||Bringing Home Pup - Safety First
- Make sure all soaps, cleaners, poisons, curtains, plants, etc. are out of reach of pup. Anything puppies can reach will become a new toy.
- Have lots of toys, chews, etc. for play times; furniture legs won't be so tempting then. Old boxed from rice, soup, etc. and empty paper towel rolls make fine toys. Nothing that becomes a "tug-of-war" toy until after adult teeth are in.
Housebreaking Hints and More
- Keep your pup confined in a newspaper-covered room (kitchen) until he establishes good bathroom habits. Always keep paper down on his favorite spots. When he is free to run in other parts of the house, WATCH him! An accident in another room may be the beginning of a habit that is difficult to break.
- When training, your pup will understand the meaning of a loud clap with a stern "NO."
- Your pup has never been in the dark. A night light may be necessary for a while.
- Always have fresh water available.
- Always praise good behavior.
- Watch that pup does not get a chill in changeable weather.
- Young pups sleep a lot. Don't be alarmed.
- Put table scraps in a blender if you wish to give them to your pup. Pour the liquid over his food. This will help to teach him not to beg at the table.
- Lots of room to run and play will help him sleep better.
- P.S. I don't use flea collars. Powder is better for pups.
- To the novice, the Afghan puppy does not appear to need grooming until they are about one year old. But, by this time, any dog that has not accepted these attentions as part of his regular routine, is firmly convinced that he never needs to be groomed - and Afghans do not un-convince easily!
- Routine brushing of pups promotes peak coat growth, cleanliness, and teaches them to enjoy this attention calmly.
- It also gives the owner a chance to develop speed and skill in grooming techniques while the coat is still short and easily managed. This skill will minimize future frustrations to the owner and discomfort to the dog when the heavy mature coat develops.
Crucial Periods of Coat Growth
- Rather suddenly, near the pup's first birthday (times vary with each dog) he will begin to lose gobs of fur. This will be evident as you groom him. The loosening fur becomes easily entangled with the incoming adult - forming "felted" mats.
- Constant grooming (daily on heavy coats) is required during this coat change - or drastic removal of hard mats will become inevitable. This difficult period may last from a few months to a full year.
- When the complete "puppy coat" has been shed, and your Afghan has a fully developed short-haired saddle down his back, the first hump is passed, and the grooming becomes a lesser task. These coat drops re-occur, but with less severity as the years go by. Continue to Groom at Least Once a Week.
- Some bitches avoid this heavy matting period by losing their "puppy fur" before the adult fur comes in, and they are poorly coated as a result. This may be a temporary condition. Estral cycles and false pregnancies may also affect the female coat. At these times, intensify brushing to take out all the dead hair and to stimulate the skin for new coat-growing season.
- No "coat calendar" applies to all Afghans. Some begin slowly and gain heavy coats late in life. Others develop profuse coats early - but do not retain them through the years. Some never have good coats, and others are never without them. Do the best you can with the dog you have.
- Remember - even temporary toleration of mats will cause poor skin conditions, leads to drastic removal of hair, and absolutely ruins the appearance of your beautiful afghan hound.
Groom Regularly as they Grow
- Accustom pups to being groomed from both prone and standing positions. Afghans can best be groomed thoroughly when lying quietly on their side. Quick brushing and finishing touches are done with the dog standing.
Always Groom from the Bottom Up
- When grooming legs, begin with the feet. On the body, begin at the chest, etc.
Always Groom from the Skin Outward
- Pick an area on the dog, brush back the fur, and carefully groom down a small bit of hair. With all types of grooming tools, use only long, smooth strokes that lays freshly groomed hair over the part just brushed previously. (No flicking motion, as this breaks the hairs.)
- Most Afghans hate having their feet touched. Begin foot care early. Check for over-long toenails (especially dew-claws) and mats between the toes.
- On legs: place a large cloth between the legs while the dog is lying down. Groom top side of upper leg. Remove cloth and do inside of lower leg.
- The upper chest and inside of elbows mat extra-quickly due to friction. Check these hidden spots with your fingers often.
- Groin areas also need extra attention, as well as under the back legs, especially on males. A spot rub with a "dry shampoo" can help soften and deodorize this area. De-mat frequently.
