colored shapes and tape to walls around their play area. Tie plastic bags to the fencing so that it flutters in the wind (like bunting will do at shows). Make sure that the puppies can but not reach these items – you don’t want them swallowing plastic or other inappropriate things.

Taste – let them try biting/chewing raw fruits and veggies. You could let them chew on large hunks of raw meat too, thought they won’t be able to swallow any yet. Obviously mom needs to be elsewhere.

This should be enough to get you started and thinking. Be inventive – enjoy your puppies and their early development.

Placing Littermates in the Same Home

The following are some thoughts which will hopefully be of some use to two different groups of people: breeders wishing to place their puppies in the best possible homes, and also for helping puppy buyers when selecting their new pet.

In general, it is never advisable to home two puppies from the same litter into the same home. This for several reasons:

  • Dogs communicate mainly through body language – they certainly don’t have an advanced vocal language like humans do. Place two pups in the same home and they will “talk” to each other and zone out the humans. Imagine having twins who go through school together – in the same class, then home to the same house every day. I’ve known twins who have developed their own language and use it to communicate with each other, rather than taking the trouble to learn English so as to be able to speak to their colleagues. Rather anti-social behaviour, and not good for the development of either.
  • Puppies need a lot of attention and socialisation. The most important time for this is before the age of 14 weeks. If you have two litter mates living together, it is very difficult for the owner to spend enough quality time with each puppy individually.
  • Two pups from the same litter will very soon sort out who’s the leader and who’s the follower. This results in what is termed a “shadow dog”. This means that one dog emerges as a leader, and the other always follows in its’ shadow. This is not good for either puppy, as the situation in unnatural and both will feel insecure if the other is not present.
  • If one puppy learns a bad habit (pulling washing from the line, digging holes, barking, etc.) the other will soon join in. Double trouble is not easy to curtail.
  • House training is also much more difficult. How do you know which puppy had the mishap? And the more upset or irritated you get, the more anxious the pups will get and the greater the possibility that accidents will occur. (remember, the puppy will pick up on your emotion – but it is very unlikely that it will understand why you are upset. This is extremely stressful for the animal).
  • Siblings that are kept together whilst growing up form a pack. This can be very unpleasant for others in the family. And it can be a problem if you have a friends’ dog around to play. The sibling puppies will often pack up on it and bully it mercilessly.
  • It is much harder to develop a relationship with a puppy if it is left with its’ litter mate for hours on end. So if you want to compete with your puppy, either select only one, or separate them from the moment you get them home. Spend a lot of one-on-one time with each of them.
  • Teaching your puppy its’ name also becomes a problem. One tends to call them together. E.g. “Freda and Fido, come”. They probably each think that their name is “FredaandFido”. Not easy for the pup. Making them once again realise that it is easier to stick to communicating with each other rather than letting a human in.
  • In is much easier to feed both puppies at the same time, in the same place. This can make it much more difficult for the owner to know if one of the puppies is off colour. (one of the first signs of illness being lack of appetite).
  • People who ask to take two puppies from the same litter are often lazy. They want two puppies so that they don’t have to take the trouble of keeping the puppy stimulated and entertained. They rely on the other puppy to do this, often with huge toxic side effects.
  • Two puppies means twice the cost – of inoculations, feeding, sterilizing, etc. Can the owner afford this?
  • It is not uncommon for a male puppy to cover its sister when she first comes in to season. You can just imagine the repercussions of this!!

Same sex puppies

Even worse than getting two puppies from the same litter, is getting two puppies of the same sex from the same litter.

Puppies of either sex will generally gain sexual maturity before they are a year old. When the hormones kick in, the pups have no choice but to sort out dominance issues. So even if they have got along like a house on fire initially, when they become sexually active, they could well start fighting.

Male dogs fight for dominance, and although you will probably need to take the combatants to the vet for medical attention, it is unlikely that there will be any dreadful injuries. On the other hand, bitches have been known to fight to the death. The belief is that bitches do not want any other bitch to bear puppies, so they maim or kill adversaries to stop this happening.

Bites to the head, neck and shoulders can be severe, but are rarely an indication of true intent to kill. On the other hand, if a dog tries to bite the front legs of their opponent, you have a big problem. Breeds bred to fight other dogs tend to do this – they break their adversary’s front legs so that they cannot fight back, and then kill them at leisure.


