Help Articles


Vaccination Protocol for Dogs

By Jean Dodds
(Reprinted with permission from the Colonial Rottweiler Club publication, April/May 2003)


I would like you to be aware that all 27 veterinary schools in North America are in the process of changing their protocols for vaccinating dogs and cats. Some of this information will present an ethical and economic challenge to veterinarians and there will also be skeptics.

Some organizations have come up with a political compromise suggesting vaccinations every three years to appease those who fear loss of income versus those concerned about potential side effects. Politics, traditions, or the doctor's economic well-being should not be a factor in medical decisions.

New Principles of Immunology

Dogs and cats' immune systems mature fully at 6 months. If a modified live virus vaccine is given after 6 months of age it produces immunity that is good for the life of the pet (i.e.: canine distemper, parvo, feline distemper). If another MLV vaccine is given a year later, the antibodies from the first vaccine neutralize the antigens of the second vaccine and there is little to no effect. The titer is not "boosted" nor are more memory cells induced.

Not only are annual boosters for parvo and distemper unnecessary, they subject the pet to potential risks of allergic reactions and immune-mediated hemolytic anemia. There is no scientific documentation to back up label claims for annual administration of MLV vaccines.

Puppies receive antibodies through their mother's milk. This natural protection can last 8 to 14 weeks. Puppies and kittens should not be vaccinated at less than 8 weeks. Maternal immunity will neutralize the vaccine and little protection (0-38%) will be produced. Vaccination at 6 weeks will, however, delay the timing of the first highly effective vaccine. Vaccinations given two weeks apart "suppress" rather than stimulate the immune system. A series of vaccinations is given starting at 8 weeks and given 3 to 4 weeks apart up to 16 weeks of age. Another vaccination given sometime after 6 months of age (usually at 1 year), will provide lifetime immunity.


Here's a great tip from my young friend,Parsa, to protect your dogs against fleas without using chemicals.  It's safe and economical, too! Here's what Parsa wrote me:

I have another cool thing I found out. For Bruno, he gets dirty a lot playing with other puppies, but I can only shower him so often. So I did some research and found out I can spray him with white vinegar. At Costco you could get like 2 gallons for a few bucks, put one part vinegar one part water in a spray bottle and spray away, and let it air dry! Vinegar is a natural germicide that kills bacteria, it also gets rid of dog odor, like no matter how bad he smelled playing with other dogs this got rid of the nasty dog smell. Not only that, but it basically cleans his coat without depleting the oils. It makes him gleam in the sun light too. AND, on top of all this, it keeps fleas away! For Bruno, I do not even give him flea medication. I put 2 tea spoons of apple cider vinegar in his water to drink, and I spray some vinegar on his coat, not only is it 100% successful unlike flea medications, but it's non toxic too. The only problem I didn't like is how he smells like vinegar for a couple hours after I spray him, but I just mixed another spray bottle with rose-water and regular water, so now not only does he shine in the light because of the vinegar, he smells like roses too. Putting a very small amount of garlic in his food also keeps his coat shiny and will definitely keep off fleas. Contrary to popular belief, a very small amount of garlic is not only safe, but very good for your dog's health. Just make sure to give him a very small amount (like half a tea spoon).

How to House-break Your Puppy

by Hal Wheeler

Many people and especially “Mom” object to acquiring a new puppy becauseof the seemingly difficult job of housebreaking—not to mention the damage and expense of soiled floors and carpeting. This article will offer the easiest, most simple method of housebreaking. One that will take the “chore”out of the job and one that will make for a happy, well-adjusted puHousebreaking in theory is very simple. It is finding a means of preventing thepuppy from doing his duties in the house and giving him only an oppor-tunity to do it outside. A dog is a strong creature of habit and because he learns by association, he will soon know there is no other place to relieve himself but the great outdoors and good old terra firma. The trick then, is to find this magic means of prevention. Here we take advantage ofa very natural instinct of the dog—his desire to keep his sleeping quarters clean—i.e. not to mess his bed. It only follows that if we can devise a bed that he cannotget out of—then presto—he is going to stay clean. Add to this a common senseschedule of being taken from his bed to outside and we have the perfect answer to housebreaking.

