Canine Members Manual - Inspiring Education Through The

Canine Members Manual - Inspiring Education Through The
www.4-H.sk.ca
The 4-H Motto
“Learn to Do by Doing”
The 4-H Pledge
I pledge
My Head to clearer thinking,
My Heart to greater loyalty,
My Hands to larger service,
My Health to better living,
For my club, my community, and my country.
The 4-H Grace
(Tune of Auld Lang Syne)
We thank thee, Lord, for blessings great
on this, our own fair land.
Teach us to serve thee joyfully,
with head, heart, health and hand.
Acknowledgements
Content for this material is credited to Alberta 4-H
No portion of this manual may be reproduced without written permission from the
Saskatchewan 4-H Council, 3830 Thatcher Avenue, Saskatoon SK S7R 1A5 PH (306) 9337727 Fax (306) 933-7730
Check out our web site at: http://www.4-h.sk.ca
Revised 2007
Table of Contents
Introduction ......................................................................... 2
Equipment ........................................................................... 4
LEVEL ONE:
• Body Works ..................................................................
• Nutrition .......................................................................
• Health ..........................................................................
• Training Tips & Techniques ........................................
12
18
24
28
LEVEL TWO:
• Body Works ..................................................................
• Nutrition .......................................................................
• Health ..........................................................................
• Training Tips & Techniques ........................................
34
40
46
52
LEVEL THREE:
• Body Works ..................................................................
• Nutrition .......................................................................
• Health ..........................................................................
• Training Tips & Techniques ........................................
CANINE AGILITY ...................................................................
RESOURCES .......................................................................
58
63
66
73
79
93
Saskatchewan 4-H Canine Members Manual
Page 1
Introduction
Welcome to the Saskatchewan 4-H Canine Project!
Congratulations! We are excited that you chose to become a member of the 4-H Canine
project. We hope that you will have a great time this year making new friends, taking part in
4-H activities, and learning more about the special bond between human and dog.
To complete your project year in canine, you must:
•
•
•
•
•
•
Enroll in one of the projects available and work on the assessments required for that
project. You are not required to finish a project in one year, nor are you required to finish
a level in a year. Your yearly project qualifies so long as you have been working on the
skills and knowledge for the project in which you have enrolled.
Take part in at least 70% of club activities.
Complete a communication activity.
Complete a record book.
Take part in your achievement day.
Have a lot of FUN!!!!!!!!
Objectives of the Saskatchewan 4-H Canine Project
As a club member, you will:
1. Gain knowledge in dog rearing, care and training through the experience of owning,
caring for and maintaining records for your dog.
2. Develop skill, patience and understanding of the handling practices essential in working
with dogs.
3. Gain knowledge and an appreciation for dogs, and the role they play in the Canadian
family and community.
4. Develop skills in leadership, communication, planning, assessment, decision-making,
evaluation and time management.
About the Canine Project Material
The project material was developed by Alberta 4-H and has been adapted to Saskatchewan
4-H standards. It is our hope that you will find this manual to be both educational and fun to
work through. This first part covers the equipment you will need in this project. The sections
are broken down into three levels covering the following topics: Body Works, Nutrition,
Health and Basic Training. Depending on your knowledge of canines, it should take two or
three years to cover all levels.
Canine Record Book
You are expected to complete a record book each year that will summarize the entire club
year.
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Page 2
4-H Opportunities
Your canine project is only a small part of 4-H. There are many fun and exciting activities
that are offered at club, district, regional and provincial levels. These activities will provide
you with the opportunity to attend social events, where you can meet other 4-H members
your age. Clubs are encouraged to invite special guests, plan fun activities, tours and trips.
Your district 4-H council may sponsor workshops, camps and exchanges, as well as fun
events. At the regional and provincial level, members are encouraged to attend camps,
shows and educational programs. Many scholarships are available to 4-H members that
choose to continue on in education. 4-H can offer you as an individual, a tremendous life
experience. Be an active member and reap the benefits! Talk to your general leader,
regional 4-H specialist or visit the 4-H website at www.4-h.sk.ca to see all the opportunities
that are available to you.
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Page 3
Equipment
Roll Call:
What do you consider to be your most useful tool or piece of equipment that you have for
your dog? Why?
Housing
There are a few important considerations to make when selecting or assessing your dog’s
living space.
1. A dog that lives outside needs plenty of attention
and time.
2. A dog that lives inside will need to be let out to
relieve himself several times a day, especially when
he is young.
3. The inside dog will need to be walked and exercised
or at least provided an outside run area that will allow self exercise.
4. Dogs with short hair coats, puppies and older dogs will all need ample protection from
the cold weather.
5. Heavy coated dogs and dogs with “pug” faces don’t do well outside in very warm or very
humid weather.
Is your dog’s breed typically a small, medium or large dog size? ________________________
How old is your dog? ____________________________________________________________
Does your dog have short, medium or long hair? _____________________________________
On a scale of one (being lazy) to ten (being hyperactive) how much energy do you think your
dog has? _____________________________________________________________________
How often do you walk or play with your dog? _______________________________________
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Where is the best living area for your dog in your family situation? Why?
Whether your dog is an indoor dog or an outdoor dog it is important to provide him with a
“home” of his own. This should be a doghouse or crate that he can go to or be put in that he
will feel comfortable and relaxed. The home should be large enough for him to enter, turn
around and lay down, but not much more room than that otherwise it will be difficult to stay
warm in. It should always be placed in a well-ventilated area and not have direct sunlight
shining on it as it may get too hot.
For outdoor houses it is best if you can make it so that the door is off centered so that your
dog can snuggle in away from any draft that may get in, also putting a flap over the door will
help break the draft.
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Page 5
Activity: My Dog’s Accommodation
In the space provided include pictures or drawings of your dog’s accommodation and run
area. Label what you think is the best feature of your dog’s home. What is the one thing you
would most like to change about it? How would you change it?
Circle yes or no and briefly explain why. If you answer no to any of these, research how you
could improve this and record findings in the space below.
Does you dog’s living accommodation offer:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
Warmth in the winter: Y or N __________________________________________________
Cool in the summer: Y or N ___________________________________________________
A draft free environment: Y or N _______________________________________________
Ease of cleaning: Y or N ______________________________________________________
Protection from moisture: Y or N _______________________________________________
Saskatchewan 4-H Canine Members Manual
Page 6
Food and Water
As varied as the number of breeds of dogs, so is the variation
of dishes that can be used for food and water. Whether your
dog eats from an old pot or sterling silver weighted dog dish,
the important thing to ensure is that is cleaned regularly and
fresh food with an ample supply of water are provided daily.
Basic Training Equipment
Short Leash
A standard length of six feet is best to start your training with. You can get it in nylon or
leather. This length will allow for a limited amount of freedom and yet provide you with
control.
Long Leash
The long leash can be used to train your dog the come command, and also the sit-stay and
the down-stay commands. These lightweight leads, allow the handler the control of still
having contact with the animal, while allowing the dog the opportunity to experience a bit of
freedom to test his control.
Collars
A collar is an essential tool for anyone that owns a dog. The collar will allow the handler to
maintain control of his or her dog in public, and also provides a location for identification
tags in case your dog is ever lost for any reason.
There are several collars available on the market:
•
Everyday Collar – This is the collar that you will put your dog’s identification tags on. This
collar should be fitted properly, with a buckle, and can be either nylon or leather. A flat
collar will work for a short or medium haired dog; however a rolled collar should be used
on a longhaired dog.
When sizing this type of collar, measure your dog’s neck
and add five centimeters (two inches), the collar should
fit so that two fingers can be placed snugly between the
collar and the neck. For a small breed dog add only two
and a half centimeters (one inch), and allow for one
finger to be placed under the collar.
•
Chain Check Collar – Also called the slip collar or “choke”
chain. This collar can be used as a training collar, but
should never be used as an everyday collar. The principle
of this collar works on pressure-release. The moving part
of the collar should always be over the dog’s head, this
will cause the leash to tighten when pressure is applied
and slacken the second pressure is released.
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Page 7
This collar is meant to slide over the dog’s head therefore it will fit a little looser than an
everyday collar will. To determine the correct size for your dog, measure the neck and
then add up to seven and half centimeters (three inches) for a larger dog and about four
centimeters (one and a half inches) for small breed dogs.
•
Partial Slip Collars – This slip collar restricts the amount of “choking” action a handler
can do, they will tighten but not like a full slip collar will. This type of collar would be
useful to a handler that has a difficult time with the “release” action in the pressure and
release method of training.
•
Pinch or Prong Collars – While this collar can provide extra control it should only be used
by or under the supervision of an experienced handler. This collar is most commonly
used to control large dogs. While this collar is similar to the partial collar in that it will
only tighten so far, it differs because it has blunt metal prongs evenly spaced along the
inside of the collar, thus pressing into the neck of the dog.
Basic Training Equipment
Short Leash
Long Leash
Collars
Everyday
Chain Check Collar
Partial Slip Collar
Pinch or Prong Collar
Grooming Equipment
Grooming Surface
Grooming Brushes
Comb
Grooming Cloths
Scissors
Nail Trimmers
Non-tear or dog shampoo
Hair Coat Types
Short or Smooth Coat
Wire Haired or Rough Coat
Long, Dense Coat
Long, Silky Coat
Corded Coat
Bathing Your Dog
Shampoo (no tears)
Cream Rinse
Clean, warm water until it runs clear during rinse.
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Page 8
Basic Show Equipment
Crate or x-pen
Matching show collar and lead (as inconspicuous as possible but appropriate for the
size of the dog)
Water and food from home (changes can be very stressful/unhealthy)
For Obedience
Crate or x-pen
6 foot leash
Snap or buckle collar
Water and food from home
Grooming Equipment
Grooming your dog is very important for several more reasons than just looking good, it also
helps to stimulate and condition your dog’s body, skin and hair coat. Regular grooming
provides you time to be sure that your dog does not have any hidden injuries, or parasites,
and that his nails, teeth and ears are all in good condition. Grooming also helps to reduce
the shedding and is a great opportunity for you to bond with your dog.
Grooming Supplies
What supplies should you have to groom your dog?
Your grooming supplies don’t need to be expensive, just make sure that you are prepared
before you begin. Here is a list of items to gather up:
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Grooming Surface – table or surface that will allow
the dog to stand without you having to bend over or
squat.
Grooming Brush – specific to the hair length and
coat type of your dog
Comb
Grooming Cloths – Soft baby cloths work well and
are inexpensive
Scissors
Nail trimmers
Non-tear or dog shampoo
What type of hair coat does your dog have?
Knowing what kind of hair coat your dog has will help you determine the type of brush most
suited to your dog.
Short or Smooth Coat – These dogs should be brushed at least once a week, even though it
would not seem necessary because their coat will not mat. Here is a basic brushing regime
you may wish to consider:
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Page 9
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
Comb the hair with a fine-toothed comb in the direction of the hair growth.
Using a bristle brush, lightly brush your dog in both directions several times.
With a damp cloth, wipe your dog down.
You can apply some coat conditioner if you notice any dry patches.
Use a clean dry cloth to go over his body one additional time.
Wire Haired or Rough Haired Coat – These dogs should be groomed once a week with a
slicker brush.
1. Brush the dog all over in the direction that the hair is growing.
2. Once you have done this several times, start going back and forth in both directions. This
will help loosen dead hair and any debris.
Long, Dense Coat – The hair on these dogs will stand out a bit from the body and should be
combed and brushed twice a week. Comb with a coarse comb and then brush with a pin
brush.
Long, Silky Coat – The coats on these dogs tangle very easily and need an extra amount of
attention everyday. Fine-toothed combs and pin brushes work best on this hair coat. If a
tangle does start to develop, simply apply a bit of tangle remover and gentle work the comb
through starting at the end of the tangle and working in.
Corded Coat – The corded coat, or mop coat does not need to be brushed out. Washing and
then conditioning the cords all still fully intact will maintain the coat.
Bathing Your Dog
Why does a dog shiver when you give him a bath?
Your dog’s fur acts as an insulation layer and will keep the warm in or the cold out. When
you bath your dog you soak the hair coat, which temporarily destroys the insulation. When
you bath your dog you should use water that is approximately 37–38 degrees Celsius, as
this is close to body temperature. If you have a towel you could pin on to your dog after his
bath, this will help recreate an insulation barrier.
Never put anything into the ear itself, keep in mind that a reddened or unpleasant smelling
odour is not normal and should be checked by a veterinarian.
Be sure to remove excess water off the body and blot dry with a towel. You can use a
hairdryer to speed up the process or just allow the dog to dry naturally, but be sure that he
will not catch a chill if just left to dry naturally.
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Activity: Shopping Dogs!
Using the information provided, and with a little bit of research, come up with an interesting
Christmas gift for your dog.
Wow, every month for the past year you have put $5 away to spend on the perfect Christmas
gift for your four-legged friend. The time has come to research what you want to buy. You
have a total of $60.
First brainstorm a few ideas in this space:
Now that you have come up with a few ideas, it is time to start price checking these items.
Using the Internet, magazines, catalogues and books or taking a trip to the store, find out
what the prices are for your ideas.
Paste a picture or sketch a hand drawing of the item or service that you intend to buy for
your dog. Explain why you think this is the perfect gift. How much of the $60 do you have
left?
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LEVEL ONE: Body Works
Roll Call:
Name a canine body part that starts with the first letter of either your first, middle or last
name:
Why do we need to know the parts of the dog?
As a dog owner and handler, it is important to know the proper terms for the parts of the dog
so that you can effectively communicate with other people about your dog. There will be less
room for error and more clarity by using correct terminology when speaking to your leader,
dog groomer, judge, veterinarian or pet store staff. It will also make distinguishing a dog’s
breeding easier, as you will be able to identify the breed characteristics based on the
difference in body parts.
Dogs grow to various sizes. The Irish wolfhound, for example, stands about 32 inches high at
the withers, or top of the shoulders. The Chihuahua, however, stands about five inches. The
St. Bernard is the heaviest dog, and other breeds range in size between these extremes.
Can you list a few body part differences between these two dogs?
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Parts of the Dog
The shape of a dog is determined by three major structures - the head, the body, and the
legs. The size and form of these structures can vary greatly.
The Head
If you think about it there are two basic head shapes - a narrow skull with a long face and a
wide skull with a short face - plus several intermediate head shapes. Long-faced dogs may
have eight inches between the eyes and the nose. While the nose of small-faced dogs may
be less than an inch from the eyes.
Dogs have 42 teeth, how many do you have? ______________________________________
Your dog should be taught from an early age to allow you to open his mouth. This can be
done with relative ease. Over the period of a couple of weeks you can do the following to
teach him:
1. Have your pup sit and then tell him “teeth”, and lift up on his lips for only a few seconds.
Praise him.
2. Once the pup will allow this and remains quiet, then you can open his lips and run your
fingers along the teeth a few times.
3. When you are both comfortable with this, you can open his mouth. Do this by putting one
hand over his muzzle, with your thumb just behind his canine tooth. Hold his bottom jaw
with your other hand and say “teeth” while applying slight pressure with your thumbs to
raise his upper jaw.
4. Keep his mouth open for no longer than a minute at first and praise him for not resisting.
5. Repeat this randomly, to teach your pup that it is okay for you to be examining his teeth.
Air is breathed in through the nose and passes on its way to the lungs through two nasal
cavities behind the nose. There are many nerve endings in here that are stimulated by
odours, in fact the average dog has almost 300 times more smelling units than the average
human. Thus the sense of smell is dog’s most acute sense. Watch your dog when you take
him somewhere new, he will sniff the air, the ground and all nearby objects in hope of
learning what is happening around it.
The dog’s tongue has three main purposes. It guides the food to the throat, it is used to
clean itself, and for perspiration. The dog will use the tongue to cool off by hanging it out and
panting. As it pants, the evaporation of perspiration from its tongue cools the animal. We
also cool ourselves from sweating through the skin, however a dog will only slightly sweat
through its skin as it is only used to cool the skin and surface temperatures.
A dog’s ears will normally either stick up or hang down. Dogs can hear sounds at
frequencies too high for people to hear. This is why dogs can respond to “silent” whistles.
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Each eye of a dog has three eyelids, the main upper and lower lids and a third lid hidden
between them in the inner corner of the eye. The third eyelid can sweep across the
transparent cornea of the eye and clean it like a windshield wiper.
The neck is the part of the body that connects the head and the body of the dog. The neck
may be long or short, depending on the size of the seven bones that support it. The length of
the vocal cords in the neck is a factor influencing the pitch and loudness of a dog’s voice.
