DOG E-news January, 2005

So you got a puppy for Christmas - now what?


The puppy is soooo adorable, but she cries at night, soils the floor, and chews Joey's $100 running shoes. But don't despair: Dog Owner's Guide has just the help you need.

For housetraining, see "A guide to 'happy housetraining" by Vicki DeGruy ( and "A housetraining checklist" (

To prevent chewing, see "Puppy chewing: Puppy days can be frustrating or fun -- you choose which!" (

To get a head start on training and building a bond with the newest member of the family, see

Puppy training classes

The old saw about waiting until a pup is six months old to begin training has been replaced by the common wisdom that a puppy kindergarten class is essential for early socialization with other dogs and new situations. Classes also give owners a chance to ask questions about puppy behavior and get hints for stopping some of those annoying puppy habits.

If your puppy is purebred and you can't find a puppy class, try a conformation class for socialization, leash training, and handling by strangers. You don't have to plan a show career to participate in a conformation class.

Puppy classes should help you teach the puppy to walk nicely on a leash, to sit and lie down on command, to stay in place, and to come when called.

Choosing an obedience school

Theories about dog training range from the get-tough-from-the-get-go so he knows who's boss to the don't-do-anything-to-bruise-his-ego train of thought. The best schools are in the middle ... they have instructors who are kind but firm, use the tools that do the job with the least amount of force necessary, and are willing to spend time helping owners and dogs get past any problems that threaten their relationship.

Training clubs affiliated with the American Kennel Club provide training classes as a community service at a fee that is often less than that charged by private trainers and commercial training businesses. AKC club instructors generally have many years of experience training dogs and have access to a font of information from other club members.

When looking for an obedience school ...

To find an AKC club in your area, go to

Breed of the month

"The Alaskan Malamute: Durable, faithful, intelligent working companion"

Affectionately known as "The Mal," this breed may be perfect for owners who can handle a large, active, dominant dog that sheds a lot. See our updated profile at (

Westminster Kennel Club

The annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show will be held February 14-15 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. More than 2500 champion dogs will compete for the most prestigious prize in the canine sports - Best of Show at the Garden.

All 165 breeds and varieties recognized by the American Kennel Club will be represented at the show, including three newly-recognized breeds competing for the first time at Westminster: Neapolitan Mastiffs (3 entries), Black Russian Terriers (15), and Glen of Imaal Terriers (5). There are also 81 entries in junior showmanship, where young handlers age 10-18 compete based on their abilities to gait and show their dogs.

Golden Retrievers have the largest single breed entry with 53, but that number is eclipsed by the six varieties of Dachshunds (standard and miniature sizes, smooth, wire, and long coats) with 64. California has the largest entry of any state with 313 dogs making the cross-country flight.

Westminster is one of the few benched shows left in the country. Dogs must be exhibited in their assigned bench site unless they are in the show ring or exercise area so that they can be seen by the public. Breeds and varieties in the Working, Terrier, Toy, and Non Sporting Groups will be benched and judged during the day on Monday, with Group competition that evening. On Tuesday, breeds and varieties in the Sporting, Hound and Herding Groups will be benched and judged, with judging of those Groups and Best In Show to be held Tuesday evening. The evening competition will be televised live each evening at 8 PM (ET) on USA Network.

More information is available at the Westminster Kennel Club website. (

Norma Bennett Woolf

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