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10 week old tibetan terrier
Breeder Notes - Samsara Tibetan Terriers
Following are some notes on raising Tibetan Terrier puppies that we have found useful over the years. (we provide these notes to new puppy owners). If you follow these guidelines you should have many years of joyful companionship with this wonderful breed. You should also read the TTCA Publication 'Tibetan Terrier Owner's Manual ' if you are the owner of a new puppy and have this document included with your starter kit. You should also consult with your breeder and listen to their suggestions.
Diet and Feeding
Up until about 1 year of age feed your TT any premium puppy food. We feed Eukanuba and are quite happy with the results. Puppies should be fed about 3 times a day as their stomachs are not large enough to digest larger amounts at one time. As they grow older you can reduce the feedings to 2 per day and finally 1 per day at about 7 months and 10 or 11 months respectively. Some lines mature much more quickly than others and they can be switched to adult much sooner.
After 1 year of age the puppy can be switched to the adult food over a period of about a week, slowly increasing the amount of adult and decreasing the amount of puppy food. We do not recommend using supermarket type dog foods as many do not meet the full nutritional requirements.
You can mix in a teaspoon of cottage cheese now and again and a teaspoon of a quality canned dog food to increase palatability for those picky eaters. We also mix in brewers yeast tablets and at times a teaspoon of special canine formulated oil (i.e. Linotone) every few days to improve the coat and skin (especially during the winter months).
We recommend not giving your dog table scraps as this can upset the balance of his diet. Also he will get used to this preferred treatment and you may regret it. Don't fall for those pleading eyes - Tibetans are very good at getting sympathy with a sad or hard done by look! We have never needed to supplement the diet with vitamins when the dog is on a high quality food. You owe it to your dog to do a little research on what foods are the best for your situation. Dog owners are paying much more attention to what they are feeding their dogs today. Learn to read the labels and contents properly; find out about preservatives. There are many excellent resources on the Internet with respect to dog food. Learn as much as you can and then make an informed decision.
The mistake most often made by Tibetan owners is to overfeed their dogs. The worst thing for a growing puppy is to have extra weight which causes additional stress to growing bones, and in our opinion can severely affect structure and gait. Don't free feed your dog. We would recommend feeding an amount that will be eaten at one sitting. If there is food left over you may be over feeding.
A good rule of thumb is that you should easily be able to feel the dog's ribs individually without much pressure. If there seems to be more than just a layer of skin over the ribs the dog is too heavy and you may be asking for trouble. Consult your vet with regard to your dog's weight. Also the recommended feeding amounts indicated on the feed bags are often overstated in our opinion. Also different dogs eat differently. Some know when to stop, others don't. So you need to use common sense.
We feed all of our dogs in their crates and they enjoy eating in their 'homes', you don't need to close the door. If you choose this approach you will find that as soon as feeding time comes near they will zoom into their crates and look out at you wondering where dinner is.
Provide fresh water at all times. We give our guys a good quality dog biscuit as a treat after dinner once a day. They treat it like an after dinner desert!
Housebreaking and Paper Training
Training a dog to go outside or on newspaper inside is easier than most people think. The trick is to start right away be consistent and make sure the dog learns properly. Once learned this won't be forgotten. Tibetans are very smart (a little to smart at times) and once they learn something they don't often forget. Confine the new puppy to restricted areas of the house such as the kitchen until they are properly toilet trained.
After they wake up and after they eat or drink take them outside immediately. In addition puppies have less control over their bladders so take them outside every three or four hours. Praise them when they do the right thing. Paper training is also fairly simple. Confine the dog to an area with newspapers in all locations. Slowly over a period of time remove the papers until only a small area exists. If you see your dog is ready to go make sure they are on the paper or quickly move them to the paper and praise them when they do it correctly. If after a suitable amount of training time the dogs still wants to go somewhere where he shouldn't use the proper correction method - as soon as it happens quickly and sharply say NO and then immediately move them to the paper or outside and then praise them GOOD BOY. GOOD GIRL etc.