How long is your dog’s neck? ___________________________________________________
Does he have a deep voice or a sharp voice? __________________________________
The Body
The body of a dog contains most of its vital organs just like your body does. Thirteen ribs that
wrap the dog’s chest protect the dog’s heart and lungs. Since these vital organs influence
the animal’s speed and stamina, chest size can be an indication of these traits.
There are 27 bones from the skull to the point where the tail begins in every dog. The
number of tailbones and the length of the tail vary from breed to breed.
The following diagram shows some of the internal organs of the dog.
Diagram of the Abdomen of a dog
A. Part of Stomach
B. Spleen
C. Kidney
D. Part of Large Intestine
E. Rectum
F. Entrance of Vagina
G. Section of hipbone
H. Small Intestine
I. Liver
J. Diaphragm
K. Esophagus
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The Legs
The front legs and back legs of a dog are also called the forelimbs and hind limbs. The
length of the bones in the leg will also vary a great deal from breed to breed.
The foot or paw, has five toes. One of these toes is the dewclaw. It is too high to be of any
use, and is often surgically removed from puppies. The toes of the foot are composed of a
number of bones. A toenail, or claw, emerges from the end of each toe. The foot also has
cushiony pads for each toe and two larger pads farther up the paw. Dogs also perspire
through the pads on their feet as an additional cooling method.
Learn all of the following parts:
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Page 15
Terms You Should Know
Brisket
The chest or rib cage between and just behind the front legs.
Chops
The lower cheeks.
Confirmation
The structure and form of a dog as defined by its breed standard.
Crop
Refers to the surgical trimming of the dog’s ears.
Croup
The area of the back from hipbones to the point where tail joins the body.
Dewclaws
Extra toe and nail set above the normal toes on the inner aspect of the foot.
Dewclaws have no value to the dog and some breeds clip them off.
Dewlap
Loose fold of skin under the chin of some dogs.
Dock
To surgically shorten or remove a dog’s tail.
Flew
Loose-hanging lips, as in Bulldogs.
Front
The chest and legs of the dog when viewed from the front.
Hock
Joint formed by second thigh and back pastern.
Knee
Foreleg joint between the elbow and foot. Hind-leg joint between tibia and
femur.
Loins
The sides between the ribs and hipbones.
Muzzle
The jaws, lips and nose.
Occiput
Bump at the top rear of the skull in most breeds.
Pad
Horny cover of the paw cushion.
Pastern
Part of the foreleg between knee and foot, or between the hock joint and
paw of the hind leg.
Stern
The tail.
Stifle
The joint formed by the upper and lower thighs.
Stop
The area between the eyes and between the skull and muzzle.
Wither
Top of shoulder blades at junction of neck.
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Page 16
Activity: Lucky Clover
Fit the ten words into the four-leaf clover. All but one word starts or ends in a circle and may
go in either direction. Words may overlap.
Crest
Flank
Fun
Kit
Knee
Neck
Pastern
Paw
Tail
Withers
What word neither started nor finished in a circle? __________________________________
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Page 17
LEVEL ONE: Nutrition
Roll Call:
Name a nutrient. ______________________________________________________________
What is a nutrient?
A nutrient is something that is needed for life. You need the same kinds of nutrients in your
diet as your dog does in his or her diet. Nutrients are needed for the body to maintain a
healthy body. Nutrient requirements for a puppy are higher than for the normal adult dog;
however if you are a dog breeder, the nutrient requirements increase for your breeding
female.
Think of it like your dog dish. As you pour the balanced dog food into the dish, you first cover
the maintenance portion of the bowl. This is the amount a normal adult will need to be
healthy. If your dog is either still growing, or is a mature dog that is supporting puppies she
will require more nutrients to stay healthy.
Nutrients are like ingredients in a recipe. If you leave out an ingredient, the food we are
preparing will not turn out properly. Likewise, if you leave out or don’t provide the right
amount of nutrients for our dog, it will not remain healthy.
Water
Water is the most important nutrient, without water your dog would die. The body of the
adult dog is made up of about 60 percent water, and the proportion is even higher in a
puppy.
What does water do?
• Helps the body get rid of waste
• Helps transport things through the body
• Lubricates the joints
• Helps in body activities
• Keeps the body healthy
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How much water does your dog need?
The amount of water your dog needs depends on many things such as body size, weight,
feed consumed, the environmental temperature, the amount of activity the dog is involved in
and even the temperament of your dog! Water should be available at all times, however
remember to not allow the dog to consume large amounts of cold water immediately
following intense exercise as it could cause water intoxication.
Protein
Protein forms the major building blocks of the body.
Protein is needed for:
• Growth
• Muscle development and action
• Hair growth
• Reproduction
Fats & Carbohydrates
Both fats and carbohydrates provide necessary energy. Energy is the power the dog needs
for the body to function, therefore fats and carbohydrates are like the “fuel” the body needs
to run on.
Like you, the dog needs energy to:
• Grow
• Move around
• Keep warm
If your dog gets too much energy in the diet, it will become too fat, have a decreased
resistance to disease, and may upset the digestive system.
If your dog is not getting enough energy, it may be losing weight, have a loss of enthusiasm
and have a poor hair coat.
Vitamins and Minerals
These nutrients are special helpers for building the body and maintaining health. Vitamins
and minerals play a role in metabolism, respiration, growth, nerve impulses, circulation and
digestion.
Types of Dog Food
Dry Dog Food (Kibble)
This food is 10-12 percent water. It is the most commonly fed type of dog food because it is
cheaper and easier to feed than the other types of dog food.
Preferred because:
• It is easier to store and prepare.
• It is easier to take with you on trips because it does not need to be refrigerated.
• You can add moisture to it at feeding time, so you are not paying for water.
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• More nutrition per pound on a dry matter basis than other types.
• Dry kibble helps keep your dog’s teeth clean.
Moist or Semi-moist
Moist or semi-moist food is 25–30% water, these moist chunks are enjoyable for your dog to
eat so he is likely to eat all his food and get all the needed nutrition. This kind of food does
not require refrigeration. It may contain preservatives or food dyes that might bother a dog’s
stomach.
Canned Food
Canned dog foods are the most palatable for your dog, as they will enjoy the taste and
texture. However, it contains more than 75% water and as a result contains less nutrition
per pound of food so you will need to feed your dog a higher volume. It must also be
refrigerated after opening. When feeding canned food it should be fed in combination with
dry food, can you think of a couple reasons why?
Storage of Dog Food
Important things to consider when choosing a place to store dog food include:
1.
2.
3.
4.
Can mice, squirrels, cats or little children get into it?
Does the food need special conditions in which to be stored in?
Is it in a convenient location?
Remember you don’t want to store so much that it becomes stale before the dog has the
opportunity to finish it.
Methods of Feeding
Free-choice feeding (ad libitum)
Allows a dog to eat as it desires, with virtually unlimited access to a supply of food. This
method is an easy way to feed and by making frequent trips to the food bowl it can help
reduce boredom, reduce competition and provide the dog with a more constant blood level
of nutrients and hormones.
However, this method is not for all dogs. There may be an increase in food wastage, you are
limited to only feeding dry or semi-moist feeds, and boredom may stimulate overeating.
Time-limited feeding
Time-limited feeding involves making food available for a set period of time, two to three
times per day. Generally the feedings would take place 2–3 times a day for a period of 5-15
minutes each feeding. Using this method may help control intake, allows observation of
general condition and behaviour that can lead to earlier detection of health problems. A
routine of feeding a puppy then taking it outdoors can enforce housetraining.
Food-limited feeding
This method involves limiting food intake to maintain growth rate and body condition. Foodlimited feeding requires feeding a measured amount of food based on calculated energy
requirement or as recommended by the manufacturer.
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It is important to remember that each dog is an individual and manufacturers can only
recommend an amount to feed. Evaluation of your dog’s condition will help determine how
the recommendation should be modified for him.
Evaluation of Body Condition Scoring
Just like people, each dog’s body uses food differently. Age and activity levels will change
the number of calories a dog needs. Once you start feeding your dog more than the needed
amount, the extra energy may be stored as fat and could lead to obesity. This is the number
one nutritional disorder among dogs so it is important to know how to identify your dog’s
body condition so you can maintain him at the optimal weight and shape.
Begin by figuring out what your dog’s body condition would be. In order to do this, you will
want to conduct three checks of your dog:
1. Rib Check: Place both of your thumbs on your dog’s backbone and spread both hands
across his rib cage. You want to be able to feel his ribs. Because of the hair coat, doing
only a visual check is not enough.
2. Profile Check: Examine your dog’s side profile – it is best to get down so that you are
level with the dog. Look for the abdomen to be tucked up behind the rib cage.
3. Overhead Check: Looking at your dog from overhead, see if you can see a waist behind
the ribs. Most dogs at a healthy weight should have an hourglass figure.
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TABLE: Body Score
Score
Description
•
•
1
•
•
•
•
•
2
•
•
•
3
•
•
4
5
Very thin.
The ribs can be easily felt with no fat
cover.
Base of the tail has a prominently raised
bony structure with no tissues between
the skin and the bone.
View from the side shows a severe
abdominal tuck and extreme hourglass
from above.
•
•
Talk to your veterinarian about
how to best bring your dog to
ideal body condition.
Check for other issues related
to being seriously underweight.
Underweight.
Ribs can be felt with minimal fat cover.
Base of the tail has raised bony structure
•
with little tissue between the skin and
the bone.
Noticeable abdominal tuck when viewed
from the side and a marked hourglass
shape when viewed from above.
Increase the daily ration for
two weeks, and then re-check
body condition.
Ideal body condition.
Ribs can be felt, but have a thin layer of
fat between the skin and the bone.
Base of the tail can be easily felt with a
significant amount of fat.
Abdominal tuck when viewed from the
side, and a proportionate hourglass
viewed for above.
•
Maintain at this level, but be
sure to do the regular body
condition check.
•
Reduce the amount you feed
daily and check your dog’s
body condition every two
weeks until he reaches the
ideal.
•
Evaluate the reasons for the
obesity.
Consult your vet.
•
Maintain at this level, but be sure to do
the regular body condition check.
•
•
•
Obese condition.
Ribs are very difficult to feel.
Bony structures are covered with
moderate to thick fat cover.
Side view will show a bulge of fat and
waist is not defined.
•
Suggested Action
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•
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Activity: Sam Slim or Fat Freddy?
This activity will give you an opportunity to assess your dogs body condition score and
compare to the analysis made by your fellow club members and leader.
Materials:
• Your DOG!
• Pencil or pen
• Camera (Optional)
Procedure:
This activity should be done the day before or morning of a club activity where you will be
taking your dog along with you in order to be as close in comparison as possible.
At Home Prior to Club Gathering
1. Standing approximately three meters back from your dog, get down at eye level and take
a picture with a camera or draw a sketch of the side profile of your dog. From this view
you will want to determine the amount of abdominal tuck your dog has. You may need to
have a handler or photographer that will assist you with this.
2. Take a picture or draw a sketch of the top profile of your dog. This angle will allow you to
assess the shape of the waistline.
3. Place your hands over the rib cage and determine the ease of finding ribs.
4. Feel the base of the tail. Record observations.
5. Now refer to the table for body score conditioning and determine where you feel your dog
fits in.
What changes in diet does it suggest for you to do?
At the Club Gathering
Have other members and leader do the same assessment on your dog. You will also do the
other members dogs to determine if you are assessing these animals to be at the same
body condition score as the others.
Approximately Two Weeks Later
1. Reassess your dog following steps one through five.
2. Did this activity require you to make any changes in your dogs diet or feeding schedule, if
so what?
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LEVEL ONE: Health
Roll Call:
List a sign of a healthy dog. _____________________________________________________
List a sign of an unhealthy dog. __________________________________________________
What is Healthy?
Health is the soundness of body or the freedom of ailment. To be healthy is to possess
health; therefore when your dog demonstrates good energy, strength and movement it is
healthy.
You will want to observe your dog and see that it has all of the following:
• Bright, clear eyes
• Eats regularly
• Drinks water provided
• Is active
• Has a healthy looking and feeling hair coat
To keep your dog healthy, be sure to provide:
1. A dry clean home
2. Clean, fresh water
3. Well balanced diet
4. Exercise
5. Lots of love
Why is Grooming a Part of Good Health?
A healthy and happy dog is what we all want. Taking preventative measures is the best way
to take care of your dog and ensure a long healthy life. Grooming is an essential part of
health because it allows you daily contact, gives you a close look at the condition of your
dog. It makes you aware of any fleas, ticks, burrs or other hidden injuries, reduced shedding
and provides bonding time. It also stimulates circulation and blood flow that will provide a
general improvement in health for your dog, and allows you to check his ears, teeth and
nails.
You can teach your dog to enjoy being groomed if it is introduced during a play session. Do
not treat the brush as a toy, but it is a good time to get your dog used to you touching him all
over. Start by using the backside of the brush, when he is comfortable with that you can turn
the brush over and lightly brush with the bristles. Wait until you are sure he is comfortable
before adding pressure to brush right down to his skin.
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What is Normal for a Healthy Dog?
The Vital Signs
The temperature, heart rate and respiration rate of your dog can be taken when he is not
feeling good, and then compared to the normal as recorded in your record book.
Temperature
Pulse
Normal Range
Rectal Temperature is 38 to 39 degrees Celsius (higher if excited or
active)
70 – 103 beats/minute while resting (varies with size; know your dogs
normal)
Breathing
10 to 30 breaths per minute while resting.
Gums
Should be bright pink or red.
Tongue
Bright pink and clean. (Some breeds do have darker tongues)
Stool
Well formed.
Behaviour
A healthy dog will act lively and alert.
Temperature
The temperature is taken using a lubricated rectal thermometer. To prevent loss or damage
to the thermometer, tie a string to the top end of it. After the thermometer has been inserted
for a minimum of three minutes the temperature can be read. The normal temperature will
be between 38–39 degrees Celsius; however an active or excited dogs temperature may be
elevated slightly. Other factors that may affect the body temperature are the ambient
temperature (outside temperature), age, breed or digestion.
Pulse
The heart rate (pulse) is measured using a watch with a second hand; you can count the
number of beats in 15 seconds and then multiply that number by 4 to get the beats per
minute. To take the pulse you need to find an artery near the skin surface. Most arteries are
located well inside the body to reduce injury, but you can feel the pulse either under the jaw
or at the inside of the elbow joint.
The normal pulse rate is 70–103 beats/minute. Factors that will affect the heart rate are
age, air temperature, exercise and excitement. The heart will beat faster in puppies and slow
as they age to maturity.
Respiration
To measure the respiration of your dog, place your hand on the flank or tuckup area, you will
feel movement as the dog inhales and exhales. You will count one for inhale and exhale
together, not two.
Once again you will need to identify the factors that will affect the respiration rate. Take
notice how the breathing is, is it laboured, shallow, deep, congested, etc.
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Activity: Healthy or Not…
Take the time to fill out the sheets “Signs of Health in My Dog” and “Signs of Sickness in My
Dog”. If you have not already done the health and inoculation record in your record book,
this is a good time to be sure it is completed properly.
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LEVEL ONE: Training Tips & Techniques
Roll Call:
When training your dog it is important that all family members use the same rules and
commands when communicating with him. List a command that you and your family
members use:
As with all training, you must be patient, persistent, consistent and firm when working with
your dog. Throughout the three levels in this manual, you will be provided an opportunity to
work and learn with your dog. While you are a partnership, you must always remember that
you are the handler and therefore the one in control of the situation. If you allow leadership
to switch from you to your dog, training will no longer be taking place.
The following are a few things you should keep in mind when beginning a training session
with your dog:
1. Keep training sessions short in the beginning to avoid your dog from becoming bored or
frustrated.
2. Try to train when you are alone or away from distraction so that you can keep the focus
on you and what you are saying.
3. If your dog misbehaves use a simple “NO!” in a firm voice.
4. Keep commands short, simple and concise. Always use the same command for the
same meaning. For example, if your dog jumps up on you be sure to not use the
command “down” as you will want to teach your dog a different action for “down”,
instead use the command “stay off” so that he will not jump up on you.
5. Determine what commands you are teaching your dog and inform everyone in the family
of these commands so that it is established before any training takes place.
6. Use a steady and controlled voice. Dogs ears are sensitive and loud noises can be
confusing.
7. Always have your dog come to you, chasing after your dog will make your dog think that
you are either playing a game, or it will frighten him.
8. Chewing on your finger, hand or leash is not acceptable at any age.
9. During a training session, only teach one command at a time. Wait to teach a new one
until he has learned the current command completely.
10. Remember patience, persistency, consistency, firmness and reward is what is needed to
train a dog.
