Training Tips
No Need to Dread a Car Ride PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 15 August 2010 14:50

Most of us have been there – soiled dog beds, miserable pooches, that unmistakable acrid smell of dog vomit. Motion sickness is no fun for dogs or their care givers. Luckily, there are things we can do to avoid it.

Most puppies outgrow this unpleasant condition, but some unlucky ones remain affected all their lives. My Holly Bee is one of them. Her motion sickness is both severe and long-term. In dealing with Holly’s carsickness, I developed a number of successful strategies to minimize the condition and to help Holly to cope with it. I hope you find them helpful.

Understanding the mechanism behind motion sickness helped me most in addressing it. I learned that travel sickness is a result of stimulation of the vestibular apparatus located within the inner ear. The most common hypothesis for the cause of it is that it functions as a defense mechanism against poisons. There is a part of the brain, called area postrema, responsible for inducing vomiting when toxins are detected in the body. When a dog feels the motion without seeing the cause of it the brain jumps to a conclusion that the experience is a hallucination due to ingesting neurotoxins. In other words, airsickness occurs when the brain receives conflicting messages from the body affecting balance and equilibrium.

Carsickness is more commonly seen in puppies and young dogs, just as it afflicts more children than adults. The ear structures used for balance are not fully developed in puppies and the brain cannot cope with the conflicting messages. Sometimes the problem may be an improperly formed middle ear, but most commonly it is a function of the brain overreacting to the stimulus of moving. The severity of motion sickness varies from mild, when the dog is only yawning, whining and drooling to severe, which might involve explosive vomiting and diarrhea. There are some common sense ways to help mitigate motion sickness:

  1. Condition your terrier for positive experience. Consider spending some time in a parked car with your dog. Take her for really short, fun trips. Drive around the block and have a fantastic play session afterwards. Go to the car for a doggy massage session or just some one-on-one time, with lots of petting and attention. I spent many, many hours in the car with Holly without the car moving; just sitting in the driveway. I would either read or work on my laptop and Holly eventually learned to settle and not be anxious in the car.
  2. Take your dog for a walk before any travel. This is especially important when you plan on traveling far. Make the time for a really long walk. A tired dog is a less anxious dog. The brain will be less reactive.
  3. Do not give any food or drink before a car trip. My rule of thumb is 6 hours of no food and little or no water, before any longer trips. The idea is to send messages to the brain that the stomach is empty. There is no poison there to get rid of.
  4. One exception to no eating rule is ginger. One ginger cookie given 30 min. before a trip settles the tummy, it can be helpful to puppies. Ginger is a traditional remedy for nausea.  Puppies should not be kept hungry.
  5. When driving, open windows for fresh air or at least lower them a bit.  It is important to lower them on both sides of the car. This helps balance the air pressure inside the car with the air pressure outside, which may help reduce your dog’s nausea and discomfort.
  6. Locate the car seat or the crate in a place that allows a view of the far horizon. The idea is to reconcile in the brain the visual stimuli with the feeling of motion. Conversely, if possible avoid the most bouncy parts of the vehicle and those closed off from seeing out the window, like the back of a van.
  7. Avoid any food or any products with strong smells in the car, which may stimulate the brain further into thinking that the poison is still there and may agitate the motion sickness.
  8. Drive as smooth as possible – avoiding sudden stops, fast turns, bumpy roads.  The less the little terrier body is thrown around the better.  After all, it is all about balance and equilibrium.
  9. Make frequent stops to allow a feeling of the solid ground under the paws.

If the above methods are not enough you may want to consider medication.  Pharmacological intervention was my last resort but it worked very well for Holly. For her, none of the natural remedies worked (we tried about a dozen or so), nor any of the over-the counter motion sickness remedies for children that our vet suggested to try.  The good news is that Pfizer came out with Cerenia, the only medicine specifically formulated for canines.  Cerenia, along with other measures I shared above, allows Holly Bee to travel without vomiting. 

