A Few Words on SCHIPPERKES .....
First of all, though small they have no small dog tendencies. As Isabel Ormiston, eminent breeder of the Kelso Schipperkes, said in the 1920's: "They are a very big dog in a very small package". Mentally, they are like small Rottweilers or German Shepherds. Don't let their cute, beguiling looks and diminutive size fool you!
Schipperkes are very, very intelligent, known to be stubborn, are funny - clever - entertaining, love their owners and want to be the best dog you will ever own. Training is a snap if you are consistent. We highly recommend the techniques of Cesar Millan and William Koehler. These true trainers know dogs inside and out and Schipperkes respond immediately to his techniques. With Schipperkes, either you train them or they'll train you. It's not rocket science.
DO NOT take a Schip to a "treat based" trainer or "positive only" trainer. They WILL run the show, and these "trainers" will then get frustrated and label them as "untrainable" or "out of control". How do I know this?? I have taken back more than one Schip who was considered so out of control the owners were told they were "untrainable" and needed to be put down. WITHOUT EXCEPTION, each one, after less than 20 minutes of simple, firm obedience work, could not be made to misbehave or take their eyes off me, even being worked in the goat pen admist the herd or in our chicken yards, with plenty of distractions! And this is after less than 20 minutes with me. And I'm not cosmic. After working with their owners on these simple concepts, these dogs went home to a renewed life in competent hands. The simple training they received here and instruction to their owners has made for a complete, life-long change. Each of these dogs had a list of sins a mile long, including incessant barking, soiling in the house, biting owners, guests and children, food posession, incessant activity and so on. In EACH case, once the Schip viewed their owner(s) as their pack leaders and their owners were willing to take that position and learn proper obedience work with the right equipment, every one of these mis-behaviors disappeared permanently.
Anyone can train a Schipperke. Your only tools need be your willingness and ability to educate yourself and take the leadership position consistently, and use a martingale style choke collar (nylon collar with triangular chain attachment to leash) ) and a 6 foot 3/4" heavy leather leash, which is easy on your hand and can be used to smack aggressive dogs across their face who are trying to attack your Schip. (This happens more now as unskilled people have more large, powerful dogs they can't control). The martingale style collar releases immediately after a correction, as opposed to a regular choke chain which does not always release properly. This is important, as the snap/correction simulates the bite on the neck of the pack leader, and the release is their reward for changed behavior. It must be immediate. Never use a "flexi" or retractable lead at any time, they are worthless, don't own one; and do not use a nylon lead of any kind as they can burn your hand if they get pulled out, and if out walking they are worthless to smack onto an aggressive dog trying to attack your smaller dog.
During the World Wars, Schipperkes were used by the Belgian Resistance to run messages back and forth through enemy Russian lines, and not one was ever caught. You won't see a Pekinese do that! Very single minded and determined, Schipperkes are by nature suspicious of strangers, and will warm to them on their own terms. Watching their owner's body language, they will accept strangers; thus the importance of socialization and being an owner who is clearly being their pack leader. Remember, they were bred to guard barges and run off intruders.
Schipperkes want to be with their owners and involved in whatever they are doing , being very adaptable in this regard.
Do they shed? Yes, generally twice a year. The good news: they get it over with within days. Do they bark? Yes, they are concerned for the welfare of their family and will alert you to odd doings. If they are bored and frustrated, it can escalate into habitual barking, but if you are doing your job as a responsible owner mindful of their needs, this and almost any other poblem will never be an issue. Their needs are: exercise - discipline/leadership - affection in that order!! IF YOU CAN'T FULFILL THESE REQUIREMENTS please be honest with all concerned and DO NOT get a Schipperke.
I believe 99.9% of dog problems are owner error caused. When you point the finger at the dog, there are three more pointing back at you. Before you get your pup, set down clearly what is acceptable and what is not and stick to it. Discipline your pup appropriately the first time unacceptable behavior is noted, not after the tenth time. Don't get after them one time, and then let the same thing go another time. Be consistent. Everyone in the family must be in pack leader position and all be consistent and agree on the rules. Schipperkes are extremely smart. If you're not running the show, they will. Hands down. Have clearly defined rules - boundaries - limitations and have everyone in the family stick to them consistently.
We care very deeply about our pups and their new owners' success, and want to see their lives blessed by their new puppy as much as ours are. We are here to help, just pick up the phone and call (best!), or turn on ye olde family computer and shoot an email. Or text. Just do it! The only dumb question is the one not asked.
And, if you are ever unable to care for your Schipperke, or your circumstance changes that you must give him or her up, or for ANY other reason, we will take him/her back at any time for any reason. They may always return home.
So if this sounds like the breed for you...give me a call, let's talk.