Basic Commands
The obedience commands that are taught in level one are introductory commands, and by
mastering these skills with your dog, you will be ready to move on and attempt to
accomplish the more difficult skills outlined on your obedience score sheets.
Training a dog is like tying shoelaces. The ultimate goal in tying your shoelaces is to be able
to keep your shoes on your feet, but there are several different methods that can be used to
tie your shoes, likewise there are several different methods that can be used to teach your
dog how to come, sit, heel or any of the other various commands we want to teach our dog.
The following methods are suggestions on how you can train your dog.
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Coming When Called (Recall)
Repeating your dogs name often will help him learn what his name is. Having a dog that will
come to you is very important, as it will enable you to control your dog in any situation.
To teach a dog to “come”, place him on a long heavy lead. Drag him around until he is used
to it. When the dog dashes away or leaves your side, simply say “Come (Dog’s Name).” It is
very important to always make your dog come to you, never chase after or go to him. When
he comes to you, pet and praise him. Rewards are an important part of training whether they
are in the form of a pat on the head, scratch on the neck, rub on the sides, or an edible
treat.
Repeat the lesson until your dog will come to you no matter what he is doing. As a test, keep
the heavy lead on and expose your dog to situations where you think he will disobey you.
When your dog is becoming reliable and obeys every command to come you make, get a
cord that is a little lighter weight and work him on this line for a while. When your dog comes
each time you call him on this lighter line, then get a little lighter one until you are working
him with only a light yard or string. Eventually he will come to you without a line, every time
you call him.
Sit
There are several ways to teach your dog to sit. Three methods are listed here for you to try
and see what works the best for you.
1. Using the left index finger and thumb, place them on the loin or croup of your dog. Say,
“sit” and exert gentle pressure inward and down. He should fold up into a sit to avoid the
pressure, when he does sit, reward immediately even if the sit was only for a brief
second.
2. While saying, “sit”, slide your hand over his rump and apply
pressure to the back of his legs right at the bend just above the
hock. Tuck his legs and tail comfortably beneath him.
3. Using a treat, hold the treat above and slightly behind your
dog’s head and say, “sit”. Instincts will cause him to look up,
lose his balance, and force him to sit. Reward immediately with
the treat.
Heel
Once the leash has been introduced to your dog and he is no longer pulling or “baulking”, it
is a good time to introduce “heel”. Heeling is the correct way for a dog to walk beside you.
The dog is shown the exact distance to keep from you and is expected to maintain that
distance. Using a fence or wall to train beside might help your dog stay in a straightforward
position.
The proper heeling position has the dog on the handler’s left side and facing straight in line
and the same direction as the handler. The dog should be as close to the left leg as possible
without crowding. The area from the dog’s head to shoulder should be in line with the
handler’s left hip. Always depart with your left foot first and say heel at the same time. This
will help your dog to learn when that foot leaves the ground that he should accompany you
unless instructed otherwise.
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As your dog moves ahead or behind position, quickly pull on the lead and move him back
into position while saying “heel.” Be sure the lead is not too tight and you release any
pressure quickly once he is in the right position. Praise him. Hold the lead short and walk at
a rapid pace for a few minutes.
If he refuses to follow, jerk the leash and encourage him to you. Praise him when he comes
forward and put him back into position. If your dog lags behind, snap the leash using a wrist
action to bring him forward. Repeat the command “heel”, until he learns that it means to
walk quietly by your side without pulling on the leash. If he pulls ahead, turn quickly and go
in the opposition direction at a jog. Praise him when he catches up to you. Your dog will
begin to watch you more closely to see if you are going to start going in the other direction.
A good time to reinforce the “sit” command is when you are teaching your dog to “heel”.
Walk him at heel, then stop, and at the same time command and force him to sit when you
stop. Give lots of compliments and petting with this training.
The simplest way train your dog to “heel and sit” requires following some easy rules:
1. Always stop on your right foot and bring the left foot up to your right foot.
2. As you stop, shorten the leash in your hand and command “sit”.
3. Shortening the leash will hold your dog’s head up, then lean over and push down on the
hindquarters with your left hand while you hold the leash taut with your right hand.
4. Be sure your dog sits straight. You don’t want him to develop the bad habit of always
sitting crooked. Correct a crooked sit by pulling or pushing him into line and praising him
or her.
5. Allow your dog a short time to sit and praise him.
6. Repeat the “heel” command and continue to walk departing with your left foot first.
Down
Once your dog has a solid understanding of the sit command you can move on to teach him
“down”. There are two methods that you can try: 1) using three fingers together, make them
as ridge as you can. Say, “down” and then apply pressure, using your fingers, to the
indentation between the shoulder blades. This will cause his legs to buckle and he will sink
down. Praise him; 2) Repeating, “down” simply lift your dogs front legs and slide him
forward. Praise him as soon as his chest hits the ground.
Aggressive dogs may not like this command as it is a sign of submission, and you should ask
for assistance from a trainer if there are any signs of resistance.
Stay
“Stay” is another important obedience command. This command is taught to be used in
conjunction with other commands, it simply tells the dog where and in what position you
wish to have him remain in.
From a sitting position, instruct him to “stay”, pull back slightly on the
leash, and step in front of him so you are facing him. Hold your hand
out in front of you, to look like a solid barrier. Wait a few seconds and
praise your dog if it does not move, then pivot back into position. Repeat several times,
gradually increasing the length of time you ask him to stay, and the distance away from him.
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Once your dog has mastered the sitting, move on to teach him to stay in the down position.
Turns
To teach your dog to make turns while heeling, you must learn the proper footwork yourself.
Turns are accomplished in the following manner.
Left Turn
Pivot on the right foot, and step off to the left, on the left foot. This will indicate to your dog
that you are making a left turn. Command him to “heel” in order for him to stay with you.
Right Turn
This turn is the reverse of the left turn. Pivot on the left foot, and step off to the right on your
right foot. Command your dog to “heel” in order for him to stay with you.
About Turn (180 degrees)
Always turn to your right and then carry on going the way you just came from. You can repeat
the “heel” command to help your dog remember what it is you are doing.
Using turns and variances in speed while heeling will help to keep your dogs attention.
Stand for Examination
Accomplishing this skill will not only come in handy when allowing the judge to examine your
dog, but the veterinarian will appreciate it also. To do this skill your dog must be able to
“stay” and be comfortable doing so.
Begin by walking your dog in the heel position. Drop your right hand in front of his eyes and
say, “Stand”. When you are confident he is standing squarely on all four legs, give the voice
and hand signal to “stay”. Step off on your right foot and then turn to face your dog about
two or three feet away. For the first few times, make the “stay” short to allow for success.
Return to the heel position by going around him.
If you have a dog that tends to sit as soon as you move in front of him, you may want to try
the following method to get him to remain standing. Set your dog up by lifting him slightly off
the ground, dropping him quickly into a standing position and saying, “Stand”. Then give the
voice and hand signal to stay.
Correcting Bad Behaviour
The first thing you need to do in order to correct bad behaviour is to understand why it is
happening. Are your dog’s needs being sufficiently met?
Physical
• Does your dog have a comfortable place to call his own?
• Is your dog provided with proper nutrition?
Activity / Play
• Does your dog get ample time to run around?
• How often do you walk your dog?
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Companionship
• Do you spend enough quality time with your dog?
• Does your dog act out because he is lonely/bored?
Asking yourself questions like this may help you to better understand. Once you have an
idea as to why your dog is acting up, you can than take action to fix that part of the problem.
Next you will have to figure out a way to undo the learned problem. What is the reward that
your dog is getting from doing the bad behaviour?
Can you list a few potential bad habits that your dog could or does have? (Use another dog
as an example if your dog is PERFECT...!)
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Activity: Mystery Word
There is a five-letter mystery word hidden in the diagram. Can you find it in four minutes or
less?
Mystery Word _____ _____ _____ _____ _____
•
CLUES:
X
N
Q
N
R
F
L
T
R
O
O
C
C
V
Z
I
A
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N
F
N
C
•
R
O
O
W
Z
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•
N
R
F
R
A
P
•
•
•
My first letter is surrounded by eight
consonants.
My second letter is in every row.
My third letter appears twice in one of the
columns.
My fourth letter appears three times, always
one square to the right of the same letter.
My fifth letter occurs four times.
On the flipchart below brainstorm at least five places or resources that you could go to or
look for training information for your canine project.
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LEVEL TWO: Body Works
Roll Call:
Name a dog’s body part that starts with the first letter of either your first, middle or last
name:
It is advised that any dog owner have a basic knowledge of his or her dog’s anatomy. This
will come in handy not for just the fun of knowing, but if the time comes where your dog has
an injury or develops a problem, you will be able to describe to your veterinarian some of the
signs or symptoms and you will be better able to understand your veterinarian as well.
In the previous level we learned about the three major components that make up our dog,
their head, body and legs. In this level we are going to learn some more about the outside
and inside of our dogs.
The Hair Coat
The hair of the dog plays an important role in the dog’s overall well being, and yet we often
just think of the hair as a visual characteristic. The dog’s hair acts as an insulator against
both heat and cold. If the dog has thin, patchy or dry hair, the hair cannot do its job in
protecting the dog.
Generally a dog will shed its old hair and replace it with new twice a year. The lengthening of
the day is what causes a dog to start shedding.
The body may be covered with straight or wavy hair. Hair shafts emerge from tiny follicles in
the skin. The shafts are connected to tiny muscles that cause the dog’s hair to stand up, or
bristle, when they contract similar to how “goose bumps” appear on you and
I. During times of stress, a dog raises its hackles, and makes the hair along the neck and
spine stand on end. This is a protective instinct made to warn the enemy.
The Skin
The dog’s skin has an amazing ability to heal very quickly. Minor cuts, tears or abrasion heal
with great ease thanks in part to a healing aid found in the dog’s saliva. This built in
germicide found in the saliva of a dog amazingly heals wounds in record time.
The Skeleton
Under the skin we find the skeleton. The healthy dog will have a strong framework that
provides good protection to vital organs. Although the dog has many bones, the most
important ones are the skull, ribs, spinal column, and leg bones.
•
The Skull – There are 10 cranium bones that enclose and protect the brain and its
membranes. There are four single bones and three paired bones. The length and shape
of these bones determine the head shape of the dog. There are three main head shapes.
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Dolichocephalic - The shape is long and narrow and can be seen in such breeds as; Collie,
Russian Wolf Hound.
Mesaticephalic - The shape is of medium proportion and is seen in breeds such as the
German Shepard, Beagle and Setter.
Brachycephalic - The shape is short and wide and some examples of breeds are the Boston
Terrier and Pekingese.
The shape of the canine jaw also varies a large amount between breeds and therefore gives
the dogs jaw differing amounts of power.
Just like you and I, dogs will have two sets of teeth in their lives. Newborns do not have
teeth, but the 28 baby teeth; sometimes referred to as the deciduous teeth, erupt through
the gums between the third and sixth weeks of age. Puppy teeth begin to shed and be
replaced by permanent adult teeth at about four months of age. Although there is some
variation in breeds, most adult dogs have 42 teeth, with the molars coming last, at about six
or seven months.
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The following is an approximate guide:
3-4 weeks: deciduous teeth coming in
6 weeks: all deciduous teeth are in
3-5 months: Permanent incisors coming
in
5-6 months: Permanent canines start to
erupt and by end of 6 months are in
6-7 months: Last molar in lower jaw is in
Incisors: Usually the first to come in, they
are used for nibbling
Canine (Cuspid): are used for grabbing
and puncturing
Premolars: You may notice your dog tilting the head to the side and using these teeth when
chewing on a rawhide, bone or other chew toy. They are used for tearing.
Molars: are used for crushing bone and grinding food
A dog’s bite is the way his teeth fit when his upper and lower jaws are closed. The standards
for most breeds have the upper incisors just overlap and touch the lower incisors. This
arrangement prevents wear on the incisors and keeps the teeth in alignment.
A level bite is one in which the incisors meet edge to edge. A level bite is acceptable, but not
ideal.
The two most common bite problems are an overshot or an undershot jaw. An overshot jaw
is one in which the upper jaw is longer than the lower, causing the teeth to overlap and not
touch. When permanent teeth erupt in the lower jaw of an overshot bite, they may damage
the soft tissue in the roof of the mouth. Some lower teeth may have to be pulled to prevent
this damage.
An undershot jaw is on in which the bottom jaw is longer than the upper jaw.
There are a few breeds that have naturally undershot jaws can you name one?
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•
The Ribs – There are thirteen ribs that protect the heart and lungs of the dog. These vital
organs directly influence the speed and stamina and can usually be indicated by the size
of the chest.
•
The Spinal Column – All dogs have 27 bones from the skull to the point where the tail
begins. These irregularly shaped bones protect the spinal cord.
•
The Legs - A dog uses its legs for movement, for scratching, and in some breeds, for
digging. The front legs are connected to the body by the shoulder blade, while the pelvic
bone connects the hind leg.
Dog’s feet have pads and four functional toes; although a dewclaw is sometimes present it
may be removed in some breeds shortly after birth. Dogs perspire from the pads of the feet
to help regulate body temperature.
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Terms You Should Know
Angulation
Angle made by bones at a joint as “shoulder angulation” or “hock and stifle
angulation”.
Beard
Tuft of hair under the jaw or chin.
*Belton
Two colours on one hair, as Orange Belton or Blue Belton in English Setters.
Blaze
Streak of colour between the eyes.
*Brindle
Streaks of colour on a darker ground colour.
Canine Teeth
The four sharp-pointed cutting teeth, sometimes called “tusks”. Upper
canines are called the “eyeteeth”.
Clip
The pattern or style of clip placed on a dog, such as a Poodle.
Cur
A mongrel dog of no breed identity.
Feather
Fringe of hair on legs and tail.
*Grizzle
Gray or salt-and-pepper colours.
Height
The perpendicular measurements of the dog from the ground to the highest
point of the shoulder or withers.
Incisors
Front teeth of each jaw between the canines.
Mask
Dark colour on the muzzle, as in Boxers, Great Danes.
*Merle
Gray base colour with darker center, Blue Merle Australian Shepherd.
Plume
Feathering of the tail. Said of Pekingese, Collies.
Pom Pom
Ball of hair left on end of the tail of a Poodle.
*Sable
Black or very dark brown. (Often with a lighter shade at base with black
tips.)
Smooth Coat
Short, flat coat.
Stand-off Coat
The outer coat stands straight out from the body.
*Tri-colour
Dogs of three colours; usually black, tan and white.
Walleye
Blue eye as in Blue Merles, Harlequin Danes, Dalmatians. Sometimes
called China eye.
* Represents different colours of dogs.
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Activity: Colour It!
Using the dog’s colours that are listed in the “Terms You Should Know” for this section, find
pictures or clippings any three of the six. Insert an extra page of looseleaf in your binder for
your clippings.
Activity: As the saying goes
Insert the letters given below into the empty boxes to form words used in this chapter. The
letter you insert may be in any placing of the word. All the letters in each row are not used in
forming the word. When the puzzle is completed, read down the center column to discover a
saying. In the first row, form MASK by adding an M.
ABDEEFIMNNRSST
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N
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LEVEL TWO: Nutrition
Roll Call:
Name a nutrient.
_____________________________________________________________________________
Reading the Label
Just like doctors and nutritionists encourage us to read labels and make healthy choices, it
is equally as important to be able to read and interpret the information on your dog food.
Every dog food label must include specific information. This information is usually separated
into two parts:
1. Principal Display Panel
2. Information Panels
The Principal Display Panel includes four components of information:
1. Brand Name – The company name of the food.
2. Identity Statement that describes the contents of the food. (i.e. Beef, Chicken Rice,
Lamb etc.).
3. Designator of what class the food is (i.e. Growth, Maintenance, Lite etc.) and the
category of dog that should be receiving it (i.e. Puppy, Adult, Senior etc.).
4. Quantity of contents identifies the weight of contents. (i.e. 9 Kg, 18 Kg etc.)
The information on the Principal Display Panel is general information and is like the name of
your school. It identifies where you attend school, general information about what grades
are taught there, and approximate age of students attending.
For example: If I told you that I attended Small Town Junior High School, then you would
know that I lived around the Small Town area, I was in about grade 5–8, I am about 10–14
years old and I go to school from about the first of September to the end of June.
In order to learn more about specific classes taught at the school, or a map of what the
school looks like you would need to have more information. This sort of information is
available on the information panels.
The information panels on our dog food teach us the following valuable information:
1. General analysis
2. Ingredients list
3. Nutritional guarantee claim
4. Feeding guidelines
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Guaranteed Analysis
The guaranteed analysis must list the minimum levels of crude protein and fat and the
maximum levels of fiber and water. These values can not be used as exact values though.
