All For The Love of The Breed

Training A Puppy

Each puppy no matter the breed are a clean slate [for training] when the new family receives him/her.  Puppies at 9 weeks of age are at the threshold of maximum learning and conditioning.

If you choose a well-established, educated and experienced breeder with years of hands on experience listen to him or her and do apply their techniques they have used with your puppy since birth you will have no issues.

All of this is based on how you felt when your puppy was handed to you, at the moment you took your puppy into your arms —- you want perfection for the puppy and nothing but the best.  You will have wonderful successes only if YOU LISTEN TO YOUR BREEDER.  After all, you selected the breeder so there must be some reason you selected them for your dear puppy.

Dogs and puppies both remember the last action you take with them, if that action was positive or negative.   You must be consistent with correction.    Consistency – Consistency is a must when correcting and educating a puppy.

Children and puppies:  Teach your children the doggy do’s and those things not to do.

Please make sure you do your research and know what you face with accepting a puppy into your home, make sure everyone is on the same page about the care, constant need for attention/supervision of the puppy, proper interaction with a puppy.

There is no grace period for acceptance of the puppy or dog.  Again, commitment almost like a child/toddler — there should not be a return policy with any breeder or organization.

A puppy leaving a breeder or a facility — is a huge adjustment for a puppy.  A puppy being moved around from facilitator to facilitator is unfair and in our opinion highly unacceptable.

Train the puppy and learn that there are needs and acceptance that a puppy is just that a “puppy”.  Adding, that please do not use trainers with puppies, as we know from our own hands on experience and interaction with trainers, they are plentiful and in most cases they have never raised a puppy or spent any personal time with a puppy, let alone a full time ownership in their living environment.

We trained Labs for many years [ obedience/agility/show ring]  and other breeds of dogs and know what to look for in a trainer — in most cases the results are not beneficial to puppy/dog and the owner.  Dogs are a blessing in anyone’s life !

Our health agreement/puppy agreement complied/written by a customer with two our Cotons, a lawyer and judge in Texas — at the top of our contract we clearly state “this is a commitment for the lifetime of the Coton de Tulear” and we hope the new buyers agree to that statement.

Don’t play rough/aggressive games with your puppy as this can encourage aggressive behavior later on

  • Don’t play fight with each other or taunt the puppy to make it protective or jealous, because this tends to backfire badly later if the dog ever misjudges the situation
  • Most puppies dislike close face-to-face contact, unless they have instigated it themselves, so keep faces away from the puppy’s, or risk being bitten on the face!
  • Never let children ambush or force themselves on the puppy. If they want to play, the puppy should be invited over, but do not let the children force the issue if the puppy does not want to go to them. The children must be made to understand the importance of having ‘quiet time’ with the puppy, and give it space and peace and quiet when it wants it
  • Puppies will often steal, chew and swallow children’s toys and clothes for attention, so teach your children tidy habits, or your puppy will spend its youth at the veterinary practice having things surgically removed from it (or worse, it could die)
  • Children have to be 10 years old or over to be legally responsible for a dog outside their homes
  • Children must learn to ask a dog’s owner permission before petting their dog.

Living with dogs enriches children’s lives. Taking care of a dog is an excellent way of teaching a child to take responsibility, express empathy, get some exercise and to have fun. Dogs can also significantly help to raise their self-esteem. But it is the responsibility of adults; especially parents, to make sure that these valuable child/dog relationships are nurtured so that one understands the other.

Every adult in your home should be on the same page when it comes to teaching your puppy, always using the same method of correction and guidance. Never use a hand to correct a puppy.  Using an empty soda can with 10 pennies inside of the can, tape the top closed and shake the can at your puppy and say a firm “NO” this will get the attention of your puppy and an adult dog as well and then make the correction.  The fewer words used is the best.

Also it is important to know what the breeder will be teaching your puppy, when it comes to socialization, bonding, play, eating, sleeping, grooming, bathing, daily hygiene  and down time.  All of this equals the development of your puppy to people, things, places and normal every day noises in a home environment, plus house breaking too.

The Campbell’s test is very important.  Since 1999 I have not witnessed a Coton de Tulear failing a Campbell’s test — actually it seems impossible because the Coton de Tulear breed are driven to be a companion, they will follow you from room to room wanting to know what you are doing.  If you don’t like an animal involved with your actions then you don’t want a Coton de Tulear.

We highly recommend wire cage training a puppy from the time they are weaned from their mother.  To this day our adult Cotons are wire cage trained and we continue with this practice at night for safety reasons.  Many breeders find their homes vandalized and broken into when they are at home and away from home.  Dogs are stolen.  We know three breeders this has happened to in three different states.  A good reason for a well-educated and experienced breeder not to disclose their home address on the internet.

