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Four Essential Puppy Tips

26/03/2018 - Latest News

Four things your Puppy needs to know about living with humans

Bringing a new puppy into the family is a fabulous experience. Everybody, including the puppy is going to learn a lot of new skills in the next few weeks and Premier Dog Training are here to help you.

As a dog trainer, I’d like to think that your puppy spent at least the first 8 weeks of his life living with his or her siblings and mother. Those 8 weeks are vital. It’s when a pup starts to learn doggy social skills. However, if he’s going to live a full and happy life, your puppy will need to learn human social skills AND doggy social skills.

Being willing and able to understand and respond to his human handler could save a puppy’s life and it will almost certainly avoid behavioural problems in the future.

Here are 4 things your pup needs to learn
 
1: Recall: Coming when called
You can start training a puppy to come when he’s called from the minute you get him home. Start with short distances and give him lots of praise. Let him know when he’s done the right thing. Gradually start increasing the distance and call him when he’s busy doing things.

Once puppy has had his vaccinations, it’s a good idea to bring him to classes where there will be lots of distractions for him and lots of advice for you. What you are aiming to achieve is a dog that will ignore anything and run to you the moment you call him. That way you can call him away from trouble, stop him pestering other dogs and livestock, keep him out of danger and just generally have a well behaved and trustworthy dog. Trust me, it’s heart-breaking to see healthy dogs spending their whole lives either indoors or on a lead just because their recall is unreliable.
 
2: Social skills
This for me is a big issue. When I was working in the Police Force I came across so many cases where people were upset, angry and sometimes physically hurt by dogs with poor social skills. I saw too many healthy dogs put to sleep simply because they didn’t understand how to behave.

Having good social skills for a dog means being comfortable in any situation. They need to know how to be around adults, children and other dogs without feeling afraid. Remember, a frightened dog can sometimes be an aggressive one. Most bites occur when the dog feels he needs to defend himself. Is that what you want for your dog? Fighting and biting? No, of course not.
 
Introducing a puppy to the big wide world is not simply a case of popping him on a lead and going out. Some puppies are very cautious and need a gentle introduction to things like traffic, pushchairs, crowds. So many people understandably want to cuddle the puppy but inadvertently frighten them. As a dog owner you need to know how to socialise the pup and encourage other people to help you do that.

Your puppy also needs to know how to behave respectfully towards other dogs. That’s harder for humans to teach because dogs use a different language between themselves. What I teach in my puppy classes is how to interpret dog body language and how to intervene to make sure that meeting and greeting other dogs is always a pleasure. You’ll learn what body language is OK and when to remove your puppy from a potentially difficult situation. After all, not all dogs are as well socialised as yours will be after attending classes.
3: Being alone
I often get called to work with “problem” dogs on a 1 to 1 basis. That’s what dog trainers do. And one of the problems I see more than any other is separation anxiety. A dog gets so distressed at finding himself either completely alone or without his favourite human that suffers an anxiety attack. Just like us, every dog experiences anxiety differently. Some dogs might howl, some empty their bladder and/or bowels, some pace the floor, some withdraw into themselves and some destroy furniture and fittings.

Humans are hardwired to keep our young folk supervised at all times. No way would you leave a baby on its own in the house. It’s very easy to think of your new puppy in the same way as you would a new baby. But don’t. Dogs live happily alongside people and are definitely family members. But they are not human and they don’t have exactly the same needs as human babies.
Puppy training starts from day one with learning to be content with their own company for a short period of time. For example – while you go to the supermarket. You can’t take the dog into the supermarket and you certainly can’t leave it in the car so the safest place for puppy is at home.

In puppy classes, we discuss the best way to get your dog accustomed to being alone for short periods of time without becoming distressed. And remember, I’m always happy to chat on the phone between classes if you feel you need extra support.
4: Being examined
When you take your puppy to the vet for his vaccinations, he’ll most likely be carried in your arms or sitting on your lap. That’s OK. He’s manageable like that and you can control and comfort him.

Hopefully he won’t need to see a vet again until his 6 monthly check up. That’ll be in 3-4 months-time. A dog can change a lot in 3 months. Take my current companion for example. Kaiser the Rottweiler. Kaiser joined my family when he was an 8 week old ball of fluff who fitted nicely into my arms. By the time he was 6 months old he weighed something like 45 Kg (7 stone) and now at 9 years old he’s nearer 55Kg.

I don’t want to have to wrestle something that big into the vets’ surgery. It’s just not practical. I don’t think he’d want to hurt anyone but he’d probably put my back out! To be honest with you, I wouldn’t want to force a frightened Yorkie into the vet’s surgery either. They’re small but my goodness they’re strong when they need to be.

The answer is to develop a relationship with your pup so that he or she trusts you. If the dog trusts that he is safe he will normally let the vet or the nurse handle him. Most of the vets in Romford are happy to work with you to help puppy cope with examinations – after all – it’s in their interest.

And that brings me straight back to point 2 – social skills. Helping your puppy develop enough confidence to be able to face virtually any situation.
How puppy school can help your puppy live a long and happy life

We’ve looked at four different aspects of helping your new puppy fit into your family. But there are lots more. And as your puppy develops into an adolescent and then an adult dog, you’ll begin to see more of his character. Just like a human baby, he doesn’t know what behaviour is OK and what isn’t. The only way for him to find out is for you to teach him to make the right choices. And to do that, you need to understand how dog’s make decisions.

At Premier Dog Training puppy classes, in Romford, UK, we do more than teach simple commands, we teach you and your dog how to communicate. We troubleshoot so that you can avoid behavioural problems in the future. We also explore ways that you and your dog can enjoy each-others company a whole lot more in the future.

Come and join us – we’d love to meet you and your puppy.

Ask a question about puppy classes or Sign up for puppy classes