It is a prescription drug specifically formulated for motion sickness in dogs without causing drowsiness. It is a relatively new medication, so I was hesitant to use it, but it proved incredibly effective for Holly and made our life much happier.

How to Greet a Dog - Kids Corner PDF Print E-mail
Written by Linda Dowdle   
Thursday, 13 May 2010 00:00


• Always walk slowly toward dogs you don’t know and ask the owner if you can pet their dog.

• If the owner says “yes” curl your hand into a closed fist with the back of your hand facing upward, extend your hand slowly to the dog.

• Allow the dog to sniff the back of your hand. We recognize people on sight, dogs recognize people by their scent. Dogs sniff people to learn their scent.

• After the dog has sniffed your hand and become familiar with you, pet it gently under the chin or on the chest.

PLEASE REMEMBER…for your safety, never greet a loose dog without an owner present. You should follow this rule even if you know the dog and the dog’s owner.

Peaceful Living with a Pack of Dogs PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Nesbitt   
Monday, 15 February 2010 18:06

Valuable Tips From a Veteran Norfolk Owner
First Printed in the ANTIC September 2009                              Written By Sue Ely

Living with two Norfolk Terriers does not constitute a pack experience, but the minute there are more than two dogs in the household, especially if they are all of one gender, there is a pack; and the owner needs to be the leader of the pack or there will be trouble if the dogs run together.  On the other hand, if each dog is kept in a run, they will not form a pack, and the only issues may be occasional fence fighting, running or spinning obsessively, and a lot of barking.

Norfolk Terriers were famous in English hunting kennels for being good pack dogs because, for the most part, they are hardwired and competitive as some of the other small terriers. They got on with other dogs, and mostly, with each other as long as there was a center of control, a leader to follow.

In a wild pack, that is the top dog. In a domestic pack, that is the owner/huntsman. Ever since the late 60’s, I have had a pack of Norfolk in my home – both genders, related and not related. In that time I may have had an occasional skirmish, but never an injury, or a death.

Speaking From Experience
What follows here are some suggestions, from experience, as to how you can maintain more than two Norfolk in our house without disaster.
Make a conscious commitment to being, without question, the leader. Teach every dog it’s name well enough so that when you say it, the dog looks at you no matter what! Since not all the dogs arrive at once, this is an individual training program, along with housebreaking, for every dog that joins the household. It is best to work with the new dog alone at first, and then on a lead with the pack around for a while till you have proofed the basic commands and given the pack a refresher on pack etiquette, too.

Then teach the basic house/yard/pack commands: Quiet! Leave it! Enough! Off! Come! Whoa Get Here! (or whatever words you use for control.) All preceded by the dog’s name. Work with the new dog on a long lead, accompanied by a few older dogs, at first, and then by the entire pack. Do this exercise several times a day, after meals, or whenever you want the dogs to be out in the yard, until it becomes routine. The most dangerous time comes when the dogs first go out in the morning and everyone is frisky; it is not unwise to keep a troublemaker on lead till that first energy wears off.

If a dog ignores you, walk it down, if necessary, get hold of it, and remind it firmly what you have asked it to do. Don’t yell, don’t hit, just make the dog do what you asked, then say “good dog” and let it go. If the pack looks overly interested in the discipline say “Leave it.” If the miscreant persists in the error, leash it until it remembers what it has to do… don’t remove it from the pack. AS each dog joins the household, it learns the commands and learns to be respectful of you and the other dogs.

Dogs Require Supervision
Never let the dogs run about, inside or outside, if you are not with them…not in the next room…with them, rain or shine. To be on the safe side in your yard, carry a long walking stick and put a slip leash in your pocket so you can reach out and touch a dog to remind it you are there, or leash it for better control.

Watch the dogs carefully, reading body language and expressions so that you can disperse any behaviour that looks like it could escalate into an argument. Don’t wait to see if a moment of enmity will pass; diffuse the situation quietly, and firmly and immediately using a pack command, and then praise the dog that has been corrected.