- Mats form under the ears easily, and are hidden by the ear leather and topknot. Keep ears clean both inside and out.
- Shedding backs and saddles respond best to good stiff brushings.
Grooming Tools Vary with the Dog
- Natural Bristle Brush (not plastic or nylon) - everyone should have one. Adequate all by itself for many Afghans, but does skip over some tangles. Most excellent for "finish" touches.
- Wide Tooth Comb - one with a handle is easiest on the hands. Should be used very sparingly, but does find knots. On thick coats, use a comb to run over groomed areas to find missed tangles. Works well close to the skin, and on spots that are hard to brush (toes, etc.).
- Human Fingers - very inexpensive, but most difficult tool to master. Best tool available for many uses. Use to part the fur into sections before beginning to groom each area, use for pulling tangles part and removing burrs, sticks, etc. Pull the hair off the burr, not the burr off the hair.
- With burrs, mats, etc., learn the technique of separating all unaffected hair away from the difficult area, and then working around the edges, gently tease and pull bits of the hair free. Brush the loosened hair as you work. Use fingers to pull the hair apart, and to hold the remaining hair so that it is not pulling the dog's skin. If a mat must be cut with scissors, make one cut with the hair, not across it. The best scissors for this are thinning shears. Also, two excellent tools for removing mats are the Oliver Mat Remover and Oliver Slant Tooth Comb.
- Comb hair out of all tools frequently as you groom.
Showing Your Afghan Hound
- Dog shows are an interesting activity, and the Afghan Hound commands a great deal of spectator attention. The Afghan Hound usually enjoys showing himself off, but naturally for the best results, the dog and handler should have a thorough knowledge of ring manners and procedure. This can be gained from conformation classes and practice and experience.
Select your Exhibit Carefully
- All Afghan Hounds are not show material, and if conformation showing is of interest, the prospective buyer should be very careful in selecting a dog. Usually, an adult or an older puppy is indicated. Buying a young puppy for show purposes is always a gamble, and should be priced accordingly.
- A potential exhibitor should take aadvantage of all dog shows in the area; see as many Afghans as possible, and gain as much breed knowledge as possible before making a selection.
Conditioning Your Afghan
- To make the very best of what you have, your Afghan must be fed the right foods throughout his life, and exercised properly.
- When you buy your pup, you should receive a diet that consists of all the necessary vitamins and minerals which should include plenty of calcium, such as milk, bone meal and cottage cheese. Beef, lamb, fowl and fish are all good for your pup, beef and lamb kidney, heart and liver are a good source of iron, protein and vitamin D. Cod liver oil and yeast are another necessity in your pup's diet. You should also give a coat conditioner such as "Grow Kote" or Linatone, especially if it seems that he has dry skin. Egg yolk is very good for your dog, but either cook the white or omit it altogether. Any dry kibble of your choice or canned dog food will do, but compare the ingredients and overlook the "yummy" gravy look, or the bright red "meaty" look, as your dog is color blind and even though it may look "good enough for you to eat," it may not be the best food for your dog. Don't forget to increase your pup's food as he grows older. It is best to omit bones in your dog's diet unless you give just the large knuckle bone to help in keeping his teeth clean, as bones will wear off the coat on the legs and he may also get some of his ear hair in his mouth and chew this off, so put his snood on and try to put long cotton stockings on his front legs when you give him a bone. A large milk bone once a day will help in keeping the tarter off his teeth and keep his gums healthy.
Stacking for Ring Exhibition
- Front legs are to be straight from elbow to ground as viewed from front or side, with feet pointing neither in nor out. Place forelegs just far enough apart to make this straight line, and then check that the feet are facing forward.
- Back (topline) approximately level from withers to hipbones. Topline is adjusted indirectly by positioning of the hind legs. If topline runs uphill toward the tail, place hind legs further backwards or vice-versa.
- Adjust hind legs until hocks are straight from all views. Spread legs apart, and place legs back to the point where the hocks are perpendicular to the ground. Hocks must not lean in or out from any angle. This is a difficult pose for immature youngsters, but becomes more natural with maturity. Routine practice helps greatly. When adjusting hind legs, do not turn hock joint, but carefully reposition the entire leg; feet must turn neither in nor out, but must face dead ahead.