We do not have dog runs, or a kennel setting.  We do have an enclosed covered rear patio that is secured so that bobcats, mountain lions, coyotes and other wild life cannot get to our adult dogs and puppies when we are outside.  I have personally been up close — face to face with a large bobcat a couple of years ago and thank goodness I was prepared.  It was me or the bobcat that would walk away and I just happened to be protected for that encounter.   Never want that experience again, once is enough.

Recently my husband had close contact with a bobcat on our front porch — thank goodness it was not close they were about 15 short feet and my husband watched the cat for a number of minutes and it finally ventured down our driveway to the road.   We have an area enclosed with a cement patio and small wooden deck.  This is where our Cotons, play, run, have social time and where we teach our puppies to potty outside.  Our Cotons are either with us outside or in our home.

We do obedience training and some agility work outside too.   Our patio furniture with lifted beds for our dog’s relaxation while sitting with us.  We come and go from this area and our Cotons go on walks with us daily as well.  Our Cotons are well experienced in small road trips and traveling.  All of this is very important to a puppy too.   I believe a puppy should be introduced to every situation that occurs in a home setting, from the laundry room to the vacuum sweeper in operation nearby.  If you want your puppy to travel with you in a vehicle then you should introduce that form of transportation early in their life.  There is nothing worse than a puppy that is afraid of a vacuum cleaner, or electrical equipment —- as these are just normal every day sounds.

We train our puppies to walk with us “off of a leash” and it is a great project with each puppy, it could someday save their life by learning very early not to wander away from their human partner.  They all learn the off leash movement within two days.  Amazing.  But again too it is up to the new family to continue the practice once they take possession of their puppy.

Most professional breeders have long lived excellent relationships with their veterinarians.  We are very fortunate that we are still in contact with a veterinarian that we meet over 25 years ago and she now lives in Nevada, she has two of our Cotons. The Cotons work with her cattle dogs to round up her cattle at night — yes Coton de Tulear’s on a working ranch.

As well, we have two veterinarians we look up to and totally respect as well from the great state of Ohio.  Both are grads from Ohio State University.  Then two more veterinarian that relocated and now live in different parts of Arizona, the southwest and west coast.  Once we connect with a good veterinarian they will always be a part of our lives and our animals, as we respect their careers, their hard work and devotion to an animal having a supreme life.

We do consult with them periodically about our Cotons.  Great teamwork and a friendship for our Cotons.  One we can create and nurture for our Cotons.

Important that you don’t read from different web sites, take a little from one place, two or three.  Then listen to friends, neighbors —- a great suggestion top for the sake of your puppy.   People feel they compile their own methods of training those results could be devastating.  Again, no matter the breed – the temperament of the parents or the bloodlines.  We do spend months and in some cases plan ahead for years as to the Cotons we have in our life now and in the future.

Rely on your well educated experienced breeder with years of hands on experience and history.

We never refer any internet information or videos unless our veterinarians recommend the reading.

Do not bait/treat train – or try to do this without knowing what the puppy has already been taught or not taught.  You could create a living breathing puppy alligator.  Snapping and grabbing at treats/food and wanting food from your hand.  Puppies can become a nibbling/mouthing machine.  Sadly as a well-known trainer and handler in California [ Cheryl Miller ] told us many years ago — “don’t blame the puppy or dog —- the human owner is at fault, train the owner not the dog”.

Years ago we learned while training our Champion Chocolate Labrador Retriever, Maxwell in the 1970’s.  Maxwell went from a sweet and kind super well behaved one year old Labrador [who loved the show ring] to an annoying and demanding canine.  He decided that barking at our hands would somehow produce treats……… he was “food driven”.

We created a monster —- as our veterinarian told us.

Maxwell never having consumed human food of any type while with us from the age of 9 weeks suddenly wanted our food even as we were cooking.  Oh it was crazy.  Boy did we learn a lesson the hard way. Never again. We never mentioned bait training or offering treats while training.  Simple words of kindness and happy statements, a nice tap on the head saying “good boy/girl” is all that is needed.  Trust me a puppy knows kindness when they hear the words and how they are spoken.   Later, Maxwell only received kind words, never again did he get a treat or piece of goodness other than the kind words.

I would hate to say how many times we have sent up a red flag with news bites and puppy guidelines offering advice from firsthand experience.  When new puppy owners change dog food and the puppy ends up with a serious case of loose stool or even vomiting.  Or when a puppy cries all night because the parents placed the puppy into a walk in glass shower or a bathtub in their bathroom.  The new parents thought they were doing the right thing for the puppy, but instead they scared the puppy.  Often people don’t have a clue as to how bad they can impact the thinking and actions of a dog at a young age.  It can be a train wreck in the matter of less than a week – trust me.

