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Selecting And Raising The Potential Police Pup

R. S. Eden

When you have chosen your candidate pup you have made a decision which will alter your daily way of life for years to come. You will have initiated a friendship between you and your new partner which is closer and stronger than any other between man and the animal kingdom. Whether you mistreat this dog or treat it royally, you will find that he will be dedicated and will worship you simply for the smallest amount of love and praise which you may offer in return. This type of blind dedica tion is but a small indication of how strong these animals feel about us. Therefore all we have to do is simply return that love, be patient during our training periods, and that dog will do its best to please us. The trick to dog training is simply this: the dog already knows how to jump, run, track, attack and even search for articles. It is all a part of his natural in- stincts. All we have to do is learn how to persuade him to utilize these abilities for us. This is the key. We must be willing to learn how to communicate our wishes to the dog, and how to read what he is communicating back to us in both body language, and by his barks. These aspects have been dealt with in the section on UNDERSTANDING AND READING K9 BEHAVIOR.

Once you have your puppy at home, prepare an area which is clean and warm, and preferably a spot which can be his own, where he can be alone if desired. Dogs, like people, often need time alone so they can relax and unwind without the interference of young children or other distractions.

An adequate supply of food and clean water should be main tained as well as a supply of dog biscuits. This is an excellent treat and good for maintaining clean, healthy teeth. Rawhide chewables are also excellent for the puppy, especially through the chewing stages when he loses his baby teeth and the adult teeth start to grow in.

Pups which may have one floppy ear can often have this problem corrected by feeding him a lot of biscuits and letting him do a lot of chewing. This excercises the supporting muscles which run behind the mandible (jaw) and upwards to the base of the ear, and more often than not will correct ear faults. If the floppy ear persists see a veterinarian for correction. It is extremely important that the ears be properly erect as you will be reading your dogs reactions on the street and a lot of what the dog tells you is translated from ear carriage and direction.

Even though you may do some training with your pup before he is eight months of age, do not expect him to be totally obedient and to understand you fully. He is still a pup and for him to grow up mentally and physically healthy he has to be allowed to be a puppy and to grow up through his adolescent and teenage period before we can start expecting him to act like an adult.

Give your puppy lots of playtime as well as lots of quiet time alone. Teach your children the importance of leaving the puppy alone and not to be persistent in playing with him if it appears he wants to lie down or be alone. In most cases where the dog at home bites a child, the dog is instantly corrected and sometimes even destroyed in the heat of the moment. The handler later learns that the dog had tried continually to avoid the child. The child, not understanding the dogs need to be alone, continued to bother the animal until the dog finally strikes out in frustration. This is not to condone the dog biting, as he must be justly corrected in such instances, but only to emphasise that the children and others living or visiting in the household must be strictly taught to respect the dogs feelings and needs. He too is an individual.

Once the pup begins to grow into adulthood he should be taken to the vet and x-rays taken to determine any signs of hip or elbow displasia. This disease can often be very painful to the animal and can cripple them badly. If it is present in the animal serious consideration should be given to replacing him as the disease usually degenerates with time, disabling the dog and only adding to the budget expences to start out on a new animal later on, not to mention the heartbreak of watching your partner degenerating to a crippled state. To keep these problems to a minimum any dogs which need to be replaced for medical or other reasons should be discovered as soon as practicable by constant surveillance of the dogs incapabilities and medical problems, if any. Further details on dysplasia are under the ILLNESSES sec tion of chapter six.

Pups at eight or nine months of age may become skittish or act differently. This is comparable to human puberty and is only a phase in many cases. Give the animal a chance to recover, and you will likely find it is a normal part of his growing up.

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