Training Tips from Joan Bailey

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You may call her between
10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Pacific Time
at 503-296-6725.

If she doesn't have the answer she will know someone who does.

Supervising toddlers with your new puppy

If you have a new pup and you have toddlers, whenever the two are together they need adult supervision. Here are some of the reasons why this is so important:

  1. Often a small child will raise his arms over his head if a puppy is jumping on them and trying to chew their hands. The raised arms entice the pup to jump even more. If you are there you can immediately pull the jumping puppy down and have the child lower his arms.
  2. Small children may start throwing toys or dummies for the dog. This can easily lead to a puppy learning "keep away." In other words, pup will see this as a game of catch me if you can and he has learned not to retrieve to you.
  3. A small child may try to pick up a puppy and because the child is not strong enough and lacks an adult's dexterity, he could easily drop the puppy. Puppies have a lot of strength and if you are not ready for it a puppy can jump right out of your arms. Broken limbs can occur.

So these are just a few scenarios illustrating the importance of adult supervision whenever puppies and toddlers are together. The same holds true for older children, though the danger is less. But not gone.

Bringing a new puppy into an older dog's home

Sooner or later most of us come to the moment when our gun dog is over his or her prime-anywhere from 8 to 11 years-and we have to start thinking about a new dog. Okay, fast forward. You have made the decision and a new puppy will soon arrive. There are many things you can do to make this new addition successful for all involved.


This is a mature female with a 10-week-old pup that has just arrived a day or two ago. Notice how the two interact: older dog has the coveted toy, but in dog language is saying, "come on, try to get it, I won't kill you. Let's play." Pup is trying to figure it out and soon will.


First, the older dog must be the alpha (head dog, number one on the totem pole) dog in the family. Most well-bred, mentally sound dogs will automatically take that role and do it well even with dealing out sensible discipline to the new pup. And you must allow him to take on this role. He or she will even become a benevolent leader of their little pack. So in most cases, if you have that mentally sound older dog, you, the people, just stay out of it. Let the dogs sort it out on their own. But there are lots of little things you can do in setting it up to take the best advantages.

If you are driving to the breeder to pick up your new pup, or going to the airport to pick up the pup, take the older dog along in his crate. At the airport, set the puppy's crate in your vehicle so that the crates are facing each other. That way they can begin to get to know each other as you drive off. Then, at the first spot near the airport for letting pup have a tiny outing and to empty out, and as long as it's safe from traffic, get each dog out on leash. They will want to sniff one another, and the hierarchy will immediately be established. The puppy may do some submissive behaviors and that's perfectly normal. The older dog may do a dominant behavior and that's normal too. Older dog is taking on his or her role as king of this pack-that's the way it works for canines. And you may be amazed at how the older dog will often "suffer the little children."


Later, after they've had a good play, older dog decides it's time for a rest, and what he says goes: no playing for a while until after I rest. Both photos compliments: Jane Webb, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.


If it is safe let each off leash as soon as you can and just watch them as they go about investigating each other, probably playing a little. After they have emptied out, put each back in their crate, give them each a little treat, and drive home. Be sure that you carefully supervise these first interactions. You may have to give the pup a little support because she may be a little frightened at first. You know, something like, "Good puppy, that's a girl," and maybe a little pat so puppy gets to feel quickly that she's not going to be eaten up by this strange new dog.

At home allow the older dog to always be the alpha (top, number one) dog, even when you feed them. Always feed the older dog first. And don't allow either dog to eat out of the other's dish.

If your older dog sleeps in a utility room or kitchen, or anywhere besides your bedroom, then the first night for the pup will be a lot easier. Pup will be content because he knows the alpha dog is there.

If the older dog sleeps in your bedroom, well the pup will probably holler a little more loudly! Just weather it out and read the section in the book about what to do when you have two gun dogs.


How to get a dog to eat

If you have a dog that is finicky about eating, Larry Mueller, hunting dog editor for Outdoor Life had this tip in the April 2005 issue:

“I’m one of the 40 percent of dog owners who add table scraps to our pets’ food for variety and interest. If I don’t, my dogs instantly smell the difference, and some will jealously dart their noses around to find out whether others got something they didn’t. Resentment is no longer necessary now that Iams has developed a healthy, low-calorie condiment in bacon, beef or chicken flavor with added vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.”

How to Keep Your Dog Happy When You Leave Him Home Alone

Our dog always wants to go with us, no matter where we are going. If it’s the grocery store or to a ball game, he wants to go. However, we know that some times that’s impossible and he has to stay home even if you are just going to visit friends.

When you have to leave him home alone, leave your radio on. It can be someone talking, or music playing. Some folks leave a television on. Anything like that will be a comfort to the dog, and he won’t mind quite as much that you left him home.