Caring for Your Seeuferhause Rottweiler Puppy
Caring for your puppy the Seeuferhause way…
Buying and bringing your puppy is generally a very exciting time. In particular if this is your first puppy you will be filled with excitement and then very quickly some anxiety not really knowing what to do. Some of us more experienced dog people can’t understand the fuss but that’s because we can’t remember the first pup we brought home!!!
So, this document is geared for the first timers but second, third or other may also pick up a pointer or two. The content in this document is a combination of material that I have read over the years, advice given by other breeders and my personal experience. We will cover specific puppy care items and some more general information related to bringing up your dog with a slant to extracting your dog’s peak performance.
Many breeders give this puppy booklet to their puppy purchasers to take home in a hard copy format – we know that these things can be misplaced, lost, damaged etc. so at Seeuferhause Rottweilers we choose to make it available online on our webpage for ongoing reference. If as a puppy buyer you would like to have a hard copy, let us know and we will provide for you.
There are many topics that can be covered in a booklet of this type. Over the years I have seen many different types from various breeders that cover a myriad of topics. My view is that when you are bringing your puppy home you don’t need to be overwhelmed by too much information like, 10 different diets!!
You just need a quick reference guide to help you on your way and then over time you will work out what is best for your situation.
• Introduction to Seeuferhause Rottweilers
• What you need to buy before your Seeuferhause Rottweiler puppy comes home
• What will happen when you bring your Seeuferhause Rottweiler puppy home
• Feeding your Seeuferhause Rottweiler puppy
• General health care of your Seeuferhause Rottweiler puppy
• Crate training your Seeuferhause Rottweiler puppy
• Building and enhancing your Seeuferhause Rottweiler puppy’s drive (for those that want super motivated work/sport rottweilers)
• Socialising your Seeuferhause Rottweiler puppy
• Training your Seeuferhause Rottweiler puppy
You will note the use of the term “Seeuferhause Rottweiler puppy” throughout this puppy pack; this is because the content in this pack is meant for Seeuferhause Rottweiler puppies – use of these methods with other rottweilers or even other breeds will cause the puppy to self destruct!!!!
If you don’t own a Seeuferhause Rottweiler; use these methods at your own risk, we take no responsibility……..
In all seriousness, whilst this puppy pack will be an excellent resource for all puppies and their families, we encourage you to seek information from other sources to ensure your education is well rounded, and that you decipher what will work/suit you and your puppy.
INTRODUCTION TO SEEUFERHAUSE ROTTWEILERS
Seeuferhause Rottweilers was originally established to fill a gap that I believed existed in the rottweiler fraternity some years ago. My belief is that rottweilers are first and foremost working dogs. The term “working dog’ should, engender visions of intensity, drive and power that you would not necessarily associate with an ordinary household pet. In saying that, we hope that this distinction is also evident when you see a Seeuferhause Rottweiler puppy.
Our goal is to produce puppies that clearly differentiate themselves from the pack; they will be energetic, robust, have a very outgoing, confident nature and should exude an intensity that leaves the observer with the clear impression that there is something different about this puppy.
This is a working rottweiler puppy!!
WHAT YOU NEED TO BUY BEFORE YOUR SEEUFERHAUSE ROTTWEILER PUPPY COMES HOME
There are several items that you will need to buy before you bring your puppy home.
They are as follows:
• Collar – something lightweight to begin with and it must have a ring of sorts for attaching a lead
• Lead – again something lightweight and, if possible something strong that you can use for a few months (keep in mind your puppy will grow to be very strong, very quickly) – leather is generally best
• Food bowl – my preference is something metal that will last and that can be cleaned no matter what is left in it
• Water tray/bucket – again something metal that will stand the test of time. High drive dogs tend to play with things like bowls and if they do anything other than metal won’t last
• Food – we will cover this later on, but make sure you buy it and are ready to feed your puppy
• Crate – unfortunately this is an item that you will have to buy (2-3) times to ensure that you have the correct size for the dog as it grows – small, med and large – total cost will probably be about $500
• Worming syrup or tablets – I prefer to change the type of worming agent every time I worm the puppies
• Toys – my preference is balls, tugs and rags – these will allow you to develop your dogs instinctive drives
• Books/Videos – I suggest that you acquire a variety of books or videos/DVD that cover the topics of dog behaviour/psychology/training that will allow you to discover what methods will suit you and your dog best.