- The "professional" always controls the proud head carriage of the dog, when adjusting legs etc. This can be done with a taut leash or with one hand under the dog's neck and chin, with fingers going back towards the ears.
- Adjust the dog's tail to complete the picture. Some judges like an Afghan "stacked" with the tail high, others prefer it to hang naturally.
Afghans "Stack" Best when Adjusted Slowly and Calmly.
- Say "no" if he moves or fights stacking, but if he gets all excited, give up until he is calmer. Say "stay" when he is still, and praise him profusely. Consistently excuse him with a word such as "OK," and then lavishly pet and play with him so he enjoys the training experience. Do not expect much from a very young pup.
- To simulate actual judging experience, "stack" him and have other people run their hands over him, starting with a look at his "bite." Most afghans must be trained to allow people to inspect their teeth and their feet. Have the mock judge feel legs, back, head, feet and tail. As he grows older, increase the time you expect him to stay in a stacked position, up to five minutes. Upright grooming is a fine help in teaching him to stand and wait quietly.
Gaiting your Afghan
- In both gaiting and stacking, every dog varies in its individual needs. The secret of properly presenting a dog is in knowing the dog's assets and its liabilities in depth as well as knowing what a perfect Afghan would look like.
- Usually keep the dog on your left side, but watch to see that the dog is always between you and the judge. The judge wants to see the dog, not the handler.
- On entering the ring, the judge usually has the dogs all gait in a large circle where he can view them from the side. If you are not the leader, follow the pace being set for you and concentrate on alerting your dog to run gaily with head and tail held high. Experience will teach you how short to hold the lead (use a "show" lead if possible). Some dogs accept a short, taut lead, but many Afghans fight this and move better on a loose lead with encouraging words. This first total balanced picture of a moving Afghan is important.
- After the judge stops the line, he will examine each dog individually. "Stack" your dog and step back as the judge comes to him. Do not drop the leash. Answer any of the judge's questions, such as if the dog "bites," his age, etc. He may ask you to show him the dog's teeth. Listen carefully. Don't volunteer information. What the judge wants to know he will ask with one exception, and that is if your bitch is in season, it is only fair to the judge to tell him so he won't get his hands messy.
- When the judge has checked your dog's physical structure completely, he will want you to gait your dog. Listen as he tells you where to go, and if you do not understand, ask him again. Watch those who are sent out before you. Judges vary on how to best view gait. Know the different patterns, and practice them in handling class.
- In a proper Aghan gait, the legs should move in an approximately straight line, rear feet hitting where the front feet have just left. Knowledge of Afghan anatomy and canine action will help you find the best speed for your dog. Encourage the dog to show animation and move out with head and tail held high.
- When you return to the judge, he may send you out again, instructing you to go faster or slower, or in a different pattern. He may be looking for something special in the gait, or possibly giving the dog a second chance to get his tail up, move straighter or many other things.
- Most judges will stop you as you bring your dog back from the gaiting with a wave of their hand. Stop quickly and alert the dog. The judge is trying to see the dog's "expression." This is an important moment to many judges.
- When the judge is through with your dog, and beckons to the next one, go to the end of the line, "stack" your dog, and try to keep him looking his very best as the judge goes over the other dogs. The judge will look back from time to time, mentally comparing the dogs. Don't let an early impression be lost by allowing your dog to become sloppily relaxed at this time.
- After going over all the dogs in the class, the judge will probably send all the dogs together around in a final circle, and then make his selections. If you are in the first four placings, go to the placing so indicated and take your ribbon, thank the judge and leave the ring. First and second place winners stand by for possible further judging.
- Remember that the well-trained dog has the advantage in that he shows the judge his very best points, rather than making the judge come and look for them.
Afghan Hound History
- The Afghan Hound is acknowledged as one of the oldest of known breeds; a comparison of anatomical structures reveals that the Afghan represents a primitive stage of evolution.
- The hunting dogs of Egyptian royalty, Afghan Hounds were exchanged as gifts between royal households, and it is believed in this way the Afghan appeared in Afghanistan centuries ago.
Keen Sight, Great Maneuverability
- The Afghan Hound is a sight hound, and has been used as a hunting dog for centuries. Because his unusually wide, high hip bones give great maneuverability (found in no other breed), the Afghan makes an excellent hunting hound, particularly in rough, uneven terrain.