Strongbow Airedales

Family Dogs For Show and Field



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“They Come With Instructions”


The type of food you feed your puppy/dog throughout his lifetime is extremely important. I recommend a premium, high quality food with no corn, wheat, soy or animal by-products in the first 5 ingredients. Strongbow puppies are fed Fromm FoodStrongbow puppies are fed regular Fromm Puppy Food, not large breed or grain free. Then they are switched to Fromm Gold....also not large breed or grain free. Recent studies have shown that grain free dog food can cause serious health issues. Please refer to the article under links!

The amount of food depends on the age of your puppy and his energy and activity level, and the number of meals depends on his age and your schedule. A general guide is to provide 15-20 minutes for a pup to eat as much food as he wants. At the end of mealtime, remove any leftover food until the next regular meal. The last feeding should be at least two to three hours before you wish to take your puppy out for the last time of the day.

If you must change to a different brand of food, I've had the best luck and with fewer recalls choosing a small company. Always slowly introduced new brand along with the current diet. By gradually increasing the proportion of new food while decreasing the old food, dietary diarrhea is more likely to be avoided. Allow at least a week for this transition. Some puppies will have a loose stool or diarrhea from the stress of a new environment and routine or change of water. This is normal, but check with your vet if it doesn’t clear up within a couple of days.

Around 4-5 months of age switch from puppy food to adult food, and to two meals per day, adjusting the amount as your puppy grows and matures. Keep a watchful eye on your dogs weight and condition, never letting him become overweight. Run your hands over his spine and ribs regularly making sure there is no excess fat, and adjust the amount/type of food and especially treats per day accordingly. You should continue to feed your dog twice a day for the rest of his lifetime. It is better for a large active dog to not have too much food and water in his stomach at one time. By dividing the daily intake into 2 meals, the dog is less likely to suffer from gastrointestinal upset, and particularly from bloat (a life threatening condition).

Also NEVER, ever let you dog self feed or free feed! First, the food needs to come from you….the leader of the pack.. Second, dogs that free feed tend to become picky eaters and often overweight. Dinnertime should always be something to look forward to everyday and is a great motivation and training tool. Dogs with a high food drive tend to learn much faster, because of the desire to get the treat.

The “Critical Period”

Behavioral scientists have determined critical periods in a puppy’s life and have proved that early environment and socialization make lasting impressions on the puppy. These critical periods begin at birth and extend to 16 weeks of age, with the socialization “window” closing at 16 weeks. Any trauma occurring during this period will have a permanent effect on the dog and, although the effect may be modified through training, the dog will never be as well-adjusted to people, new experiences, or to its characteristic work in life as it would have been if the traumatic experience had never occurred.

The critical period new puppy owners have to be concerned with is the “fifth period” (8 –10 weeks of age). This stage is known as the flight or fear imprinting period. Great care should be taken that nothing traumatic happens to the puppy during these critical weeks. No routine immunization injections should be given, no ear gluing, no airline shipping and no punishment or severe correction of any kind should be administered. If your puppy comes through this period safely with love and affection from their human companions, they will respond with trust and affection.

Optimum Socialization

Since puppies do not arrive with ready knowledge about our world, as responsible dog owners, we need to take the time to educate them gently about it and build confidence. Puppies need to learn about and be exposed to any stimuli they might encounter at a later age, such as the sound of traffic, vacuum cleaners, alarm clocks, children playing, other dogs, sirens, airplanes, trains, elevators and bathing. If a puppy does not get an early opportunity to learn about all the things that will be part of its environment, it may grow up to be a fearful, anxious adult.

Food is an excellent tool to help facilitate the socialization of your Airedale puppy. You should always be armed with small treats (such as Charlie Bears or even Cheerios), so whenever your puppy meets someone/something new and shows no sign of withdrawal or anxiety, you can reward his behavior with a treat. As the pup gets the hang of this game, you can encourage others to give your pup a treat, such as the mailman, friends and family and neighborhood children. NEVER console your puppy or give rewards while he is exhibiting fearful behavior, since you can actually reward the very response you are trying to eliminate.