WHAT WILL HAPPEN WHEN YOU BRING YOUR SEEUFERHAUSE ROTTWEILER PUPPY HOME
Obviously this will differ for almost everybody in the finite detail, but, taking the first timers point of view it is likely to go something like this:
You’ll collect your puppy from the breeder
It is likely someone will accompany you to the breeder so either they or you will end up holding the pup on the drive home
When you get home you’ll play with the pup and then probably sit there and watch it for a few hours
You may have visitors that come to see the new addition to the family
You’ll probably feed it at some point and at some point it will be time for bed – THIS IS WHERE IT GETS INTERESTING
Your puppy may not have yet experienced a night on his/her own and so will complain vigorously. This is where your crate comes in handy. But let’s go back a few steps……all the way back to number 1 and even one step before that….
With some luck you will have been waiting to collect your puppy from the breeder for some weeks and this is the time that you can ask your breeder to help with the settling in process for you…..how will this happen? Will the breeder come over and comfort the pup?? No, not likely and also not necessary. What you can do is ask your breeder to acclimatise your pup to his/her crate. You could bring the crate over to the breeder’s house (if possible) and ask that the pup spend a couple of nights in it before you collect it. Even if breeders have limited room there should always be room for a crate in the garage, laundry etc. Breeders with the luxury of room and surplus dog runs may also be able to separate your pup from the litter at the appropriate time meaning that the trials and tribulations of separation anxiety can be overcome before your pup lands at your place.
The result of this add on that most breeders should be willing to provide is that any stress related to a new home/environment will be minimised and you should be able to get a good night’s sleep from Day 1.
Flowing on from this you should ensure you have your crate with you when collecting your puppy so that it can travel safely in the car. And if your puppy is preconditioned to the crate then the car trip should be no trouble at all.
Ok, so now you’re home….what’s next? My preference is that the pup will have a predetermined space that it calls home, away from everything else – if this is the case then take the puppy to that area and allow it to acclimatise for a while and have a rest after the trip home (especially if it has travelled some way).
When the pup has had a rest, allow it to follow you around the house, yard and anywhere where it may find itself from here in. This process of acclimatisation should be carried out a few times over the first few days to ensure your puppy is comfortable in every area of your home. Even if your puppy has free reign of the yard, I would ensure the first few forays into the unknown are supervised so that you can note the puppy’s reaction to new stimuli.
So, within a couple of days, 4 or 5 at the most the puppy should be totally comfortable within your home – personally, I would resist the urge to have visitors for a couple of days just to give your pup the opportunity to feel at home before having to deal with overzealous visitors!! We’ll deal with the specifics of socialising later in the puppy pack.
Now, if you have brought your puppy home and none of the above breeder assistance has been rendered you are likely to have an eventful couple of days – especially with a high drive, confident, defiant working dog. They are not likely to tolerate being left alone or locked up without protest. It is likely that the first time you put your puppy in its run, crate, laundry or even the backyard on its own; it will start to protest and howl/scream the place down.
Now read this carefully and make sure you understand it 100% – DO NOT GO TO THE PUP WHEN IT IS SCREAMING (unless there is something wrong with it – but be prepared so you know nothing is wrong check the area to ensure all is safe); wait till it stops and then you can go – if you do not follow these rules you will have much difficulty is settling the pup down for the evening etc. If you follow the rules you should be ok within a couple of days at most.
In summary, when you put the pup somewhere for its own time – do not go to it unless it is quiet and you do it on your own terms.
FEEDING YOUR SEEUFERHAUSE ROTTWEILER PUPPY
When breeders write about this topic they seem to be transported to the land of “make life as complicated as possible” – mix this, so much of this, so much of that, vitamins, minerals etc. I don’t think it has to be like that and I know for sure that we all don’t have time for it to be like that. I’m a practical person and whilst I want the best for my dogs I also don’t have 3hrs a day to prepare everything from scratch. With that in mind please find below what I think is an efficient and very effective diet for puppies/dogs of all ages.
There are many alternatives available in terms of type of diet, raw, processed, barf, meaty bones etc the key in my mind is to try as much as possible to avoid an excess of processed foods and if we have to use it try and eliminate the artificial colours and preservatives.
