Caring for an IW puppy - THE IRISH WOLFHOUND CLUB

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Your breeder will give you advice about a suitable exercise routine, lead training, feeding etc. for your puppy, but the following advice may also be of help and interest.

There is no better time to train your new puppy than the first few months in his new home. He will never again be as biddable as now. Use this time to good effect.
Teaching the 'sit' command.
Here are five six week old Wolfhounds. Five in a bed made for one, but not for long. Don't be misled by their innocent appearance, they are up to mischief and about to demolish that lovely new bed!

From the first day your new puppy comes to you be gentle but firm, praise him when he does well, but be gently firm when he does not and most of all show him lots of affection. Spending time now will pay dividends in the future and help him to grow into a happy, well balanced, well mannered member of your family, of whom you will be proud when people visit.

Formal training sessions are not necessary in the first two or three weeks, but you should gently show him as he goes along what is acceptable behaviour and what is not. 
If you prevent bad habits forming as he settles into his new life, then he will naturally begin to train himself to please you.

After a couple of weeks, you can start to give him a few minutes each day of dedicated training. Lead walking, coming when called, etc. which is very important in a hunting hound.

Wolfhounds are very sensitive and do not respond to shouting and rough handling. Be patient, use simple words like 'sit', 'stay', 'come', 'no', 'good boy/girl'. 
How not to lead walk with your Wolfhound puppy. This seven month Wolfhound is giving her owner a hard time on the lead. Early training should prevent this sort of behaviour from becoming a habit.
Use plenty of praise when he is good (or at least when not being naughty!) Being repetitive and patient will work wonders, but be consistent - allowing him to climb on the couch one day and not the next will just confuse him.

Most training is simply common sense, but it is a good idea to imagine how your actions might be viewed and interpreted by your puppy. He is a canine - and his view of the world is naturally different to ours. For him to understand right from wrong, an action has to have an immediate consequence - either good or bad.

As a rule of thumb, always try to reward good behaviour and distract him from bad, or inappropriate behaviour. Never try to train him when you are in a bad mood, or in a hurry. You should always try to be calm, encouraging and patient, whenever you do any training sessions.
When his adult teeth are coming through he may want to mouth your hands and arms, trying to sooth his sore gums. He does not realise how his strong jaws and sharp teeth will hurt you. Although he is not being aggressive, he should not be allowed to do it. Give him a suitable hard nylon bone or similar. Soft toys or hollow playthings will soon be demolished and they could be dangerous if he swallows pieces of them.

Very soon he will be tall enough when sitting to while away his time chewing on the edge of your beautiful mahogany dining table. 
Firmly but gently lay down the rules from the beginning. It goes without saying that if he starts on the furniture you will immediately stop him with a firm 'NO' and give him something of his own to chew on.

If he has chewed your new kitchen cabinets whilst you have been out, then he has simply been amusing himself in your absence. He will not know that he has done wrong - he is an innocent baby. Having most likely fallen asleep after all the effort of his enjoyable, chewing time, he will greet you happily with a wagging tail. A reprimand at this time will make him think you are angry at him welcoming you. Again - unless you catch him in the act, you should ignore the damage and try to ensure that next time you leave him, he is not somewhere he can cause havoc.

When you have to go out and leave your puppy alone, he will need to be somewhere safe and away from temptations. Do not leave him where he can steal food, raid the bin, or chew your antique furniture. He needs to have a strong, safe toy to play with in your absence. A 'Kong' stuffed with treats should keep him amused and he will most likely sleep for much of the time he is alone.

A hound who has been left to his own devices and NOT taught how to behave, has brought himself up. He will be wayward and a nuisance, not only to you, but also to your friends and neighbours. A naughty Chihuahua is one thing - a naughty Wolfhound quite another!
Do not allow him to push through doorways before you. Make him sit and stay when you answer the door. Do not allow him to jump up. It is not funny if he knocks your elderly grandmother over, or your young nephews, nieces or children. This could happen if you allow him to become too pushy, barging through doorways, playing rough games, mouthing and being generally uncontrolled.
If you allow him to get away with unacceptable behaviour, you could even start to dislike him and begin to regret what you have taken on. If your hound is unruly, it is YOUR fault. He cannot train himself, he learns from you, so you must be patient and above all, consistent.

Do not allow youngsters to play 'tug of war' games, or roll about on the floor with a puppy. While he is still a puppy it is great fun, but when he has grown up and still wants to play these games, your child could easily (but unintentionally) be hurt by an adult Wolfhound. Such games may teach dominance which is not pleasant in any dog, but particularly so in such a large hound. He needs to learn how to be gentle and not be taught how to become a ruffian.
Wolfhounds are not really very good playmates for young children, because they need so much rest to allow them to grow slowly with strong straight legs. Too much running around chasing after youngsters, teaches rough play. A child could accidentally be knocked over by a boisterous growing puppy. Even though the puppy is simply playing and it isn't really his fault, he will probably be scolded, which is very confusing for him. Also, lots of chasing about can cause injury through trauma to the huge bones and joints of a growing puppy. 

Do not allow your puppy to climb stairs, it is not good for his growing legs, as it puts too much pressure on his joints, both climbing up and coming down. Sometimes a puppy will even refuse to come back down the stairs, frightened of the height, and it is very difficult to get a 4 - 6 month puppy downstairs, when he weighs in at 60 - 100 lbs! As a temporary measure, it's a good idea to put a stair gate up. If he has not been allowed to climb stairs as a puppy, then he probably won't ever try as an adult.
From around 10 weeks to 6 months, most puppies will grow at a steady rate of between ½ to 1 inch in height, and gain 3 to 5 lbs in weight, per week. Great care must be taken when playing and exercising during this rapid growth phase.

