Training your Japanese Spitz

When taking on a puppy you should always consider the time you have for training. The training and socialisation you provide your Japanese Spitz puppy in the first 12mths can be crucial to living in harmony with your Japanese Spitz friend for life.

The Japanese Spitz are very active and can be a handful between 8weeks to 8mths. By following some of the steps below you can help this time be a joyful experience and not a living nightmare.

SOCIALISATION

Socialisation is a term that is often used in dog training books and by breeders and trainers. But what does it actually mean and how will it affect you as a new puppy owner?

There are two parts to socialisation, and both are equally important.  The first is teaching the puppy to be social with people and other dogs, while the other called habituation is about teaching all the things we want the puppy to ignore and not be worried about. eg noises, traffic, household objects etc.

Unsocialised dogs are often fearful, aggressive and inflexible.

 

It is a sad fact many dogs under 2 are left to shelters and euthanasia due to behaviour problems that could have been avoided through good socialisation early on.  Fear Aggression is one of the most common behaviour issues. 

No good will come from keeping your puppy isolated from the time they arrive to 4mths of age. This time is absolutely crucial to them becoming well rounded and adjusted dogs in life. Many people do not socialise their puppies and do not expose them to different surroundings during this time due to vaccinations still not finished however is is imperative that you do in a safe manner.  If you miss this window of Socialisation your Japanese Spitz may grow up extremely aloof and reserved to strangers.  By not exposing them to different environments and sounds you will have a very anxious dog that barks constantly at any noise or person.  Some even to the extreme of lashing out in fear.

So, what are some ways we can work on socialisation without putting their health at risk during this crucial time.

Start at home by just getting them use to different noises and textures.                                                                 Fear recovery is an important trait to build so the they can cope with all sorts or changes and noises out in the big world.   

                                                                                                   

  1. Drop a Pan/Saucepan/Book/ Pop a Balloon / Slam a door etc to make a startling noise when they do not expect it a few times a day and carry on as if nothing has happened.  If they see you calm, they will start to learn that noises are nothing to fear.                                                            

  2. Expose them to general daily noises such as Vacuum, Doorbell, Lawn Mower, Cars out the front and people walking by.  You can also use YouTube to play noises like a Jack Hammer, Fire Works, Other dogs baking etc.

  3. Expose them to different textures.  Have them walk on tiles, floorboards, grass, over plastic that rustels, uneven surfaces (using a wobble board or agility sea saw are great)   

  4. Expose them to floating on a boggie board or blow up mat in the pool.

  5. Expose them to walking under chairs and furniture, exploring box cubby houses and walking through a cat tunnel.  Roll up a rug and have the puppy climb over it. Do not help them. Maybe place something important on the other side to encourage them to go over. It is important they build courage to do things themselves.                                                                                                                                        

Going out Safely

  1. Take your puppy in a crate in the car. You can park at busy parks and shopping centres and take them out the crate to sit with you in the car and watch out the window.  Take some treats with you to reward them when quietlty observing their surroundings.  Do not reward for them barking at movement or noises.   

  2. By leaving your puppy in a crate you can take them to the park, to friends, coffee etc so they can observe their surroundings safely. Once again treat for quietly observing their surroundings.   

  3. Carry them to a seat near a busy entrance eg woolworths, school, park, sports game etc and sit with them to watch.  Have a bag of liver treats with you that passes by can give to your puppy.  Strangers feeding them will help them associate a happy vibe from strangers and not be so fearful of them.                       

  4. Carry them into Bunnings and take them in a box in a trolley.  Ensure you keep a hand on them at all times as they will try to jump out at a young age.

  5. Take them out in a pet bike trailer or pet pram for walks.       

  6. Take them to a safe Puppy School where they can learn to socialise with other dogs in a safe environment.  I recommend doing 2 x puppy schools the first 4-6 weeks so you can go 2 nights a week to get them socialising well with other dogs immediately.  The sooner this is deemed normal to play with other dogs the less chance you will ever have of them being fearful and aggressive towards other dogs.                                                         

 

NEVER TAKE ON 2 PUPPIES AT THE SAME TIME!!  THEY WILL BOND TOGETHER, IGNORE YOUR AUTHORITY AND JUST RUN THEIR OWN SHOW.  BEST TO TRAIN ONE TO 8MTHS AND THEN TAKE ON YOUR NEXT IF YOU WISH FOR 2 FRIENDS TO GROW UP TOGETHER. PLEASE NEVER AT THE SAME TIME. YOU ARE SETTING YOURSELF UP TO FAIL!!