Diet plan for dogs
0-8 weeks – generally cared for by the breeder
8-24 weeks – I feed 3 times per day, 2 main meals and a snack
Main Meal, good quality dry food mixed with raw meat (lamb, beef, chicken, offal etc) and goats milk
Snack, chicken wings, necks, carcass, lamb flap, necks, shanks
24 – 52 weeks – 2 main meals per day and substitute one of those meals 3-4 times a week with a healthy dose of the snack food.
After 1yr – 1 meal per day, mixture of the snack food in adequate qty and a good quality dry kibble 3-4 times per week.
The main difference in the diet is the type of kibble I use. Puppies will be fed a more up market type of kibble such as Hills Science, Pro plan, Royal Canin and the adults’ brands like Cobber, Coprice, and Bonnie etc
This type of diet seems to keep the dogs at a healthy, lean bodyweight.
Some other important elements of the diet plan that we employ are:
• Once per week fast
• Use of health booster type supplement to ensure all required vitamins / minerals are available to the dogs
• We only buy the “raw” elements of the diet from the butcher and not the pet shop/supplies as they are legally allowed to add preservatives to their raw products to increase shelf life.
In short, if I would not eat it I generally would not feed it to my dogs.
GENERAL HEALTH CARE OF YOUR SEEUFERHAUSE ROTTWEILER PUPPY
Rottweilers are a generally robust breed and coupled with a high pain tolerance will rarely show signs of discomfort or that they are not feeling well.
Rottweilers are essentially a low maintenance type breed, but in saying that there are some things that need your attention to ensure their well being.
You will need to:
Ensure the diet that your dog is on delivers the required vitamins and minerals.
Maintain the correct worming and vaccination schedule
Keep your dog clean and well groomed – including nail clipping, flea treatment and occasional bath and bones for the teeth
Ensure you dog receives adequate exercise – being a large dog they will need a decent walk and somewhere to stride out at least every couple of days. Be sure however not to overdo the exercise for growing pups – short walks and trips to training will suffice till they are 12mths old Also please use common sense and as with humans all exercise needs to be built up over a period of time.
Occasional visits to vet will also ensure your dogs health is kept in check – it is recommended that you visit the vet frequently even if you are not seeing the doctor just to let your dog familiarise itself with the environment, learns to hop on the scales etc
CRATE TRAINING YOUR SEEUFERHAUSE ROTTWEILER PUPPY
Now, some of you may think this is a ghastly practice…fancy locking your dog up in a crate!!!! This, my friends is the best thing you could do for your dog to ensure his/her safety and it is a very effective tool, to toilet train your dog.
You need to make sure the crate provides a pleasurable experience for your puppy so make sure to put some toys and or food in there for the pup the first few times that you place your pup in it – this will make it a positive experience – also be sure to leave the door open the first few times so that the pup can come and go and therefore wont associate the “lock up” with going into the crate. Once you see your pup willingly go into the crate you can proceed to closing the door for short intervals of varying length, eventually stretching it out to whatever length of time suits you.
To utilise the crate for toilet training be sure that it is not too big; it should be just large enough for your puppy to stand, turn around and lay down – excess room will simply make it easy for the pup to relive itself in the corner and not mess where it sleeps/rests. This is why you will need to invest in at least 2 size crates over the pups’ lifetime.
The following schedule is a guide as to when it is likely your puppy will need to relieve itself and as such you should bring it to the area that you wish for this to occur and wait till it does:
• After sleep
• After resting
• After food
• After play
…And most importantly, if your puppy is going around in circles with its nose to the ground, you had better be quick to react!!!!
As mentioned earlier it is very likely (unless the conditioning has been completed by the breeder) that your puppy will protest; vigorously, when you first lock it up in the crate – this is time for you to go to another room or part of the house where you can’t hear the pup and the pup can’t hear you – in the beginning try to check on the pup periodically without him/her knowing you are doing this. If the pup is quiet, seize the opportunity to go and let it out for a brief play and praise session. If the pup is protesting, as mentioned earlier DO NOT GO TO THE PUP, until it is quiet!!
You need to keep in mind that every time you go to the pup when it is protesting it will add at least another 2-3 sessions of the “controlled crying” so to speak to the overall exercise – so avoid it at all costs! If you follow the rules and only go to the pup when it is quiet, life will be much easier.