Please never consider taking a puppy to a trainer at a tender age.  Using force, choker chains as collars and loud strong commands, command collars with shock —- that would scare the daylights out of a normal person.

And most importantly NEVER begin allowing your puppy to sleep with humans in a bed.  This in most cases is the beginning of a horror story.

I have been involved with animals my entire life, I learned to walk with my hands leaning on and embracing a Labrador Retriever named Fritzie.  Without divulging my age let’s say it was darn close to seventy years ago.  I grew up with Labs and other dogs that were strays.  The strays came and went as they finished rehab at our home with my father and grandfather.  They were placed in new homes with very responsible people.

The breed of a dog means a lot — knowing what you’re working with and how to break through his stubbornness and natural fears that some breeds possess genetically, and each breed has their own “issues”.   Trust me, working with some small breeds is as challenging as working with large breeds that are predisposed to be strong willed and have a touch of protectiveness no matter how they were raised from birth.

I have worked with many different full blooded breeds and mixed breeds.  Remember each pure bred dog comes from a genetic makeup that makes that certain dog possess certain traits.  The DNA of a dog not only is about looks but about their natural instincts as a “breed”.  Some breeds are natural retrievers, hunters.  Others love to dig and run away — that is all in their genetic makeup. If you know the traits then you have one step in the right direction.  Even if I don’t know a dogs biological calling in life [who is your mommy and daddy] within a short period of time I can tell you what breeds are involved with a dog.  Their actions, their movement, how they play, their interaction with people, their play time with other dogs, the way they act with or without toys around them.  Personally I would never want a dog that was more interested in running the neighborhood looking for small critters to bring home in their mouths half chewed.  Not my idea of a good companion dog.

Often I have been advised to have the DNA identification done on a puppy that I have rescued so that training is accurate and time well invested.  It has been a huge help.  But not all breeds have the DNA identification testing available in the USA.

Genetic makeup is explained the easiest as comparing the dog’s internal operation and instincts to his/her external attributes.  Long or short hair, color of hair, patterns in the hair, style of hair/fur. The dog’s structure, their natural stance, the pattern in their feet – webbed or not webbed.  Ears up or ears naturally down.  The length of the muzzle/nose.  Head shape.  The list goes on and on.

It is easy to tell by a dogs actions if they like water, don’t like water, how they drink water can tell a story about their genetics.

Additionally, my husband and I did rescue work from puppy mills for three years after our early retirement from our careers.  It was always something I wanted to do, as I loved saving dogs from death and a life of rejection. But it was expensive work the only reward was finding a promising home for a rehabbed canine………………………….loved it but could not maintain the expenses.

I have taken Tellington Touch nearly 20 years ago and also have Reiki I, Reiki II, Reiki III, Reiki Master Teacher attunements, which took three years to complete.  Classes taken in Sedona, Arizona.  See

Here are few things NOT to do with your puppy – super easy it is just applying the knowledge.

  • Don’t play tug of war with your puppy or young dog.  With a toy, pull toy or any object.  This only makes your puppy growl, show his/her teeth, shake their head and they want to pull things apart and want the object even more than he or she should.  It just reverts the puppy back to the good old days he/she played with his/her siblings.  Puppies do this to style of play time, with teeth showing, making noise, and teeth pinching the skin wanting to make their rank in the litter.  No matter the litter. And it will in essence give your puppy the right to snap and nipple at your hand
  • Never give your puppy an old shoe, sandal, sock or human article of clothing thinking this will help with bonding — no it just shows the puppy or dog that it is OK to chew on these articles
  • A family member didn’t have any toys for her new Boston Terrier puppy. She gave the puppy a pair of new leather gloves to chew on.  Well the puppy put two and two together and thought gloves from hands means open territory for biting. After the owner would play tug of war with the puppy and the leather gloves.  Her Boston Terrier was the most aggressive puppy I have ever been around in my life.  He was a terror. He destroyed many leather chairs, sofas, dining room chairs, coats, gloves and not to mention many cuts on humans hands and fingers over his life time, shredding the leather and cushions time and time again.  The owner took this dog to many trainers, in the southwest and California.  Spent thousands on trying to find help and a cure for her mistakes — but never did.  It was sad.  The only thing to come from this was a tool and a lesson for teaching new puppy owners what not to do.  This Boston Terrier had no idea what a toy was he would only interaction was with leather gloves or furniture
  • Always keep in mind you must be one step ahead of a puppy and their thinking process — especially this breed as the Coton de Tulear is very intelligent and they wear their emotions on their shoulder


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