RESOURCE GUARDING

It will be in most puppy's nature to want to guard anything important to them by growling or snapping if you try to remove the item from them.  If this is not managed and controlled from very early on (should start with breeder at 4-5weeks and continue with you upon arrival) you may be in for unacceptable displays of behaviour.

No one wants a pet that is going to guard shoes, toys, bones etc and lash out at any child/adult who simply walks past, or a poor child who goes to take his stolen toy back.

We use a simple trick to combat this.

  1. Give your puppy something of importance like a nice juicy bone.

  2. Now take something else nice like some warm chicken with a nice smell in your hand.

  3. Sit next to your puppy and slowly remove the bone with one hand, quickly placing the chicken in his mouth.  (The aim is to have the puppy associate that when something is taken away from him, he instantly gets a nice feeling rather than a reaction to fight for their item. This imprint will stay with them for life)

  4. Now return the bone.

  5. Repeat 3-4 times 1-2 times a day for a few weeks.                                                                           

NEVER DO THE ABOVE WITH AN ADULT DOG UNLESS YOU HAVE AN EXPERIENCED TRAINER WITH YOU.  THIS IS ONLY FOR JAPANESE SPITZ PUPPIES 4-12 WEEKS OF AGE. AFTER THIS TIME FRAME YOU SHOULD ENLIST AN EXPERIENCED TRAINER.

HANDLING & BITING

Young Japanese Spitz puppies that are over stimulated and over handled have a tendency to become annoyed and sometimes little biters.

 

The Japanese Spitz are an independent breed however most new owners cannot resist the over handling of their new cute white fluff ball.

 

Like with toddlers' young puppies need structure and quiet time to process learning and reset.  It is best to set your puppy up in a pen in the house with some stimulating toys and a quiet rest area where you can bring them out to Socialise and Train for short periods.  The puppy then needs to return to their pen so they can sleep to process the information they just learnt.  Puppies need to sleep a lot at first.

 

Allowing them to run throughout the house freely at this young age will not only affect their toilet training but will "blow their little minds" so to speak. You will end up with a hypo, biting over stimulated puppy that follows no commands and pees anywhere.

 

Do not leave young children alone with a young puppy, firstly they can easily drop the puppy and will most definitely annoy or overstimulate a young puppy mind.  It is a crucial part of socialisation that puppies spend time with children but only in a controlled environment with an adult supervising.

 

It is normal young puppies will wish to bite whilst teething, this is different to play nipping. Ensure they are left in the pen with lots of things to chew on. eg pigs ear.  This will avoid them wanting to chew up your furniture.  When a puppy starts to bite, remove them from the situation and return them to their pen to chew on a pigs ear or have a sleep to settle.

TOILET TRAINING

  1. Set regular feeding times for your puppy and keep an eye on when they drink water.

  2. Every 30 minutes to 1 hour take your puppy outside. Also take them outside immediately after eating and playing.

  3. Place them in the designated toilet spot, point to the area and say, ‘go to toilet’ (or your chosen toilet command phrase).

  4. Do not play with your puppy or give them any attention whilst you are outside. At the moment you want them to learn that only one thing happens in this circumstance.

  5. Straight after they have peed or pooped praise them by saying good boy/girl in an appreciative tone.

  • Every 30 minutes to 1 hour is a rough estimate, your puppy may need to go more or less frequently. Keep an eye out for signals that they need to go. This includes circling, sniffing and wandering out of sight.

  • Remember to clean up your puppy’s poops regularly to keep your garden clean. You do not need to leave them there to encourage your puppy to eliminate in the garden.

  • If you catch your puppy in the act say ‘No’ sternly and then take them outside to their designated spot. They may or may not have finished toileting but it will reinforce that this is where they should be doing their business.

  • You may wish to put down a puppy pad secured in a puppy pad holder near the outside door during training however it is best to monitor your puppy and take them outside since that is eventually where you want them to do their business. Allowing them to go both outdoors and indoors could confuse them.

GENERAL MANNERS

The following is a list of basics you should teach your puppy. Keep an eye out for "How to Videos" coming soon in the members section. 

  1. Loose lead Walking and Heel

  2. Sit

  3. Down

  4. Stay

  5. Come

  6. Leave It

  7. Drop It

It is recommended that you visit the Puppy Culture site.  They have a wealth of information for new puppy owners to ensure you bring up a well-adjusted dog.

We recommended that you visit the Doggy Dogma Site to arrange training with an instructor.  They have a wealth of information and some great classes for owners.

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