Caring for your Japanese Spitz
This section will become a Bible for you. it will take you though all sorts of things from planning for your puppies arrival, feeding, vaccinations, worming, grooming your Japanese Spitz, socialising and house training.
Ensure that you have prepared for your puppies arrival before bringing him/her home. Your puppy will be away from their mother and litter mates for the first time and they will be looking to you for comfort. Having a well prepared area for them will provide security and comfort. Ensure that their sleeping and playing area is clean, has a food bowl, fresh water, bedding and toilet area set up. Make sure that this area is sheltered from wind, rain and sun. The first week is vital as the puppy will be adjusting to it’s new environment and bonding with it’s new family. Nights are usually the hardest and I have found that a hot water bottle and a clock that ticks are great for the puppy when going to sleep as the warmth will remind it of it’s mother and litter mates and the ticking of the clock will sound like the heart beat of their mother.
Make sure that your yard is fully fenced and puppy proofed. The last thing you want is for the new love in your life to go missing, be hurt by something falling on them, poisoned by gardening chemicals left around or having poisonous plants in their new yard.
The diet of your puppy is very important to ensure that they are getting all the vitamins, minerals and supplements that they need to grow up healthy. Your puppy will require 3 meals a day until they are at least 4 months of age. Then move to 2 meals a day until 8mths of age and then 1 meal a day from then on.
Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner: Puppy dry biscuits with fresh beef or chicken mince (RAW/BARF or Complete Meal). Mixing it encourages them to eat the dry food. Once they have settled in, you can start to feed the mince in one dish and the dry biscuits in a separate dish.
Here are the links to the two Beef/Chicken Mince suppliers:
They should remain on puppy dry food until 12mths then you can move them to an adult dry food. I would recommend these dry food brands available from Petstock, Petbarn or your local produce store: Proplan – Purina, Advance or Royal Canin. These dry foods are premium dry foods that your dog can live on completely as they are rich in all the nutriments, vitamins etc that your dog will require in their diet.
Snacks: To promote healthy teeth raw bones can be given to your puppy. Chicken wings, Chicken necks, soup bones or brisket bones are great. ALWAYS RAW. You may also like to give them dental bones, raw hide chews, pigs ears etc. These are great for the puppy to gnaw away at – better than your hands, feet, shoes etc.
I still give my dogs two meals a day. A chicken wing, or a chicken neck or a soup bone for breakfast. Then at night I give them their main meal of RAW/BARF and dry biscuits. Every second night I give them just dry biscuits.
Your puppy will be 8 weeks or more of age when you bring it home. They should have already received their first vaccination at 6 weeks of age. They will be due for the next vaccination soon. Check your new puppy’s vaccination card which the breeder should give you. Choose a vet that is close to you and one that you will continue to go to throughout the life of your dog. That way they know the history of your dog. The vet will give your puppy a full check over and advise you when the next vaccination is due.
Pups should be wormed first at 2 weeks of age and then repeated at 4, 5 and 6 weeks of age. They should then be wormed every 2 weeks until 12 weeks of age and then every 3 months after that.
Flea & Tick Prevention
Take it from me you will need to do this as their coat is so profuse and stand off that finding ticks is nearly impossible – well missing them is easy until they get full of blood and they are big and then you are in trouble.
There are many Tick and Flea products on the market. I suggest you speak to your Vet on which would be best for your puppy.
I use Advantix which is a spot on that is applied to the back of their neck and after every bath I use Fideo’s Flea and Tick Rinse Concentrate for Puppies and Kittens. You just add it to water and pour all over the dog (keeping it out of their eyes of course) and then you just need to towel dry and then blow dry your dogs coat.
The Japanese Spitz only requires grooming about once a week when they are adults (except when they are shedding coat – then you will have to brush them daily for the week they are dropping coat) but as a puppy it is advisable to do it daily to help them get used to it. Only for 5-10 mins to adjust them to the feel of the brush.
What you will need to successfully groom your Japanese Spitz.