The Crate

First the bed that he cannot get out of—this is known as a crate—a cage just large enough for him to comfortably lie down in. If you are appalled by the idea of confining him to a cage, let me dispel any idea of cruelty. You are actually catering to a very natural desire on the part of the dog. In his wild state, does a dog, when he beds down for the night, lie down in the middle of an open field where other animals can pounce on him? No—he finds a cave or trunk of a tree where he has a feeling of security—a sense of protection. With a crate, this is what you are providing. Then too, think of it as a means to an end. He is only goingto use it for a few short weeks and with frequent and lengthening periods of freedom he proves  himself to be reliable.

The Schedule
Now to the important part—the common sense schedule we mentioned earlier. We’ll start with the last thing at night. Bedtime for the puppy: Take the puppy out and give him an opportunity to do his duties (if possible, and you are in a protected area, let him go free of the leash. Very often to start with, the leash can be sufficient restriction to keep him from doing his duties.) If necessary, use a suppository and be sure to praise him when he has completed his duties. Take him inside at once and put him in his bed (the crate).

The first thing in the morning (and I mean the first thing) pick him up and take him outside. He’s been clean all night—and holding it all night—he should do hisduties in a hurry. Now bring him in and give him freedom, but in the kitchen only. A child’s gate at the kitchen doorway is an excellent barrier to the other rooms in the house. Give him this freedom while breakfast is being prepared and while you are eating breakfast. After your breakfast, and when you have time to take himout, feed him his breakfast—and take him out immediately. Remember the rule . . . outside after each meal.

Now bring him in and put him in his crate and go about your normal routine of the morning. He should stay in the crate until about 11:00 to 11:30 am. Then out of the crate and outside. Bring him in, and while you are preparing and eating lunch, let him have the freedom of the kitchen only, for an hour or two. Follow this with a quick trip outside. Then back in and into the crate until 4:00 or 4:30 pm.

It is now time to feed him his dinner. To save yourself an extra trip outside, feed him in the crate and as soon as he has finished his last mouthful—take him outside.

After he has completed his duties, bring him in and again give him the freedom of the kitchen while you are preparing dinner an during the dinner hour. Give him another trip outside about 8:00 pm—and again just before your bedtime.








Increasing Freedom
Keep up this 24-hour schedule for at least two weeks, so that by prevention in the house and repetition of the habit of doing his duties outside, he has the first association with the proper place to relieve himself. You can now start increasing his freedom out of the crate. Do this by first giving him freedom in the morning—but again, only in the kitchen. If he remains clean then the next day try freedom in the afternoon. It is only thru these testing periods, that you will know when he hasarrived at the point of being reliable.


by-Ray Carlisle

It is important to teach your puppy good eating habits. For the first six months of your puppy’s life, if at all possible, you should feed your puppy three times a day providing the amount of food that he will eat in 10 minutes or less. After 10 minutes, pick up any left over food and throw it away. In the beginning you will probably have to experiment with the amount of food that your puppy will eat in this period of time. If you cannot feed your puppy three times a day, you can eliminate the noon meal. The noon meal is your puppy’s "light" meal. But if at all possible, try to continue the three meals until the puppy is at least 4-5 months old.

While everyone’s lifestyle is different, try to put together a consistent schedule for you and your puppy to follow. Consistency and routine will work in your favor AND your puppy’s when it comes to reliable housebreaking, nap times and play times. Your puppy’s daily schedule should look something like this:

First thing in the morning: Take your puppy out of his crate, picking him up and CARRYING him out of the house. Take him to an area where you would like him to "relieve" himself. Put him down and tell him to "poop" and "pee." Since he is a baby and has been in his crate all night, this process should take 5-10 minutes maximum. After the 5-10 minutes, or after it goes, you may pick him back up or let him follow you back inside the house. BUT, if time permits, the both of you should take a good walk. This will do wonders for you and your dog’s mental and physical health. 