The trick with any correction for Tibetans is to make it clear immediately when they are doing something wrong with a sharp NO! and then praise immediately after they stop. Don't ever use outdated punishment training techniques on Tibetan Terriers they DON'T WORK.
If they do pee on the carpets or places where they are not supposed to use a special purpose pet cleaner to rid the area of the smell to help ensure this won't happen again. If you basically follow these directions you will not have any problem training your puppy in a very short period of time. The proper training at the beginning will make the future good behaviour well worth the effort.
Remember don't allow this to get out of hand. Watch for signs as they grow older that they want to go outside (they all have their own way of telling you) and let them out immediately. It will do you no good to scold after the fact. the dog doesn't realize what he is getting in trouble for. Tibetan Terriers goal in life is to please you. So if you are consistent in your corrections and praise they will soon catch on to what is and is not acceptable behaviour.
As referred to above any time a puppy is doing something unacceptable, biting, chewing things they are not supposed to, peeing etc. make a sharp correction NO! immediately upon the action happening, then praise immediately after they stop. This type of positive reinforcement works well with Tibetans. Some may be more stubborn than others, and they will test you. Just don't let them get away with it. Don't correct one time and ignore another or the dog will be getting mixed signals from you.
Don't play tug games with your puppy. This can lead to difficulty later on in getting the dog to release things you don't want him to have.
Don't as a rule give your Tibetan Terrier rawhide chewies (after 1 year of age - they are good for puppies but not the type with knotted ends that look like bones!) or animal bones such as chicken. The animal bones can splinter and cause damage. We find the rawhide tears facial hair, and we suspect is not good for the digestive system. Nylabones or nylon nubblies or sterilized bones (the type available in pet stores) work much better. If your dog is chewing things he is not supposed to i.e. shoes etc. take them away immediately. say NO and replace this with a nylabone or nubbly and say good boy or good girl so that they know that these are OK to chew.
Don't ever let your dog run loose on the street. If you care for your new companion you will always have him on a lead when in dangerous situations outside of your household yard.
Don't ever hit or smack a Tibetan Terrier. They just don't respond to this type of treatment or fear tactics. They aim to please and understand you if you talk to them. They know when you are angry with them by your tone of voice.
Don't let you puppy roughhouse or jump from tables couches etc. to hard floors (this is hard as Tibetans love to jump). During the growth stage from puppyhood to adolescence (18 months) the bones are growing and are susceptible to damage from these types of activities. Some breeders think that some cases of hip dysplasia are a result of environmental causes such as roughhousing and jumping from high distances on to hard surfaces, as well as from being overweight, which increases the problem.
Don't ever let your dog bite anyone even when playing. This requires severe correction. We try to get our guys to bite while playing and then use the quick NO then immediate PRAISE approach so we reinforce the notion that this is unacceptable behaviour from the beginning.
Don't ever lock your dog in his crate as a form of punishment. Their crates are places of refuge - their homes, and they should be introduced to them as such. If you use a crate as a disciplinary measure it will be harder and harder to get them to go inside. This will cause problems for you later on, as the crate is essential for travelling safety etc. Besides, the best way to correct is at the time of the action. not after the fact. The dog does not know why he is in trouble if he is punished after the fact and you are sending him confusing signals.
Don't use solid nylon or leather collars (after 1 year of age - they are good for untrustworthy puppies) as they will wear off the neck hair on your adult Tibetan. We find the chained slip collars (Martingale) are the best to use for protection of the coat.
Training To Walk
Don't let you dog tug on his lead when walking. Teach him to walk loose lead with you. There are several books available such as those put out by the Monks of the New Skete which provide excellent methods of training your dog. Your local kennel club probably also has handling or training classes available. These are well worth the effort, and you Tibetan can start early right after his rabies vaccinations.
Don't ever feed your dog chocolate. Dogs can develop severe problems and even die from eating chocolate. So act accordingly.
Don't let you dog swim in a lake or other water body or at least be careful and observe if there are any problems. The heavy coat of the Tibetan can weigh him down and could be dangerous. Use common sense in this situation.
