Our new little
at Lucky Dog.
It’s been one year and three months since we said goodbye to our beautiful girl Lucky who has never left our hearts and never will, but it’s now time to enjoy the love of a new puppy and to give this little fellow the best start in life that we can.
You can follow Buster and our progress as we start to train and socialise him. See our successes and failures as we are challenged between doing the right thing and giving in to those big cute eyes looking back at us.
Hopefully putting to use the pet psychology course I recently completed and the hours of reading and watching training videos I won't make too many mistakes, but I know it will challenge my soft side to stay disciplined and to give our new puppy Buster the proper love he really needs.
More updates to come soon, but for now we just love him & hope you enjoy his photos.
You can also follow Buster on our facebook page.
9 weeks old
We only have one guest with us, Carrie, so we can get the little fellow settled in without too much distraction. He loves her company as she is still very much a puppy herself, albeit a very well behaved one with a lovely temperament.
So we are doing the toilet training, sit, stay and come, and also a little lead training so hopefully when we eventually take him out he will already be used to it.
For toilet training we are using the crate method, we mainly use it at night & the odd time in the day when I cannot keep an eye on him. The procedure I am using is setting my alarm every 2 hours at night & taking him out to the lawn where I want him to go. This of course is all good untill I am so tired that I am falling asleep when I'm suposed to be watching him in the day. We are getting there though & I believe this to be the quickest & most efficient method and he is already taking himself outside sometimes, as long as I am vigilant I'm sure it will be successful.
‘Sit & come’ is going well already but ‘stay’ needs a lot more work. Carrie has helped a lot as this is easy stuff for her & I am sure Buster is copying. I am treating the training as a game, running up & down the garden, getting them excited, then calming them down, asking for a 'sit' & giving rewards for each bit of behaviour that is wanted. The rewards I am using are part of his daily feed and I am getting the best results with boiled chicken breast cut into small pieces.
The little lead I bought him is very light weight & he barely knows it’s
on him until I gently hold him back.
I'm just getting him used to something around his neck at the
moment as there is another four weeks before we
can take him out.
Some costs so far:
Crate $50 Cushion $20
Lead, brush, toys, bowls $60
Pay back, more love than you can imagine
We have now had Buster for one week & our little lap warmer is doing great.
10 weeks old
Both Tara & I were very sad to see Carrie go home as her & Buster had entertained us so much and they have become the best of friends, but that’s just our human emotions talking.
These lucky pups however don't get sad, they will enjoy every day until they meet again soon and when they do I guarantee lots more excitement and fun.
Puppies just get all the best bits!
Buster meets 3 new mates
First trip to the vet
Shampoo & shower
Well, we start off with Naughty Buster, as you can see by the photo we had a little disagreement on where the lawn should be and don’t be fooled by the photo, this was all Busters doing, Carrie was only inspecting Buster’s work. I am totally amazed at how much dirt such a little puppy can excavate in a matter of minutes. As funny as this looks I did everything I could to stay serious & give him a firm NO! as Cavaliers are digging machines & when he gets bigger this could cause serious problems.
So how to stop him? The first questions I asked myself was why is he digging & why there? The day before was one of those very hot days & the dogs did not want to spend much time outside and therefore got little exercise. All this energy was stored up for the next morning when it was much cooler & the fun could begin. On top of that, the patch he went for is the sandiest part of the lawn & very easy for his little paws to get into. So to resolve this, I have to be aware of when he needs to let off some energy so I can direct it towards something useful like a bit of training and play.
Then to the patch of grass that I need to fix, well first I have to get him to forget this spot, so I have covered it with an old rug and a few tiles which I will leave there for maybe a week so he looses interest, then I’ll put some new turf down & hopefully he won’t touch it again. Thankfully he has shown no more interest in this patch since putting this down so I think the plan is working.
We had three new dogs in just for the weekend, Missy, Teddy & Rosie.
These are older dogs and not so keen to play with puppies like Carrie is, so it was interesting to see Buster’s reaction when he inevitably got told off for pestering them.
Well, he soon got the message that they were not interested so he ran around them in circles "at a safe distance" to show his frustration but he soon settled down. It was a good lesson that not all dogs want to play.
Buster meets 3 new mates
On Monday we only had Buster as all his mates had gone home. That morning I noticed he had a little cough, so as a precaution I took him to our vet, something I wanted to do anyway to give Buster the “once over” and to make sure we were doing everything right.