Socialization before 16 weeks of age is critical, but continued socialization throughout the first year of life is also very important. Puppy classes and obedience classes provide excellent opportunities for continued social learning.

Housebreaking/Crating & Confinement

The easiest way to housebreak your puppy is through crate training. See the General Cage brochure (in your puppy packet) for easy crate training guidelines and housebreaking rules. Generally puppies don’t have control of their bladder until approximately six months of age, so don’t expect perfection too soon. A good rule of thumb is if your 7-10 week old puppy is having more than one accident a day, you are giving him too much freedom. The same holds true for a 3-7 month old puppy that is having more than one accident a week, and for a dog over seven months old that is having any accidents. It is very important to remember NEVER punish your puppy by yelling, screaming, hitting (with your hand or newspaper), or banish him to his crate during this learning period. The only thing you teach your dog by aggression is how to be aggressive and fear of his owner, and it has NO role in a responsible training program!!! Also, as a general rule, your puppy can safely be left in his crate the number of hours that equal his age in months plus one.

Always remember to never leave a young puppy unsupervised….letting your new puppy have the run of the house is asking for trouble! A good way to monitor his activity and behavior when he is allowed some freedom with you is to keep him with you in a confined area. This is important for family bonding as well as training. Expandable gates provide an ideal way to contain your puppy to the area you have selected. Remember, the more time you spend with your puppy, the fewer housetraining problems you will have, but when you can’t give him your full attention, always return him to the security of his crate.

In addition, I recommend that all Airedale puppies stay in crates when not being supervised until at least one year of age….and, some dale puppies need to be confined until the age of two! This is not usually because of house training, but because of their ability to get into mischief when they aren’t being supervised. So always start gradually with short amounts of freedom at a time, and slowly increase the time span as you become more confident with his household manners.

Problem Behavior

A puppy is bound to make mistakes. You can turn mistakes into an opportunity for learning by a quick correction and, when appropriate, redirection. For example, your puppy is chewing on your kitchen chair: Correct with a firm “NO” then immediately redirect your puppy’s chewing behavior by offering him an appropriate chew toy or bone. Remember, just as with a child, corrections should be swift and sure without lingering anger afterwards, because dogs learn by the immediate results of their actions and the association of events which occur closely together in time. So just as you are quick to correct when he does something wrong, be quick to praise your puppy when he does something right.

Here is a list of acceptable chew toys and treats: stuffed fabric, fleece and plush toys, nylon chew toys, knotted ropes, rubber squeaky toys, kongs (stuffed with biscuits, peanut butter, etc), buster cube, balls, nylabones, booda velvets, Nubz and deer antlers, hooves (with no sharp edges), pigs ears, and rawhides (purchased in the US) that can’t be swallowed whole. Please always use rawhides with supervision.

Biting and mouthing are problems every Airedale puppy owner has to deal with. This is a normal part of puppy pack behavior, especially around teething time. It does not necessarily mean that you have an aggressive dog. As a pack animal, puppies establish dominance among their littermates through various behaviors, including play and stance. When your puppy “mouths” or nips at you, he is treating you like another puppy. He is still trying to figure out if you are a littermate, and if not, can you still be treated like one….and, that includes things like play-biting. Teach your puppy that, as the leader of the pack, you MUST be treated differently. Let him know that biting hurts….react with a squeal or startling “no bite” verbal reprimand. React consistently and he will soon get the message, but if this does not work try a shake or quick squeezing of the muzzle or a spray bottle sprayed right in the kisser! If your puppy repeatedly goes back to mouthing , put him in his crate or tether him to a door knob for a 5-10 minute time out. Ignore any barking or tantrums, and return to him ONLY when he is quiet. This rule applies to any time he is being crated, as you NEVER let him out when he is making a fuss! Also, try to turn mouthing & biting into kisses showering much praise for this desirable behavior!