First, let's acknowledge that since prehistoric times, dogs have been in packs; they are hardwired to be pack animals and adhere to those instincts. Sooo....
DO NOT talk "baby talk" or high pitched voice to your pup or dog. Why? Because dogs are PACK animals, their understanding is it's "survival of the PACK", NOT the individual. So What does that matter? Well, if you talk high pitched baby talk to your pup, you are telling him, from day one, that you are so glad he is here to be the pack leader. You are telling him by your voice that you are unfit, weak, unstable and not worthy of leading the pack to food, safety or surviving. That's going to make any dog nervous, because, being pack animals, someone has to be the leader, so if no one shows leadership, the dog will instinctively rise to be the leader which, in a human's view, will be a dog who is potentially aggressive, destructive, anxious, out of control or basically just a "bad egg". The dog will then be labeled as "unsocial", "aggressive" or other bad terms BECAUSE he had a bad puppyhood, is inbred, came from a bad neighborhood, etc etc when in fact this is HUMAN CAUSED. It will be an icy day in the Caribbean when you hear humans, as a group, admit that maybe they have been a major cause of the problems. But that's 99.9% the cause.
NEVER try to comfort a dog who is anxious or fearful as you would a child. They are NOT children. If you soothe and pet at that time, you will be rewarding your dog for that anxious or fearful behavior. Whatever you praise, you will get more of and more intensely. So if you are out walking and your dog becomes scared or anxious, you need to model calm, assertive energy, radiating confidence and calmness so your dog will look at the leader (you), and since you do not show any fear, he will decide everything is ok and problem solved. And, remember, LOOSE leash, not tight or firmly held. The tension or anxiety in you will zip right down that leash to your pooch. This is a key point, folks.
And no flexi-leads; you have zero control. If your dog is pulling you along (why harnesses are not good to use) and you see his butt, guess what? He's the leader, you are a follower. He should be beside or behind you. If all he does is sniff when you are walking, since their brain is 60% scent oriented, you are left with 40% to work with. Walks should be a "migration", not a sniffing/tracking session unless you are training for that.
DO praise and reward a calm dog who is relaxed, do make your dog do a relaxed sit before feeding (food is a big time reward). Do pet and massage (shoulders to rear) when they are calm and relaxed.
Clearly set the rules, boundaries and limitations and ALL humans in the home must uphold these so as a group you are 100% consistent. Agree on all this ahead of time. If all aren't on board for this, then DON'T get a Schipperke. Pack leaders make all the decisions, such as: if it will be OK for the dog to be on the couch, then YOU invite him up (he is a follower, he can't make that decision), and YOU tell him when to leave. You don't come home and find him up on the couch with his cronies unless you all agree that he can be up anytime he wants (NOT recommended). You pay the taxes, you make the decisions. And it's your couch, you bought it, not him (unless he dragged one home from the outdoors).
When problems arise, face them head on and deal with the issue. DO NOT sidestep issues and DO NOT GIVE TIMEOUTS, that is one of the most stupid things you can do and dogs do not understand this at all. Seriously, have you ever seen a coyote sitting on a rock doing a "time out"?
If you watch enough Cesar Millan ( Dog Whisperer, Cesar 911, Dog Nation etc) episodes, you will start to see a recurrent theme and increase your pack leader skills greatly. If your dog barks excitedly at guests, don't banish him to the bathroom or feebly try to hold him back as you open the door and he continues to go ballistic. Instead, claim the space around the door, move into his space to back him up, physically block him, work up to sending him back further to a specific spot (bed). If necessary, put a slip lead on him, touch on sides to redirect his mind every time the doorbell rings and maintain your calm assertive attitude. Maybe set up a situation so you can work on this; if done well, you can squelch this with just a few lessons as long as the humans can change their skills for the better.
Also, guests need to be taught proper dog etiquette: No touch, no talk, no eye contact. After your dog has sniffed them over is when they can approach. Some dogs just couldn't care less about guests, but this is the protocol for those that do. And remember, NO high pitched baby talk.
Some points to remember when around your dog(s): Pack leaders make all decisions. Dogs are not verbal, so they read your body language constantly. Like it or not, whenever you are around your dog, you are carrying on a conversation through body language. The master of this is Cesar Millan, he won't steer you wrong....no treats, no gimmicks, no crap. There are no excuses for us either, because Cesar has tons of DVDs out there, available used too, and new ones on his website, and episodes free on YouTube. Also a free email newsletter.
Either you train them, or they'll train you. Dang, these are smart dogs!
Get off your butt and be pro-active. Deal with any issues immediately. Your dog will thank you for this; all they really want is a balanced pack leader (or leader family) so they can feel secure and cared for. As my son told me, "Mom, thanks for not letting me get away with anything". It works on kids, too.