As an All-Breed Dog Trainer I can tell you there is no other breed quite like a Komondor. As puppies, Komondors are like any other breed. It is important that training begin immediately as Komondors grow quickly and in twelve months you could have a 100 lb. puppy.
Komondor puppies should NEVER leave their mother before eight weeks. Studies have shown the biggest imprint period in a dog's life is from four weeks to 12 weeks. Much is learned from Mom and siblings during this critical time period!!
A safe environment should be provided for the puppy. Most breeders will suggest a sturdy five to six foot fence. Invisible fencing as the sole form of containment should be avoided. While invisible fencing may prevent your Komondor from getting out of your yard, it will do nothing to prevent intruders from getting in. An invisible fence used in conjunction with an existing fence has been quite effective in controlling my fence jumpers however, I would never try to contain my Komondors using invisible fencing alone.
A large crate should be purchased. I prefer wire crates as opposed to covered crates. Wire crates will allow your puppy to observe her surroundings. Crate training has many benefits to both you and your puppy. It will assist in housebreaking as well as keeping your puppy safe when you are not home. Your puppy will come to love his crate and view it as his den. Most professionals such as groomers and veterinarians use crates and it is important that your puppy be accustomed to a crate if you are ever of in need of their services.
Stainless steel food and water bowls should be provided. While the decorative pottery bowls are certainly more attractive, they are porous and should be avoided.
Please educate yourself on dog food and read the ingredient list. Careful attention should be paid to the first five ingredients. Consult your breeder regarding his/her recommendation. I feed my puppies adult dog food. As puppies, a higher protein food is sufficient but as adults it is important they not be on a high protein diet. (see my Food for Thought page)
Consider micro-chipping your puppy. Some breeders will micro-chip before you take possession,
some will leave that up to you as many veterinarians prefer to micro-chip at an older age due to migration issues of the chip. I personally have never had any of my chips migrate.
Choose a veterinarian, if you do not already have one. In selecting a veterinarian, ask the following questions:
- AVMA certified (click to visit)
- Office hours. My vet is open after 5:00 pm on weekdays and on Saturdays. Rarely does an emergency occur between 9 am and 5 pm :)
- Who fills in for your vet when he/she is away
- Vaccination protocol (one year vs three year rabies) Studies have shown rabies given every three years is sufficient. Some studies even suggest seven years.
- Location of Emergency Clinic
Lead training should begin immediately. Lead-breaking can be accomplished by simply allowing the puppy to drag the leash around your home while being monitored. During housebreaking, walk your puppy outside on lead. I have found that Komondor puppies are very smart and easy to housebreak. In about three weeks your puppy should be housebroken and walking nicely on lead.
DO NOT BE A LITTER-MATE!!!! Komondor puppies interact with each other by tumbling, jumping and playbiting. They play tug-of-war with each other which promotes aggressive play. You should never engage your puppy in this type of behavior. Even at four weeks, a litter of Komondor puppies will attempt to establish a pecking order..
You must always be in charge and your Komondor must respect you. Your dog will not
respect you if he views you as his littermate!
Komondor puppies must be provided with an outlet for their energy. A nice long walk will benefit both you and your puppy. While on the subject of exercise, a word of caution about off-leash dog parks! There is no way to know if every dog in attendance is up to date on vaccinations. Secondly, there is no way to know how your dog will react to another or how another will react to yours. Dog Parks are a disaster waiting to happen and is second to invisible fencing as the sole source of containment on the list of bad ideas!
Komondor puppies are terrible chewers. Kong type toys should be provided in moderation. Never give your puppy ten toys at once. Your puppy may play with all the toys at first, but will loose interest in a few days. Rotate the toys on a weekly basis giving your puppy a choice of three.
As soon as your puppy has completed her series of vaccinations, serious socialization should begin. At about four to six months your puppy will enter her fear period which also happens to correspond with the completion of vaccinations or shortly thereafter. Take your Komondor puppy out with you as much as possible. Most pet supply stores will allow dogs inside. This is a great place to introduce your puppy to different sounds, smells and people. A word of caution about dogs approaching yours. As with off leash dog parks, you have no way of knowing the temperament of the other dog. I do not allow my Komondors to meet other dogs nose to nose.
At this stage in your puppy's development you should also be looking for a Professional Dog Trainer. Many trainers will claim that their method of training is best. I feel a good trainer should have knowledge of many different methods of training and be able to recognize and
possess the flexibility to apply different methods in order to achieve optimum results.
One size does not fit all! Interview trainers and choose the one with whom you are most comfortable. Remember, the trainer is training you to train your dog.
I feel all dogs should know the basic commands of Sit/Stay, Down/Stay, Come and Wait at Doorway. Not only are those commands helpful in keeping your dog safe, but more importantly
it is a way to establish your leadership in which you give commands and he/she obeys.
In a few months your Komondor will enter the dreaded "cording stage". Pam Mroz of Ragdoll Komondorok is a Professional Groomer and has a wonderful grooming page on her website. She answers most questions and has provided pictures as a visual aid. Rather than reinvent the wheel, you can visit her page at www.ragdollkomondorok.org/GroomingHelp.html. When your puppy enters this stage, hands on help may not be available due to the rarity of the breed and Pam has illustrated the different cording stages.
As your Komondor grows it is important that she be taken out in public regularly. Constant control should be maintained at all times. Throw your flexi-leads away! When I see an owner approaching me with their dog on a flexi-lead, I immediately "choke-up" on my lead and give a wide clearance. If you find the need to utilize a pinch collar make sure it is fitted properly to avoid injury to your dog or flipping of the collar. Run your hand along the links to make sure they are secure. The three "dead rings" should not meet when the collar is pulled. Personally, I am uncomfortable with using a pinch collar on a dog younger than six months.
As your Komondor matures the lessons learned at a young age will be invaluable. You and you alone are responsible for keeping your Komondor safe. Learn your dog's body language so that you can intervene at the first hint of trouble. You must always be aware that a Komondor is a Livestock Guardian and no matter how well you have trained your dog, a Komondor will act on instinct without always looking to you for guidance. A Komondor needs a firm hand not a heavy hand. Set boundaries early and be consistent.
A Komondor is a 10 to 15 year commitment and the decision to bring one into your home should not be taken lightly. Training your Komondor is YOUR responsibility and it doesn't end after 12 months!