This is an excerpt from the book "A Member of the Family" by Cesar Millan. www.cesarmillaninc.com. We highly recommend your watching his program "The Dog Whisperer" on the National Geographic channel, or purchase his DVD's on dog training. They are also available at most Libraries. Learn his method of correction - two fingers and a firm poke in the chest area, simulating a bite from mom. It's easier to understand the concepts above if you can see them in action, watching the DVD's or TV show.

When you bring your new puppy home, treat it like the whole family is in dog training mode - you are now a pack, and the success or failure of your training will rely on how committed you all are, to the pack and to your new member.

If you don't feel confident that this is a job you can take on, then please rethink the purchase of a puppy. Look instead for an adult dog that is already house trained, and has NO aggression or dominance issues.

We want your puppy experience to be one the whole family will enjoy, and that you have years of companionship with your new dog.
Russ and Eve


Please do your homework before purchasing your pup!
Buy the books and DVD's, watch Cesar Millan's program 'The Dog Whisperer' on the National Geographic channel.
Learn how calm-assertive energy can help in the training of your new pup!


The Crucial Months of Puppyhood - excerpt from "A member of the Family" by Cesar Millan     www.cesarmillaninc.com

One of the most important things to remember about puppyhood is that it is the shortest stage of a dog's life.
A dog is a puppy from birth to eight months, then an adolescent from eight months to three years.
With good nutrition and veterinary care, a modern dog's life span can last from ten to twelve to sixteen years or more!
So when the children in a family come back from watching 101 dalmations and beg parents, "I want a puppy, I want a puppy!" both parents and kids need to remember that in the blink of an eye, this puppy will physically resemble a grown up dog. A puppy is not a stuffed animal that will stay small and cuddly forever. If someone in your household seems enamored only with the charming antics, size, and shape of a pup, then I advise you not to give in to a whim and bring one home for the novelty of it.
Sadly this is something that occurs far too often.

Puppies require commitment, focus, energy, and above all, patience.
If you are not prepared to care for a dog the rest of her life, then please don't fall for an adorable face and bring a puppy home on a whim.

When a puppy is first born, she experiences her mother as first energy, then touch. The first energy that any dog experiences upon coming into the world is the mother's calm-assertive energy, and that will remain the energy that attracts them the rest of their life. Calm-assertive energy will always make them feel safe, stable and secure.
Their senses develop in this way - smell, sight, sound...

Remember to approach all dogs with this order in mind: 1. Nose, 2. Eyes, 3. Ears.

When we are around puppies, we humans tend to resort to sound - usually, excited sound. "Oh my God, they're SO cute!!" would probably be the most common response from a person presented with a litter of squirming, squealing pups. But puppies are not little humans, they are little dogs, and they experience the world in a completely different way than we do. Relating to puppies via nose-eyes-ears not only gives them the respect they deserve, it gives us better access to influence them in a natural way.

The pup as a pack animal
Thanks to both the mother's consistant discipline and the social instincts they are born with, the puppies are very respectful of the environment and the other dogs in it. Some of the dogs (adult members in the pack) will growl right away, and the puppies get their first lesson in corrections. Then they will try to visit with another dog and experience a different way of being - they might be invited to play, or simply to relax and lie down. Some of the adult dogs will move away and avoid them, but some dogs will stay there and patiently let the puppies investigate them. Others will investigate the pups, and the puppies will sit or stand very still, trying to figure out how they should feel about submitting and letting a stranger smell them. When challenged, the pups roll over on the ground right away and learn very quickly to let the adults smell them completely before moving away. This is an important cue we need to take from the dog world - the pack expects good social behaviour from the puppies from day one, and it always gets it.

Your puppy at home

Most puppies are adopted by humans at around two to three months of age. Once we become their teachers, they enter a new phase - the phase of learning to live not only as a dog, but also as a dog in the human world. During this time, we must show them that humans are in charge in this new social structure they're enteriing. Nature didn't program them to know about cars, glass doors, or electric wires. Because they're going to live in our complicated world, it's very important that we become their pack leaders to guide them through it.

Housebreaking

From two to four months, most pups pick up on the concept of housebreaking quite easily, since it is, in a way, part of their natural programming. When the puppies are born, they eat and they relieve themselves in the den, but the mother always cleans them. The mother stimulates their bodily functions, and her environment is always clean. There is never the scent of urine or feces where they sleep or where they live. It's not natural for a pupy to live in its own mess, so the DNA of the puppy is working for you. Many puppy owners - particularly puppy owners who live in the city don't want the chore of taking a puppy outside five or six times a day, so they decide to housebreak using pee pads.