The word “crude” refers to the total protein or fat content not necessarily the amount of
protein or fat that is actually digestible. The actual amount will depend on the ingredients
contributing to the protein or fat, and the quality of this ingredient.
All pet foods contain water, so why would it be important to know the maximum level of
moisture content in your dog’s food? It is important for two important reasons. First, is that
food is priced by the pound. Understanding that a food containing 27% protein and 10%
moisture will have the same protein per serving as a food with 27% protein and only 6%
moisture will prevent you from paying for water.
The second reason for understanding moisture percentages is for comparing the crude
protein and fat between canned and dry foods. Let’s say that your dog food has 10%
moisture content then we know there must be 90% dry matter in that food (100 – 10 =
90). Looking at the label we see that the crude protein is 20%. If we divide the 20% protein
by the 90% dry matter we will get 22%, which is the amount of protein on a dry matter basis.
Now we could compare this to canned food that has 80% moisture. We know that with 80%
moisture we have 20% dry matter. The label shows 5% protein. So we take the 5% and
divide it by 20% and we get 25% protein on a dry matter basis. So the canned food has more
protein per pound on a dry matter basis after all the water is taken out. We can do the same
for fat, fiber, etc.
Ingredients List
All ingredients are listed on the label. Ingredients are ordered by weight with the most
ingredient first and the least amount listed last. While this is one of the best ways to
determine the quality of food, these listings can also be deceiving. Suppose beef is listed as
the first ingredient, you may be happy with this believing that beef is the primary ingredient
in your dog’s diet. However, if the second, third and fourth ingredients are wheat flour,
wheat germ and wheat middlings, the total combined wheat product may be much higher
than the amount of beef. Therefore wheat is truly the primary ingredient.
Nutritional Guarantee Claim
The Pet Food Association of Canada (PFAC) and the American counterpart, Association of
the American Feed Control (AAFCO), develop guidelines for the production, labeling and sale
of animal foods.
This mission statement of PFAC is:
”To instill in the Canadian consumer confidence about the wholesomeness and quality of
commercially prepared pet foods through the development and promotion of the highest
standards of pet food manufacturing.”
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You should be able to find a claim statement on the food that you feed to your dog, what
does it say?
Does your statement vary with the other members in the club? How so, and why?
Feeding Guidelines
This will provide you with a guideline of how much you should be feeding your dog based on
growth level and weight. Remember that each individual dog, like people, will digest food
differently, have a different level of activity, and may be maintained in differing ambient
environmental temperatures than other dogs; so your dog may need slightly less or slightly
more than the recommended amounts in order to maintain the ideal weight. Using the
suggested guideline as a starting point, feed this amount daily for two weeks. At the end of
two weeks do an evaluation of your dog’s body condition and determine if the amount of
feed should stay the same, decrease or increase. Re-examine his body condition in another
two weeks to see that he is maintaining his ideal weight.
Selecting a Dog Food
There are many different types and brands of dog food on the market, all of which claim to
have complete and balanced nutritional value. People are not likely going to buy a food that
sells itself with a slogan like “We use the cheapest products possible to bring you the
cheapest price”. Dog owners need to be sure that they are feeding the right food for both the
age of the dog, and the activity level of their dog.
Two main points that a dog food must have to be considered a good food is:
1. Palatability – how good a food tastes. If your dog food is loaded with good ingredients
and is nutritionally wonderful for your dog, it is little concern if the dog will not eat it.
2. Digestibility – refers to the quantity of the food that is actually absorbed by the dog’s
system. The digestibility of your dog food can be determined by weighing both the food
that is fed to the dog and the amount eliminated by the dog (stool). Divide the weight of
the food into the weight of the stool and you will get the percentage of digestibility. It is
important to know that the stool must be dried to the same moisture content as the food
you feed.
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Other considerations...
Because selecting the right food for your dog is important there are a few other
considerations you should make before deciding on one particular brand.
1. Availability – You must be able to easily access your chosen brand of food. If you select
a brand that is not sold in your local town, you will have to ensure that you can always
have a supply on hand. If this is not convenient for you than you should consider an
alternative.
2. Cost – You must be able to afford the cost of the food in your monthly budget. Expensive
foods are not always the best food; however you must also consider that some cheap
foods are not as digestible as their more expensive counterparts. Therefore, some cheap
foods will cost more in the long run as the dog will need to consume more of the cheaper
food to get the nutrients required from it.
3. Reputation – Is the manufacturer reputable? Selecting a brand that is currently being
fed and recommended by someone that you trust to be concerned with the nutrition of
the food will provide you with confidence as a consumer.
4. Special Needs – You must consider if the food that you are feeding meets any special
nutritional needs identified by your veterinarian for a specific dog.
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Activity: Evaluating Your Dog Food
Using the following score sheets evaluate your dog’s food.
SCORE YOUR ADULT DOG FOOD (DRY)
Good
Ingredients
(look at first 6)
Crude Protein
(look at guaranteed
analysis)
Meat and Protein
(look at first 4
ingredients)
Plant Protein
(look at first 4
ingredients)
Fat
(look at guaranteed
analysis)
Moisture
(look at guaranteed
analysis)
Product Guarantee
Fair
Poor
None of the
comments noted in
fair and poor very
specific
Includes meat and
bonemeal
No list or uses
general terms such
as animal protein,
vegetable protein or
ingredient
24% or higher
20%-23%
Less than 20%
First protein is an
animal protein two
animal proteins
listed
Only animal protein
is meat and
bonemeal
No animal proteins
listed
1 or 2 cereal grains
listed
3 cereal grains listed
0 or 4 cereal grains
7% or higher
Less than 7%
8% to 12%
Over 12%
AAFCO and/or CVMA
approved
Only NRC approved
balance or complete
but no source of
approval
No guarantee
TOTALS
Total up the checkmarks for each column. Reject foods that have a Poor rating. Foods with
four or more Good scores will meet the needs of the average dog. Working dogs, or dogs
living outside may require foods with even more Good scores.
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SCORE YOUR ADULT DOG FOOD (SEMI-MOIST)
Good
Ingredients
(look at first 6)
Crude Protein
(look at guaranteed
analysis)
Meat and Protein
(look at first 3
ingredients)
Plant Protein
(look at first 4
ingredients)
Fat
(look at guaranteed
analysis)
Moisture
(look at guaranteed
analysis)
Product Guarantee
Fair
Poor
None of the
comments noted in
fair and poor very
specific
Has meat and
bonemeal
No list or uses
general terms such
as animal protein,
vegetable protein or
ingredient
17% or higher
14%-16%
Less than 14%
First protein is an
animal protein two
animal proteins
listed
Only animal protein
is meat and
bonemeal
No animal proteins
listed
1 or 2 cereal grains
listed
3 cereal grains listed
0 or 4 cereal grains
3% or higher
Less than 3%
35% or less
Over 35%
AAFCO and/or CVMA
approved
Only NRC approved
balance or complete
but no source of
approval
No guarantee
TOTALS
Total up the checkmarks for each column. Reject foods that have a Poor rating. Foods with
four or more Good scores will meet the needs of the average dog. Working dogs, or dogs
living outside may require foods with even more Good scores.
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LEVEL TWO: Health
Roll Call:
List a sign of a healthy dog. ______________________________________________________
List a sign of an unhealthy dog. ___________________________________________________
Why get Vaccinations and Boosters?
Some of the most common and serious diseases that our dogs can be exposed to and catch
are preventable with the use of vaccinations. A vaccination is an injection or “needle” that
can help your puppy or dog fight off certain diseases. The young dog will require a
vaccination at approximately six to ten weeks, with a booster shot a few weeks later, and
after that the dog will need to get certain booster doses throughout his life.
Vaccination and booster shots are weakened doses of the diseases. By injecting these into
the dog it will teach the immune system to recognize and fight back against a stronger
attack of the disease using antibodies. Antibodies are the body’s form of tiny soldiers that
will surround and destroy foreign viral and bacterial intruders.
Most vaccinations contain coverage of five to seven diseases in a single shot. Commonly the
following would be covered:
• Distemper
• Hepatitis
• Leptospirosis
• Parainfl uenza
• Parvovirus
Depending on the risk in the area, or the dogs contact with outside dogs, the Veterinarian
may use a shot that also covers:
• Coronavirus
• Lyme Disease
• Tracheobronchitis or Bordetellosis (Kennel cough)
Another care and preventative practice is to rid your dog of any parasites. A parasite is
something that lives on, with, or in another plant or animal and gets all its food and
requirements from the host plant or animal.
Internal Parasites
In Saskatchewan, we are fortunate that our cold winters and high elevations kill many of the
common parasites that can cause serious problems. However there are several worms,
which are internal parasites that we must deal with.
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You can help to prevent a worm infestation in your dog by deworming him as recommended
by your vet and keep his kennel area clean and scoop the stools daily. The dog run should
be hosed down. It is best not to kennel your dog on a dirt run, and don’t let him roam and
hunt on his own.
Tell tale signs that your dog may be suffering from worms are:
• Changes in appetite, either poor or ravenous
• Bloating or pot bellied
• Loss of weight
• Upset stomach
• Anemia which you can detect by observing pale gum colour
• Mucous or blood in the stool
• Diarrhea
• Excessive coughing
• Rough, dry coat
• Dull lifeless eyes
Common Worms
Roundworms
The roundworm is the most common worm affecting
almost every puppy ever born. Understanding the life cycle
of this worm will help you understand why. The female
adult worm produces eggs that pass out in the dog’s stool.
A dog may become infected by eating the eggs from the
ground, eating the larvae, or eating other animals that
have worms. They can also be passed from mother to her
pups through her milk, and the pups too can pass worms
on to the mother. The larvae develop and hatch from the
egg within two weeks, so the cycle continues until
everyone has been de-wormed. Adult roundworms grow
five to fifteen cm long and about 0.2 cm in diameter.
Tapeworms
There are many varieties of tapeworms.
The most common of the tapeworms
that affect dogs is the flea tapeworm.
These worms can reach 50 cm in length
when mature.
The tapeworm eggs are enclosed in the end segments of the worm’s body.
They are expelled from the body in the stool. The larvae of the flea then eat
these tiny eggs. The flea larvae mature into adult fleas. Your dog swallows
the flea, the tapeworm is released from the flea and the tapeworm attaches
itself to the wall on the intestine of your dog. The tapeworm grows and
matures, and continues to pass segments and eggs through the stool out of
your dog. This is the continuous life cycle of the tapeworm.
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There are several other, less common, internal parasites that can affect dogs. Some of
these are hookworms, heartworms, lungworms, whip worms, flukes and threadworms.
Having a stool sample tested is the best way to know what types of worms may be infesting
your dog.
When collecting a sample to take to your veterinarian you will want be sure that it is a fresh
sample, free of grass or litter. Put the sample in a plastic bag and seal it. If you cannot get to
your veterinarian immediately, freeze the sample and take it to her frozen.
External Parasites
There are many different types of external parasites that can affect your dog. External
parasites are a little easier for you to identify and much easier for you to treat yourself.
How can you tell if your dog is suffering from external parasites? He may show some of
these signs:
• Constant scratching
• Rough, irritated skin
• Bare patches of skin
• Anemia
The Flea
Fleas are the most common of all the external
parasites of dogs. The flea is a small dark brown or
black insect about 0.3 cm in length. It cannot fly
but it moves very fast. Because its hind legs are
specially designed for jumping it spreads by
jumping from dog to dog. Fleas live on the dog for a
very short time. The flea feeds on the blood of the
dog, and then drops off to lay its eggs. You may see
fleas in your dog’s coat when you groom him. You
will often find them in the tail area. Fleas are a
more serious problem in areas with warmer year
round temperatures.
The flea irritates the dog by sucking blood. The dog’s skin becomes irritated and he
scratches. Fleas also transmit many bacterial and viral diseases, as well as hosting the
tapeworm. Some of the available flea treatments are sprays, powders, shampoos and dips.
Read the labels of these products carefully before using them. Consult your veterinarian for
further information.
Lice
Adult lice are pale coloured and about 0.5 cm in length. There are two types
of lice – biting and sucking. They spend their entire lives as parasites on your
dog. Lice cause severe irritation to your dog. Your dog will attempt to remove
the lice by scratching and biting, further irritating the skin, often to the point
of bleeding. Lice eggs, often called nits, look like white grains of sand, and
attach to the hairs of your dog. You can see these eggs on your dog, while the
adult lice are difficult to see without a magnifying glass. Usually, you can
eliminate lice by bathing your dog with a special shampoo. Make sure you keep your dog’s
living area clean and dry.
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Ticks
Ticks are small, flat, dark crawling insects with eight legs. Ticks attach to the dog and suck
blood. The female can increase in size by as much as four times
when engorged
with blood.
All ticks, whether hard or soft bodies have similar life cycles. The
adult tick attaches to the dog and breed while on the dog. The
female continues to suck blood for about ten days more, then
drops to the ground and lays up to 6000 eggs over the next few
weeks. The adult then dies, while the eggs develop into six legged larvae.
Dealing with Your Veterinarian
Going to see the vet for your dog can be as scary as going to the dentist for some people,
but if you have the right experience neither have to be scary at all. Your dog’s vet can be an
important resource of all sorts of information. Finding a vet that will take the time to make
you and your animal feel comfortable is important. Ultimately, he or she will help you to
prevent disease, monitor development, treat injuries, and assess any problems. During your
dog’s life you will have several trips to the vet clinic. Always remember to record these visits
in your record book. The standard visits to the vet include:
• Immunization (which may start as early as 6 weeks)
• Booster shots, yearly check-up (annually)
• Neutering or Spaying
• Tattooing (optional)
• Micro-chipping (optional)
• De-worming
• Dental Check-up
Taking a Sick or Injured Dog to the Vet
The vet relies on you to provide accurate and complete information so your dog can receive
the best possible care as soon as possible. Your observations will help the vet diagnose the
condition and start treatment.
The following lists some signs that your dog should go to the vet immediately. If you are ever
in doubt whether day or night, you should call your vet. Better safe than sorry!
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Allergic reactions – swelling around the face, or hives, most easily seen on the belly
Any eye injury – no matter how mild
Any respiratory problem – chronic coughing, trouble breathing, and near drowning
Any signs of pain – panting, laboured breathing, increased body temperature, lethargy,
restlessness, or loss of appetite
Any suspected poisoning – including ingestion of antifreeze, rodent bait, or human
medication
Any wound or laceration – open and bleeding, or any animal bite
Seizure, fainting or collapse
Thermal stress - either too cold or too hot – even if he seems recovered
Trauma – being hit by a car etc., even if the dog seems fine
Vomiting or diarrhea – anything more than two or three times within an hour
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If you need to go to the veterinarian for an emergency:
1. Call your vet ahead of time.
2. Listen to his or her instructions.
3. Try to keep calm so you can help.
4. Answer his or her questions.
5. Follow his or her advice.
6. Get someone to help you.
7. Transport gently to the car and ensure your dog is properly restrained in the vehicle.
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Activity: Who am I?
Identify these parasites by their picture. Match the name on the right with the corresponding
picture on the left.
Tick
Louse
Flea
Tapeworm
Roundworm
Hookworm
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LEVEL TWO: Training Tips & Techniques
Roll Call:
When training your dog it is important that all family members use the same rules and
commands when communicating with him. List a command that you and your family
members use:
In level one we talked about 10 things you should keep in mind when you begin any training
session. Can you list five of them as a quick review?
Basic Commands
Sit-Stay
Your dog by now likely has a good grasp of the sit command, and
you have continued to work on the stay. Here are a few more
suggestions for ways that you can teach your dog to do a “sitstay”.
Find a fixed point, such as a tarp or blanket, that you can have
your dog sit on. This will allow you to put him right back in exactly the place he left, if he does
decide to leave.
Make him sit. Then command him while placing the palm of your left hand in front of his
face. The fingers on your hand will point up and your palm will be toward his face. Keep
commanding, “sit”, and slowly walk around him. Be sure to depart your heeling position with
your right leg first. If your dog gets use to you leaving with your right leg as a stay, and your
left leg as a heel, he will make the commands that much more solid once you no longer use
vocal commands!
If your dog gets up or moves from the fixed point, immediately place him back on the fixed
point and repeat, “sit-stay”. If you can walk around your dog without his moving out of
position, repeat the “sit” command and step in front of him. Using your hand as a solid
barrier, signal him to stay and slowly back away. Keep commanding, “sit”. If he attempts to
get up, firmly say, “No” and place him back into the original position.
