What is Puppy Culture?
Puppy Culture is a program developed by Jane Killion, professional dog trainer and breeder. It is a comprehensive, organized program for breeders to follow during the first weeks of a puppy’s life.
The first 12 weeks of a puppy’s life are incredibly important. This is an almost magical time when a breeder has the power to change the outcome of a puppy’s life by what we choose to teach him. By doing just the right things at just the right time, we can give your puppy the best start possible.
Making sure that your puppy’s genetic material is excellent is only the beginning. The physical and emotional health of the mother will affect the health of her puppies. Since research has shown that puppies born to mothers that receive prenatal massage are more docile and enjoy being touched, we spoil our mothers with lots of affection and belly massages. A puppy’s predisposition to form deep and meaningful relationships begins even before they are born.
Neonatal Period: 0-14 days
Early Neurological Stimulation (ENS) begins on day 3 and continues through day 16. Research shows that tiny struggles and stresses in appropriate small doses are actually good for puppies and will help them grow into strong, healthy well-adjusted adults. Benefits include greater tolerance to stress, greater resistance to disease, faster adrenal system, stronger heart rate and stronger heartbeat. This is a gift that a breeder can only give their puppies once during the window of 3-16 days.
Transitional Period: 14-21 days
Behavioral markers are used to identify the beginning and end of each developmental period because every puppy is different and these timelines are simply guidelines. The transitional period begins when the puppy’s eyes open and ends when they first startle upon hearing sounds.
Critical Socialization Period: 3-12 weeks
Most people think of socialization as exposing their puppies to as many new experiences as possible while the puppy is young. While this is part of the process, it’s not enough. Our goal is to raise dogs that have the emotional intelligence to connect with you. Emotional intelligence can be taught to young puppies and one of the goals of the Puppy Culture Program is to teach breeders how to do this. There are 7 key things that will nurture the emotional intelligence of a puppy.
1: Communication – giving a puppy his own voice: Communication Trinity – power up clicker, box game, manding, attention/distraction protocols
2: Emotional stability – the ability to recover easily from fear as well as stress (startle recovery, barrier challenges, Volhard Puppy Aptitude Test at day 49
3: Habituation – familiarity with the maximum number of things: Puppy Parties, sound protocols, habituation soundtracks and noises, meeting different people, dogs, other animals
4: Enrichment – the view that novelty and challenges are opportunities for enrichment rather than things to be feared or avoided: novelty items, Adventure Box, off premises socialization
5: Health – physical wellness and motor skills that will allow the puppy to develop in a neurologically and physically sound way: daily weight checks, grooming, vaccinations, deworming, proper nutrition, vet health checks
6: Skills – learned behaviors which allow him to function in human society: recall, manding, simple commands, litterbox training, crate training, leash walking, resource guarding, bite inhibition
7: Love – the desire to seek out the company of both dogs and humans as emotionally positive experiences: shaping emotional responses, Happy and Calm CER (Conditioned Emotional Responses), daily cuddles with humans and mom
This is definitely an incredible amount of work, but it is 100% ABSOLUTELY WORTH IT!!!!!! When you adopt your puppy, you will be just as thankful as we are for this program!
If there were a way to reduce the incidence of hip dysplasia in dogs — not by 10%, or even 25%, but by 50% — would you want in? Well, it looks like there may be a way. It's simple, it's cheap (in fact it saves money) and the data has been out there about it since 2006! Read the article HERE, and suddenly the photo sourced by Craig from a 1826 painting will make total sense.
The 25% 'lighter' dog will closely resemble the Ideal dog, but feeling for ribs and hips will be a little bit easier, but without any jutting bony protuberances to be seen or for that matter felt. There should be no appearance of muscle loss.
Some of the inquiries we get might surprise you. As you might guess in this day and age, many lack basic common courtesy – the worse of which we simply don’t even acknowledge. The better of which will we provide at least a reasonable, if not short, but professional response. However, recently we fielded an inquiry about how to bring a new puppy home. The answer for this question is best provided by the breeder you have acquired your pup from, or even Google vs some random breeder or person. After all it's not a short answer. A rather odd request from someone who you have not had nor plan to have any future interaction with. I provided some basic info, then reviewed our own puppy related materials and realized it wouldn’t hurt to add to what we have started. So, for that, thank you random person for your questions. This also this helped to make good on a client’s request on putting all this stuff in one place – I didn’t really know how to do it, but this is what I came up with.