As a rule it is better to avoid games such as tug of war and rough housing during this mouthing period, since it sends mixed signals and encourages the type of behavior you are trying to correct.

Always maintain your role as the leader with constant reinforcement, NOT FORCE! Remember your little puppy is looking to you to set the rules.

Obedience Training

Airedales are extremely bright and learn quickly, but they don’t perform just because you want them to. They have to know “why” as well as “what.” They can be headstrong and independent with lots of energy and resources, and they tackle life with spontaneity and exuberance. Mischief is ALWAYS a part of life with an Airedale Terrier. You will need persistence, flexibility and creativity, and you will DEFINITELY need to keep a sense of humor.

An unruly Airedale that has taken over alpha position in the family is a major problem. A solid foundation in obedience is essential to maintain control. Puppy kindergarten is a MUST for all Airedale puppies. Following up with group obedience classes is an excellent way to foster a strong master/pet relationship as well as providing wonderful exposure to all types of people and dogs. So remember that puppies are like children and will always test their boundaries. Being firm and consistent from the start is VERY important, especially through the adolescent period. Attending classes will not only teach your dog how to behave and become a good citizen, but will also help teach you how to be a capable alpha leader in control.

A popular and current trend in training employs the liberal use of food, clickers or other motivators to teach a dog just about anything. Your new puppy has been started with the "click and treat" method and is doing very well. Please consider continuing these excellent teaching tools!

This method relies on positive reinforcement solely, with very little or no negative reinforcement (physical correction). It is undeniably effective in early puppy training, especially with Airedales. I certainly agree that we should use as much positive and as little negative reinforcement as necessary, but it is naïve to assume that a typical adult Airedale will never need physical corrections while training in real-life situations, especially life threatening ones.

Included in your puppy packet is a list of excellent puppy/dog training books.


Airedale Terriers have a broken coat, which may be clipped or hand stripped. Regular grooming is important for the health and well being of your pet. Some people like their dales short and neat, while others prefer them thick and woolly. But, even if left in full coat, they need huge amounts of combing and brushing to look and feel good. An Airedale should be kept clean, but too frequent bathing can deplete the natural oils in the skin. It’s up to you to decide whether you want to take your dale to a professional groomer or learn to do the basic grooming yourself. Either way start your puppy out early with regular grooming sessions so he becomes accustomed to it. It is especially important to handle his feet, ears and mouth by clipping his toenails, cleaning his ears and putting your hand in his mouth in preparation for brushing his teeth later on.

Airedale puppies ears need extra attention during their teething period due to the tendency of the ears to droop, crease in the wrong place or fly. By temporarily setting the ears in place with surgical glue there is a better chance of having good permanent ear carriage. Proper ear carriage is an essential characteristic of proper Airedale expression. Please bring your puppy back for this procedure or ask for the name of an Airedale breeder near you that can do it for you. Do NOT let a vet or any inexperienced person try to do this!


Your puppy has had his first puppy shot at 8 weeks of age. The tail was docked and his dew claws were removed between 3-5 days of age. He has been checked for worms and treated if necessary. Your puppy is in good health when he is sent home with you, but according to the Strongbow contract, you must take him to your vet for a puppy exam and stool check. This is to assure you of the overall general good health of your new puppy, and to set up a schedule for future puppy shots at approximately 12 to 16 weeks. A Rabies vaccine needs to be given at 6 months of age and NEVER should be given with any other vaccine.

Puppies and dogs that spend a lot of time around other dogs in kennels, parks and dog shows should be vaccinated against Bordatella (kennel cough), a highly contagious airborne bacterial infection. However, please do not give it more than once a year, and always request the nasal form. Do NOT under any circumstances allow your vet to use the Bordatella injection form.

A WORD OF CAUTION! Due to the EXTREME susceptibility of Airedales to the often fatal disease, Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia (which can be caused by many things including over vaccination), please do not allow your vet to EVER give your Airedale more than one vaccination at a time (especially with the Rabies vaccine). Keep in mind that this is only a small inconvenience for you, but it might be the difference between life and death for your Airedale. Many cautious Airedale owners will do titer tests to check the immunity level before a particular booster vaccine is given.