If you want to get two puppies:

Should you want to get two puppies, then it is best to space them out a bit. i.e. wait until you have the first puppy fully integrated into your household and well trained and socialised. Wait until the hormones have been sorted. This either by waiting until after the dog is fully sexually mature, or by sterilization. (see “Sterilization of Dogs: Should one spay/neuter?” under “Articles” on this web site.) This usually takes about a year. Only then should you consider getting your second puppy.

By doing this you will alleviate (and hopefully eliminate) a lot of potential heartache and problems along the way.

Puppy Puzzle

On 28th January 2010, a litter of six Malinois puppies were born. The litter comprised 3 dogs and 3 bitches. My firm belief is that the only reason for breeding a litter is to try to improve the quality of that particular breed of dog (in this case Malinois). Because of this, I will only consider breeding with dogs that have working qualifications, are clear of hip dysplasia, and are breed champions. Temperament is paramount – if a dog is not of a sound disposition, how can it possibly enjoy participating in the gamut of events that we have available to us in South Africa? And if it doesn’t enjoy its work, how can it achieve?

Placing the puppies in the correct homes is quite a trial. I try to match puppies to their new homes as closely as possible, sometimes even refusing a puppy to someone who has paid a deposit because I don’t believe the puppy has the necessary characteristics for that home. Being highly active dogs, Malinois also need to go to homes that will work them and stimulate them daily on both a physical and mental level.

With this litter I decided to have the puppies evaluated by a puppy puzzle. This because one particular puppy looked like having really good breed showing/breeding potential, as well as having excellent drive which would make it a good working dog. I needed to make sure my evaluation was correct, and that this puppy was placed in a home where both aspects of its breeding could be utilised. All our puppies are sold with breeding restrictions, and the person who took this puppy needed to know that if the pup turned out to be as good as her form promised, we might wish to breed with her at a later stage.

Pat Hastings designed the “Puppy Puzzle” in order to determine whether each puppy in the litter is structurally sound enough to do what we will be asked of it in its lifetime, whether the hope is for the show ring or obedience, agility, working trials, flyball, etc.

Pat Hastings says of her puppy evaluations:”The purpose is not to determine which puppies will grow into future champions, but which will enhance a breeding program that will produce puppies that are genetically, temperamentally, and structurally sound.”

On the basis of this, I booked my puppies in to have a Puppy Puzzle. On arrival at the evaluators’ house, the puppies were placed in a puppy pen. They were taken out individually to be tested. Besides a simple temperament test, each puppy was given a thorough conformation evaluation according to the breed standard. I chose to use the FCI standard as it is far more comprehensive and is the standard that is internationally recognised.

The test is most interesting, as most of it is done by reflection i.e. a mirror image.

The test is ideally performed at 8 weeks of age, but can be stretched to two days on either side. Problems in topline are considered in relation to front and rear structural weaknesses, and movement as a function of front and rear assemblies; skull growth helps to predict whether the head will meet the breed standard; the neck is checked to see if it is too short or too long. Basically one wants to make sure the puppy is balanced in bone and muscle.

The evaluation has three purposes: to determine whether there are structural problems in the litter so they can be avoided in future breedings; to decide which puppy to keep as a potential addition to the breeding program; and to determine the best type of home for each puppy in the litter. The idea is not (according to Hastings), to determine which puppies will grow into future champions, but which will enhance a breeding program that will produce puppies that are genetically, temperamentally, and structurally sound.

The results of the test were most interesting – the little bitch that I particularly liked scored the highest. She was placed in a working home nearby so that her progress can be monitored. It will take a few years to see whether she meets the standard awarded her by the puppy puzzle, and we are all excited by her prospects.

 

Puppy Fun Day

The last class of the year is always a fun day at Clicker Training Concepts. Here are some photos of one of the puppy classes competing in their teams. Handlers and their puppies are asked to perform exercises that they have been taught during the year, the difference being that now they have to perform them at speed. The competition has both a practical and a theoretical aspect, as handlers are also quizzed on the subjects that have been discussed in previous classes e.g. name 5 worms that dogs could contract, give three symptoms of biliary, what is the normal temperature of a dog?, how many teeth should a puppy have?, etc.