Buster did not like getting his temperature taken, he is only very little and I’ll leave the rest to your imagination. I gave him lots of reassurance & he played on top of the table once the examination was over & he got a liver treat from the vet, so he was not too bothered by it all. The cough turned out to be nothing too serious but as a precaution, because he is so young, the vet gave him some tablets to make sure he does not get an infection.
Also, as a precaution we are not taking any dogs for boarding until the 10th Dec when we will see the vet again & get the all clear.
We thought we would weigh him on the kitchen scales before his vet visit. A healthy 2.4kg !
First trip to the vet
His training is going better than expected, he can now “sit & stay” for a good 10 to 15 seconds, he also follows me around at heel, well all the time I have a piece of chicken :) and he also comes when I call him.
But I don’t think for one minute that I have cracked it yet because at the moment I am his world, but in a months time when we go out for that first walk his world will suddenly get a hundred times bigger and what I do from that moment will be so important.
I gave him his first shampoo & shower today. He followed me into the bathroom and I got him to sit in the shower and proceeded to wash him. He did let out a few very cute puppy whimpers but when it was all over he went “lickety-split” around the house with joy, just like any wet dog should do. :)
Costs this week:
New lawn ????????
Very little sleep but getting better, one middle of
the night toilet trip & back up again at 6am.
I don't care though because we love him to bits.
Shampoo & shower
Next weeks Buster Update
3 weeks of crate training, Does it work?
What mischief will he get into next with his energy levels growing daily?
11 weeks old
Does crate training work?
Vacinations & the vet again
Training, play & mischief
Three weeks of crate training & does it work ?
This is not Busters favourite place but his next vaccinations were due & I wanted to make sure he was all clear of his little cough. The crate also comes in handy for vet trips at this age as you can keep him confined in the car as well as in the vets waiting room.
Well of course Buster did not enjoy the injection, but it was not as bad as getting his temperature taken which he did not have to endure on this occasion. I laughed & played with him while we were there & I trust my vet so my mood was good & although he would have wanted to just go home Buster was not too bothered either.
Costs this week. Vaccinations $119.00 Worm tablet $7.90 Flee & Tick chew $54.35
Vacinations & the vet again
Traning, play & mischief
As I have said above Buster’s toilet training is coming along well & I am trusting him on his own for short spells by picking the right times when he is unlikely to go. Below is one of those occasions where the toilet training did not let him down, but he did somehow manage to gather some of Tara’s thongs, my thongs & slippers & of course some of his own toys, all into his collection spot on the carpet. This to me is much better than cleaning up a wee but thinking ahead this lot could be buried in my back yard in a few months time!
Training is going well, I'm doing at lot on his lead just walking around the garden at heel, sitting here & there, then having little excited runs in-between which keeps it fun & he does not get bored too quickly.
At the age of sixteen I became an apprentice Blacksmith/Farrier, it's an old fashioned trade and even in the 70’s when I started I felt like I was going back in time. The "Old Man" which is what we all used to call the boss always had these profound sayings, and one I remember well which he would shout across the forge was “you can have the best hammer in the shop but you still have to be able to swing it lad”.
Yes, crate training works but the crate is just a tool in a process & how you apply & use that tool is what is most important. Below is the way I have been using this valuable puppy training tool for the last three weeks.
Week one & he’s 8 weeks old & everything I've read up on this training method tells me at his age he will only be able to hold his bladder for a maximum of maybe three hours at night and two in the day. If your pupy is left in his crate for too long your puppy will be forced into relieving himself in his crate and a lot of your good work will be undone. Apart from that it would be unnatural for a puppy to relieve himself in his den so I did not want that to occur. So at first I was getting up every two hours through the night to let him out and take him to the patch of grass that we want him to use. After week one we increased it to 3 hours as he was doing very well. Sometimes he did not want to come out of his crate so I would carry the sleepy fellow out to the grass and once he had finished I would reinforce this with lots of praise and a little piece of chicken “Busters favourite”. It can be hard to sound enthusiastic at 3am wondering if your neighbours can hear you saying “good boy Buster, well done mate, he’s a really clever boy”. I’m not quite sure what they must think of me at the moment!
It can be hard to remain disciplined during the day, I'm tired from lack of sleep, but I don't want to use the crate any more than absolutely necessary as spending play/training time with him is so important. He has lots of energy & routine exercise is very necessary to help toilet train a puppy as they will often want to eliminate before exercising and so making it more predictable of when he needs to go.
He’s now eleven weeks old & I can leave him safely for three to four hours at night & he has come on so well that I can now just open his crate door & he will take himself the short distance outside & I can go straight back to sleep, giving him a little bit of trust for a couple of hours.