Contact With Other Dogs
Don't let your puppy come in contact with other dogs or animals until he has received his rabies vaccination - at 16 weeks of age or as recommended by your veterinarian.
Picking Up a Puppy
Don't pick up a Tibetan by holding him between the front legs or stretching his shoulders. Pick him up and hold him so that the legs rest on your hands and the elbows are held in. Improper handling can put undue stress on the shoulders and legs at this delicate growth stage.
Don't be afraid to call call Joy or myself with any questions you may have or to get suggestions from us on raising your puppy!
Socialization in the Early Weeks
The most important aspect of raising a new puppy is socialization. In the first weeks and months it is important that your dog be exposed to all kinds of noises and activities. Have him be handled by as many strangers and children as possible and once he is vaccinated introduce him to as many other dogs as possible. The more he is exposed to early, the better he is able to cope later on in adulthood.
Get him used to the car and travelling. he may get a little car sick at first but this will pass. Most Tibetans love to travel.
Handling a Puppy
Don't allow others to handle him roughly especially children as this will produce negative reinforcement. Handling by others should be calm and provide the puppy with a pleasant experience.
You require a booster shot and a rabies shot at around 16 weeks of age before being exposed to other dogs or animals. Your vet will recommend a yearly booster program.
Have your puppy tested by your vet for heartworm and make sure he gets his heartworm pills on the appropriate schedule. Depending on where you live, normally testing is done in Spring and the medicine is given until late fall or the first weeks of frost. Heartworm is transmitted by mosquitoes.
Bring stool samples to your vet during occasional visits to be tested for worms. Your new puppy is free of worms upon delivery to you. (We test during their first 3 sets of shots at 6, 9 and 12 weeks)
Tibetan Terriers have a known history of reacting poorly to some types or higher than needed doses of anaesthetic. Make sure your vet is aware of this and takes appropriate precautions, or uses one of the more recently developed safer anaesthetic systems such as Isoflourine (in fact insist upon Isoflourine). Our vet uses tranquilizers when necessary for things such as teeth cleaning or hip x-rays.
Nails and Hair Between Pads
Keep your dogs nails clipped short. Tibetan Terriers grow hair between their feet pads. You can clip this hair away parallel to the pads from time to time.
If your Tibetan seems to be scratching make sure he doesn't have fleas or some other skin problem. If he does have fleas treat the house and the animal immediately or you will be sorry. Ask your veterinarian for recommendations on treatment for both the dog and your house. We have not had flea problems for years because we treat the yard (lime poweder) and are constantly checking the dogs especially after walks, contact with other dogs, visits to the vet, or after dog shows. Flea collars by the way don't work in our opinion.
Some dogs scratch because of an allergic reaction to the shampoo being used on them, lack of full rinsing of the shampoo, or even from some products used for coat and skin conditioning. We have a Lhasa Apso pet who reacts badly to all types of shampoo except a medicinal product supplied by our vet. However, many of our other dogs are shampooed with a product call Mela Miracle which is an Australian product and is available is most good pet supply houses.
Have your vet remove the ear hair from your Tibetan, or do it yourself when you groom by using ear powder and pulling small tufts of hair out of the ear canal. Some Tibetans have profuse ear hair that can lead to waxiness, dampness etc. If your dog scratches his ears often they need to be cleaned and possibly treated with medicine prescribed by your veterinarian.
General Signs of Illness
You will know when your Tibetan Terrier is not feeling well. If the tail is down for a long period of time or they seem lethargic or inactive get them to your veterinarian as soon as possible just in case. We find that this is a very healthy and sturdy breed of dog, and you shouldn't run into any major health problems.
Tibetans from time time may throw-up a yellow clear stomach bile. This is quite normal (if it happens infrequently) and unless it persists is no cause for concern. Some Tibetans like to eat grass. They seem to do this in the Spring. Dogs cannot digest grass so they bring it up. Again this is normally not a cause for concern.
Have your vet clean your dog's teeth at least once a year (or get your vet to show you how to brush the teeth). More attention is being paid to this area of health than used to be.