Part 1: What is the best way to acclimate a new puppy into the home?
A great place to get setup for success is to review each of the articles highlighted by the hyperlinks throughout this article. Getting Set up for Success is where we talk about all sorts of things ranging from general physical concerns and needs for a rapidly growing puppy's joints & bones, as well as puppy proofing your home & yard. Oh and not to forget, how do you plan to manage the messes that will happen, during your potty training adventures? Additionally, have you nailed down a teething management strategy,? Some pups will chew like a beaver, and others hardly any, but knowing what to do in advance can help shape all of their desires. Have you considered coat care, and the tools and time required? For Drents it’s pretty easy, but still it’s something you should have thought about.
Extending this thought process, you will want to be sure you have a veterinarian selected, if you don’t have one already, well in advance to bringing pup home. Also, what do you plan to feed pup? You don’t need to feed the ultra-expensive stuff to have a happy, healthy dog, but if you are considering to feed Old Roy, you should consider putting yourself on a diet of corn and rice hulls seasoned with charcoal, and for a big night out you guessed it – Top Ramen.
Next, you will also want to have a socialization and training plan thought through in advance. At the minimum we strongly encourage everyone to update what they know, or think they know about dog training. A lot has changed with the advent of the scientific study of Canine Behavior: Example 1, Example 2, Example 3. The old concept of Alpha/Dominant v. Submissive is quaint. The old techniques of traditional obedience training are at best boring and repetitive. These methods tend to be unkind, bordering on inhumane. Not even thinking about the old ways of bird dog training which if we are to be frank can be quite barbaric. We can and should do better, by looking towards trainers like Brad Higgins and Stonnie Dennis, for example. You should seriously consider enrolling pup in a certified AKC S.T.A.R. puppy course and shooting for achieving an AKC Canine Good Citizen certification.
Part 2: How do you Introduce pup to your other dogs?
So, if have been caught be the Drent virus, you are likely adding to your clan. Or if you are recently afflicted, you may still have another dog as part of your clan. Either way, you need to integrate. If you don’t already have a dog, my initial reaction is to pass this up…but my better sensibility says take a moment to read, and let it marinate for a later time – after all, you have the Drent virus, and there is no known cure.
Alright, okay, enough shenanigans – I’ll get to it…well, not to be special, but you are here on my blog so endure. You need to introduce pupski to an established adult dog. So, let us consider the established dog for a moment. Is he a model canine citizen? Let’s be honest, you know him far better than anyone so there is no need to tell any stories or make excuses. Does Fido-1 have separation anxiety, excessive barking, destructiveness, house training issues, aggressiveness/shyness towards other animals/people? If so, you should really work on getting those issues remedied – puppy will not help any at all. What you can expect pupper to do is to pick up some, if not all, of these less than desirable traits unless YOU have a clear and decisive plan, which is likely to involve external onsite assistance. Because the only thing worse that one canine terrorist, is two (or more, God forbid).
Okay, so your current dog is more or less well-adjusted and well behaved. Finding balance is likely the path to success. This doesn’t mean if your dog is a total couch potato you should add Hellfire the Tasmanian Spaziod to the equation - what is or will be complimentary? What temperament and personality will compliment, coexist, or coincide with what you currently have? With some deliberate thought you can create some amazing canine partnerships.
Alright, so The Pup is en route - what to do? Each dog should ideally have its’ own handler – this really can make it or break it if things were to slide sideways. Both dogs should be restrained by a leash initially. Allow them to sniff one another. Expect pup to maybe be a little bit timid or restrained. If so, it may be appropriate to allow the pup off leash to make its own introductions on its’ own terms. In this case restraining the adult dog can be important as they can get over excited and without meaning cause harm to the pup, in particular if much larger and stronger. With a little care, some calmness and patience, introducing pup should be fairly quick and painless. However, pup and Fido-1’s interactions will need to be supervised for the next few days. Play sessions will likely need to be supervised for the next several months, remember avoiding serious injury to pup is paramount – when in doubt call a timeout.