Spaying and neutering your companion/pet puppy is a requirement according to the Strongbow contract. Recent studies have shown that there is an increased risk of certain conditions/diseases with spay and neutering, and that doing so too early increases the risk. Several of these include orthopedic abnormalities such as hip dysplasia, osteosarcoma and hypothyroidism. These are disorders which Airedales as a breed can be predisposed to. Please see Spay Neuter and Joint Disease article under Links. My contract states that if a Strongbow puppy is spayed or neutered before the age of 18 month (or before the growth plates are closed), all warranty's are null and void.

All companion/pet puppies are sold with an AKC limited registration. This means that any offspring of pet quality puppies cannot be registered with the AKC.

Watch your puppies teeth as he grows making sure all the puppy teeth fall out. They usually fall out as the adult teeth come in, but sometimes they do not, especially the canines. Wiggle the puppy tooth daily to help loosen it if you notice an adult tooth coming in while the puppy tooth is still present. For stubborn cases try giving your puppy a round soup bone to chew on. Frozen carrots and ice cubes help with painful teething. The adult teeth are usually in by 6 months of age.

Extra Information

*There is considerable research suggesting that Vitamin C may help dogs ward off illness by bolstering the immune system. It is also thought to help build resistance to arthritis, muscle strain and stiffness.

*For treatment options consider holistic or alternative medicine, which has been gaining popularity in both the human and animal medical professions. These healing methods can include acupuncture, chiropractic adjustment, homeopathy or herbology and are often used in combination with traditional treatments.

*Be careful about letting your dog sleep with you. In dog culture, those who sleep with or get to be near the alpha male or female (the leader of the pack – you) feel like they have gone up a notch in dog status.

*Make sure indoor and outdoor plants within reach are not poisonous, and that hazardous household products are kept safely out of reach. And, watch out for wild mushrooms! They can be fatal for your young puppy.

*NEVER use the word “NO” along with your puppy’s name. He will associate his name with a negative verbal command.

*NEVER call your puppy to “COME” to you and then punish him, unless you want him to stop coming to you.

*Identification is vital to a dog’s life. Whether you use tags, tattoo or a microchip, make sure your dog is identified. Implanting a microchip in your puppy is a simple and painless procedure, and it could prove very helpful if your puppy/dog were lost or stolen.

*Leave a radio or television on while you’re gone so your puppy can have the comfort of a human voice. Also try not to make your departures upsetting by making farewells lengthy and fussy. Matter-of-factly establishing your routine for leaving helps to safe guard against separation anxiety.

*MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane) is a naturally occurring source of bio-available sulfar, an important nutrient in the connection of disulfides bonds in articular and connective tissue. MSM is also a natural anti-oxidant. It inhibits and reduces inflammation and is used for the building and repair of body tissue, hormones, enzymes, and immunoglobulins. Because it has no side effects, it is especially excellent for use with geriatric humans and animals, as a supportive aid in relieving pain and swelling associated with arthritis and hip dysplasia, Panosteitis (growing pains) and for minor soft tissue injuries, such as sprains and strains. It is available at KV Vet Supply Co. 1-800-423-8211 – (a great source for reasonably priced pet supplies). I have used it many times with wonderful results.

*Probiotics “a source of live (viable), naturally occurring microorganisms” which is also known as Lactobacillus Acidophilus, can play a major role in the overall health and well being of your dog. This beneficial “good” bacteria helps purify, deodorize and condition the digestive tract helping to protect the body from disease. It plays an important role in stress related situations and is especially necessary during and after antibiotic treatment, which often lowers the number or growth of Lactobacillus and other beneficial microbes in the digestive tract, and replenishes these beneficial bacteria, resulting in a quicker return to a balanced intestinal microflora. Since daily feedings as a preventive measure are the easiest way to reap the benefits, most premium dog foods add probiotics to their pet food formula. I highly recommend using a premium dog food for this reason.