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Raising your Chessie

Disclaimer: These are tips that work best for us. Please consult your veternarian or training facility for what may be best for your chessie.

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FIRST WEEK LEASH POTTY TRAIN FEEDING TREATS
FOOD SLEEPING TRAINING SIT STAY
HEAL HEAL SIT REWARDS RETRIEVE HUNTING
RETRIEVE 2 GUNS HOLD DISCIPLINE OLDER DOGS

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THE FIRST WEEK

POTTY TRAINING
- Puppies pee a lot. Their bladders are small so make sure to keep an eye on them after they eat, drink, wake up, or finish playing. If it's normal indoor activity then plan on taking them out every 15 minutes or so.
- When you take them outside to potty carry them to the far end of your yard and walk back with them slowly. This gets them walking and prevents them from being distracted right outside the door and never pottying.

LEASH
We start our new chessies on a leash at 8 weeks old. Its a new experience for them so be patient. If they resist, keep slow steady pressure on the leash without tugging and they will get going again.

If they start trying to pull and whip their head around. Keep tension on the leash and just wait it out. When they finish start to pull slightly on the leash to get them going again.

Sometimes they will only want to go back to your house or some area they feel most comfortable. When this happens I like to take them in the opposite direction. This helps show who's the boss.

FEEDING
We feed puppies < 8 weeks old three times a day: 7:30am, 1pm and 7pm. This may be difficult for many households so switching to twice a day is an option. If you can wait a few days after bringing them home before starting this transition please do so. The least amount of changes for the puppy the better during the first few days.

Our Chessies > 8 weeks old eat twice a day around 8am and 6pm. This time ranges at times and doesn't seem to bother the dogs

Our Chessies tend to skip a meal every now and then. We don't worry as long as they are eating again the next day.

Don't let your Chessie get aggressive with his/her food. Pull the food away from them and give it back, reach your hand down along their neck to challenge them early on. It's not too common but something you want to discourage early on.

FOOD
We feed Purina Pro Plan Puppy Food to our puppies until they are 1 year old. If for some reason you cannot feed Purina Pro Plan, we ask that you gradually phase in your dog food by adding a little bit to start and increasing the proportion over time. There are a lot of benefits (brain & vision nourishment, antioxidants, vitamins that support good bones, teeth, skin and coat) to consider when selecting a dog food, so please factor this in when selecting something different.

If you have an adult dog, you will need to feed them different food for at least a year, so consider switching them to the same food at the 1 year mark .

SLEEPING
We recommend a wire crate for your puppy. It's much more open then other crate types. Go ahead and get a Large or Extra Large crate if you can fit it. Chessies grow quick and you'll get more use out of a larger crate in the long run. Our Chessies generally sleep in their wire crates until they are a year old. Make it comfortable and put a few toys in there and they'll grow to love it.

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TREATS

We like Hooves, Antlers, and Horns for our Chessies. They are natural and our chessies tend to enjoy them. The hooves at Tractor Supply are 99 cents and are a great start for your puppy.

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TRAINING

SIT
Stand in front of the puppy, using a leash to lift up and pull back to place them in the sit position. Say sit as soon as they sit down. Repeat

STAY
After they are sitting. Stand directly in front of them and Say "stay". Take a step back. Give them praise and have them come to you. Continue taking an additional step back as you gain confidence they will stay at the current distance. If you see them starting to come to you, go ahead and call them. This way they'll still be doing it right. Revert to your last distance if they slip up.

I use the "Here" command when calling them to me. It's a command used in the hunting world. "Come" would also work. Just be consistant

Use feeding time as an opportunity to reinforce the "Stay" command. Have them sit and stay and then set the food on the floor. Do not let them go to the food until you give the release command. In the hunting world the release command is usually their name. You could also use "here"

REWARDS
I've always had great success using their dog food as treats. Use this when they obey a command. When they mess up, I use a stern "No". They'll learn quickly the difference between a reward and "No" with no reward.

HEAL
This is just about keeping them beside you when you are on leash. The key is to only say "Heal" when they are beside you, so they'll learn that heal is when they are doing it correctly, not when you are pulling on the lead.

SITTING HEAL
Since I am right handed, I have the puppy sit on my left side. I like to have them come around behind me and then sit. This tends to flow better when they are young as it's hard to maneuver them to the right spot early on. After you have them successfully staying. Stand about five feet away and say "Heal". Lead them to your right side with the leash and then switch the leash between your hands behind your back. Have them sit when they get to the right location. As they get older they'll learn where to go when the "Heal" command is given and generally take the quickest way there.

RETRIEVE
Use a long hallway. Close any open doors to make sure there is only one way back. Throw their favorite toy and watch them enjoy the fun.

SIT MEANS SIT
One of the most important keys to training any dog is to mean what you say. If you say "Sit" and they don't sit, do not give up. You must have them sit or they won't appreciate what that command is asking them to do. This applies to all commands.

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HUNT TRAINING

I have listed the essentials only. There is a lot more that can be done, but that will depend on the level you plan to take it to with your Chessie.

Outside Retrieving
If needed, a long check cord can be used to guide the puppy back to you
Don't allow the puppy to drop the dummy at your feet. You'll regret it later. Grab the dummy as quick as you can from their mouth. I use "hold it", hold it until he puts it in my hand. If they drop it, tell them to get it again "Fetch". See Fetch/Hold

Gun Introduction
Our puppies will have heard gun shots several times during their time with us. Don't wait until you they are "ready" to hunt. Start at least 100 yards away. One person with the gun the other person doing something with the puppy that he/she loves to do. (Retrieving his favorite dummy) Eventually coordinate the retrieve with the gun shot.

Fetch / Hold
I use a modified Force Fetch with an emphasis on the "Hold" command. Freddy King has several Youtube videos that do a good job explaining the force fetch process. I didn't have much luck with the ear pinch and didn't really need it. Just pry their mouth open and set it in. Try to avoid using their favorite retrieving toy as you don't want them to associate it with this process. In the end, the key is to make sure they hold any item while standing, sitting, and walking until you say "Let Go". Be patient and they will get it.

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DISCIPLINE

What I believe are the two keys to discipline are using a leash early on and ensuring they come to you when you call. Refer to the LEASH section for more information regarding using a LEASH.

Teaching them to come to you when you call is best done early on. In the beginning they'll usually come to you because they just want to be with you, but after they start to find their independence then they can get preoccupied and not want to listen. The main rule I have is.. If they won't come to you then you must go get them. It may require you to chase them. If that happens, when I catch them I push them over and hold them down for a second and say "No" in a strong voice. As you can imagine, it is much easier to catch them when they're young.

For other discipline situations you can use the "No" command. If the situation is greater than a "No" command may deam or you find them not responding to the "No" command you use the pinch and twist. I use a quick pinch and twist, usually on their front shoulder or side. This mimics a nip the puppy or dog might get from their pack leader in the wild. * Again, this is something that works for me. Please consult your training center for specifics that may work better for you.

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INTRODUCTIONS TO OLDER DOGS

If possible, introduce them somewhere other than your home. This will neutralize any territorial instincts your older dog may have.

Our puppies are around our adult dogs quite a bit so they have started to learn their boundaries and should understand a growl from an older dog means "not now"

Feed the puppy and your dog in the same room but give some space between them. Gradually move them closer together. 2 or 3 feet is a final good distance to have. They'll learn to eat their own food and respect each others as they start to eat closer and closer together. Keeping them completely seperate will only become a chore for you so try to avoid it early on.