He is now 95% house trained in three weeks but it could take a lot longer for the other 5%.
How & when you use a crate can depend on your living circumstances but you will always have to put in the work & be vigilant. When you do the results are quicker than any other method I know.
If you are getting a pup soon and would like more advice on this please message, email or call me on my mobile & I will always offer help if I can.
My three main tips after using this method would be:
1. Never punish your puppy if he goes indoors, you should have been watching him & punishment will confuse him and make things worse. Praise him for when he gets it right, he can understand that.
2. Regular play/training and lots of exercise with a routine will help you to know & predict when he will need to relieve himself.
3. When you first get your puppy & crate get your puppy to choose to go into the crate, maybe by throwing in a toy or little treat, try not to force him in so its not somewhere he does not want to be.
Next weeks Buster Update
Buster meets Snoopy
A bit about food
Last two weeks before he is allowed out into the real world
12 Weeks Old
This week I want to talk about food,
the number one highlight of Buster’s day.
Now I want to say for the record, I am not an expert on dog food and below I am just sharing some of our experiences with feeding & how it helps in the training process along with some do’s & don’ts that I have researched.
I’ll start with the experience I had with my little black & tan Jack Russell called ‘Cola’ that I had in the UK some 30 odd years ago. At that time there was the Mad Cows disease scare which had got through to pet foods so I decided to feed my dog with wild rabbit, some chicken with a few raw rib carcasses thrown in for her teeth. Cola lived a very healthy life nearly 20 years old and rarely ever troubled a vet so I am sure a natural balanced diet is good.
We now live in a age where we have more choice than I can comprehend, with the long list of expensive to very expensive foods that’s out there I am not sure anyone has a single right answer as to what to feed a puppy or a fully mature dog for that matter, but there are some very obvious no-no’s & some not so obvious ones.
Below is a list that may be helpful, some are quite obvious but I am sure there are a few surprises here as well!
Picture of my Cola in 1982 who lived nearly 20 years & was a very fit dog on a all natural diet.
Food to avoid Giving a puppy
Moldy or spoiled food, garbage
coffee, tea, any caffeine
Citrus oil extracts
Grapes, raisins and currants
Milk and other dairy products
Onions and garlic (raw, cooked, or powder)
Pits from peaches and plums
String from your roast meat
Xylitol (artificial sweetener)
String can become trapped in the digestive system, don't let your pup near it as they will eat it in a moment.
No cooked bones
Also wait until your vet says that your puppy is mature enough before giving him raw bones.
I am sure everyone who reads this can add something to this list & as I said before I’m no expert. If you have anything you would like to add to the no’s list please feel free to post it on our Facebook page or email me.
When it comes to feeding I rely on good advice from my vet & listening to people with far more expertise & knowledge.
So when it comes to what I do feed Buster, my vet recommended a dry food specially designed for puppies & the lady we got Buster from, who demonstrated not only the knowledge of the breed but also compassion & care for the future welfare of her puppies, recommended possibly one of the most expensive puppy foods wet & dry on the market, which she also gave me a 5 day supply of when we picked-up Buster. Fortunately Buster is a little pup & will always be a smaller dog so I can afford to feed him with this, but if you have a bigger breed, I am sure you can find a more affordable way of giving your dog just as good a diet but it’s always best get some proper advice from your vet or qualified dog nutritionist.
Ok so Busters feeding regime goes something like this…
Firstly, I divide his rations into three meals which I also include allowances for some boiled chicken which is his favourite & very useful for his training.
Breakfast, I don’t give him all of his breakfast in one go, but save a little of the boiled chicken for a 10 minute training session later in the morning.
Lunch is at around 2pm and again I do a little training with some of his lunch as a reward before he gets his main course & if my day is going according to plan, I do the same in the evening.
Now this next bit is just my opinion & what I also do. First up, we all love to treat our dogs, it has to be one of the most enjoyable things for you & your dog as you see the pleasure they get out of it, so for me at this stage of Busters life I will also treat him with a little bit of sardine (no added salt variety) or a very little bit of leftover steak (little being the operative word as I rarely leave much) but just remember when giving your dog treats or leftovers, salt & sugar should be avoided. My rule with leftovers is no more than 10% of his diet. I am of the opinion that it is very hard to overfeed a growing well exercised puppy as long as you are feeding him the right food, but be careful as one day he becomes a mature dog & just like us when our body clock throws a switch at that certain age that allows us to get fat, so too does your dog.