So, a few days of these crate sessions and the crate will become your pups’ safe place and will willingly enter when you need it to – this is likely to translate to other entry type exercises like the car, trailer etc because your pup won’t have any aversion to entering a small space for fear of being locked up. Even if your pup has mastered the crate experience it is important to follow the same process with the car, trailer or other to ensure the whole process goes smoothly.
Taking crate training to another level; at some point you will be able to use the crate to build the dogs’ drive when it comes to tugs, balls etc Use the crate to hold the dog at bay while you increase the stimulus and when the dogs intensity for the play item has peaked (struggling at the door, barking, scratching, yelping etc) you can release the dog for an intense play session. If you are prepping your dog for dogsport then you should wait for a bark before releasing the dog – this will serve you well when you move to preparatory work for the “hold and bark”.
This is an excellent lead in to……
BUILDING AND ENHANCING YOUR SEEUFERHAUSE ROTTWEILER PUPPY’S DRIVE
As mentioned earlier your Seeuferhause Rottweiler puppy was born with instincts that will make it behave a certain way for reasons that it does not understand. It will chase a fast moving object (prey drive), it will catch it (bite), it will shake and it will keep possession. These things just happen because of the dogs’ genetic predisposition and can be either encouraged or discouraged by the owner to suit their purposes. Dependant on their experience puppies will either continue this behaviour or cease; a positive, feel good experience will ensure the puppy continues the behaviours, generally with increased intensity and a negative experience will generally discourage the puppy from continuing the behaviour.
As the objective of my breeding program is to heighten the instincts that are prerequisites for a working dog (see our article on working dogs vs. family companions) I encourage the behaviours that are derived from the instinctive urges of the puppy.
As we are discussing about building and enhancing your puppy’s’ drive, then we must understand the drives that are useful for working dogs and why they are useful. The drives that we are most concerned with in puppies are:
• Food drive
• Toy / Play drive
The level of intensity for each drive that you will be able to extract from your dog is dependent on 3 equally contributing factors: the dog’s predetermined genetic content, the trainers’ ability to extract the best quality/quantity of drive from the dog and the impact of environment on the dog. The most important thing that we need to understand however is that as the breeders/owners/handlers of the dogs we are the only entity that has the overriding ability to influence each of these areas.
Irrespective of your ability as a trainer to extract value from the dog, you will only be able to achieve levels that are predetermined by the dogs’ genetic capability and as much as the dogs’ environment will allow. In the reverse if your dog is genetically gifted and lives in state of the art facility geared specifically for the development of super working dogs but you don’t know what you are doing in terms of training and managing dog behaviour then again, you will not reach the pinnacle. Another important fact to know and understand is that any inherit instinct/drive can be dissipated over time through lack of stimulation (play/toy drive) or over stimulation (food).
Food drive provides a valuable tool for rewarding our puppies during training sequences but also demonstrates the dogs’ survival instincts and therefore their view of their own self importance which then reflects in their levels of confidence and social dominance. A dog that instinctively does not defend their food and allows others (dogs or people) to simply take it from them is not likely to possess the strength of character require to carry out the protective elements of their duty, or deal with conflict in a confident manner. I can hear the shouts in the background already; it’s safe to have a dog that will defend its food; children will get bitten by dogs like that; you should be able to take anything from your dog at anytime etc. Guess what? I AGREE. The key word in the sentence was instinctively; from this we can train and condition the dog to respond in the manner that we see fit. This means that even though the dog has the instinct to defend its food we can condition the response to allow for food to be taken from the bowl by ourselves, children etc which in turn makes them a safe dog to have around.
Food drive will be increased or enhanced by keeping the dog lean. This means that we need to feed the dog an amount of food adequate for providing the nutrition required, especially in puppies but they don’t need to be plump or overweight. In adults if we are participating in an intense training program in obedience or another discipline we may not need to feed outside of the training regime to ensure the dogs drive for the reward is heightened. Puppies in particular need to be kept lean so as not to sap their energy and put stress on their joints and major organs during the developmental phase. So, in relation to food drive we need to ensure that we do not over stimulate, and for toy drive in the reverse we need to ensure that a lack of stimulus does not exist.