A Pin brush that has long metal teeth with a cushion under the teeth
Spray water bottle
How to Groom your Japanese Spitz Puppy
Always spray the coat with a bit of water that has some conditioner in it, do this before brushing as a dry coat will split and break the hairs. If they are a bit dirty then hot towel them down before brushing – ie dip a face washer into hot water as hot as you can stand it and wring it out and then rub it through their coat and all over their body. You can add a few drops of Eucalyptus oil to the water.
Start from the tail and brush the coat up towards the head using your pin brush. Use the slicker brush to brush the hair right down to the under coat. Hold your hand on the coat and brush small rows towards the head, moving your hand on the coat a little to release a bit more hair to then brush with the slicker brush. moving slowly towards the head and then starting another row from the tail, moving up towards the head.
Turn them over onto their back and do their belly too. Clip hair between the paw pads. Clip the toe nails – be careful not to take too much off as it will hurt them and they will bleed profusely for about 15mins. If you do by accident trim a toe nail too short – to stop the bleeding pack the nail with pepper, or talcum powder or you can buy a product called Stop Bleed.
Washing your Japanese Spitz should only really need to be done about every month or so. If they do get dirty and you want to wash them remember to always give them a good brush before you wash them otherwise you will get matted hair all over the body especially if they are about to drop coat. I use a purple dog shampoo as this brings their coat up to a brilliant white. Because they have such a big coat it is essential that you completely dry them. So blow drying is essential – you will find that the outer coat will dry quickly but the under coat will take longer to dry. It takes me approximately 1 ½ hours per adult dog to wash them, dry them and brush them right through. If you don’t have the time you can always take them to a groomer and have them professionally done for a small fee. I recommend this to all my puppy people especially when their adult Japanese Spitz is shedding coat. It is just easier to get a professional to do the grooming for you when they are shedding coat.
They will never require clipping. The only part on the Japanese Spitz that requires clipping is the hair between their paw pads. This will need to be trimmed up about every 2 weeks. It is advisable to also cut their toe nails yourself as this will also need to be done every 2 weeks. Starting young makes life a lot easier for you and your puppy. Even if you just hold the nail clippers/scissors near their paws and just rub it on them to get them used to the feel of them to start with and then just do perhaps one paw a day to start with and work up to all four in the one grooming session. That way you won’t have fights with your puppy for not staying still as puppies have a very low attention span. When clipping the toe nails be very careful not to clip off to much of the nail as they have a blood vein in each nail and with their black nails you can not see this vein. I suggest that if you clip their nails every 2 weeks you will only have to take off a few millimetres each time. Giving your puppy a pigs ear to chew on while grooming them is a great way to keep them distracted. Grooming is supposed to be fun, so remember to allow yourself time and you will need lots and lots of patients. Once you have done the grooming on your puppy regularly and they then grow into an adult with an adult coat they are used to their grooming sessions and it is a nice and easy task to complete for both them and you.
The Japanese Spitz is a lively little dog that does not require a large back yard and does not need to be walked every day. They tend to burn their energy up themselves by being busy little bees. That’s not to say that you can’t walk them every day. They love to go on outings. As a puppy though you should not start walking them until they are at least 3 months or older and start off with a 5 min walks and work your way up to a full 20 min walk.
I would recommend that you introduce the lead to them at about 8-10 weeks of age. Either a very light weight lead and collar. Try just putting it on them in the back yard and letting them just walk around on a loose lead with you. Don’t expect them to heal or act as if nothing has happened. They will probably fight against any pressure and it is wise not to place any pressure on the lead at this time. Introduce the lead to your puppy slowly and gradually over time in a controlled and non-distractive environment. Once he/she has master the lead in the back yard and is happy to walk along with you then it is time to step outside the yard and try them on a short walk to start with. Slowly increase your walks. No more than 20 mins as this is plenty for this breed.
Book on The Japanese Spitz
This link is for the book written by Michael Rule – Japanese Spitz (Comprehensive Owner’s Guide). It is a great book to have.