Never forget that these are dogs and there are all sorts of triggers that can spark trouble: another dog yelping from a bee sting or catching a toenail on the porch steps, a rabbit, a deer, a bear (!) outside the fenced yard, a cat or a groundhog inside the fence, two dogs playing and jostling a third who gets annoyed, the UPS truck driving up, etc., etc.

It is your job to be on top of these things, to anticipate and diffuse them, and to provide the structure of the house commands to avoid trouble.
Avoid squeaky toys, bones and chewies. Dogs can have the latter in their crates, but take them up before you let anyone out. Use plain rope or clothe tugs that don’t excite prey drive.

Genetic Imperative
Pack action is electric, instinctual and compelling to a dog; even well trained dogs can jump into the deep end over some minute thing. The more you can do to focus and calm life in the yard and in the house, the less apt this is to happen.

Don’t ever pick a dog up out of the pack for any reason, and then put it down without saying BACK!!
Make sure all your dogs get a good amount of exercise, singly and in groups: walk them on a leash, in a dog park, in the village; take them to town with you to get mailand then walk around the block, or to the bank, or… if you take two at a time, vary the pairings. The one thing that I haven’t mentioned is what to do when you have a bitch coming in season. Clearly she cannot run with the pack, and clearly she is also apt to spark a lot of tension. I send my bitches away when they are in season, and, though it costs money, it costs a lot less than the vet bills engendered by a pack fight, whether it is between bitched or dogs.
In her book, Animals Make Us Human: creating the best life for animals, Temple Grandin quotes another dog behaviourist as saying, “People who have more than one dog are in a special club, [they] know that two dogs are twice as much work as one, and that three dogs are as much work as you expected seven to be.”

In my experience, no trouble has ever started when I was there, being the leader. If I have gone in to talk on the phone, or do something else, then the trouble has happened. I am convinced that time spent on careful training and supervision will make a pack action a rare occurrence, but I am also convinced thatpeace is feasible as long as the pack in question consists of both genders and a variety of ages, and, most importantly as long as the leader of the pack is there whenever the pack is out and about.

Puppy Training PDF Print E-mail
Written by Linda Dowdle   
Friday, 12 February 2010 17:23

Submitted By Jan Yaffe

I enrolled Acacia aka "Casie" in puppy training classes when she was three and a half months old, just two weeks after bringing her home. I am fortunate to have the expertise of the Hamilton Dog Obedience Club close to our home. That initial exposure for her was invaluable. With 4 training rings running simultaneously, the young puppies learn to focus on their owners at a time when they are most reliant and easily trained. That focus is the basis for all training that follows. After 8 short weeks, Casie had learned the commands sit, stand, down, and come. She could also do some simple heeling, and hold a sit or down stay for 30 seconds.  All was accomplished with food, praise, and play for motivation. 

 We have just recently completed 8 weeks of advanced puppy classes. Casie is quite the star! She loves to go to her "dog party" each week. So much so, that she starts to sing the minute we turn in the driveway of the fairgrounds where training takes place. She bursts at the seams to get inside and say hello to all her favorite people (translation: anyone willing to greet her and hopefully pick her up for a cuddle and to tell her how cute she is...she is told that so often that I'm beginning to think she considers it her second name). She is such a ham! The second set of classes have boosted her confidence.  Her obedience to commands, and the speed at which she responds is really quite astonishing, and ever so rewarding.


 This training has cemented our bond. It really is not as time consuming as one might think. We incorporate a lot of our homework exercises during our half hour morning walk, and it is amazing how much training can be done during commercial breaks in the evening while watching a favorite programme on TV. Here are a few tips for those starting out with their puppy:


1) Start training at a young age-the earlier the better (definitely before 6 months of age)

2) Go to the busiest training club you can. There may be a dozen puppies in a class, but our club has a trainer and 2 helpers, so lots of individual attention is received. The more distractions you train under, the better your puppy will be.