In the first few weeks only take him for a 50 yards walk on the lead just to train him not to pull and gradually build up to perhaps a 150 yard walk twice daily by the time he is six months, he will soon learn to walk to heel without pulling.
From about nine months you can start to slowly build up the exercise until by 15 months he is having a 20 minute walk and some free off lead exercise twice daily. After 15 months, exercise can be gradually increased to the needs of an adult Wolfhound - i.e. off lead exercise for at least one hour daily. A 15 minute lead walk to where it is safe for being off lead and 15 minutes back, with keep him fit and healthy and no doubt you will benefit too!

For a new puppy, a soft collar is ideal - then at around six months you can change to a leather collar and lead. Half-check collars are a sensible option, as their size varies with the amount of tension, so they will not slip over the puppy's head if he struggles or is startled. If you really do have problems training your puppy, consider a 'Halti' or 'Gentle Leader' head collar. Once he is trained, you will probably no longer need to use it. NEVER use a check (choke) chain on a puppy, or when training any dog. Training is best done with persuasion and reward, rather than harsh actions and scolding.

Osteochondrosis Dissecans (OCD) is a problem often encountered in large and giant breeds. Research suggests that although there may be an hereditary component, over-exercise and trauma - such as twisting a foot in a hole, falling over, or banging against hard objects, can also contribute to the condition. It is also thought that incorrect feeding may have some influence. Attempting to force wolfhound puppies to grow tall by over-supplementing their diet, or simply over-feeding them, will almost certainly lead to joint problems. Allow your puppy to grow slowly and naturally, feed decent food, and allow him plenty of rest.

When your puppy arrives home, if he does not eat too well for the first few days, don't panic. Try to avoid tempting him with 'special' food as this could just make him a picky eater. If he continues to be difficult and you have not changed his food for something he is not used to, then the best thing is to put him onto a "starvation diet" this may sound harsh but it always works.

This is how: For his breakfast, give him just a very small amount - about quarter of his normal food sent by the breeder (after all, he is used to it and ate it perfectly well before). Give him nothing more, until his next feed is due. Then give him the same amount again and so on for his normal meals that day. Do NOT give any titbits between meals, but ensure he has plenty of fresh water. The next morning you may give him a tiny bit extra - say a third of his normal amount, and the same for the rest of that day, On the third morning, give him half of his normal rations and so on for the rest of that day. By the fourth day he will be ravenous, so give three-quarters and by the 5th day he should eat his proper amount and will never look back. This method does work, as long as you stick to it. Remember you are being cruel to be kind, it is better for your dog to eat regular nutritious food. If he becomes faddy, he may not reach his true potential, so nip it in the bud at the start.
It is very rare for puppies or adult dogs to starve themselves. If he is the exception and continues to eat poorly then you should seek veterinary advice.

You must ensure that he always has access to fresh clean water at all times.

Most breeders have their tried and tested methods of feeding. If you have bought your puppy from a reputable source, then you should trust the breeder's recommendations. Follow the diet sheet they have supplied, for at least the first few weeks, until your new puppy has settled in. If after that time you wish to change how you feed your puppy, then speak to your breeder for advice. You should make the changeover very gradually, adding a little of the new food at each meal, gradually replacing the old one. After about a week, the changeover will be completed. During this time, you will be able to tell whether the new food agrees with your puppy's digestion. Don't buy large amounts of new food until you are sure.
Wolfhounds are easy to house train, they are naturally clean dogs. The easiest way is to take your puppy outside every 30 minutes or so, after every meal, and whenever he gets excited. Praise him for how good he is for performing when and where you want him to. If you have to go out and leave him for any length of time, then leave some newspaper by the back door, where he would normally go out. In the early days, it is better not to leave him alone for long periods of time.

If he has had an accident whilst you have been out which is not on the paper, on no account scold him when you arrive home, he will not understand and will be confused. Only ever reprimand him, if you catch him in the act - but do not shout at him - show him where he should have relieved himself, otherwise he might not realise it is the place you are angry about, rather than the act.
When your puppy has become used to his new environment and has met all the new members of his family, you should encourage friends to visit him. Accepting people into his home is important, as is getting him used to regular visitors to the house and garden, such as the postman. These events should hold no fear for him.
Once he has had his full course of vaccinations, you should start taking him out to meet people. Before you begin his socialisation, it is important that he is comfortable walking on a lead. You will need to get him used to the sights and sounds of traffic, so you must be confident that you have control of him, in case he becomes startled.

It is also important that he meets other dogs, particularly if he is an only dog at home. Many dogs will be wary of his size - even when he is still a baby puppy. He will have no idea why some other dogs might feel intimidated by him and he will just want to play. However, he must be taught to respect other dogs and to realise that not all will want to be friendly towards him. Many vets run puppy socialisation classes and these are a great way for your puppy to interact with other dogs of all shapes and sizes. Most of these classes also offer advice on training and general puppy care.

Your puppy should also go for regular trips in your vehicle, so that if a visit to the vet is necessary, you do not have a battle royal to get him into your car. Never let your puppy jump in and out of the car - you must teach him to be lifted in and out when he is very young. When he is a little older (and heavier!) he must allow you to assist him to get in and out. Growing joints can be easily injured if he tries to do this by himself. If you take your puppy out for short trips, with a reward at the end - such as a nice country walk - he will soon learn to associate car travel with enjoyment.

The oldest Irish Wolfhound club in the world.
Established in 1885 by Capt George Augustus Graham.
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