Your New puppy
What kinds of behaviour to expect from your new puppy, and how to encourage good behaviour instead of allowing bad behaviour. A dog is a commitment for the life of the dog.
Your First Goal – Socialisation!
When you get a new puppy there are some absolute rules you must follow to insure that your puppy grows up well adjusted. Puppies that are socialised young and correctly are less likely to become liabilities later in life.
Properly socialised dogs are not fearful of a particular age group, skin colour, or body type. If they are not fearful, they are less likely to run away from these people, bark at them or bite them to try to make them move away. Poorly socialised dogs lack confidence. These are the dogs that might bite if cornered. They may pull out of a collar and run away in fear of a stranger. They may bark at the sight of every strange thing that they never became accustomed to during their socialisation period i.e. people in wheelchairs, people wearing funny hats, people who walk with a limp.
How Do I Socialise My Puppy?
As soon as you get your puppy, start introducing him safely to all different sights and sounds. In a controlled situation, he/she should meet other animals, children of all ages, vacuum cleaners, stairs, crates, automobiles, pet stores, veterinarian’s offices, and everything else you can think of. He/she should get to meet as many dogs as possible, as it is important they learn things from other dogs, like communication signals and social behaviour.
The key is to try to form neutral or positive associations with as many different sights, sounds, smells, and types of footing, around all kinds of people, places and things as you possibly can. Some people don’t want to take their puppies out at an age when they don’t have full protection from their vaccinations. I believe that the socialisation is very important and provided that this occurs in clean public areas, around other dogs that you know have been vaccinated and are up to date with their shots all should be OK.
When I say neutral or positive, this is very important. You must control all interactions with the puppy. Don’t let some young child grope at your puppy and pull his fur. Don’t let some adolescent child “rough house” with the puppy. Don’t let anyone tease the puppy or try to frighten him. Everyone the puppy meets must be kind and gentle to the puppy. Never leave a puppy unsupervised with children of any age. Teach children, who will be associating with the puppy how to properly touch, pick up, hold, stroke, and talk to the puppy. It is important for the puppy to learn that humans can be trusted.
If you are going to have your puppy inside then you must teach him/her how to be clean in the house. This is extremely easy if done properly. Once your puppy is housebroken, it will be a lot less stressful for both of you to share your home.
Puppies are naturally clean. While still with the litter, the puppies learn to “hold it”, until they are able to get out away from the nest or den area. They will automatically try to relieve themselves in an area away from their sleeping, playing and eating quarters. This makes a lot of sense when you think about it. With just a minimal amount of effort, your new puppy will transfer what he has already learned at the breeder’s home, and learn to go in the desired area at his new home.
Puppies have very tiny bladders. They can’t hold it for very long. Puppies must be taken outside many times each day, and given an opportunity to relieve themselves. Puppies also spend a great deal of time sleeping and playing. Each time a puppy wakes up, he/she will feel the need to empty themselves immediately. Each time the puppy has had an opportunity to play, he/she will want to go also. And, after eating, the bowels feel the urge to move, and they need to go again. What ever goes in, must come out. If it goes in on a regular schedule, it will come out on a regular schedule as well. Puppies naturally choose an absorbent surface to urinate upon, because then they will not want to walk in it.
It is very easy to take him/her outside when they need to relieve themselves But what about when you are not there to do this for them. You can’t always be there as much as you might like during the day. But this doesn’t mean that your puppy will learn poor housetraining habits. If you give your puppy free range of the house, you are asking for trouble. You must confine your puppy to a small area, so his/her choices are limited. If he/she must urinate or defecate where he/she eats and sleeps, he/she will choose to hold it as long as he/she can rather than to soil his/her living space. If you are not right there to take them outside at intervals during the day, you must provide an absorbent medium, like the puppy litter made from recycled newspapers, or the housebreaking training pads you can buy commercially. If you don’t have these handy, regular newspapers will work, but often, the puppies prefer to “redecorate” their living space with the newspapers after soiling them.