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When he will stay in position, try turning your back to him. If he’ll stay, walk away a few yards
then return to heel. Complement him and pet him. Command him to “sit”, using the palm of
your hand and walk forward. Go about nine meters, turn and face the dog, then return to the
heel position.
The last step of the lesson is to make him sit and stay in the presence of other dogs and
unfamiliar surroundings.
Long Sit
The objective is to have your dog stay in the sit position for one minute. You may be able to
do this when your dog is at home or in a comfortable training area, however this exercise will
need to be accomplished with at least six other dogs also in the ring. That can add a tricky
twist to this exercise!!!
Try the following steps to prepare your dog for this element of the exam.
•
•
•
•
Sit your dog at heel, hold the leash in your left hand, swing your right hand, palm open, in
front of his nose and say “stay”. Be strict, but not loud, simply demand obedience.
Step away from him with your right foot and turn to face him. If he moves, return him
immediately to the sit position. Repeat the command to stay and step off again. Go only
a short distance of a about a meter or less the first few times. This is especially
important for shy or insecure dogs.
You may need to start only doing this for 30 seconds and gradually increase the time.
After a short time away, “return to your dog”. Walk past him on the left side, take a step
around his hindquarters and come up on his right side. Stop yourself so that he is at heel
position.
Work until you can gradually increase the time to one minute away from your dog.
Down-Stay
During training it is helpful to always use a hand signal in combination with the verbal
command, but in competition you can only use one or the other. For down, you can use
whatever signal you are comfortable with and decide on. A few that you could use are:
1. Raise your right hand with the palm down and motion down a few inches.
2. Pointing down with your right hand as you give the verbal command.
As mentioned in level one most dogs are not comfortable with the “down” command as it
places them in a helpless position. If your dog struggles, hold him firm and then continue
gently. You may need to be patient and hold him in a half down, half sitting position until he
finally decides to go completely down. Immediately offer praise. Remember if there are any
signs of aggression or nervous apprehension, it is best to have a trained adult help you with
this exercise!
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From a heeling position, make your dog sit. Then command “down” and use your hand
signal simultaneously. After he is in the down position say, “stay” and accompany that with
the “stay” signal. Step in front of him with the right foot first. Take two or three steps backing
away from him. If your dog should move say “No-down-stay”. Get your dog back into the
down position and then tell him “down” again. Move around once again repeating the
“down” command. See if you can walk around him. Try to get further and further away from
him each time you practice the Down-Stay, return to the heel position. Praise him once you
have returned to him. Remember he must hold the down position until you release him from
it.
Long Down
Similar to the long sit, the long down requires your dog to stay in the down position for three
minutes while you leave your dog and go to a designated area or perhaps even out of sight!
Try the following steps to teach your dog the long down:
•
•
•
•
•
Sit your dog at heel position.
Place your dog in the “down” position by using your verbal and hand signal.
Take one-step forward with your right foot and face your dog. Raise your right hand, palm
open, and facing forward. With your dog in position, turn and take one step backwards to
return to the heel position with your dog down.
Leave your dog in the down position, telling him to “stay”. Once again departing with the
right foot, as that is your dog’s signal that he must stay, now walk away. Turn and face
him and “eye” him for three minutes.
Return to your dog by walking past him on the left side, take a step around his
hindquarters and come up on his right side. Stop yourself so that he is at heel position.
Suggestions:
1. When you are teaching your dog with the voice command, “down”, be sure that you do
not use that word for anything else. If he jumps up on the furniture or up on you, say
“NO” or “OFF”. Never use the word down for any other reason than to lay him down.
2. It is important that you learn to “eye” your dog. The minute that you turn around, stare
right into his eyes. This will help to hold his attention. He will keep looking at you. Just
watching is not enough, be sure to lock your eyes to his.
3. Have a friend test your dog after you feel he has learned the long sit and long down.
During the long sit the dog should not break if someone walks in a circle around him.
Off Leash Heeling
You can begin to teach your dog to heel off leash by looping the leash lightly through your
pant loop, this will allow light contact only if needed. No hands should need to be used on
the leash.
If you experience difficulty with your dog you can establish control again by putting the leash
back on again to make corrections. Once you are confident he is ready to try again, and then
remove the leash.
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Much practice is needed so don’t be discouraged if your dog does not learn this skill as
quickly as you would like.
Recall
The recall exercise will teach your dog to go to the heel position when you call him to you.
You have completed the first part of the recall already if you have taught your dog to come
when called.
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
Start with your dog at the heel in the sitting position.
Put your left hand, palms open, in front of his nose and command, “stay”.
Step away from your dog on your right foot.
Walk to the end of the leash then turn and face him.
Command him to come to you using a happy and encouraging voice.
As soon as he starts moving towards you, run backward several steps and gather up the
leash.
7. He may not touch you or sit between your feet.
8. Command him to sit at this position.
9. Walk around him from the right to heel position.
10. Continue praising your dog.
Correcting Bad Behaviour
The following information is possible ways to correct common behaviour problems we might
experience with our dogs.
Chewing
The purpose of chew toys is to provide your dog with an item that is acceptable to chew on
so he will not be tempted to chew on your belongings. Be sure to provide a variety of chew
toys to prevent boredom. Rotating the toys every few days is a good way to keep your dog
interested in a toy. Reward him whenever you see him chewing on his chew toy. Toys should
always be appropriate for your dog, for instance don’t give him your dad’s old slipper,
otherwise distinguishing between the pair he is allowed to chew and the pair that he is not,
might be to difficult. There are anti-chew sprays available on the market, but perhaps the
most definite way to avoid having your dog chew where he should not is to keep close
supervision on him, and if he is in the house, teach him to stay in his kennel or crate.
Digging
Digging can be a difficult problem to deal with and it is often hard to stop once your dog has
begun. It is typically a problem that develops when your dog is left alone with insufficient
stimulation. Providing exercise, play and a variety of playthings can help a young dog from
taking up this pass time. Some people provide their dog a designated “digging area” that
allows them to dig without reprimanding or punishing the dog. Others may try putting up
chicken wire or sticks over an area you do not want your dog to dig in. Patience and
watching your dog closely might be the best way to prevent digging from occurring.
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Barking
Because some people like to have a dog as a companion that will alert them if someone
arrives on their territory, you do not want to teach the dog to never bark. However, teaching
him to be “quiet” or “enough” will allow your dog to signal you to beware of a situation, but
when commanded, will stop the barking immediately. To teach the “quiet” or “enough”
command, allow your dog to bark twice then say your chosen command, and put your hand
over the muzzle. Praise him when he stops. Typical of teaching any command, it is important
that you use consistency and repetition. If your dog is barking while running free, you might
want to try allowing him to bark twice and then say, “Enough” while spraying him with a
squirt bottle and then praising him for being quiet.
Destruction
One of the biggest worry about leaving your dog at home alone can be coming home to his
destruction. Using a crate can provide your dog with a safe and comfortable environment for
him to stay in while you are away from the house. If you give your dog his biggest meal just
before you go out for the day, it will cause him not to be hungry or restless. Turning on the
radio for background noise and giving him a chew toy will also help. Always give your dog
plenty of exercise and be sure not to make a big deal about coming or going, you don’t want
to teach him to make a fuss!
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Activity: Research it, Try it!
Using one of the bad behaviours that you identified in level one basic training, research
possible methods that could be used to correct the dog’s behaviour.
Behaviour: Write in this space what the bad behaviour is, and why you think your dog does
this behaviour.
Training Methods: Try to find at least three methods that might work for you.
Special Adjustments: List any adjustments that might be made to a training method
Outcome: Record the results.
Behaviour
Training Method
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Special Adjustments
Outcome
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LEVEL THREE: Body Works
Roll Call:
Name a dog’s body part that starts with the first letter of either your first, middle or last
name:
Review:
Can you identify the four types of teeth pictured here?
1.
2.
3.
4.
Various Systems
As an advanced member of the 4-H Canine
project, it is important that you know a bit
about the internal organs and various
systems that must be kept in good working
order so that you dog can have a healthy,
long and productive life.
The Muscular System
Dog muscles are very strong and well coordinated. Just like humans, however, dogs get
sprains and injuries to their muscles when pushed to the limit. Use caution when training.
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There are three types of muscles:
1. The skeletal muscles – control the movement of the skeleton.
2. The cardiac muscle – is a special muscle that is only in the heart.
3. The smooth muscles – present in the wall of the digestive organs and some other
internal organs.
The Nervous System
The central nervous system is composed of the brain and the spinal cord. The brain plays an
important role in the complex behaviour of the dog. It controls learning, motivation and
perception. The spinal cord acts as a conductor and governs reflex actions. Reflexes are very
important to a dog’s everyday life. Responsibilities of reflexes include things like blinking or
scratching an itch, twitching ears, and hair that stands on end.
Distemper and rabies can severely damage a dog’s nervous system, and thus it is very
important to regularly vaccinate your dog against these deadly diseases.
The Circulatory System
It includes a four chambered heart, arteries, veins, and lymphatic glands and vessels. The
circulation of blood provides the dog’s body with oxygen and removes carbon dioxide from it.
The size and physical fitness of the dog will determine the heart rate, but it will be faster
than ours.
What is your resting heart rate? ________________________________________
What is your dog’s resting heart rate? ____________________________________________
A dog’s heart beats between 70 and 120 times a minute, compared with a human heart
which beats 70 to 80 times a minute.
The Respiratory System
The respiratory system works very similar to humans. Air is brought in through the nostrils in
the snout. The air is purified, moistened and warmed in the nasal cavity. Air reaches the
lungs the same as it does in humans; however the respiration rate is higher than that of
humans. What is your resting respiration rate? ______________________________________
What is your dog’s resting respiration rate? _________________________________________
The Digestive System
Just like humans, the digestive system of the dog begins in the mouth when food is
mechanically broke down by the teeth; however very little is done chemically through saliva
like it is in humans. Because the mouth and esophagus of the dog act mainly as a transport
system, the stomach of the dog contains strong stomach juices that help to break down food
and bone. The broke down contents will then continue on through the small and large
intestines and be passed out of the system through the rectum and anus of the dog.
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The Urinary System
The dog’s urinary system’s purpose is to process and get rid of liquid wastes. The system is
composed of the kidneys, the bladder and the urethra. First the kidneys purify the blood of
toxins and excess water. Any toxic substances are diluted in urine that passes through the
ureters to the urinary bladder where it is stored. Finally it will pass through the urethra and
be eliminated by the body. Ailments in the urinary tract are more common in older dogs but
can really occur at any time in any dog.
The Reproductive System
Both male and female dogs reach sexual maturity at approximately eight months of age,
however breeding the female is not recommended until she reaches full maturity. Typically
females can reproduce twice a year or every six months. The gestation of a dog is sixty days.
Terms You Should Know Crypto - Canine
Apple Head
Rounded or domed skull.
Bat Ear
Carried erect, rounded tip.
Close-Coupled
Dog with a short loin and back.
Cow-Hocked
The rear pasterns and paws point outward with the hock joints close to
each other.
Dam
The mother of puppies.
Down in Pastern
The pastern is weak, making a pronounced angle between the paw and the
front knee.
Fiddle Front
Bowed front legs, with elbows out from body, knees close together, and
toes pointing out.
Gait
Method of walking. Used as command, as “gait your dog”.
Haw
Condition when heavy cheeks pull down the lower eyelid to expose the red
membrane.
In-breeding
Breeding of closely related animals, such as a mother to son, brother to
sister.
Leather
The earflap of hounds and spaniels.
Litter
A group of puppies born to a bitch.
Out at Elbows
Elbows turned out from body.
Prick Ear:
Ear carried erect.
Puppy
By usage, any dog under one year old.
Ring Tail
One that curls into a ring at the end.
Rose Ear
Ear which folds back to expose part of the inner ear.
Screw Tail
Kinky, twisted tail.
Shelly
A flat, narrow body and insufficient depth of chest.
Sickle Tail
Tail curved up into sickle fashion.
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Sire
The father to a litter of puppies.
Snipy
Narrow, short muzzle insufficient to balance skull.
Spay
Remove the ovaries and uterus surgically.
Splay Foot
A flat foot with toes spread, little cushion, and often with nails growing
crooked.
Squirrel Tail
Curving forward over the back.
Straight
Shoulder
Poor angulation of shoulder bones.
Swayback
A concave top line between withers and hips.
Tuck-up
Abdomen drawn up tight to loins.
Tulip Ears
Carried erect with tips falling forward.
Undershot
Under jaw longer than upper, projecting lower teeth beyond upper. The
opposite of overshot.
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Activity: Crypto-Canine
In this puzzle the answers to the “Clues” and the “Trivia Description” have been disguised by
the same simple substitution code. Answer the “clues” and transfer the letters you have
decoded to help reveal other “Words” and the “Trivia Description”. When you have
completed both parts of the puzzle, the solution to the “Trivia Description” will be spelled out
using the letters of the new alphabet.
CLUES
WORDS
Close eye quickly
TBOJV
Contains digestive juices
DHECIQM
Covers the body
MION
Purify blood of toxins
VOLJUZ
Give a needle
FIQQOJIHU
Pump
QONQGBIHU
Break food down
LORUDH
Trivia Description
HMOD DZDHUC QEJHIOJD HMU FOHIB ENRIJ
HMIH QEJHNEBD I LER’D ITOBOHZ HE NUIDEJ.
Solution: ______________________________________________________________________
**Hint: you may want to write down the regular alphabet then start filling in the letters to
the encoded alphabet under it.**
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LEVEL THREE: Nutrition
Roll Call:
Name a nutrient _______________________________________________________________
Welcome to level three of the Canine Nutrition. In the past two levels you have covered a lot
of information that is important to keeping your dog in the best of nutritional health possible.
As an advanced member you may be called upon to help teach or guide newer members in
learning the material, this will only strengthen your knowledge and skills.
Nutritional Disturbances
There are two major groups of causes for nutritional disturbances in dogs:
1. Factors that affect the absorption, digestion and utilization of food substances that are
present in adequate amounts in the diet.
2. Deficiencies within the diet itself.
In the past two levels we have focused on providing our dog with balanced diets, therefore in
this level the information will focus on the first of the two groups. Disease, injury and stress
can all affect the body’s ability to sufficiently digest food properly, let’s consider the basic
dietary needs of some specific diseases that may need special care:
1. Kidney disease – protein of high biological value; because dogs with kidney problems
will be passing a higher than normal amount of protein in their urine, it is important to
replace it. Commercial foods that contain ground glandular organs of liver, kidney,
pancreas, ground muscle meat, cottage cheese and hard-boiled eggs are good sources
of the needed protein.
Several small meals should be fed throughout the day and water should be always
available. Food may be salty; not only do these dogs need sodium, but also the salt will
stimulate water intake and aid in renal function.
2. Gastrointestinal disease – foods given to these dogs should be bland, low in fiber, and
well supplemented with water-soluble vitamins. Since fats can be difficult to digest,
these dogs should receive limited fat.
Cool foods have less tendency to be vomited, therefore several small meals of cool food
is best. Small amounts of cold water or ice should also be offered. No more than one
ounce per ten pounds of body weight should be given at a time.
3. Pancreatic Insufficiency – diet must contain very minimal fat; caloric value must be fed
in moderate amounts of protein and carbohydrates. Pancreatic enzymes must be
administered as replacement therapy.
Mixing the pancreatic enzyme with the food one and a half to two hours before the
feeding will allow time for the incubation to occur.
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4. Diabetes Mellitus – there must be a balance of 1) quantity and character of food
ingested, 2) activity the animal is allowed, 3) amount of insulin administered. Two meals
a day should be given and insulin should be administered twice a day at a twelve-hour
interval.
5. Obesity – results from ingesting more calories than are expended or used up in daily
living. There is a tendency to overfeed small indoor housedogs; however because larger
dogs have a lower caloric intake need proportionate to their weight, large dogs can also
be overfed. Reducing diets should be low in fat, high in protein and moderate in
carbohydrates, with adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals. Carbohydrates and
bulk may be obtained through green leafy vegetables, but vegetables such as peas and
beans that are high in carbohydrates should not be included.
Providing two or more feedings a day will help to reduce hunger problems.
6. Need for Low-residue - in the case of a dog that may find it difficult to pass a bowel
movement, due to injury or other problems, a diet that will minimize the amount of feces
eliminated is suggested. This can be accomplished by feeding a diet that can be almost
completely digested. An all fresh-meat diet can be used; however supplementation would
be needed in order to ensure adequate calcium – phosphorus ratio is achieved.
7. Cardiovascular Disturbances – a low sodium diet that is moderately high in protein and
carbohydrates is important. There are commercially available foods that are low in
sodium. Boiling the meat processes these foods; most of the sodium will be extracted
into the water that can then be discarded.