Toy/Play drive requires a balance of on/off depending on your puppy and its drives. Some can be overstimulated leading to hectic behaviours, some need more stimulus to get going, some lose energy/drive quicker than others so the play sessions need to be managed etc. You will need to get to know your puppy quickly to ascertain how this will managed. The toy/play drive sequences that will be discussed in the following text are related to developing behaviours in the dog that will later assist with the dogs’ participation in the sport of schutzhund, IPO, or fulfilling its role as your family guardian/protector.
The primary play activity that we need to develop is the dog’s desire to play tug of war. This is done through the manipulation of the puppy’s instinctive behaviours mentioned earlier; chase a fast moving object, catch and keep possession. This can commence when the puppy is between the ages of 6-8 weeks. The program that I will outline below will apply to a puppy with correct drives – if your puppy is lacking it will show during the play sessions and you will need to consult an experienced trainer to assist with various methods of developing the puppy’s drives. In some cases unfortunately some puppies are just not suited to this type of activity and your breeder is hopefully educated to a level of recognising this in their puppies and hopefully honest enough to tell you this. This is why it is important to take counsel from the breeder as to which puppy is suitable for what application but, if you are seeking a working dog puppy then please ensure that you can recognise a suitable puppy also.
You will need a kitchen towel, hessian bag, jute roll or other. I like the rag type articles as opposed to the rolls to begin with as they make for faster movement that will attract your puppy. Hold one end of the towel/rag and flick it around in front of the puppy, you will notice the pup’s attention will be aroused and preferably will pounce on the rag immediately and catch it. As this occurs release the rag so that the puppy will know it has caught its prey and will then hold it in its mouth. The preference is for a full hard grip and an instinctive reaction to want to pull the rag away from you; as the puppy pulls away let it win and have the rag. The amount of resistance that you create should increase as the puppy plays the game increasingly over a period of time however you need to be mindful that you measure the resistance and force to match the puppy and not overpower it. The same applies to the pace/speed of movement for the rag to attract the pup. Keep in mind that puppies at this age are still somewhat uncoordinated and will struggle to twist, turn, run and keep their balance; so again, match the speed to accommodate your puppy. As the puppy becomes more experience in playing the game, along with the increased resistance, you should lengthen the time that the pup has to fight for the reward (release the rag) and you should also increase/introduce new challenges that the pup needs to overcome to win the reward. E.g. lie down and make the pup climb over you while chasing the rag, and while biting the rag; make the pup jump on you to grip the rag, make loud noises as the puppy if fighting to win the rag; push the pup away as it tries to grip the rag, pat the pat while it grips the rag and starts to fight to win, pinch the pup etc
The key to this exercise is to always reward the puppy’s ability to overcome a new challenge by letting it win the rag when it does so. And, whilst you are increasing the level of difficulty, resistance and type of challenge, always ensure it is appropriate for your puppy’s ability, age and stage of development. For instance, you should not play these games whilst your puppy is teething.
The aim of this exercise is to teach the puppy to persevere until it wins, and whilst we encourage this by releasing the rag we must ensure that we also develop the grip of puppy; we need to ensure that the grip is full and hard and we can only reinforce this by releasing only when the grip is full and hard. Much of the quality related to grip is genetic, but we can both improve it and ruin it by the reward program we put in place. And, we need to remember that what is learnt in the first instance transfers to later in life, particularly under stress. So, if we reward a shallow grip even on a genetically gifted dog we can condition this response and it is very likely it will transfer to work the dog does as an adult. We also want the dog to be calm in their grip and this will be achieved by a gentle rhythmic side to side motion by you on the rag when the dog has possession – this type of movement will keep the dog in prey and also a firm calm grip.
They way I like to work a puppy is with a rag on the end of the line and the line connected to a stick, hold the stick and flick the rag around to arouse the puppy’s attention, then make the pup chase the rag to build intensity and as I want the puppy to catch, I raise the rag to make like the rag is going to fly away and make the puppy jump for it. Soon as the pup has caught the rag I immediately and smoothly place strain on the line to keep the dog engaged – this strain also make the pup switch into a pulling away motion which what we want to encourage. As the pup pulls away I make my way down the line to secure the end of the rag; this is when I start the challenges mentioned earlier, pinching, pushing etc. The use of the stick is important for imprinting the puppy for his later work. As the puppy grips the rag you need to wave the stick over the puppy’s head slowly and casually, stroke the stick along the puppy’s body and between the front legs – this will condition the puppy to accept the stick. When the puppy has done enough and the grip is full and calm I release the stick so the pup can go on its victory parade. This is the time to make a big deal and celebrate the achievement. If possible, encourage the pup to come back to you while it has the rag in its mouth so you can play some more but let the puppy win much faster the second time and then each session vary the timing. Then we also need to add a little quiet time; when the pup returns with the rag in its mouth, put your hand under the bottom jaw and with your other hand stroke the side of the pup – this will teach the pup to hold the rag calmly – be sure to check for good body posture and tail up happy attitude. This type of play should take place when the puppy turns 7-8 weeks and until it commences teething.