Loose Stools or Bloodied Stools
If you notice loose stools or diarrhea try withholding food for 24 hours and then continuing normal feeding. In some cases cooked rice can resolve the problem. If you use a quality food you will find you have firm stools. If loose stools persist more than a day or if stools contain blood, contact your vet immediately.
Scooting or Dragging
If your dog tries to scoot along the ground dragging his rear, he may need to have his anal glands emptied. This can be done by your vet or groomer. In some cases a piece of stool may be stuck to your dog. Removing it will resolve the problem.
Many long coated breeds get eye goop from time to time. Simply remove this material with your fingers, or use warm water and a wash cloth. If other eye irritations persist such as constant tearing or running contact your vet.
Bathing and Grooming
Your Tibetan Terrier being a long coated breed will require a certain amount of coat care and grooming. Tibetan Terriers don't shed like most other breeds but they do blow old coat from time to time and it gets caught in the permanent coat and can create mats or tangles. This is usually not a problem with the puppy coat which is a single coat. However as the Tibetan reaches adolescence his double adult coat begins to appear. This is also a trying time for the care of his coat. He seems to mat almost daily with some coats. This period will end at adulthood and then the coat is very easy to care for with a little time and patience.
Tibetan Terriers also do not have the usual doggy smell for some reason and are a good breed for some (but not all) people who are normally allergic to dogs and cats.
If you are showing your dog your approach to coat care may be slightly different than that for a pet. Use a good quality shampoo like Mela Miracle which is available in concentrate form. One gallon will last a long time. It is mixed 4:1 but you can increase the mixture to 5 or 6:1 which we do and it works fine. Make sure you place a non slip matt in the bath tub. A good investment would be a removable shower spray head or bathtub tap spray attachment. It is a good idea to bathe your puppy once every 4 or 5 weeks at least until he is 10 or 11 months old to get him used to the process. Make the experience enjoyable. Wet down the dog with the spray hose. Pour in shampoo and work into a lather, making sure to not tangle the coat to much. Let it sit for 5 minutes and rinse thoroughly. Shampoo a second time and leave this in for about 10 minutes. Mela Miracle contains skin and coat conditioners that work best if left on for a while to be given time to work. Rinse thoroughly making sure no soap residue remains especially on the underside, inside the legs and under the tail (some coats can take 1/2 hour to rinse). Always use lukewarm water, not to hot. We condition our dogs after shampooing. The conditioner used depends on the coat. No. 1 All System produces a good creme rinse conditioner that is mixed at 2 tablespoons to around half a gallon. Make sure to mix well and pour on to the coat squeezing into the ends as you go. Let this sit for 5 to 10 minutes and then rinse very throughly until the coat contains no more residue. Blot dry the dog with a towel - don't rub. If the coat seems too greasy use less of the conditioner; maybe 1 teaspoon per half gallon.
A second product we use is called Auspicious. This is also mixed from a concentrate following the manufacturer's directions. However this is sprayed on on coat after shampooing and left in. Blot dry the dog with a towel after soaking with the conditioner spray mixture.
Two items that you will be thankful for over your long years of grooming will be a grooming table and a professional hair dryer, although the professional hair dryer is not absolutely essential. If you do buy a dryer most portable stand type dryers are very good. Stay away from the Air-Force vacuum cleaner type units as they are to hard to handle, require two hands and blow with much too high a force.
Train your Tibetan Terrier to lie on his side while being groomed. This may take a while but eventually they will get used to it and it will make your job much easier and pleasant. If the dog is standing up wrap both of your arms around the upper part of the legs farthest away from you, lift the dog up - and place him down on his side. You may have to pin him in this position for a while at first (a battle of the wills) but sooner or later he will stay.
Brushes and Combs
The next most important item is a medium pin brush. Never use a comb, stripping brush or bristle brush on a Tibetan coat or you will break coat and create more problems over time. With the dog lying on his side start with the underside and brush with short quick and straight strokes in the direction that the hair grows. Aim your dryer at this area far enough away so as not to be to hot. Don't pull or tear through the coat or try to take on too large an area.