The best way to incorporate pee pads into your housebreaking routine is to set them out at time when you won't be able to supervise. Set out four pads at first, in order to zero in on exactly the part of the pad where the puppy will relieve herself. As the pup begins to use them correctly, and begins to refine and mature her behaviour, you can remove the pads until there is only one left, at exactly the spot where she will go every time. To attract the puppy to the pad, find a piece of grass or dirt with the scent of urine or feces from another dog on it. This may sound distasteful to you, but the presence of another dog's excrement will stimulate your puppy's brain to go and pee right over it. Eventually you won't need to do this once the pup gets conditioned to the pads.
(A lot of the pads now come with a pre-scent that is suppose to do this job for you.)

If you have another dog in the household, leading by example is another great way to house train. When your adult dog goes out do relieve himself, let your new pup go as well.

Of course, accidents are a part of the housebreaking experience. Never blame a puppy for an accident; don't get angry at her for a bodily function she can't control, and please don't buy in to the old wives tale that you should push a puppy's nose into her excrement or hit her if she happens to go in the house. Instead, remain calm and assertive, and immediately take the puppy outside to where she is suppose to relieve herself (or to the pad). If you catch a puppy in the act, use a touch or a simple sound to snap her out of it, then immediately remove her to her spot outside and wait until she relaxes and finishes her business. Then thoroughly clean and disinfect the area of the accident, so there is no lingering odor.

Don't get upset or make a big deal over an accident and never berate your puppy with a long speech, because the dog can learn that if she poops in a certain place, she gets your attention. She can also wrongly interpret your reaction as a cue to never eliminate in your presence. Stay consistent, and keep your energy neutral. Your dog's digestion is a normal part of her biology; you just want to teach her some control over the whens and wheres of it.

Dos and Don't's of Puppy Housebreaking

  • DO take the puppy outside first thing in the morning, immediately after each meal, after she awakens from a nap, and after long play sessions.
  • DO take the puppy to the same general area outdoors each time.
  • DO supervise your puppy closely! You are investing a lot of time in these first months to establish a lifetime of good behaviours. Keep your puppy with you as much as possible. If you can't be with her, put her in a safe, enclosed area or in her crate. If you think you might forget about your puppy's needs, set a timer for 45 minute intervals to remind yourself.
  • DO remain consistent! Daily consistency is the key to good habits. Feed and walk your puppy at around the same time every day. Remember, dogs don't understand to concept of weekends or holidays. If you want to sleep late on a Sunday, take your puppy out first, then go back to bed.
  • DON"T punish a puppy for an accident, or do anything to create a negative association with her bodily functions! Stay calm and assertive and quietly remove the puppy to the place where you want her to go.
  • DON'T potty train a puppy on pee pads alone. It's not natural for a dog to relieve herself inside her "den". Make sure you alternate between outdoor and indoor bathroom habits.
  • Teething

    Between four and six months most puppies will pass through a teething phase. This process is uncomfortable, and the increased chewing binges uyou'll see in the puppy's behaviour at this stage are her attempts to relieve this discomfort - usually on your most expensive pair of shoes. It's important to understand that teething is not rebellion or a personal attack on you. It's not really play either. During this stage, all the puppy is focused on is "How can I relieve this irritation that I have in my mouth?". A big no no is to wear gloves and let your pup chew on them or to play games where you allow the dog to bite you anywhere on your body. It may seem harmless now, but you will be conditioning your dog to see your hands or your body as a source of relieving her frustration.

    Teething behaviour is not the same thing as obsessive chewing in an adult dog and should not be corrected but instead redirected. There are thousands of teething toys in pet stores just for this purpose. Place the show in front of you and then each time the puppy touches the shoe get her attention with a treat, and a redirect her towards the teething toy. Then you claim your space around the shoe.
    This becomes a psychologicval challenge; the puppy is learning the sophisticated concept of "Just because it's here doesn't mean it's mine." They are also learning what is appropriate for them to chew on. Pulling the shoe away from the puppy isn't a wise thing to do. it doesn't send a clear message to the dog; it inadvertantly involves you in a dominance game, which yo might actually win the first few times if the puppy is small enough, but it is one you won't keep winning forever. Once the puppy wins or figures out how to hold on to the shoe by running away with it, you will find yourself in a situation where you've taught your own dog how to use her strength and speed as weapons to defeat you.