Use the time of teething to condition your dog to being tied up and make sure it also used to the collar and leash. When the teething is over it is time to start working the dog on a ‘back tie”. The back tie is a long leash (about 3m) tied to a post or preferably a chain link fence to avoid jarring. Once your dog is used to the back tie, show it the rag and try to stimulate the dog so it will bark from frustration before you allow it to bite the rag. If you manage to get a bark then the next time try to get more and so on. Also, when the dog bites the rag or tug you need to have it at the end of the line so that you can “work the grip”. Working the grip means to apply strain on the rag whilst the lead applies opposite strain. The lead will make the dog feel stronger and will bite harder to hang on to the prey. This is bracket of work that requires you to stimulate and frustrate the dog by running around, flicking the rag etc. you also need to stop intermittently and look at the dog, soon as it barks you, run, then stop, it barks, you run then stop, and on, and on. The running increases the dog’s intensity/frustration and this is what we want. One key point is that the dogs’ barking is what makes you run – be patient and it will happen.
Different dogs mature at different rates; they also progress through exercises at varying pace. Don’t compare your dog to another, go at the pace that you think is best for the individual dog and obviously keep the dog “stretching’. I have given some indicative ages for each segment of work, please don’t hold me to it – it all depends on the dog but they guides for you. The other point to note is that this type of preparatory work does not need to happen every day. As we anything you need to measure the amount of work that you do. Even in my limited dog career I have seen many cases where too much or too little results in a dog not reaching its potential. My view is that the first phase of rag work should occur 2-3 times a week and the back tie 1-2 times every 10 days or so.
Remember that all this work is what is termed as “imprinting’ so be careful to ensure you plan for success. Make sure everything is right for the best results to occur. Be careful to introduce new elements with care i.e. the first use of the stick to simulate the stick hits should be slow and smooth so as not to pose a threat, reward every first bite of the session, ensure you measure the pats, rubs and taps that you give the dog whilst gripping the rag etc.
As you can see there is a lot involved in a successful play session so if you are an inexperienced person and you want to develop a championship quality grip/attitude in your puppy then be sure to consult your helper on how to do this.
SOCIALISING YOUR SEEUFERHAUSE ROTTWEILER PUPPY
Socialising is topic that engenders vigorous debate amongst knowledgable dog people. I personally don’t think there is an absolute right or an absolute wrong, but I do think that socialisation of some sort must be done. I have seen enough evidence over time of cases where the socialising has not been carried out and the results are a dog that is not confident in social situation be it with people, environment, other animals and even inert objects.
It was recently brought to my attention by a puppy buyer that the breeder that he had bought his previous dog from had chastised him for bringing the dog into the public arena before he was 16 weeks and had completed his vaccinations. This breeder claimed that the dog would have been “ruined” because of this. Unfortunately this breeder is not correct and their advice is a recipe for disaster.
All of the research clearly shows that the critical socialising period for dogs is between the ages of 6-16wks.
Critical elements in ensuring a successful socialising program is, the ability to take the dog anywhere and everywhere, and have it interact with anything and everything; herein lies the challenge – VACCINATIONS and the well being of your puppy. All puppies irrespective of breed are susceptible to parvo virus up to the age of 16wks even with vaccinations. As with everything we need to be practical so, ensure your puppy has had its first vaccination before you commence the socialising and then ensure you don’t miss the next one. The trade off in risk of contracting a virus vs. a well balanced/socialised dog is more than worth it. But again, as with everything be careful and know that the worst of viruses, parvo can be avoided by ensuring your puppy is socialised in well lit areas, away from damp, dark/shady areas.