8. Stress – when a dog is experiencing stress for any number of reasons, it is important
that they maintain their food intake so they can avoid further illness. Palatability
becomes the most important factor; however the meal should be high in protein,
moderate in fats and good quality carbohydrates to maintain health.
It is advisable to feed an animal under stress several small meals.
9. Dermatological Problems – Often the health of skin and hair is a reflection of the
internal health of the animal, so it is important to consider what is causing the skin
problem. A fecal test will help to determine if internal parasites may be responsible. The
dog will need to have a high in quality protein diet, with adequate polyunsaturated fats
and carbohydrates, and rich in both vitamins and minerals
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Activity: Trick and Treat
The information provided to you in this level is for dogs that require special dietary attention,
and the use of treats is likely forbidden in their recovery, but using treats as a part of the
overall training process in a healthy dog is a commonly used practice. This is a fun activity
that you can do with the younger members of your club.
Materials:
•
•
•
•
Recipes for all sorts of great dog treats can be found on the Internet!
Packaging material
Labeling information
Your IMAGINATION!
Procedure:
1. Do a bit of research and find a recipe or two that most suit the needs of your dog or
other dogs in the club. To select an appropriate recipe you will want to have ingredients
that are readily found, you will want to consider the “shelf” life of the treats once made,
and you will want to consider the quantity that you wish to make.
2. Gather all the ingredients before you begin and familiarize any one that may be helping
you with the recipe.
3. Once you have the treats made you may wish to package them, if you are planning on
selling the treats or giving them away as gifts, it is important to make an attractive
presentation. This will require some imagination. You could take a piece of cardboard
and cut it out in the shape of a bone and use it as a plate to stack the treats on then use
gift wrap to contain it. Let your imagination guide you coming up with creative ways to
market the treats.
4. Just like on the commercially bought dog food, you can create a label that will list the
ingredients. This could be attached as a card or a sticky label. Once again your
imagination is the only limit!
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LEVEL THREE: Health
Roll Call:
List a sign of a healthy dog. ____________________________________________________
List a sign of an unhealthy dog. _________________________________________________
Serious Diseases Covered by Vaccinating
As you learned in the chapter on Health in Level Two, vaccinating your dog can help to
protect your animal from many serious and life threatening diseases. Here is a brief
overview of the diseases covered by vaccinations in Saskatchewan.
Rabies
Rabies, a fatal disease in nearly every case, is transmitted through the bites of infected
animals. The disease is also contagious to man. Vaccinations will protect your dog from the
disease. You may need to consult your vet to discuss whether rabies is a concern in your
area.
There are two types of rabies:
1. Furious Rabies – the typical “mad dog” in which the animal roams and will attack
anything.
2. Dumb Rabies – is encountered as frequently as furious rabies but is considered more
dangerous because the animal appears normal.
Hepatitis
The symptoms of hepatitis are very similar to distemper. The disease is an infection of the
liver tissue. The initial symptoms are identical with distemper (high temperature, loss of
appetite, and listlessness). Symptoms of the advanced disease are discharges from the eyes
and nose, abdominal pain, vomiting, enlargement of the tonsils, and redness in the mucous
membranes of the mouth.
The hepatitis vaccine prevents the disease and may be given at the same time as the
distemper vaccine.
Canine Distemper
Canine Distemper Virus, was at one time the most common disease among dogs, it can be a
fatal disease. While distemper is found worldwide, the incidence of it has decreased
significantly since vaccinations are an effective protection from it. Even though a puppy may
have been given a vaccination by 12 weeks of age, he will still require an annual booster
shot. Keeping an accurate record of vaccinations will let you know when the annual shots
are needed.
The primary mode of transmission is airborne viral particles that dogs breathe in.
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The initial distemper symptoms are a high temperature, a lack of appetite, and listlessness.
Later, a runny nose and eyes, severe diarrhea, pneumonia, vomiting and convulsive attacks
may appear. Take the sick dog to the vet as soon as possible to increase the chances of
recovery.
Canine Parvovirus
Parvovirus is a highly contagious virus that is transmitted through contact with other dogs
droppings. This virus can linger in the environment for extended periods, is resistant to most
household cleaners, and can withstand freezing winter temperatures making it a risk to
other non-vaccinated dogs.
It begins with vomiting and extremely watery bloody diarrhea. The pain associated with
eating will likely repress all interest in food. It is important that you get the dog to the vet
immediately as dehydration is very serious. There are yearly boosters of vaccine that should
be given to your dog in the spring to be sure he is protected against this disease.
Canine Bordetellosis (Kennel Cough)
Bordetellosis is caused by bacteria that are the primary cause of tracheobronchitis, or
kennel cough. It is characterized by a severe, chronic cough and can also be accompanied
by nasal discharge. Transmission most frequently occurs by contact with the nasal
secretions of infected dogs.
Typically the vaccination is in the form of a nasal spray, however there are several effective
schedules and methods for vaccinating your dog.
Canine Parainfluenza
The parainfluenza virus can cause a mild respiratory tract infection. It is often associated
with other respiratory tract viruses. In combination these viruses are usually transmitted by
contact with the nasal secretions of infected dogs. The vaccine to protect against this
disease may be combined with other vaccines to offer broader protection.
Canine Leptospirosis
Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that impairs renal (kidney) function and may result in
kidney failure. Clinical signs include vomiting, impaired vision, and convulsions. The disease
is transmitted by contact with the urine of infected animals or by contact with objects that
have been contaminated with the urine of infected animals.
Does your dog receive or require any other vaccinations? If so, what?
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Canine First Aid
Canine first aid is the emergency medical treatment of a dog. In this chapter we will cover a
few things that you should consider in the event of emergency, things to put in a canine first
aid kit, and some potential situations where first aid may be necessary.
Key Steps to Canine First Aid
1. Detect – Recognize that a situation has occurred.
2. Remain calm.
3. Assess the situation and determine any further
danger or potential dangers that still exist. Ask
yourself:
a. What is wrong?
b. How bad is it?
c. What needs to be done?
d. What kind of help do I need?
4. Prevent further injury to people or dog.
5. Call for help.
6. Administer treatment.
7. Transport if necessary and if you have required help.
8. Monitor the condition of the victim.
9. Follow-up – It is a good idea to re-evaluate the situation. Depending on the severity of
the accident you may wish to talk it over with someone such as family or friends.
Contents of the Canine “First Aid Kit”
• Thermometer
• Tweezers
• Sterile gauze, both rolls and pads
• Tape
• Scissors
• Eye wash
• Plastic syringe with sterile needles
• Antiseptic
• Cotton balls and rolls
• Vet Information card
• Antibiotic cream or ointment
• Water-based lubricating jelly
• Hydrogen peroxide
• Buffered aspirin
• Antihistamine
• Syrup of Ipecac
• Safety pins
• Vet wrap
• Piece of paper and pen
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Medical Emergencies Requiring First Aid
The following situations are good examples of when you will need to recognize an
emergency, react with proper treatment and then seek medical help from a qualified
veterinarian that can help to assure a safe and speedy recovery for your dog.
Electric Shock – If the electrical cord is still in the dog’s mouth or touching the dog, pull out
the plug before touching the dog. This is to prevent you from becoming shocked also. If the
dog had a severe shock and is in a partial coma, give him artificial respiration by applying
rhythmic pressure to the chest.
Eye Infection or Injury - With the aid of an eye washing glass, wash the eye with a lukewarm
boric acid solution. Apply a few drops of a medicated eye drop solution, available at most
drug stores for the temporary relief of burning eyes.
Heatstroke – A dog tied with no protection from the sun, or locked in a car is vulnerable to
heatstroke. He may pant excessively or collapse. The most effective treatment is probably
immersing the dog in cold water. If this isn’t possible, spray him with cold water from a
garden hose. Ice packs on the head and neck may also be applied.
Hit by a Car – The dog may be suffering from multiple fractures, internal injuries or shock.
Muzzle the dog immediately to avoid being bitten. Even the best-behaved dog may snap at
you because of pain and fear. Slide a board under the dog to serve as a stretcher and rush
him to the veterinarian. Place a blanket over the dog to keep him warm and keep him as
quiet as possible.
Motion Sickness – Typically dogs get sick in cars because they are frightened, not because
they truly experience motion sickness. To help overcome this problem you may consider
short trips to get the dog comfortable with the idea of traveling. Perhaps in the beginning,
you may just sit in the car with your dog and provide a treat for good behaviour. You can
gradually increase the length of the trips until gradually he enjoys the car rides. For the small
percent of dogs that actually do experience motion sickness your veterinarian may prescribe
you to use children’s Gravol, this animal should not be fed three or four hours before
starting a trip in the car.
Poison – The dog may show signs of poisoning by cries, crouching, vomiting, diarrhea,
trembling, hard breathing, convulsions or a coma. If you can determine the kind of poison
taken, treat with the suggested antidote on the container. The following is a list of possible
antidotes that you may find in your home:
• A general antidote is milk or slightly beaten egg white.
• Vinegar is an antidote for alkali poisons
• Baking soda for acid poisons
• Epsom salts for lead poisons
• Peroxide for phosphorus in some rat poisons
To make a dog vomit, place several tablespoons of salt on the back of the dog’s tongue.
Hold his mouth closed until he swallows.
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Porcupine Quills – The quills usually will be in the nose or face of the dog. Therefore, use a
narrow leather strap or nylon cord to muzzle the dog. Hold firmly and pull the quills with
pliers, making just a slight twist with the wrist. In severe cases you may need to leave them
in and seek the assistance of a veterinarian who may have to use an anesthetic just to keep
the dog still.
Seizures (Convulsions) – This is characterized by running wild, then backing up and falling
over, convulsions, foaming at the mouth, glassy eyes or a moaning howl. The seizure may
last only two or three minutes. Do not touch the animal as you may be accidentally bitten.
After the seizure passes, place the dog in a dark, quiet area.
Convulsions may result from poisoning, high fever, epilepsy, or may be associated with many
diseases. Their cause is frequently hard to determine. Investigation with the help of a
veterinarian may be needed to determine the exact cause.
Remember:
1. Only a veterinarian can prescribe veterinary medicine with accuracy. Do not use leftover
medicine for another animal or for another illness with the same animal.
2. Unless the veterinarian instructs otherwise, be sure to provide the animal with the full
course of medication, even if the dog no longer shows signs of illness, this will help to
prevent a re-occurrence of the illness.
Measurement of Medicine
Providing your dog with the exact amount prescribed is important. If you give the dog too
much, he or she may become even sicker. Also, the medicine may run out before it has had
a chance to do its complete job. If you give the dog too little of the medicine, it may provide
the germs involved an opportunity to become resistant to the drug and treatment will be
unsuccessful.
One ml is equal to one cc.
Administering Canine Drugs
Occasionally, the veterinarian may prescribe medicine for your dog. You, with the guidance
of your parents, will be responsible for safely administering it to the dog.
To safely treat your dog, you need to know the
answers to the following questions:
a.
b.
c.
d.
e.
f.
g.
h.
What is the medicine?
What is the purpose of the medicine?
How often do I give it?
What is the best way to get the dog to
take it?
What are possible side effects that I
should look for?
How do I store the medicine?
How soon should I see an improvement?
After the dog has taken all the
prescribed medicine, and there is some left over, what do I do with it?
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Tips for Administering Medicine
Be patient, gentle and firm – and follow the treatment with sufficient praise. Review
administration techniques with your veterinarian before starting the course of medication.
Liquid Form - If the medicine is in a liquid form, it might be helpful to use a syringe without a
needle to accurately measure the amount needed per time. Raise the dog’s muzzle and lift
his lip on one side. Ease the tip of the syringe to the back of his throat and then release the
liquid in a slow, steady stream.
Pill Form - If the medication is a pill form, many dog owners hide the tablet in a small piece
of hot dog or soft treat for the dog to swallow. Other popular pill disguisers include: peanut
butter, cottage cheese or canned dog food. You can however teach your dog to take a pill
without food. Simply use gentle pressure from either side of the muzzle to pry your dog’s
jaws apart, with your hand over the bridge of the nose and thumb and forefinger on either
side, then tuck the pill way, way back at the base of his tongue. Hold his muzzle closed and
skyward and then blow into his nose while stroking his throat.
Ear Medication – Lay a large towel across your lap and coax your dog to put his or her head
on top of it with gentle massage and encouragement. Apply eardrops, massaging the base
of the ear gently.
Eye Medication – Have your pet sit between your legs and hold his muzzle up from behind.
Gently apply a line of medication from the tube across the length of the eye, being careful
not to touch the surface. Try to hit drops squarely in the center. Close the lid for a couple of
seconds to let the medication distribute evenly.
Safe Storage of Medicines
Proper storage of veterinary medicines will help to protect young children and animals from
becoming exposed to potentially dangerous or harmful medications. It may also maximize
the drugs shelf life and effectiveness, which will ultimately save you money. In order to store
your medications safely, follow these steps:
a. Read the label carefully to know what temperature the medicine must be stored at.
b. Always keep medications in the original bottle or packaging so that instructions and
proper name are easily identified.
c. Check expiration date, as the drug will lose effectiveness after the best before date.
d. Consult the veterinarian to dispose of any medications that are no longer needed.
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Activity: “Quotefalls”
The letters in each vertical column go into the squares directly below them, but not
necessarily in the order they appear. An X in the square indicates the end of a word. When
you have placed all the letters in their correct squares, you will be able to read a quotation
across the diagram from left to right.
A
I
T
D
I
N
A
D
X
X
D
E
T
V
V
I
O
I
X
X
C
E
T
Y
C
E
O
O
S
E
U
F
I
Y
X
H
I
O
S
A
N
U
D
L
V
A
E
I
K
N
O
X
O
T
G
M
E
I
O
T
A
D
F
O
D
I
K
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
In the space below indicate what specific diseases your project dog is vaccinated against.
Talk to your veterinarian and find out why those specific diseases have been covered and
record the answer.
Saskatchewan 4-H Canine Members Manual
C
E
I
X
X
X
X
E
T
U
Y
Page 72
LEVEL THREE: Training Tips & Techniques
Roll Call:
When training your dog it is important that all family members use the same rules and
commands when communicating with him. List a command that you and your family
members use:
Briefly explain what you did to train your dog to follow these commands learned in level two:
Sit-Stay:
Long Sit:
Down Stay:
Long Down:
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Off Leash Heeling:
Recall:
Basic Commands
Figure Eight
Before attempting the figure eight, you will want to have your dog heeling and maintaining
his attention on you. The objective of the figure eight is to test your dog’s ability to heel when
in close contact to people, objects or other animals without touching or sniffing.
Begin by having markers or people stand approximately eight feet apart. Having a handler
and dog be the marker is good practice for both the marker and the dog attempting the
figure eight. Start roughly two feet in front of the markers. There will be one to your left, and
another to your right. Say “heel” and your dog’s name, then step forward with your left foot
and guide him around one of the markers, and then around the other crossing over the
center point.
Patience and a lot of practice is needed to perfect all skills, so don’t allow yourself to get
discouraged if it is not exactly the way you would like it to be.
Drop on Recall
Once your dog understands both the verbal and hand signals for “down” and “sit”, you may
be ready to move on to training the drop on recall. The following are steps that can be taken
to train your dog to drop on recall. These steps will be preformed and practiced over several
weeks.
1. Begin your training for this skill by setting your dog in the sitting position, then step two
or three feet in front of him so that you are facing him. Say “down” to your dog, while
simultaneously giving him your hand signal for “down”. If he does not obey, use your left
hand to give a quick jerk downward. Have him stay in the down position for just a short
time then ask him to “sit”. You may need to use your left hand to pull up on the leash
while giving him the hand signal with your right hand to indicate him to sit.
2. Once he seems to understand with both the verbal and hand signal commands, try using
only the hand signals to guide him. Then change the position you are in, for instance, go
back to the heel position, pause and then command him to sit. Once he is working well
at the two-foot distance, move back to approximately six feet and continue practicing.
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3. When you are working at the six-foot distance, you should be getting an immediate drop.
Do not accept a slow sinking, but rather an instantaneous response. Remember to
reward him!
4. Remove the lead and test his “down” at short distances when off the leash. If he does
not obey simply put him back on the lead and continue to practice, you don’t want to
rush him. Place him on a light 40-foot cord and practice doing the procedure from the
end of the cord. Test him every now and then off leash, if he is not obeying then return
him to the leash and resume practice.
5. When you are both comfortable with the “down” from the sitting position at the end of
the forty foot distance, you are ready to move on to “down” from the standing position.
Go back to the six-foot lead and repeat the training, this time eliminate the sitting
position and leave the dog in a standing position.
