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PRELIMINARY MISSION STATEMENT When I first get a puppy, what am I trying to accomplish?

First, I want the puppy to learn that I am the leader of our pack and that I am to be to be utterly trusted and respected. I will show her fun times. I will provide for her need for food and water. I will dispense swift, but proportionate punishment when she commits a transgression. I will provide structure and consistency to her life.

To this end, for the first month of puppy’s stay with me, I make every effort to include puppy in all aspects of my life. Wherever I go, so goes puppy.

Second, I want my puppies to develop their self confidence and boldness. To this end, I try to have them resolve their own problems. A great example is stair climbing - and descending. I like to go up stairs and leave puppy at the bottom landing. Typically, young puppies start barking. The stairs seem intimidating and they are apprehensive. I do not go down and bring them up (Remember that I am getting my puppies at 7-8 weeks of age.) I want them to learn self confidence. Instead, I encourage them to get up the stairs. They do, and when they do, they are on the road to being self reliant. Similarly, when we go out for walks, I make a point of going through difficult cover. At first, puppy may cry out of uncertainty. I don’t rescue puppy. It is up to puppy to solve the problem. Over time, puppy learns that all of the obstacles are surmountable if she perseveres.

I believe that you cannot give a dog “bottom” - that is, courage, heart, and boldness. Bottom is another matter of grace - a gift from God. However, I also believe that the way you raise puppy can either enhance or diminish the bottom your dog has as an adult.

Third, I want to teach puppy that crates are great places to hang out. I have crates stashed in my SUV, in my home office, and in my downtown office. At each location, I also store a container of doggie cookies.

My crates each have fluffy blankets or towels to keep puppy warm and comfortable. When we go out and about, I open the crate in the SUV, say “Kennel”, toss in a biscuit, then toss in puppy. Whenever puppy goes in crate, cookie goes in first. I follow this procedure in SUV, home office, and downtown office. Before long, puppy will be scurrying to get into the kennel and find her treat. In addition, for the first month or so, I also try to always feed puppy in the crate.

Every puppy - and dog - I have ever had, loves his or her crate. This is a function of the way I introduce my puppies to crates.

Over the years, some of the puppies I have raised have grown to be competitive field trial dogs. All of the puppies I have raised have grown to be great citizens and family members.

Hopefully, through these chronicles, I can help you do the same with your puppy.

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