With that in mind, here are a few other tips for success: Be aware and don’t leave yours dogs alone and unsupervised. Avoid free feeding and encourage waiting when it is feeding time. When you offer special treats e.g. chews and/or raw hides, ensure there is enough for all, supervise, and pick them up long before they are fully consumed. Please be sure to have an ample supply of toys and beds. If one toy becomes a point of contention, retire it. Monitor play time be aware of body language and if/when needed redirect and give timeouts as appropriate. To the greatest extent possible give each dog a little bit of its own time.
We believe through daily, structured walks; your dogs will respect you as the boss and look towards you for guidance and direction. Daily, structured walking is a great way to establish your leadership.
After a month of careful supervision, correcting misbehavior, structured walking, and supervised feedings, your dogs will know you are the boss and the new/old dog is not a threat. Once your dogs begin to feel safe with one another, their true personalities will come out and you will have two wonderful pack members to entertain you and love you for the rest of their lives.
Part 3: Crate training - what is that all about?
Some people want to think a dog crate is a punishment tool, when in reality a properly sized crate is your dog’s home inside of your home. This, as you might imagine, has a few benefits like helping to potty train pup, keep pup safe when you can’t supervise him adequately, to name just a few. It is important to have the crate properly sized and built to be safe and secure.
A dog’s crate should be a happy place. The training process can go quite rapidly, or it may take a couple of weeks. Always have in mind, the crate is the dog’s house, and it should be a pleasant place for him. Generally, this can be accomplished without too much ado by breaking the process down into a few steps, just be mindful not to rush.
Introduce pup to the crate. Do so calmly and be sure the door can’t slam around or close. Put some of pup’s favorite things into the kennel along with a few treats. Drop a few treats near the kennel, then just inside the door, then toss a few treats in. Let pup take his time to go in. We familiarize our pups with kennels in the whelping box – so this should be super easy. However, at first, this will be new in his new home, so a little bit of patience will serve you well. Once pup is going in the crate well on his own, be sure to feed him at least once a day, or possibly all his meals for a little while in the crate. At first with the door open, then gradually work towards shutting then even latching the door for short periods. Work up to 10 minutes or so after eating. Here is where things can get tricky, and you will need some will power to get through this. If pup whines in the crate, you did too much too fast and here is the catch, you can’t let pup out while he is whining or crying. You can sit by the door, even place a finger in for pup to smell and help calm him. Once the whining has stopped, and this could be a while in some cases, you may then open the door. If you open the door while the pup is crying it very well may make the association and begin doing much more crying and whining – just what we want to avoid. You may need to have pup close by in his crate at first, and just like ‘playing with the door’ you can adjust proximity. Evening TV time, or some other calm time is perfect for working on building familiarity and comfort.
Crating pup overnight:
Alrighty, now it is really time to start to work with longer crating periods. We have found doing this while you are at home really is best as you as easily start adding some structure to an already familiar event. Here are your marks:
Yes, this can appear to run a bit contrary to to the whole training process, and frankly can be the most difficult part of crate and potty training – the night shift. Leaving pup out all night is surely going to result in a mess, damage to something, pup getting into things which might harm him, or for a real banner night all or a combo. Crating at night is a must until pup has proven himself reliable in all ways.
Generally, it’s a good idea to put the crate in your bedroom if space permits or nearby in a hallway. Young puppies will need to go potty during the night, and you'll want to be able to hear your puppy BEFORE they whine to be let outside. Put pup in the crate using your regular command and a treat, know what pup’s potty schedule is (going potty just before bedtime is an absolute must), so that you can set a gentle alarm to take him out just before his normally scheduled time. Expect to get up at least 2 times each night for the first few nights. As his day schedule lengthens his night schedule should as well. One bit of advice here is to pick up the water bowl about 2-2.5 hours before bedtime. Soon your dog will be sleeping comfortably through the night with the crate near you, you can begin to gradually move it to the location you prefer, although time spent with your dog—even sleep time—is a chance to strengthen the bond between you and your pet.
