This morning we took our 4 pups out with Boomer and Lil Bit in search of their first dig.
3 of the pups ( Brawler, Goosey and Melee -all littermates from Boomer X Lil Bit cross) are 11 weeks old. The smallest lil black female is “Cricket” and she is 9 weeks old ( Grim X Eve cross) and on her first outing.
Throughout this part of training we keep it fun, allowing the pups to explore and follow their parents on discoveries as they take in new sights, sounds and especially scents. Their genetic desire to enter and dig began to show today as all pups entered setts checking them, some even digging and barking and pulling roots. They really enjoyed the dirt!
The important things to consider at this point is to keep it short- keep it fun and keep it safe for the pups!
When the pups have done well and you know they have learned something from their outdoor experience, it’s always important to put them up quiet somewhere for a few hours away from distractions, let them rest and THINK about ONLY what they just learned and encountered.
Anytime a terrier enters a sett it’s important that you clean their eyes as soon as finished. This can be done in the field with a bottle of sterile saline solution ( eye wash). We were just two miles from home so we wait until we return and give all dogs including the pups a through bath while rinsing their eyes out. This is usually the situation where we hunt.
In case of an eye injury, it important to provide Non-Steroidal antibiotic eye drops as soon as possible. We keep them in the back pack at all times. You may need to speak with your vet about a bottle. Just insure its Non-Steroidal , as our vet has told us a Steroidal eye drop will “blow their eye up”, which is country speak for “do not use it”.
Pups have another vaccination coming up next week, it’s important to keep these up to date when taking your pups out and working them around other dogs and wildlife. Our dogs will not receive a Rabies vaccination until they are 6 months of age, so it’s important to consider this and keep them from getting bit by anything that they may contract rabies from.
At this age our biggest concern is PARVO, It is really a killer and a heart breaker with pups. We will keep vaccinating them with Neo-Par until 18 weeks of age so we are assured immunity. ALL our terriers receive their yearly vaccines next week as well which comes in the form of a 10 way vaccine and then a vaccine developed for Rattlesnake bites.
I didn’t intend to get off track with a training video concerning vaccinations but it so IMPORTANT that they be fully vaccinated when taking them out that I am glad we stressed it.
If this is your first pup or even grown terrier, please visit and read this webpage on vaccinations and have a COMPLETE understanding of “Window of Susceptibility” when dealing with Parvo. It CAN kill your pups EVEN if if vaccinated past 12 weeks! We cannot stress the importance of a 18 week Parvo vaccination enough.
After that, it’s really just keeping the dogs learning from taking them to creeks and woods in your area, keeping them safe and making it fun. Genetic, if the terrier is well bred, will take over and do MOST of the training for you. At this point YOUR job is to keep the pup safe and demonstrate to him all the things NOT TO DO, which includes ANY dog on dog aggression, engaging skunks, porcupines and other undesirable game.
If you have continued to take the steps and work with your pup so that he understands “NO“, means unacceptable behaviour, then this stage will be MUCH easier.
I think our next video will be on “lead Breaking” and teaching your terrier RECALL– which is the most important command they MUST understand at home and in the field. It can save their lives and it makes for a much more enjoyable terrier AND it’s not hard to do if you are willing to put in a little effort.
If you are not willing to put in the effort you will never enjoy a great terrier and should likely not own one in the first place.
Happy hunting and remember to register your terrier with the Patterdale Terrier Club of America to help us ALL further this awesome breed of terrier!