Before proceeding to outline a practical and very thorough socialising program for your puppy, please remember this:
‘A dog is 100% environmental and 100% genetics”
Kris Kotsopoulos – Von Forell Kennels
This quote could not be further from the truth, don’t be fooled into thinking that a socialising program will solved the issues associated with poor/weak genetics, and in the reverse a puppy with an excellent genetic temperament will display limitations if not socialised in the appropriate manner.
As mentioned earlier the critical socialising period is 6-16wks, so at Seeuferhause the first formal socialising experience is the visit to the vet. This first experience gives a critical insight into the pups’ ability to handle new environments, situations and new people. Remember, until now all exposure has been in their own environment. Add the car ride to the vet and this makes for a huge day out for the pups. Given the importance of this first experience keep your fingers crossed that your breeder has carefully selected the vet. Many breeders utilise the services of visiting vets (Seeuferhause has also done this in the past) for many reasons including the commercial reality of lower vaccination costs but in my experience the visit to vet is too valuable to forgo for the savings and convenience it gives.
Once the 1st vaccination is complete the next big experience at Seeuferhause is the trip to the training field; again a new foreign environment, new people, equipment, other dogs etc Again this experience is critical; generally the pups aren’t handled during this session. They are allowed to walk around the people, equipment and take in the experience. The reason for this is that we don’t want to influence the puppies’ instinctive reactions to a stranger during the temperament testing which occurs at 7wks. (This is another topic that will be added to the webpage at a later date)
Even before your puppy is ready to come home with you, it should have experienced:
• several car rides
• introduction to strange people
• exposure to several foreign environments
• introduction to being kept in a dog crate for periods of time
• introduction to various inert items; buckets, stairs/steps, various surfaces, various obstacles etc
• a formal temperament test
This is the only way that your breeder will be able to make a value judgement on whether the puppy is suited to your particular requirements.
What constitutes an appropriate socialising program?
The following program is one that our young female Guardstarz Qunita was subjected to (between the ages of 8-16wks) by our good friend Jodi Miller of Design A Dog.
Like we said earlier; anything and everything, anywhere and everywhere!!
A simple and effective philosophy is to bring the puppy with you everywhere you go till it is 16wks old. When you think about it you’ll be surprised to how many different places you will visit as part of your normal daily life.
The critical thing to remember is that your puppy may provide a reaction that is not desirable; that’s ok providing they recover well and are able to then overcome whatever inhibition they displayed. Be sure to make the introduction to new things easy and smooth e.g. approach the main highway traffic from a distance and slowly to ensure your puppy is comfortable, have the mower running before you approach from a distance etc.
Remember we are imprinting so anything that happens now will likely stay with the pup for life, so plan for success!! Keep the sessions short and upbeat, take small steps, revisit the things that the pup reacted to at a later date, make the sessions fun (have toys and treats on board for rewards). Whilst I have outlined a program that works for my dogs ensure that your program suits the purpose for which you intend for your dog.
TRAINING YOUR SEUFERHAUSE ROTTWEILER PUPPY
This is a topic that has been widely written on. I will make no attempts to write further on the subject. I do however want to discuss my philosophy on training which I hope will assist to direct you in the right way to find a good trainer to work with.
First and foremost you need to have an idea of what you want to achieve with your puppy which will then point you to the type of training you should seek out; one on one at home, club environment, general obedience, specific discipline type (schutzhund, agility, tracking etc). Even within these disciplines various training methods are applied (clicker, remote collar, food rewards, tug rewards, praise etc.) so discuss this with your chosen training facility to ensure it will suit your dog.
Whichever types of training you pursue ensure that you:
• Visit the club or individual to ensure you are on the same wavelength
• Watch them go through their paces to ensure you like what you see
• Only participate with trainers that have experience in the field you seek
• Are confident that the methods employed are positive in nature and will not affect your dog in a negative manner
Whatever you choose – please enjoy and have fun.
This document has covered many topics and a large amount of content. It is by no means conclusive or all encompassing – it is meant to be a ready reference for new puppy buyers and a refresher for the more experienced people. For all topics we have only scratched the surface to give adequate insight; each of these topics has had many books written on them. We urge you to find these books and read as much as possible; information is power.
From time to time this document will be revised / have information added. Feel free to write to us and ask for anything you would like to see included or if more information is required, please ask. We will endeavour to accommodate.
In closing, we all agree that puppies and their upbringing is a very challenging task but as with everything else if you are prepared your chances of success are increased tenfold.
Good Luck with your puppies.