6. Gradually work your way back to the end of the 40-foot lead. Eventually at this distance
you should be able to drop him from this distance off leash.
7. Only once your dog is working well on all the steps listed previously do you want to move
on to dropping him in motion. Begin this exercise while heeling on the leash, suddenly
stop and step backwards saying your dog’s name and “come”. As soon as he starts
coming toward you, stop suddenly and give him the “down” command. If he does not go
down immediately, you may need to give him a sharp correction. Leave him down for a
short time, you can then ask him to “sit”. Then step backwards while saying his name
and the “come” command. Continue backwards then halt and have him sit in front of you
the same as in the recall. He may be anticipating a down command and you might have
to pull up slightly on his leash to get him in the sitting position. Send him back to heel
position.
8. Finally it is time to teach him off leash. Place him in a sit-stay and then stand facing him
approximately 25 feet in front of him. Say his name and “come”. When he is
approximately 12 feet from you, give him the command and signal to “down”. Continue
practicing this and eventually increase the distance to 40 feet. Remember to use
variations so he does not anticipate your commands. Encourage speed and never drop
him unless he is going at a good pace.
9. Once you are ready for the obedience trial, you will only be able to command the dog
using either verbal or hand signals. Using both will be a penalty to you as it is seen as a
double command.
This exercise involves training your dog to accept and hold the dumbbell. Command your dog
to “sit” then hold the dumbbell out in front of the dog’s nose. Say, “Take it” while pushing it
gently but firmly against his teeth. If he resists, force his mouth open by pressing with your
thumb and finger just behind his canine teeth. Praise him as soon as he takes the dumbbell.
Stroke his nose and throat to keep it in his mouth. Then say
“out” and remove it.
Once you have practiced this several times, your dog will be
ready to reach for the dumbbell. Hold the dumbbell a few
inches from his nose and say, “take it”. If he does not obey,
either pull him by the leash toward the dumbbell or, if that
frightens him, push his head toward it.
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Gradually increase the distance he must reach for the dumbbell. It is very important to
remember the rewards. Have your dog heel on leash as he carries the dumbbell. If he drops
the dumbbell simply put it back in his mouth until you instruct him to “out”.
It is important to use the correct size of dumbbell for your dog. You do not want the bar to be
to long as it could obstruct vision. The bells should keep the bar far enough off the ground
for the dog to easily grasp it behind his canine teeth and not touch his nose to the ground.
The diameter of the bar should fit comfortably in the mouth. If it is too large it can cause the
dog to drool, and if it is too narrow it can wiggle in the dog’s mouth and click teeth or pinch
his lips.
Broad Jump
Broad jumps are designed to be twice as long as the
height of a high jump. Small dogs may be required to jump
two feet, and large dogs may be required to jump as far as
six feet. Dogs should be started at a distance
approximately half of what they will be later expected to
jump.
Begin with your dog heeling on the lead at the sitting position. You should be facing the
jumps and be approximately 10 feet away. At the heel command, run and leap over the
jumps. As you leap repeat, “jump” and make a broad sweeping motion with your left hand.
The motion will signal your dog to jump, and as you practice he will learn to understand this
signal. If at first he baulks, or comes to a halt in front of the jump, be sure to immediately
drop the lead to prevent hurting or frightening him. Offer reassurance and remove one of the
jumps and try again.
Once your dog is capable of covering half the required distance over the jumps, you can stop
jumping with him and simply run alongside. Continue the sweeping motion as you command
him to “jump”, as this is a hand signal you will want him to understand.
With this accomplished you can now try him out from a sitting position facing the jumps
about 10 feet away. With him still on the leash, have him “sit-stay” and you can move to the
other side of the jump. When you are ready give him the command, “(Your dog’s name),
Come! Jump!” and give the lead a slight tug. Repeat the command to jump as he
approaches the jump. Offer a great deal of encouragement and praise when he lands the
jump.
When you and your dog are ready to jump on command, you can place him about 3 meters
from the jump and you can take your position beside the jump. Give him the command to
“jump”, while also doing your hand signal over the jump with your left hand. When he lands
the jump say, “Come” so that he recalls back to you. Give him lots of praise.
If your dog is consistently able to do this on the leash it is time to try him off leash. Simply do
the exercise exactly the same way, however if you do not feel completely in control, go back
to the leash and try again after a few more sessions. You can continue this procedure and
gradually increase the distance that your dog is jumping until he meets the required
distance for his size.
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Activity: Correcting Bad Behaviour
Using the following list of behaviours and gather other dog owner’s ideas for correcting the
problems.
Behaviour
Describe Training or Precaution
Digging Up the Yard
Related to shelter-building behaviour of dogs
in the wild. Dogs will also dig holes to bury a
reserve food supply or to crawl into when the
weather is hot.
Dog Fights
Related to attacking animal for food, showing
dominance in the pack, determining mating
privileges and asserting territorial rights.
Submissive Wetting
A way to show submission or fear
Rooting Through Garbage
Related to hunting instincts. Few dogs can
resist the smell and look of an open garbage
can.
Jumping on People
Related to highly developed social instincts of
wolves and wild dogs. Dogs often jump up to
greet the dominant member of the pack or
household, normally licking the persons chin.
Urinating Indoors
Related to marking or identifying territory of
dominant animals in a pack of wolves or dogs.
A poorly house trained dog that believes your
house is his/her territory will mark it with
urine.
Excessive Barking
Wolves or wild dogs howl to protect territory,
show dominance or express a need. Barking in
domestic dogs might mean loneliness,
playfulness, anger, aggression or a demand
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Behaviour
Describe Training or Precaution
Jumping on Furniture
Related to needing a high place to look out in
the wild and to protecting their backs. The
higher the place the higher the wolf in the
social order. Domestic dogs might like to be in
a soft place with their master’s scent.
Stealing Food
Related to the need to snatch food whenever
it is available. Wild dogs gorge themselves
because they never know when their next
meal will come.
Begging
Related to care-seeking behaviour puppies
and young dogs learn from their mothers.
To survive, pups must aggressively impose
themselves on their mothers for safety,
warmth and food. In domestic situations
dogs may beg to get what they want from
humans
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Canine Agility
What is Dog Agility?
Agility is a fun and exciting sport for dog and handler alike. It combines training, teamwork
and fitness. It is a fast-paced sport in which a dog and handler work as a team to complete
an obstacle course with the best time, and with the most accuracy.
Each agility course features a number of tunnels, jumps, weave poles and contact
equipment. The handler must know how each piece of equipment works in order to direct
their dog through safely and quickly. Training and practice sessions allow the dog to
understand what is expected of them as they approach a piece of equipment, but it is up to
you, the handler to teach them how to use it safely and accurately.
Objectives
In this section, you will learn the basic obedience expectations before starting agility, safety,
agility equipment and commands and how to prepare for an agility trial. In the back of this
section you will find a terminology guide.
Many people find agility to be a fun activity to do with their dog because it allows for
bonding, obedience training, socializing and exercising. This section is intended to serve as
an optional activity of the 4-H Canine Project. The training suggestions contained are generic
and not intended to conflict with your current trainer’s advice.
If your dog is less than one year of age, is a large breed dog, is over-weight or has a medical
history of injury or skeletal/joint problems – consult with your veterinarian before beginning
agility training. Remember, you and your dog’s health and safety should be your number one
concern.
The three most common organizations that feature agility trials are:
• The Canadian Kennel Club (for purebred registered dogs only) – CKC
• The Agility Association of Canada (all dogs) – AAC
• The North American Dog Agility Council (all dogs) - NADAC
Since dog agility has jumping components, it is medically recommended that handlers wait
to participate with young dogs until the dogs have finished growing, and their growth plates
are no longer at risk of being damaged. A healthy musculoskeletal system helps a dog move
freely and without pain. This is especially important in sports where jumping, stretching,
crouching, climbing, walking, running and turning are essential. Good nutrition, regular
exercise and safe activities will help to keep your dog moving well.
Dogs that are in pain may tend to favour the sore spot, sleep more and have problems
sitting or laying and then standing up again from those positions. Some dogs may hesitate to
do the activities that cause them pain. It is important to watch your dog while he playing or
on the agility course to ensure he is moving the way you’ve known him to in the past.
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The equipment used in this section follow the guidelines of the NADAC. 4-H members
wishing to compete in an agility trial should make themselves familiar with the
organization’s rules for which they are running.
Obedience Training
If you have successfully completed obedience training, then chances are your dog already
has some of the skills that will make agility training a bit easier. Dogs that know how to
come, sit and lay down may conquer some of the obstacles faster. Other skills from
obedience training that will help dogs in learning agility, is remaining calm in social
situations, meeting other dogs in a friendly fashion, as well as remaining focused on the
task at hand when various distractions are present.
Exercise safety in Dogs
Just as you prepare yourself for exercise; it is important to make sure your dog is ready too.
As mentioned before, make sure you have checked with your veterinarian before starting
agility training, especially if your dog is a large breed, less than one year of age, over-weight
or has been injured in the past, including broken bones or joint problems.
A great time to discuss your dog’s health is during his yearly check-up. Let the veterinarian
know that you intend to start agility training with your dog in case they would like to note it in
his medical file.
A good practice to get into is checking your dog’s paws, legs and body for anything that looks
unusual before and after agility sessions. To make sure nothing is missed, create a map of
your dog in your mind and follow it each time. Consider starting with your his face, then
progressing down his back to his tail.
Feel the areas as you visually inspect for things like bumps, foreign objects stuck to the fur,
blood, rashes and external parasites. Tell him to lie down and carefully roll him over to one
side as you inspect his legs and paws. Remember to be careful if you know he’s unsure
about having his paws touched.
Once your inspection is complete, you can begin your warm-up routine. Your agility trainer
may be able to demonstrate ways you can help your dog safely stretch. Many people start by
walking their dog on a leash, at a slow pace, then increasing the speed over five to ten
minutes until they have reached a fast walk. Also consider using some basic obedience
commands with your warm-up; sitting, laying down, turning to the left and right and circling
items can help your dog stretch as well.
Always allow your dog access to water while exercising, and take him for a bathroom break
before entering onto an agility course. He will be eliminated from the run if he urinates or
defecates on the course and will be unable to complete that run. As with any occasion, carry
a few plastic bags in your pocket in case you need to pick up after him.
After your agility session, take your dog for a short walk as your ‘cool down’ activity.
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Agility Equipment
Contact Equipment
An obstacle that requires a dog to be off the ground, with the exception of an agility jump, is
called contact equipment. These obstacles are in the same group because of the
contrasting colour painted on the ends. This is a feature to ensure that all dogs mount and
dismount the obstacle in a safe, controlled fashion. Dogs are expected to make contact with
the contact zone with at least one foot. Dogs that don’t will lose points for that obstacle.
•
A-Frame – this piece is made up of two platforms usually 3’
to 4’ wide by 8’ to 9’ long. The two pieces are hinged and
safety chained together to ensure the A-frame does not slip
while a dog is on it. Some are made to be adjustable to be
between 5’ to 6’ in height at the peak. The surface should
be non-slip.
How it’s used: The dog must climb up one side of the A-frame and down the other
ensuring that the contact zone is touched on the downside with at least one foot. The
AAC requires contact on the upside as well.
•
Dog Walk – This piece is made up of three
12’ planks hinged together, that are 12”
wide and are thick enough to support the
weight of the dogs using it. The planks
should be covered in a non-slip surface
including the contact zone. For experienced
dogs, the center plank is raised to 4’ off of
the ground. For dogs that are just learning, a dog walk that is adjustable in height can
help keep them safe while they learn the equipment.
How it’s used: The dog must climb up one side of the walk, cross the center section and
descent the ramp ensuring the contact zone is touched on the downside with at least
one foot. The CKC and AAC require contact on the upside as well.
•
Teeter-Totter (or see-saw) – This piece is made of one
12’ plank, with a non-slip surface that pivots on a
support. Care should be taken to select a pivot point
that eliminates the chance of pinching parts of the
dog or handler. Also taken into consideration should
be selecting a plank that will support the weight of
the dogs using it, but will also allow smaller dogs to
trigger the pivot point safely, causing the high end of
the teeter-totter to descend to the ground (drop
approximately 3 sec when a 3 lb weight is placed 12”
from the end of the board).
It is constructed off-balance so that the same ‘entry’ end returns to the ground once the
dog has dismounted. Contact zones are painted on either end of the plank.
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How it’s used: The dog must climb up the plank, cause it to pivot and wait for the end of
the plank to reach the ground under control before exiting the equipment. As with other
contact equipment, the contact zones must be touched with a least one foot on the
downside when dismounting the teeter-totter. The AAC & CKC require contact on the
upside as well.
Tunnels
•
Rigid Tunnel – this piece is a 10’ to 20’ long tube that is
about 2’ in diameter and is usually made of thick polyester
or other synthetic cloth-like materials. Wire is spiraled the
length of the tube to ensure it holds its shape. Weights are
used to hold the tunnel ends in place on the course.
How it’s used: The dog enters the tunnel at the end specified by the judge and exits out
the other end. Beginning dogs usually start with the tunnel straight, but as their
confidence increases, a curve can be created.
•
Collapsed Tunnel or Chute - This piece is a
sturdy barrel-like cylinder with a tube of fabric
firmly attached to it. The fabric is usually
about 8’ to 12’ long, and open at either end
so the dog exits the chute by pushing its way
out of the fabric tube.
How it’s used: The dog enters the entrance
section and exits via the fabric chute. It is
important to place this obstacle far enough away from other obstacles so the dog
doesn’t run into anything upon exiting.
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Jumps
There are many different styles of jumps, but the main point in all of them is the jump
height, measured at the highest point of the jump. A dog’s jump height depends on its size.
Jump heights are measured at the dog’s shoulder. All dogs competing will jump at the
heights according to the following chart unless it is a breed that is unable to safely jump at
the determined height. In the following breeds the judge will determine the safest jump
height: Chinese Pug, English Bull Dog, Cairn Terrier, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Clumber
Spaniel, French Bull Dog, Scottish Terrier, West Highland White Terrier, American
Staffordshire Terrier, Corgi, Dachshund or similar mixed breed dogs.
Dog Shoulder Height
Measurement
11” (27.6 cm) and under
Over 11” up to and including
14” (35.6 cm)
Over 14” up to and including
18” (45.7 cm)
Over 18” and up to and
including 20” (50.8 cm)
Over 20”
•
NADAC Standard Jump Heights
NADAC Junior Handler
Jump Heights
8” (20.3 cm)
4” (10.2 cm)
12” (30.5 cm)
8” (20.3 cm)
16” (50.6 cm)
12” (30.5 cm)
20” (50.8 cm)
16” (40.6 cm)
20” (50.8 cm) in the 20” +
division
16” (40.6 cm)
Winged and Non Winged Jumps – This jump is usually
made out of two upright bars supporting a horizontal
bar for the dog to jump over. Since all sizes of dogs
participate in agility, it is important to ensure your
jumps are adjustable. The horizontal bar should just
‘rest’ on the upright bars, and not be fastened snuggly.
How it’s used: The dog must jump over the top bar of
the hurdle in the direction as indicated by the judge,
without knocking any part of the jump down.
•
Panel Jump – Similar to the winged jump, this jump is a
solid panel, usually formed by shorter panels being
placed closely together, from the ground to the required
jump height. Panels are simply removed or added to
create the required height. As with the winged jump, the
panels should be mounted in such a way that they are
not fastened snuggle to the upright bars, but rather
‘resting’. Thick, heavy panels are not necessary for this
jump, and the dogs’ safety should be taken into
consideration in case they knock the panel off while
jumping.
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How it’s used: The dog must jump over the top panel in the direction as indicated by the
judge, without knocking any part of the jump down.
•
Broad Jump – This jump features about 4 or 5
panels or bars increasing in height (like stairs) over
the length of the jump. The jump height is measured
at the highest bar in the series. The length is
adjusted according to the dog’s size.
How it’s used: The dog must jump from the lower to
the higher height without knocking down any of the
bars in the sequence.
•
Double Bar Jump – Consists of 2 parallel bars positioned at the jump heights specified
for the bar jump. This jump may be built as a special jump or from 2 single bar jumps.
How it’s used: The dog must jump over two bars in the direction as indicated by the
judge without knocking any part of the jump down.
•
Ascending Spread Jump – This jump features 2-6 poles positioned parallel and set so
that each pole is 4” higher than the previous pole. (i.e.; first pole is 4” second is 8” and
so on to the dog’s jump height). If the dog is to jump 4” total, the first pole will be placed
on the ground 4” in front of the back pole.
How it’s used: The dog must jump over all of the poles in the jump in the direction as
indicated by the judge, without knocking any part of the jump down.