Other than keeping their den area clean, what’s in it for your puppy to relieve himself outside? You have to attach some kind of positive reinforcement for the puppy using the outdoors to relieve it’s self, instead of using your carpet. The puppy has a full adult brain at age 7 weeks. They can begin learning immediately. If you create a positive association with proper relieving, he/she will STRIVE to relieve themselves in the manner you desire to earn that reward.
I highly recommend clicker training as an excellent means to teach the puppy proper elimination habits. The clicker is a device that makes a snapping, that sounds unlike anything else in the puppy’s environment. Paired with food, the puppy learns that this sound predicts the arrival of a treat of some sort. Once the puppy makes this association, he/she will make a conscious effort to repeat whatever behaviour he/she is performing when they hears the click.
When your puppy awakens, pick him/her up and carry them outside. Don’t expect them to walk that far after waking up without peeing on the way to the door. If you make this mistake more than once, go get a rolled up newspaper and smack YOURSELF soundly, as you say “BAD OWNER, BAAAAAAAD OWNER!” Remember, the puppy is NEVER to be held accountable for “accidents.” Everything that comes out where it is not supposed to is YOUR fault, so don’t even THINK about punishing that sweet, innocent, helpless puppy for something you did wrong.
Take some treats and the clicker outside to where you’d like the puppy to relieve themself. Wait until the puppy squats. Get ready. You can gently give a “keep going” cue while he is going, like, “Good Puppy”. When the puppy is finished going, click the clicker to mark the good behaviour of relieving themselves outside, and give the puppy a treat. You don’t want to click at the beginning of the squat, as the puppy will stop relieving him/herself and run over for the treat. Do this every time you take the puppy outside. Give the puppy a chance to urinate and defecate each time they go out. Reward each time he/she does.
If you keep paying off the behaviour you want, the puppy will have ONE thought in their head when they get the urge to go: “Hold on! If I do it outside, it’s worth cash and prizes!” Don’t be surprised if you find your puppy in the middle of play, suddenly running to the door. They don’t know how to GET outside, but they know they have to GO outside to cash in their “chips,” so to speak. Of course, you’re going to be right on top of things, and jump up with the clicker and food so you can properly reward them for asking to go outside (after he/she goes). It’s important for you not to ignore this first attempt at getting outside on their own.
Remember, they won’t have a clue as to how to get the door open, or how to get you to open it, they just know that the door is the way to the outside, and that’s where they need to go. If you don’t catch it, you may have to clean up a puddle, you’ll have regressed on your housetraining, and you may have to smack yourself in the head with that newspaper a few more times to teach yourself a lesson! Pay attention! Your puppy doesn’t know how to communicate his/her wishes yet. But if you are quick to reward their efforts of going to the door then he/she will also associate this with the relieving of themselves outside and the treat that follows.
My dogs were raised this way, and they communicated to me when they want to go outside. I don’t have to reward them any more, and they never have an accident. They chose siting at the door and barking once to indicate to me that they need to go out. If that fails to get my attention they will come to me wherever I am in the house and jump up on me and then walk away watching me over their shoulder. At 10 weeks of age, they went to the door, looked at me, and barked once. I jumped right up and opened the door. They thought that was very clever (so did I), and they have been letting me know in this manner ever since.
While you’re going through the jobs of socialising and housebreaking your puppy, you need to be working on teaching him/her “socially acceptable” behaviors. Your puppy has no idea which behaviors are considered acceptable (by YOU) and which are not.
Face it, most NORMAL dog behaviors have some degree of unacceptability amongst humans. After all, they greet strangers by sniffing butts. Upon greeting a family member, they are compelled to lick their face or jump up on them. The whole world is just “chew toys” to them, and they have no way of knowing which things were put on earth for little dogs, and which things are irreplaceable family heirlooms.