Whining - If your dog whines or cries while in the crate at night, it may be difficult to decide whether they’re whining to be let out of the crate, or whether they actually need to be let outside to eliminate. If you've followed the training procedures outlined above, then your dog hasn't been rewarded for whining in the past by being released from their crate. If that is the case, try to ignore the whining. If your dog is just testing you, they'll probably stop whining soon. Yelling at them or pounding on the crate will only make things worse.
If the whining continues after you've ignored them for several minutes, calmly take the pup out of the crate and carry outside. This should be a trip with a purpose, not play time. Give your “go potty” command and give pup a few minutes to get the job done. If he goes potty, give a calm “good boy” and carry back to the crate without a fuss. If he does not potty, then without drama take pup back to his crate. Potty or no potty ends with the same outcome - trips in the middle of the night are for necessity only, and the crate is a requirement until it’s time to start the day. If you're convinced that your dog doesn't need to eliminate, the best response is to ignore them until they stop whining. Don't give in; if you do, you'll teach your dog to whine loud and long to get what they want. If you've progressed gradually through the training steps and haven't done too much too fast, you'll be less likely to encounter this problem. If the problem becomes unmanageable, you may need to start the crate training process over again.
Separation anxiety - Attempting to use the crate as a remedy for separation anxiety won't solve the problem. A crate may prevent your dog from being destructive, but they may get injured in an attempt to escape. Separation anxiety problems can only be resolved with counterconditioning and desensitization procedures. You may want to consult a professional animal-behavior specialist for help.
That is how my calendar is marked, and with this post you may begin to learn why. This was a good trip despite quail numbers being at the low end of mediocre. Sadly, hunting pressure was way up from the previous year, and we hit the late season... Still, only a madman complains about hunting quail in Arizona, in particular Mearns quail.
Round trip we drove 4,800 miles, 1,600 of which were spent on Forest Service roads in search of our quarry. The autofocus in my beloved DSLR totally went out, so it was up to the cell phone to save the day. We managed to capture a few nice landscapes and a couple of okay videos, shared below.
All in all, we did well, and as an added bonus I got to meet a few members from BD&FF I've known from Facebook for quite a while, got to run around with an old coworker/friend, bumped into some old friends at the Steak Out, visited a good number of the local wineries, discovered a real treat along the way called the Meading Room, and even made some time to evaluate a dog for the DPCNA.
I recommend you not go...Mearns Madness, once you have it there is no known cure!
Esp. Ch. Joksan NABAR The Gloucester CGC, aka Booker
22 August 2008 – 18 December 18, 2019
To be honest, from the time Booker was a very young dog I had always had the feeling that once I had lost one of my boys, I would soon lose the other. This ‘feeling’ was something that never waivered, but I also didn’t give it much credence either. Booker was imported from the Netherlands to New Mexico by Rob Key for me. I can still vividly remember watching Rob walk him through the El Paso airport. Rob was beaming, walking this tiny, happy, self-possessed, puppy on a taut line. His head held high, tail up, prancing, the self-elected Prince of the El Paso airport – Booker. All Drent puppies are super cute, but Booker was more. In fact he was more with just about everything. His brother Paxson was the moderate, Booker was flash, bang, pop. Why not? I mean if you got it flaunt it. He was a handful, he was beautiful, he was naughty as hell, he was sweeter than them all. He was Booker, named after my favorite bourbon (back when it was personally attended to by The Booker Noe, a hand selected sugar barrel bottled, uncut, unfiltered, and likened to a runaway freight train - Booker’s) he was pretty damn much the same – too much. But when you liked it, really was it a problem? Just grin and bear it, be a man LoL. Booker was born for the show ring, confidence poured out of him, what could he not do? Without much fanfare he quickly became the first beauty Champion of Spain for the breed. He was judged by some of the most prestigious Group 7 judges in Europe – he owned them despite his shortcomings. He was guided in the art of hunting by Terry L. Chandler Sr., a huge name in the German Shorthair community. Booker was a wickedly effective hunter of every game bird presented to him. He was hunted just about everywhere on just about everything with just about everyone worth a squirt of piss. His resume is missing only the prairie grouse, the mountain quail, ptarmigan, and the Himalayan Snowcock. The more he was bragged about the worse he performed, the less that was said, the better. He knew, he was in charge – that was Booker, take a sip, enjoy the ride. Fighting it was for little girls and sissies. Booker sired two lovely and large litters of Drents, with many becoming involved in active breeding programs her in North America and possibly even back in the Netherlands. He was on track to sire his third and last litter, but as fate would have it, his condition deteriorated at an astonishing pace and so was not. Neil Young can be quoted as having said, “it is better to burn out than to fade away” and that is certainly how Booker lived his life from the beginning. Go big or stay home. He started with a transatlantic/transcontinental flight and passed quietly with his head in my lap. Go run with Pax my friend, run hard.