Every time I think about dog psychology & all that I have learnt, I feel guilty that I often break one of the golden rules that says do no feed your dog until after you have eaten your self. It just doesn’t fit my life style as we often eat late in the evening after all the chores are done & the dogs do seem to want their food before that. I also rarely eat breakfast so there is not a lot I can do about the morning feed, maybe it’s me who needs the nutritionist! If I had a dog that was particularly hard to train or was showing over dominant behaviour I would definitely feed him after us, but Busters training is going to plan, so I have broken this rule. I will let you know if it comes back to bite me at a later date.
I could not wait for Snoopy to come and meet Buster as he is still very much a puppy himself & although just about fully grown he’s not a lot bigger than Buster so they could really let themselves go. So much good exercise for them both chasing each other around the place & they loved doing Busters little training session together.
Well they look like Busters two big brothers.
Both Flynn & Cooper were so very good with him, although Cooper did have to tell Buster off on a couple of occasions for biting his ears with his sharp little teeth!
I did allow Cooper to discipline him as I knew he would not hurt Buster - Buster had already committed the ultimate crime of eating Coopers dinner while Cooper was still eating and he survived that! In-fact Cooper on that occasion just let him carry on I was quite shocked, but Cooper drew the line at getting his ears bitten.
Flynn & Cooper
A fully vaccinated Buster gets to see the big wide world for the first time!
More updates scroll down
There were no extra cost's this week
I have taken a few dogs to our beach for their first ever beach walk but this was Buster’s first ever walk of any sort, so the amazement on his face when he saw the ocean & lots of people with their dogs was a picture.
After briefly pausing to take in the view he wanted to rush onto the beach to see what it was all about. This is the most extreme distraction away from me that I can imagine so there was not a chance that I would let him off the leash or even try to do anything else with him other than let him take it all in, and of course say hello to every dog and person that he met.
Buster is a very brave and confident little fellow even in this new environment, which is not by chance, as I based his training on building his confidence and reinforcing all that he did right and I was over the moon with the results.
We have also been very lucky to have had some really great dogs boarding with us in the past five weeks who Buster has learnt to both play with and to show respect for. Every time Buster has given himself a fright, whether it’s being told off by another dog or jumping off my brothers jetty (which probably gave us more of a fright than him!) we did not make a fuss about it; we just made sure he was ok & laughed it off. Moments later he would be playing again as if nothing had happened, however at the same time he had learned another valuable life lesson.
Some of those valuable lessons include not putting his head into just any other dogs bowl of food while they're eating and that biting a dogs ears (that is 10 times his size) with those razor sharp puppy teeth has consequences. As I said, we are lucky that Buster could make some of his puppy mistakes with dogs we could completely trust before we ventured out to the beach to meet a whole new world of dogs. He learnt some manners but also retained all of his confidence.
I felt my job on this first walk was to mainly observe Buster, to see if there was anything that bothered him & also to see what excited him. When we start his recall training properly I need to know when I have his attention and when I could potentially loose it. There is absolutely no point in calling a puppy back to you when they are not taking any notice.
If, when training or on a walk, you’re not confident that your puppy will obey your command because they are not paying attention, then just don’t give it. It is better to stop training than to fail. As I said before we did not let him off the leash but I did think he was confident enough to walk on-leash in an off-leash area. This is something I would not advise unless you're absolutely sure both you and your puppy are confident to do this. Often dogs or puppies do not like being on-leash around other dogs off-leash & your dog could potentially lose confidence in this situation.
For now here are a few pics of BUSTERS BIG DAY OUT & also few cute ones over Christmas.
Hope you & all your dogs had a great Christmas & from myself, Tara & Buster, we wish all of you a happy New Year.
In Buster next update find out how we go with the most important training of all, getting your puppy to come back to you.
Buster’s favourite Christmas present came on Christmas Eve as he went out for his first walk on the beach.
Busters Big day out
Next Buster Update
how to get him back
This Buster update is all about
This is the command that will inhance the relationship you have with your dog; It’s essential to help him stay fit & will give you and your dog the freedom that you will enjoy for life.
Recall, possibly the most important training of all!
Training recall does not start down at the dog park or on the beach, it starts the day you get your puppy home. This period from when you first get your puppy to the day he is allowed out is usually four to five weeks and in this time you have so much of his attention. So use it well, every time you call him should be treated as part of his training.