    Children and Puppies

    Remember, puppies around eight to ten weeks of age can be very shy and skittish about new experiences, so explain to your children about no-touch, no-talk, no-eye contact until the puppy has signaled that she is comfortable with the new human in her presence. Just as you challenge your puppy by playing "waiting" and "patience" games, this is a way to help foster good patience in your children as they learn to wait and watch for the puppy to show that she accepts them. Explain to your children about the public, social, and intimate zones of space that exist among all animals, including humans. This is a good way to help teach your children about their rights when an adult or another child invades their own space in a threatening manner. Then, take the time to watch your child play with the puppy, standing back until you're needed, but supervisiing any behaviour that is veering into the danger zone.

    When children are too young to understand the concepts of personal space or no-touch, no-talk, no-eye contact, they are still albe to learn these skills from simple correction and redirection. If a baby is crawling toward a dog that is giving off the wrong kind of energy, you have to simply block and redirect.

    Remember you are dealing with two species of animals, both young, and both learning for the first time how to approach the other one. By the time your child is walking, however, you can begin the ritual of the pack walk with dog and child together. Teaching a child to properly walk a dog or puppy is a wonderful way to build the child's self-esteem, and to create the kind of human-dog bond that will enrich your child throughout her life.

    Play Behaviour

    "What you as an owner need to be watching out for is the frequency of the behaviour and more important, the intensity of it. Puppies behaviour that involves playing with you, touching you with their mouth, or exploring you with their mouth is perfectly normal. But as the pups get caught up in the excitement of that play, if they don't get feedback from us that "that's enough!", they can intensify the behaviour until it becomes an obsession. Remember our role models, the natural dog pack. An older dog might let a puppy mouth or chew on its paw or ear, but the second the pup gets too rough, the adult will whirl around, growl, or even pin the puppy with its teeth.

    The pup will instantly get the message. Because we don't communicate with dogs in their innate language, we tend to say "Ow! Ow! Bad dog!" and move back if a puppy chews too aggressively. We forget that when we move back, we trigger the prey drive in our puppy's brain and this makes them move forward and want to hold on to us with more intensity.

    Human Mistakes

    Although adopting a puppy is the best chance you have for raising an issue-free dog, it doesn't come with an unconditional guarantee.
    It's just as easy to "ruin" a puppy, as it is an adult dog you picked up from the shelter, if you don't abide by the basic rules of dog psychology. The most common mistakes people make with puppies are, to me, the same kinds of mistakes humans make when raising their own children - they are either overprotective, to lax with discipline, or both. Many times these mistakes begin when the puppy is very small, when the human insists on carrying the puppy everywhere, as if she were a primate. Carrying a puppy in your arms like a baby or in a pouch like a kangaroo's joey may look cute and make you feel like a warm and protective parent, but it is totally unnatural for the dog. A pup's mother only carries her around to move her from one place to another; from inside the dent to outside the den, for instance.

    As soon as the puppies can get around on their own, she lets them figure the world out for themselves. This is a vital part of a puppy's learning expetience in life. Without being able to walk from place to place, puppies don't have a sense of geography or environment. They find it harder to make associations between things. And most important, they can't develop the vital self-confidence that comes from exploration and trial and error. This also goes from always bringing food to the puppy, not conditioning the puppy to come to the food, to carrying a puppy up the stairs instead of allowing her to learn how to climb. In nature, unless the puppy learns life's lessons on her own, she is no good to the pack. In our world, such a puppy will feel useless. For a puppy to get everything in life without earning it isn't natural, and it is a setup for a grown-up dog with behavioral issues later on.


    From "A Member of the family, by Cesar Millan. www.cesarmillaninc.com

    Please hit your back button to get back to our Available Pups page!

    This is an excerpt from the book "A Member of the Family" by Cesar Millan. www.cesarmillaninc.com. We highly recommend your watching his program "The Dog Whisperer" on the National Geographic channel, or purchase his DVD's on dog training. They are also available at most Libraries. Learn his method of correction - two fingers and a firm poke in the chest area, simulating a bite from mom. It's easier to understand the concepts above if you can see them in action, watching the DVD's or TV show.

    When you bring your new puppy home, treat it like the whole family is in dog training mode - you are now a pack, and the success or failure of your training will rely on how committed you all are, to the pack and to your new member.

    If you don't feel confident that this is a job you can take on, then please rethink the purchase of a puppy. Look instead for an adult dog that is already house trained, and has NO aggression or dominance issues.

    We want your puppy experience to be one the whole family will enjoy, and that you have years of companionship with your new dog.
    Russ and Eve