•
Tire jump – This jump is made out of a circular tubing
usually 3” to 8” in diameter (weeping tile works well) in a
sturdy frame that does not allow the tire to swing or twist.
The tire’s opening is usually 24” and the tire may be
wrapped with tape for greater visibility. The jump height is
measured from the ground, to the bottom of the tire’s
opening. NADAC requires that the tire be a breakaway tire.
How it’s used: the dog must jump through the tire’s
opening, in a safe manner, in the direction as specified by
the judge.
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Miscellaneous
These equipment pieces may require the most practice, as they are dissimilar from
obstacles in the other three categories.
•
Pause Table – An elevated platform about 3’ x
3’ square that the dog must jump onto and
hold a 5 second pause, either by sitting or
laying down. The height varies by competition
and sometimes (with AAC) a “Pause Box” is
used. This is a square area marked on the
ground taking the place of a Pause Table. The
dog is still expected to sit, or lay down, for 5
seconds.
How it’s used: The dog must pause on the table (or in the box), in the ordered position
and hold it for the judge’s count of 5 seconds. The judge will decide before the
competition if all competitors will use either a ‘sit’ or a ‘down’.
•
Weave Poles – This piece is a series of upright poles,
each around 3’ tall and spaced about 20” apart,
attached to a solid, flat base. Sets of poles vary between
6 and 12 poles. This is one of the hardest obstacles for
a dog to achieve.
How it’s used: The dog must enter the weave poles by
passing between pole #1 and pole #2 from right to left.
The first pole must pass the dog’s left shoulder. The dog
then passes from left to right through pole #2 and pole
#3. This pattern is followed until the weave pattern in
complete. If at any time the sequence is broken, or a
poll is skipped, the dog must start from the beginning.
Training, Rewards and Basic Agility Commands
Dogs have the ability to learn new words associated with items and actions. Chances are
your dog already understands words like ball, long, cookie or treat to represent favourite
items. Obedience commands like sit, down and stay indicate to your dog that you expect an
action.
Training
Starting agility training means introducing new words into your dog’s vocabulary, and then
immediately rewarding him when he completes the obstacle correctly and safely.
Only positive reinforcement will be suggested in this section. This means that each time your
dog does what you want him to do, he will be rewarded immediately with something
pleasant – keen praise and a small food treat. If your dog does not complete the obstacle as
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desired, no treat will be issued and you will either attempt the obstacle again, or take a short
break.
Not all agility training will take place on the course or with obstacles. There are some
commands that should be worked on daily. These may include: easy, here, target and tight.
Your agility trainer can teach you how to instruct these to your dog, and you may also find
some great instruction on the internet.
Target is a command that will send your dog to a small white “target plate” where he will
receive a reward for going over all of the obstacles in his path to get to the target. Easy is
important as you teach him how to use the contact zones, or to slow him down on high
equipment. The here command will draw him towards you and tight will tell him to turn very
sharp around an obstacle. One example would be your dog coming out of a tunnel and
needing to make a 180-degree turn to go into another tunnel.
Equipment: Dog & Handler
To begin training you will need to have the right equipment. A well-fitted nylon or leather
collar is acceptable for training. Short ‘tab’ leashes are helpful because they don’t hang
down as low. In advanced competitions, collars and leashes are not permitted on the dogs
while they are on the course.
Chain collars, pinch collars and chain leashes should not be used as they could get stuck on
the equipment. As a handler, you should wear proper footwear. In a competition, appropriate
clothing, such as your 4-H uniform, is expected.
For you and your dog’s safety, do not use agility equipment when you are alone. This is
especially important for beginner and intermediate dogs and handlers. Have another person
act as a spotter on equipment that requires your dog to be off of the ground.
Rewards
While you train your dog on the agility course, small food treats or toys may be used with
praise. Since you don’t want him to have to chew the treat for very long or take in excess
calories, break soft treats into ‘pinch size’ bits.
Targeting allows you to reward your dog without actually providing the reward from your
hand. In agility you want him to focus straight ahead and not on you for treats. If he is taught
to only take treats from the target plates, he will very quickly learn to cover all the obstacles
in his way to get to the target.
When teaching him to target, put a white target plate with a small treat at the end of an
obstacle. When he does that obstacle he will get the treat off the target plate. You then add
another obstacle behind the first one, and so on. Soon he will be covering many obstacles to
get to the ‘loaded’ target plate.
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Basic Agility Commands: Verbal, General Instruction & Hand Gestures
For each piece of equipment you need to decide on a word that you can remember and use
each time you practice agility with your dog. Some obstacles are similar, such as the various
jumps and only need to be identified by ‘jump’ or ‘over’.
Once your dog is ready, start to combine obstacles to create a mini-course, working up from
one obstacle, to two and three in a row!
Verbal Commands
Many people begin by introducing their dog to an obstacle under control and at slow speeds.
Without using the obstacle’s command word, encourage your dog to complete the obstacle
successfully first.
For example, to introduce a dog to the tunnel, a helper may hold the leashed dog at the
entrance to the tunnel, while the handler goes to the exit and calls the dog to ‘come’ through
the tunnel. Once the dog is interested in entering the tunnel, the helper should let go of the
dog’s leash.
Sometimes a handler must crawl into the tunnel a ways so their dog can see them. Never
pull your dog through an obstacle against his will. This will create a negative experience and
make training harder.
Once he completes the tunnel, immediately reward him from the target plate while saying
“good tunnel!” The idea is that he will have a pleasant experience and be willing to repeat
the action. The next time the tunnel is approached, the “tunnel” command can be used.
Below is a chart of suggested verbal commands to use for each piece of equipment.
Obstacle
A-Frame
Dog Walk
Teeter-Totter
Hurdle
Panel Jump
Broad jump
Double Bar Jump
Spread Jump
Tire Jump
Pause Table
Weave poles
Rigid tunnel
Collapsed or chute Tunnel
Verbal Command (Pick One)
Climb, frame, scramble, wall
Plank, ramp, scramble
Teeter, see-saw
Over
Over
Over
Over
Over
Tire
Table, jump, up
Weave
Tunnel
Chute or tunnel
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Equipment Type
Contact
Contact
Contact
Jump
Jump
Jump
Jump
Jump
Jump
Miscellaneous
Miscellaneous
Tunnel
Tunnel
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General Instruction: Contact Obstacles, Jumps, Tunnels and Miscellaneous
Contact Equipment
Contact equipment requires you to pay close attention to your dog as he mounts and
dismounts the obstacle. Some trainers may have alternate ways to teach dogs to use
contact zones.
Starting with a piece like a lowered A-Frame, keep your dog on a short leash and under
control as he climbs. Starting at the up-side contact zone and slowly descending towards the
down-side contact zone. Once he has reached the contact zone at the bottom, have him
‘pause’. Using the command ‘bottom’ and having him hold the command for 5 seconds,
praise him saying ‘good bottom!’ Allow him to proceed to the target plate that has been
loaded with a treat, and placed 2’ to 3’ from the end of the obstacle. Never reward your dog
for jumping off of the A-Frame at any point except at the downside contact zone.
Teaching your dog how to use the Dog Walk is similar to the A-Frame, but since it is much
narrower it is important that your dog is under control as he learns on a low Dog Walk. Some
dogs start out with the Dog Walk practically on the ground. It is important that you not let
him exit off the Walk at any other point except the contact zones. Having a spotter walk on
the opposite side can help ensure he stays on the Walk. Once he has reached the contact
zone at the bottom, have him ‘pause’, using the command ‘bottom’. After he has held the
command for 5 seconds, praise him saying “good bottom!’. Allow him to proceed to the
target plate that has been loaded with a treat and placed 2’ to 3’ from the end of the
obstacle.
The Teeter-Totter is potentially the most dangerous piece of equipment. Dogs must learn to
find the pivot point on the teeter-totter’s plank, which means the point along the plank that
causes the end that is in the air to start to drop towards the ground. Great care should be
taken for dogs to get used to the obstacle moving under their feet. Low teeter-totters or tippy
boards should be used before moving to full-sized equipment. Never allow your dog to jump
off of the equipment until the opposite end has reached the ground, and your dog may
safely proceed to the contact zone. When he has started up the teeter tell them “easy, tip it”.
This will slow him down and prepare him for the tip of the board. Once he has reached the
contact zone at the bottom, have him ‘pause’. Using the command ‘bottom’, praise him
saying ‘good bottom!’ after he has held the command for 5 seconds. Allow him to proceed to
the target plate that has been loaded with a treat, and placed 2’ to 3’ from the end of the
obstacle.
Jumps
Since the Winged and Non-Winged Jumps, Panel Jump, Spread Jump, Double Bar Jump
and Broad Jump are similar, many people opt to use one single command word such as
‘over’ as they use hand gestures to indicate which jump they intend the dog to complete.
As with other equipment, start with the jump low to the ground, but high enough that your
dog can see that he will need to physically jump, and not just run across it. As you approach
the jump for the first time, wait until he has crossed it before praising ‘good over!’ and
issuing a treat from the target plate (placed on the ground approximately 10’ in front of the
jump). Once he has built confidence, try raising the jump slowly until you are near his jump
height. Teaching your dog to use a jump may involve you jumping over the jump as well. This
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may be done a few times, but then you should give the jump command from beside the
jump.
Ensure when you are teaching the Broad Jump that your dog comes straight to the end of
the jump and does not attempt to exit it along the sides.
The Tire Jump, while in the jump obstacle family, is viewed differently by dogs because they
must pass through the obstacle instead of simply over it. The Tire Jump’s jump height is
measured from the ground to the bottom o the tire’s opening. Start by lowering this obstacle
to the ground so your dog may step up and through it. Once he has come through, praise
him with “good tire!” and provide a treat front the target plate that has been placed on the
ground approximately 10’ in front of the jump. Once he understands you wish for him to
come through the tire, raise the jump slowly until you are near his jump height. Be careful
that he doesn’t attempt to jump between the tire and the frame, or go under the tire, as he
could get tangled on the support wires.
Tunnels
Tunnels can be initially scary for dogs to learn, but once they have conquered them it’s hard
to stop them from entering on their own!
The Rigid Tunnel should be the first tunnel attempted and laid straight so your dog can see
light at the other end. As mentioned in the training example, a helper can be used to hold
your dog while you go to the exit end of the tunnel. Call your dog to ‘come’ through. If he is
unsure after a few calls, try crawling into the exit end of the tunnel until you can see his face.
Call him to ‘come’ once again. Sometimes the tunnel may need to be squished up so it is
very short in length, but the extra fabric could make the tunnel’s opening appear smaller.
Encourage your dog to come through the tunnel, but never pull him through. Once he has
completed the tunnel, praise him with “good tunnel!” and allow him to take a treat from the
target plate that has been placed approximately 4’ in front of the tunnel exit. Practice many
times until he is confident in the straight tunnel, only after then can slight curves be
introduced until it is a ‘U’ shape.
The Collapsed or Chute Tunnel is easier for a dog to learn once he has conquered the
curved rigid tunnel, as the chute involves your dog pushing its way through the fabric until it
reaches the end. To start, the fabric should be held open and a helper can hold your dog at
the entrance while you peak inside the fabric calling your dog to ‘come’. This tunnel should
look identical to your dog and most will proceed through immediately to see you and receive
their treat. Once he has come through, praise him with “Good Chute!” and allow him to take
a treat from the target plate that has been placed approximately 4’ in front of the chute exit.
Some handlers use the word “tunnel” for both obstacles, and that’s fine.
Miscellaneous
If your dog easily understands basic obedience commands then the Pause Table should be
fairly simple for him to learn. Starting with a low table, encourage your dog to climb on to the
table and assume a ‘sit’ position. Count backwards slowly from 5, once your dog is sitting. At
the end of your 5-second count say ‘Good Table!’ and give him a treat. Some dogs may
require their release word to come out of a ‘sit’, but once they are done their 5-seconds they
are free to go. Practice both sitting and lying down on the pause table, as judges may
request either be done.
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The Weave Poles will involve a lot of practice. Start with a short set of weave poles, usually 6
in total. Lead your dog through the poles starting with the first pole passing his left shoulder.
This is important and should be practiced this way each time. He will go between pole #1
and pole #2 with pole #1 on his left. Then, lead him to go between pole #2 and pole #3 with
pole #2 on his right shoulder.
The ‘L’ in the box indicates where his left shoulder will be. Walk along side him, basically
pushing him away from you at one pole set, take a step forward and have your hand ready to
receive him around the next pole set. You may find it easier to walk down the right-hand side
of the pole line to start with, pushing your dog away as he goes through pole #1 and #2, but
ready with your hand to receive him between pole #2 and #3. Once he starts to do the
weave pattern, praise with “good weave!” and offer a treat.
Continue this pattern until you have completed the set. Offer big praise to him for
completing the weave pattern, as this can be a frustrating obstacle for both dog and
handler.
Some trainers will ‘V’ the poles out in an alternating fashion so the dog can see the next
step while others provide a wire course outline so the dog can only follow that path. Some
weave poles are fenced in with a barrier so the dog may only enter at pole #1 and exit at
pole #6.
Hand Commands
Once your dog is confident with equipment you will need to start to step back and gradually
let him have more control over his actions. Ideally you will work towards a point of having
him listen to your commands guiding him from one obstacle to the next.
Be prepared to work your dog from both your right and left sides. He will follow the direction
that your body is traveling so it is important that your shoulders are always pointed in the
direction you want him to go.
It may be helpful to run with your arm extended straight out on the side you wish your dog to
run. This may assist in keeping him away from you while at the same time guide him on the
course.
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Preparing for an Agility Trial
In a judged standard competition, each dog is required to run the same agility course. It is
up to you, the handler to know which obstacles need to be completed in the correct order.
The course will be numbered and you will have an opportunity to walk the course without
your dog. Use this time to figure out the best way to run him while on course: where you
want to be, and where your dog needs to be to cover the course in the cleanest, fastest time
possible. The course will also be posted for the exhibitors to see. Remember, your dog will
be competing against other dogs for the best time while safely and completely finishing the
course.
Agility Course Maps (Sample)
Agility Terminology
Contact Equipment - Obstacles with contrast zones painted on each end for safety
considerations. Equipment includes the Teeter-Totter, Dog Walk & A-Frame. Dogs must have
at least one paw in the contact zone to avoid point deductions.
Course – The agility obstacles set up safely for a dog’s use.
Handler – The person, on the course, directing the dog through the obstacles.
Handling – The handler deliberately touches the dog or equipment.
Knocked or Dropped Bar – Displacing a bar (or panel) when going over a jump.
Missed Contact – When the dog fails to place a foot in the contact zone while performing a
contact obstacle. This is sometimes referred to as a “fly off” because of dogs leaping from
the obstacle above the contact zone.
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Musculoskeletal System – all of the muscles and bones, including joints, cartilage ligaments
and tendons in a body that allow for movement.
Non-Slip Surface – the surface of a contact obstacle that provides good traction for dogs
without being rough as to damage the dog’s foot pads.
Off Course – the dog takes the wrong obstacle on a course in which the obstacles are
numbered.
Refusal - the dog makes an approach towards the correct obstacle, but then turns away or
hesitates significantly before attempting the obstacle.
Run Out – the dog does not directly approach the next obstacle, instead runs past it.
Time Fault – Going over the maximum time allotted by the judge to complete a course.
Weave Pole Fault – The dog must enter the first pole to their left and proceed through the
weaves without skipping any. Skipping poles or weaving back when attempting to correct for
the missed poles will be faulted.
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RESOURCES FOR LEARNING
People
• Dog Breeders
• Members of breed association
• Veterinarians
• SPCA Officers/Humane Society
• School and Public librarians
• Teachers
• Pet Store Staff
• Canine Police Unit
Places and Organizations
• Regional 4-H Office
• Breed Associations
• University and other research facilities
• Media Stations (television, radio print)
• Kennel Clubs
• Museums
• Private Industry Pet Suppliers
• Pet Stores
• Farm Supply Stores
• Dog Shows
• Institute for the Blind (CNIB)
Things
• Internet
• Magazines, books, newspapers
• Product brochures
• Package labels
• Advertisements
• Comics and cartoons
• Posters
• Encyclopedias
• Video tapes
• Special use animals (drug-sniffing, pet therapy, canine patrol, hearing or seeing-eye dogs)
• Library pamphlet fi les
• Catalogues
• Breed brochures
• Cassette tapes
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Saskatchewan 4-H Council
3830 Thatcher Avenue
Saskatoon SK S7R 1A5
PH: (306) 933-7727
Fax: (306) 933-7730
Website: www.4-H.sk.ca
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