When & how to call him
First of all, don’t call your puppy when he is not paying attention or you know you will not get his attention, as he probably just won’t come. I believe the trick is not to fail right from the start. Everyone should have a positive call for their dog & make sure it’s one you will be comfortable with once you're out in public. For me it’s a simple “Buster” to get his attention then a “come” said loud, sharp & happy followed by “come come come come” repeatedly until he gets to me, in a happy & excited tone as if it's a big game. If done right he will come to me as if it’s the best game in the world & then I reward him with his favourite, a piece of chicken. When you first start doing this at home your puppy does not have to be twenty metres away, just start when he is close to you, even a metre or two away will do, & make sure he knows you have that treat. When I started to train Buster I would feed him part of his meal while training & now I take part of his meal with me to the beach (chicken & dry food), it’s a healthy reward & he is hungry!
So before that first day comes when he goes out in public, training your pup to come at short distance, getting him to sit & walking on a leash in a controlled fashion should already be part of your daily play and training regime.
The first walk
As I have said in my previous Buster update I most certainly did not let Buster off the leash on his first walk, this is the time to simply observe him & see what he thinks of his new world. He may be scared of something or get over stimulated with all the new dogs & people he meets. So it's best to observe him & reassure him, and no mollycoddling as this will reinforce any fears he may have. Use your laughter to let him know things are all right. I say use your laughter for two reasons, firstly this is one of the most positive sounds that your puppy will recognise that says everything is ok & secondly by you laughing it makes you feel happy & more confident which is what you want your pup to feel you are. Keep a few mental notes of what took his interest or held his attention because these are the things you are going to be competing with when you first call him back.
The long rope
The long rope is a great tool if used properly & in the right environment, so especially the first time you attempt this find somewhere that you have a bit of space & very little distraction. Buster is a small puppy & was only 13 weeks old when we used this on him so it was quite easy to control the long rope. However, if you have a more powerful puppy or one that is a bit older I would suggest to get some proper training and advice on how to use this tool first. At the start of his long rope training I had Tara with me as well & she would take him just ten meters or so away & I would call him back, “BUSTER” for attention, & “COME”, he should now start coming, then “COME COME COME COME”, in an excited & happy tone because he is coming back to me & then give him his reward.
Don’t call your puppy unless you are sure he will respond postively. It’s so important not to fail when using your call, so if you’re not sure try an easier situation maybe closer to you or wait until his distractions have gone away before you start your call. Also, don’t overdo it or let him lose interest, finishing on a successful note with just ten minutes of training is better than a unsuccessful ½ hour.
It’s all about picking your time to call. If you can see your puppy is about to come to you without calling him then use your call and call him. It will be a success & it does not matter how you get success at first as long as you do. Slowly build on this while always watching out for his distractions. Don’t rush getting into calling him when he is distracted, just concentrate on getting the easy call backs 100% of the time & then you can move on.
My next step with Buster once I had achieved the easy call back on the long rope was to give him & me a little harder test. By this stage he already enjoyed running back to me & that’s important, your puppy & you must enjoy this training, as it really is a lot of fun! So now that I know he likes running back to me, I introduced a little hurdle. We had already walked through the creek on the beach but Buster was not too sure of it but he had come across on the leash with some encouragement. When it was time to go back across the creek I walked across on my own, not calling him & of course Buster just sat on the edge & did not follow me across, note he is still on the long rope. When I was a few metres clear of the other side of the creek I stopped and faced him knowing that he wanted to follow me across but was a little unsure of the water. I still did not call him but waited for him to be ready to cross & when I saw he was about to attempt to cross the creek on his own I gave him the call. You can see the result for yourself if you take a look at the previous post on our FaceBook page in the little video, it was perfect.
From this point on it was just a matter of building on what we had already achieved, albeit slowly, & only ever calling him when confident he will come. This was done with patience & lots of positive reinforcement & soon I was able to call him back from stronger distractions like other dogs & even chasing a seagull. But I must still pick my moments, as dogs have different moods, & that is one of the benefits of getting to know your puppy well so you know when you can get his attention & when you cannot.
I do believe that not getting 100% of your puppy's attention when you first start training should not be treated as a failure, it only becomes one if you make your call and your puppy does not respond at all, so just don’t call until you are absolutely sure.
Buster is now off the leash & comes back quite reliably, however he is still a puppy that sees new things every day, so my attention on him is still very high. I keep playing with him & give him lots of reasons to be focusing on me including his chicken pieces that I will take with me for a long time to come yet. Even though he is doing well if I become complacent I will undo so much good work we have acheived.
If you have any problems with recall give me a ring as my advice on the phone is free!
Whatever you do or don’t do with your puppy please train for Recall, their quality of life & yours will be so much better.