3) Take your puppy everywhere and expose him/her to a variety of places, people and situations. The rewards are endless.

4) Be patient and have fun. They are only puppies for a short time. The effort you put in now, lasts a lifetime.


 We are now looking forward to our next set of classes starting in January. By the time we are finished in March, Casie will be ready to go to CKC Obedience Trials to earn her C.D. title.


 Thanks to Linda and Peter for raising such delightful little dogs. This one is stealing hearts wherever she goes.


Working Puppy Training PDF Print E-mail
Written by Linda Dowdle   
Tuesday, 02 February 2010 15:41

Reprinted from ANTIC – Spring 1983


Very young Norfolk puppies – five weeks and up – can start their ‘field’ training right in the house. To begin, cut doorways in the opposite ends of a cardboard box and lay it on the floor, bottom side up. Pups will use this fascinating ‘toy’ to play in and out of and will thus become accustomed to dark spaces and small openings.


A galvanized stovepipe, 8 to 10 inches in diameter, can be hidden behind a couch and additional tunnels can be built by taping cardboard boxes together. Old socks with knots in them can be left in the cage of pet rats and mice until they’ve thoroughly absorbed the scent of the rodents. Then, they can be used as toys for the puppies that will play at ‘killing’ them.


At eight to twelve weeks, as pups get stronger and are outside more, you can add to your backyard: 

  • Another galvanized stovepipe
  • A 10” by 8” transite sewer or drainage pipe
  • An underground tunnel liner


Pups will play together, along with their elders, running in and out of the tunnels.


Be very sure that all tunnels have daylight at the end so that puppies will not feel trapped and become scared. They must know they can get out easily. After all, no smart little Norfolk is going to go into a hole that she knows she can’t get out of. That’s survival!


If you live in an area where you can hunt your adult Norfolks, take the puppies along to romp in the woods and fields. As the adults dig up mice, investigate woodpiles, fallen trees, and woodchuck dens, the pups will follow right along…sniffing, digging, getting excited and ‘helping’ the big dogs do their thing. And, they will be learning. Always start pups with adults that know what to do. It’s the easiest way to train youngsters and they will feel safe with Mom and Pop and other adult Norfolks telling them what to do.


Before teaching your Norfolk to hunt and kill unwanted varmints, decide on two different commands. A command to hunt and kill, given in a high, excited voice (‘sic ‘em ‘ , ‘get it’), is used only when you want the dog to hunt seriously.

A command to be used around small household animals such as tiny kittens, hamsters, gerbils, rabbits, etc. should be delivered in a firm, low, quiet  voice. Teaching your puppies to ‘be good’ or ‘be gentle’ is important from the very beginning if they are to socialize with your other household ‘critters’. Once in a while a sharp rap on the hindquarters and a loud ‘NO!’ may be necessary if the youngster shows any aggressive signs while under this command.

Continue using the two different commands for the two types of behaviour throughout the dog’s life. Remember to reward each type of correct behaviour with praise and love. Most Norfolks have enough common sense and ‘holding power’ to learn the difference between commands without difficulty.


Keeping one or two adult pet rats that have been handled a lot is a good way to teach the pups to follow a rat scent.  The pet rat can go through a tunnel, leaving a trail. The rat is then put in a small cage that fits at the end of the tunnel. Pups are then turned loose to enter the tunnel and follow the scent. They ‘work’their quarry by barking, growling, digging and so on. In this way, they learn to go to ground and work their prey without harm coming to anyone. This is a good training procedure for people who do not want their Norfolk to kill anything, ever. And, this behaviour is all that is needed to compete in American Working Terrier Association (and AKC) trials.


If you allow your Norfolks to hunt ‘for real’ make sure they have all their vaccinations, including leptospirosis.


By Carolyn Pyle



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