Puppy Care (Part 7)
For a dog of any age, the right type and level of exercise is important. For a young pup, however, we would offer the following guidelines:
- Make exercise fun, and combine it with play time
- A young pup will get tired quickly, so be very careful not to over do it. Limit free running and do not go for long walks on the lead.
Don’t force pup to go at a fast pace, it’s better to be sensitive to pups preferred speed, and have plenty of rests.
- Never let a pup run free with older dogs for any length of time, as pup will get over taken with enthusiasm and again, tire very quickly.
- Remember that too much exercise can be detrimental to a young dog and put excessive strain on a skeleton that is still forming. Consider that dogs that are to do agility must not start training until 12 or 18 months old for this reason!
- On going for walks, our advice is to make them short to begin with and gradually build up as the dog approaches 6 – 9 months old.
Although we have addressed grooming in a later section of this guide, it is written with the task of grooming the adult dog in mind. Therefore, the following comments about grooming apply specifically to pups:
Do it a little and often: short light brushing sessions with a small brush are useful to get pup used to being groomed. Always aim to make grooming a pleasant experience – not a battle of wills! Many books on the subject point out that grooming helps strengthen the bond between owner and dog.
Use a brush to keep the coat in good condition and avoid tangles. Use a steel comb to prevent matting, especially behind the ears and armpits. Matting needs to be teased apart gently, not tugged at using the comb.
These will need to be trimmed to keep short for the comfort of the pup and to avoid foot problems in later life. See the main grooming section for advice on how to do this.
The aim is to make this event as pleasant as possible. This is best done on a dry sunny day. We recommend using gentle puppy shampoo according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Never use washing up detergent or human shampoo.
Always provide a non slip mat if washing pup in the bath, and put a slip lead on pup for better control.A gentle shower head works best so you can control the flow of (luke warm) water. Be careful to rinse thoroughly.
If you intend to use a hair drier, be very conscious of temperature – always use it on its lowest heat setting and don’t hold it to close to pup or direct the air flow straight into the face, eyes or ears.
See the main grooming section for more suggestions.
Collar and Lead.
Due to the nature of a rough collie’s coat, we believe the best type of collar is a light ‘half-choke.’ Light nylon ones are fine, and give the advantage of being adjustable. The rolled leather variation is very good, but these are not adjustable, so are best left until your dog has finished growing. Once on, you’ll have difficulty telling if there is one being worn on an adult dog!
Even before you have the all clear to venture out and about you can get pup used to wearing a collar about the house. It will feel strange at first but by playing for a while, it will soon be forgotten. In fact you can quickly and easily create an association with the collar and something enjoyable happening!
Remember to take the collar off at night.
Once pup is used to the collar, and will follow you around (as you tempt him or her with a treat) you can gradually introduce a lightweight lead. Again the approach can be to associate it with something nice. Attach the lead and offer a treat – never start pulling on the lead at this stage, the aim is to help pup accept it by being more interested in the treat.