Mayfair Cavaliers

Starting to Bond with Your New Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Puppy

By: Chuck Slemaker

Training puppies to sniff without eating

Sniffing and not eating is a hard concept to grasp

I read an interesting article recently by Karen Sinkevicius, and I thought it would apply very nicely to the process of starting to bond with your new Cavalier puppy. She recommends that you devote about 15 minutes to this process on a daily basis.

For the first two minutes each day, she recommends that you pet with a purpose. Instead of going to sleep and rubbing the same spot until you have removed the fur, focus on your puppy. Like people, your new companion will quickly come to know when you're thinking about him rather than, say, how your day was going. You should learn to talk with your Cavalier about whatever is on your mind; you'll find your pup is a good listener. Also, you'll both enjoy the curative effect.

For the next 3 minutes, Karen recommends a game she calls hide and sniff. Robbie and I use low-sodium goldfish crackers for this game. We hide a few goldfish around the room, ask the puppy to sniff a goldfish, then set him free and tell him to hunt. The puppy really will begin to understand what the word "hunt" means, and he will love the game. But more importantly, it's a wonderful way to begin bonding with your Cavalier puppy.

Young Cavalier finds her first goldfish

She's found her first goldfish

For the next 10 minutes, give your sweet little friend a relaxing massage. Karen recommends that you start with long slow strokes from head to tail. Then slowly move down your puppy's body targeting specific areas, such as: behind the ears, the neck, under the muzzle, and down the back and legs. Also, since you're in the area, be sure to rub and handle each of the paws. If your pup is comfortable with you handling his paws, it will make it much easier for you to trim nails and the fur that grows between the pads on the underside of the paws. Finish up with a nice tummy tickle. I've never seen a Cavalier, puppy or adult, that didn't love it.

By doing this on a regular basis, paying attention to what you're doing, and being thorough about it, you'll quickly become very familiar with all of your Cavalier puppy's lumps and bumps. Any changes and you'll notice them right away. If a closer examination causes you any concern, then see your veterinarian, or call your breeder for advice. Just remember we're talking about a baby here, so keep it soft and gentle.

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