The trick is small sections, and short quick strokes. You shouldn't need to apply much pressure - you almost hold the brush very loosely. If you encounter a mat spray some grooming spray on the area and pull it apart bit by bit until it is in manageable sections for continued brushing. Make sure each section is fully dry before moving on to the next. Make sure you get the areas under the tail, under the chin and neck, the feet and behind the ears as they tend to be the areas that matt. An adult coat can take a few hours to complete but your dog will come to enjoy his grooming sessions and we find it therapeutic if you take the right attitude. If you pull or tug the dog will not enjoy being groomed and this will make your job harder in the future. After you are finished go through the coat lightly with a greyhound comb to remove any loose or dead hair. Again do not pull or tug. You can also use the comb on the facial hair and around the beard.
After grooming is also a good time to clean out the ears, clip toenails and clip away any excess hair growing around the bottom of the footpad. Cut this hair no shorter than parallel to the pad and only at the bottom of the foot.
If you prefer you could send your Tibetan Terrier to a groomer once every month or two. For a cost of $30 or $40 dollars you get a good job and you will only need to do maintenance grooming to keep the coat in good condition. Make sure you get a groomer that knows how to groom a Tibetan Terrier. This is not a Lhasa Apso. Stripping of undercoat or any stripping is a no-no for show dogs. For a pet Tibetan you may want to trim the headfall over the eyes into bangs just above the eyes so you can see the eyes. You could also clip a little hair away from the rectal area to ensure nothing sticks to this area if this is a problem you run into. We would recommend that you try to keep the rest of the coat in it's full glory, as this represents the natural look of the breed. Read the section in the Tibetan Terrier Owner's Manual on bathing and grooming but don't use the slicker brush approach mentioned as we find it just fuzzes up the coat and is unnecessary.
Be careful of burrs after you have walked your dog in the woods or in a park. Get them out when you get home or they will chew off the hair trying to rid themselves of these nasty creations!
In between baths 2 or 3 times a week brush out your Tibetan Terrier to keep his coat in good condition. Never brush a dry coat or you will break it! Use a fine mist grooming spray such as Auspicious or Magic Touch sprayed lightly over a section of coat and then brush this section out, and move on to the next.
Your Tibetan Terrier puppy and adult for that matter should have plenty of toys, tennis balls, squeaky toys (heavy duty material not the light weight), nylabones, or nylon nubblies to chew on. Many will content themselves for hours if they have toys to play with. Make sure any toys do not have removable hard parts such as eyes on teddy bears or poor quality squeaky toys or he could swallow these items. An old wool or cotton sock tied up in a knot is a big hit, as are fabric covered squeekies.
Your Tibetan should have his own crate or home with a soft blanket. Crate training is good at an early age. This allows you to keep your dog in a safe place when you are out for a while (never leave a dog in a crate all day), and for travelling safety. The plastic crates made by Vari-Kennel or Furrari in the number 200 or 300 series are good sturdy products and are approved for air shipping.
Some of the new steel wire suitcase crates are also good but not for air travel. We attach feeding bowls of the stainless steel type which clamp onto the door for feeding or water. You can also attach guinie pig type water bottles which give the dog free access to water. They seem to take to this rather quickly and it keeps their face dry.
If you prefer to use a water bowl, place one in the kitchen on a small stand about 12 inches off the ground and keep it filled with fresh water. The raised location makes it easier to drink from and tends to keep more water in the bowl than on your floor.
Garden and House Plants: Some garden and house plants are toxic to dogs. Make sure you get a list of these plants from your vet or from one of the many excellent dog books available on the market.
Tibetan Terriers are normally a long lived and healthy breed who retain their exuberance and puppy like traits well into old age. Age often reaches 16 years. In the senior years it is a good idea to switch to a low maintenance diet specially formulated for older dogs.
If you follow some of these rules and guidelines you will have many happy years with this wonderful breed of dog. Enjoy your Tibetan Terrier and if you have any questions at all please do not hesitate to call us at any time.
John & Joy George - Samsara Tibetan Terriers