The DPCNA decided to retain the difficult to pronounce native name with the intent to help ensure the Drent stayed true to type and form - One Drent. Besides Dutch Partridge Dog, as the English translation typically goes is terribly generic and threatens to pigeonhole the Drent as a ‘one trick pony’ here in North America...As for those in the know, the Drent is so much more.
As far as pronunciation goes, when in doubt, just say Drent.
When you get your 8/10 week old puppies, please keep this image in mind. Although this photo is a very young puppy, it's to show how much has yet to be formed. Their bones do not even touch yet. They plod around so cutely with big floppy paws and wobbly movement because their joints are entirely made up of muscle, tendons, ligaments with skin covering. Nothing is fitting tightly together or has a true socket yet.
When you run them excessively or don't restrict their exercise to stop them from overdoing it during this period you don't give them a chance to grow properly. Every big jump or excited, bouncing run causes impacts between the bones. In reasonable amounts this is not problematic and is the normal wear and tear that every animal will engage in.
But when you're letting puppy jump up and down off the lounge or bed, take them for long walks/hikes, you are damaging that forming joint. When you let the puppy scramble on tile with no traction you are damaging the joint.
Paxson the Gloucester CGC, 9 June 06 - 13 November 19.
Whether the North American Drent community realizes it, we have all suffered a great loss with the passing of Paxson. Without so much as making a deliberate effort, he became the face of the Drent in North America - a true ambassador for the breed. It is without ego that I can say, if a North American has a Drent under the age of eleven, odds are the owner learned about the breed because of Paxson. If it were not for him there would be no DPCNA, the Drent would very likely not be part of the AKC's Foundation Stock Program and been one of the first breeds to be allowed to participate in both Hunting and Retrieving tests, and I most certainly would not have written any book.
Most dog owners would say their dog has enriched their lives, made them more complete and/or balanced. Some may even say their dog had been instrumental to their ability to pull through some dark times (I can count myself among this crowd). After all dogs are pretty much perfect companions. Paxson did all of that, but he did more. He changed my life in ways no other dog has, because of his love I was inspired to create the DPCNA, connect with the AKC, as well as Gun Dog Magazine, and write a book. Because of this many more people are now coming to learn about the Drent and their ability to move into your heart. Because of him the best kept Dutch secret is out.
Rob en Tiny Key, of the Gloucester kennel, selected Paxson for me. They could not have chosen more wisely. I will forever be grateful for their mentorship and friendship over the years. Most of all I will forever be thankful of the gift which was Paxson. Smart, affectionate, gentle are some words which come to mind, but so do goofy, and athletic. He was selective with who he warmed up to and those he deemed worthy of his attention and love generally were gifted with a dog willing to make himself a fool for you. It was always interesting for me to see who he approved of.
Paxson was my first from pup bird dog and sadly my inexperience and lack of understanding of training in this filed were evident in his work, but it was through no fault of his own - it was all me. Still over the years he managed to overcome many of my missteps and became an effective pheasant hunter and when hunted alone he was deadly on Mearns quail. There wasn't much Paxson and I didn't do together: hike, hunt, bikejor, and canicross to name a few. Most of all he was my beautiful friend, always nearby and always ready for a new adventure. He was the consummate 'good boy' from his first days to his last.
Paxson was born in Boxtel, The Netherlands, and because of my military career, he lived in The Netherlands, New Mexico, Spain, Idaho and Washington. He also had the opportunity to travel to many other places in between. His stately looks and gentle disposition drew people to him wherever he went. Paxson had a life filled with love, as many mud rolls as he could manage, and plenty of adventure.
I can't imagine a day where I will not miss him.
I'm just a guy suffering with an infatuation with gundogs since childhood. Fifty some years later this is what you get.