 Take your puppy out of his crate, picking him up and CARRYING him out of the house. Take him to an area where you would like him to "relieve" himself. Put him down and tell him to "poop" and "pee." Since he is a baby and has been in his crate all night, this process should take 5-10 minutes maximum. After the 5-10 minutes, or after it goes, you may pick him back up or let him follow you back inside the house. BUT, if time permits, the both of you should take a good walk. This will do wonders for you and your dog’s mental and physical health.

Monitor your puppy’s playtime: You can do this by confining him to the immediate area that you are in while you are preparing his breakfast.

Prepare your puppy’s food in a small bowl: Do not use a large dish. You can increase the bowl size in the future as you increase the amount of food as your puppy gets bigger. After 5-10 minutes, pick up the dish, and throw away any left over food. Wipe your puppy’s mouth and chin to prevent any leftover food from causing irritation or acne.
Play time with your puppy should last 10-30 minutes. Return puppy to crate for 15-30 minutes. 

Potty time again. Carry your puppy back outside to the same area that you have established as the "potty place." Carrying your puppy in and out of the house right now will insure that your puppy doesn’t make any mistakes on the way. He will learn that the house is NOT the place to relieve himself. Carrying him will make him successful in learning this. Once again, tell him to "pee" and "poop" giving him 10-15 minutes to comply. Bring him back into the house after the allotted time.

Play time again. This time you can bring out the puppy-safe toys (i.e. rope or jute toys, soft squeaky toys, etc.) When you cannot monitor your puppy, you must crate him for his own safety. It doesn’t take very long for an inquisitive puppy to get himself in trouble . . . or in danger.

Repeat the above schedule both at noon and evening. Puppies will very quickly learn to follow your schedule if you are consistent in your methods.

A long walk. When possible, substitute a good, long walk instead of play time. Don’t limit this quality time spent with your puppy to just the "primary care giver." The whole family will enjoy taking the puppy for a walk.

Things You Should Know

Puppy Biting and Peeing

"Peeing" can be one of two things . . . submissive urination or "joyful" peeing. This is a stage that your puppy will go through. It IS normal; and with the proper socialization, it will not last long.

"Biting" – It is very important to remember, puppies DO NOT shake hands. They explore their new world by licking, jumping and mouthing. DO NOT scold this behavior. Take a soft toy and transfer the mouthing, licking and jumping to playing with the toy with you. The puppy just wants to interact with you. You and your family have replaced it’s litter mates. YOU are now its PACK. The puppy will seek its rightful place within the pack, therefore, make sure ALL members of the family spend time playing with the puppy. Everyone should be involved in the feeding and taking the puppy on walks. THIS IS SOCIALIZING YOUR PUPPY! It is up tothe whole family to give your new puppy the needed positive experiences. Pack order is very important so make sure you follow the simple rules of order. All people first and puppy after. People should eat first, then puppy eats. People go out the door first, then puppy goes out the door. You ARE the leader of the pack! (aka the "alpha dog!")


If you have other dogs, make sure you spend quality individual time with your puppy allowing for you and your family members to BOND with the puppy. Your puppy should have limited time with your other dogs and more extensive time with your family. You want your puppy to have more contact with you than other canine friends.


DO NOT attempt to obedience train your puppy unless you are experienced. Seek out a reputable, professional dog trainer that offers puppy kindergarten classes. Quality training is essential. Mediocre or poor training MUST be avoided at all costs! It is very difficult to retrain or eliminate habits.


Dobermans are not low energy animals and require quality exercise. Exercise does not mean playing by itself out in a pen or playing with other dogs. That is NOT correct or proper quality exercise. To properly exercise your dog, teach it to play ball, chase a Frisbee, or go for long walks on and off leash. Swimming is also an excellent form of exercise. Dogs need to explore new surroundings. They use their nose to smell and read the new scents that will tell them more about life than we learn from reading a book.