An untrained dog is an opportunist. He/she will do things that reward him and avoid things that don’t. Puppies can’t reason and don’t know that a behavior is good or bad. All the puppy can figure out is that certain behaviors are followed by pleasurable consequences and certain behaviors are followed by unpleasant consequences. It is YOUR job to make sure that none of the “bad” behaviors (ones unacceptable to YOU) get rewarded. For instance, if garbage raiding is successful in gaining the dog a yummy treat that was rubbish to you, he/she’s going to try to repeat that behavior as often as possible. If sitting politely on the floor gets ignored by you, but jumping up gets you all excited and allows the dog to be close enough to lick your face, their going to choose jumping up over sitting politely every time, because that’s what you’ve selectively rewarded. Maybe not intentionally, but that doesn’t matter he/she learned it just the same.
You just have to stop rewarding the unwanted behavior and reward a more pleasing behaviour in its place. Reward sitting with petting. Ignore jumping up. Reward staying away from the dinner table with a treat after dinner away from the table and in his/her food bowl. Ignore begging. Go pick up one of HIS toys, and act like it is the most special toy in the world. Toss it in the air and talk to it. Catch it and chase it. When he drops grandma’s false teeth, engage him in a fun game with his own toy.
The tragedy is that people think that puppies can raise themselves to be model citizens (by human standards). Fat chance. People don’t want to put in the time to prevent unacceptable behaviors and foster good behaviors.
So, now that you know all of this, and you want to keep your adorable puppy, in your family his whole life long. Here are some simple steps you can take. You can teach your dog these things starting at 7 weeks of age. You don’t have to wait to get into an obedience training class to do them. It’s a simple list of do’s and don’ts. If you catch yourself doing any of the things in the “DON’T” column, get that rolled up newspaper and swat yourself with it until you come to your senses.
Reward the Good + Ignore the Bad = Success (a simple formula to produce a good puppy)
· reward sitting quietly (sit for attention)
· encourage play with the dogs toys only
· reward the dog for being quiet (“good quiet”)
· feed the dog when he sits politely
· reward the dog each time he comes to you
· exercise him to prevent boredom
· let him earn his treats as rewards
· reward him for waiting at doorways
· reward eye contact every time you get it
· reward loose-leash walking with forward motion
· DON’T stroke the dog if he/she jumps up (turn away)
· DON’T chase the dog to get back your belongings
· DON’T yell at the dog for barking (attention = reward)
· DON’T put the bowl down while he/she’s jumping around
· DON’T scold them if they run off, then comes back (never scold when he/she comes to you)
· DON’T punish for habits developed due to boredom
· DON’T give him/her anything he/she wants because their cute
· DON’T let them barge through the door first
· DON’T move at all if he/she pulls the leash tight
A reward can be a treat, a game, a toy, attention, petting, eye contact, or access to something the puppy wants (like to go through a door, or to continue a walk). Even yelling can be a reward to a dog that never gets any kind of attention. Be careful what you reward with.
A punishment is withholding a reward not physical contact. You never have to get nastier than that. The most powerful punishment is to ignore the dog. This means no reaction at all, not even eye contact as this could be perceived by the dog as successfully getting your attention.
Off To School – Obedience Classes Are For Every Dog
In the old days, people only signed up for an obedience training course if they planned to pursue competition obedience. Nowadays, everyone signs up for training classes, and they are called “pet dog training” classes, or “manners” classes, because they teach more than just the things you need to learn to compete in obedience trials. They teach the basics of control, and mix in some learning theory, and help with problem behaviours. Training classes, no matter what they’re called, are a MUST for every puppy, just as going to school is a must for human children.
In your obedience class, you will go beyond what you’ve taught your dog at home, and working in a class will show your dog that he must obey you even when surrounded by distractions. If you are asked to harshly correct or punish your dog with leash jerks or other punitive measures, you do not have to do so. Maybe you should look for a different class that uses positive methods, which will make learning more fun for you and your dog.
Many people quit attending classes after having gained a bit of control over their dog and teaching them a few basic cues. Perhaps an advanced course is not for everyone, but you might check to see if your club or training school offers other classes for your dog. Many places have trick training classes, agility, flyball, scent-work, or other fun things you can do with your dog. You don’t have to have a desire to compete to enjoy these recreational activities. They’re a lot of fun.