Puppies need a safe environment to live in.
Until puppies know how to behave, are reliably toilet trained and have gone through the ‘exploring by using their teeth’ stage (at about six months old) it is better to keep them closely supervised or contained in a ‘dog proof’ environment (with no access to carpets, chemicals, exposed electrical wiring or expensive furniture) and with easy access to the garden. For most people, this will be their kitchen or utility room, or the puppy could be contained within a room by a child-gate, or in a puppy pen or large mesh crate, and taken out frequently under supervision. Make sure your garden is escape proof, if it is not, only take your puppy there on its lead.
During the first few months, puppies really benefit from a good routine, so get into the habit of feeding your puppy at regular intervals. Take it outside immediately it wakes up, following its mealtimes, and every hour or two. Make sure that you schedule in ‘play times’, and ‘quiet times’ when you are present, but not interacting with it. Your puppy needs to learn to settle quietly as well as how to occupy itself with a chew or its toys, otherwise it will become demanding and expect you to interact with it all the time.
Young puppies should not be put out or left out on their own in a garden for any length of time. They quickly get bored and frustrated, and become destructive, noisy and potentially territorial.
Unsupervised puppies dig up lawns and flower beds, chew on plants (some of which can be dangerous to dogs), bury their toys, destroy things, bark at every little noise (possibly aggravating the neighbours) and learn to chase cats, squirrels and birds (which can develop into chasing joggers and cyclists in the park). They will eat bees and wasps (which can be very dangerous), dive bomb visitors to ‘their’ garden, and could even drown in the garden pond or pool.
It is much better to go into the garden with your puppy at regular intervals, so that it is clear that it is being taken there for toileting purposes. Avoid leaving the back door open because if your puppy can go in and out as it pleases, this can adversely affect its toilet training, as well as its recall response.
‘Home alone’ training
Your growing puppy will sleep a great deal, and this is the ideal time to get it used to being separated from you (and other pets) for short periods every day, so that it does not become over dependent on having constant company. If you do not get your puppy used to being left alone while you are in your home, it may suffer from ‘over-attachment’ and ‘separation anxiety’ when you go out. This can become a very serious problem, so put your puppy back in its sleeping quarters when it is tired, resting or sleeping.
Try not to return to your puppy when it is whining, crying, barking or misbehaving in any way, as you will be unwittingly rewarding the undesirable behaviour, which might make things worse in the long run. Either wait until the behaviour has stopped, or create a noise diversion to distract the puppy and THEN enter the room.
Do not greet the puppy straight away – do something else first (put the kettle on for example) – and then say hello (calmly and quietly) to the puppy. This prevents problems later on with attention seeking behaviour and overexcited greetings.
Once your puppy is older, toilet trained and happy to be left on its own, you can leave it for gradually longer periods. When it is an adult you can leave it for up to four hours at a time (maximum).
If you occasionally have to leave your puppy alone for longer than a few hours, you should expect a few toilet training accidents which may set back your progress slightly. However, if you have to do this on a regular basis you may well fail completely in the toilet training stakes, and furthermore your puppy is also much more likely to get bored and develop destructive or noisy habits.
To prevent this, you should consider asking someone to come in to let your puppy out and to break up its day. Alternatively, take your puppy to someone who can look after it when you are gone for long periods.
Make sure you find someone suitable as it may not be fair to leave an energetic puppy with a relative, friend or neighbour who is elderly or infirm, or who may have young and excitable children!
Professional dog sitter/minder/walker/dog crèches
Only use people who have been highly recommended (by several people) and always check out their references and that they carry appropriate insurance.
Some options may not be suitable for young puppies; as they could result in them bonding more strongly with other dogs than with human company, which could make them excessively distracted by other dogs when out being walked.
If you would like your puppy to stay with a dog sitter or minder, check (go and see for yourself – do not take their word for it) how many dogs they keep at one time and the conditions they are kept under.
You have to be sure that your puppy is getting along well with its companions and is not being taught bad habits, being bullied (which could make it timid or aggressive) or learning how to become a bully! Have a contingency plan in place in case your puppy does not get on with any of the other dogs. Always take your puppy to the sitter’s home. Do not let them collect and deliver the puppy back to you, as you have no way of checking that they have not farmed the puppy out to be looked after by someone else!
You may be better off finding someone who can give your puppy individual attention, rather than placing it within a pack of dogs, where it could be overwhelmed and make it timid or defensive.
‘Out of bounds’ areas
It is strongly recommended that you keep your puppy away from the stairs and steep drops, as running up and down stairs can damage a puppy’s delicate growth plates, causing long-term damage. Even jumping off chairs, sofas and beds can cause unnecessary damage, and puppies are best kept off these. A suitable gate at the bottom of the staircase should prevent this. You should also lift them in and out of cars, and be careful not to play fetch games on slippery floors, or encourage them to jump about or twist themselves, for the same reason.
It is also wise to keep puppies out of bedrooms, as the temptation to urinate on carpets or beds and steal items is often irresistible. If you do choose to have your puppy sleep in your bedroom then have it sleep in a crate to avoid problems.
You should prevent adults and children becoming over enthusiastic with your puppy. Do not allow them to disturb its sleep patterns, over-tire it, or to play rough or over-exciting games, which will encourage (undesirable) play-biting or grumpy behaviour. Do not let anyone pick it up, mollycoddle it or smother it, as it is not uncommon for puppies to be picked up and carried awkwardly, causing pain and discomfort, and teaching puppies to be nervous and hand-shy. What is more, a puppy that is constantly picked up and carried can become overly clingy and demanding, so it is better to squat down to the puppy’s level.
What To Do When You Get Your Kennel Club Puppy Home?
Transfer the ownership of the dog into your own name (you will find this section on the reverse of the registration certificate), ensuring that all parties have signed the relevant sections. Make sure you activate the Kennel Club free insurance offer at this time. You can do this by ticking the box in Section C on the form, by calling 01296 318540 or alternatively you can visit the Kennel Club online.
You will have an opportunity to order additional Kennel Club services on the transfer form, including pedigrees, the Breed Records Supplement, Petlog Premium and much more. Discounted enhanced pedigrees can be ordered at the same time that you apply to transfer the dog into your registered ownership.
After you have sent the transfer of ownership form back to the Kennel Club, you will receive a Kennel Club Owner Certificate with your details and those of your puppy printed on it. At this point you will also receive a copy of the Kennel Club Puppy Handbook – an essential guide to caring for your puppy. The Puppy Handbook will give you advice and information to help you get off to the best possible start with your puppy.
All About Dog Crates & Crate Training
Dogs are still have the instinct of a wild animal, despite being domesticated and years of selective breeding.
Your Puppy or Dog has the built in instinct to make or find a 'Den' to make their home in, a crate can easily be made in to the den because Dogs have a strong natural tendency to seek out this type of shelter.
We genuinely do not like to refer to our Pet Homes as 'cages' with a little help your pet will soon view a crate as their own ‘Den’
Crate training your dog may take some time and effort, but can be useful in a variety of situations. If you have a new dog or puppy; you can use the crate to limit his access to the house until he learns what he can and can’t chew on and where he can and can’t eliminate. A crate is also a safe way of transporting your dog in the car, as well as a way of taking him places where he may not be welcome to run freely. If you properly train your dog to use the crate, he’ll think of it as his safe place and will be happy to spend time there when needed.
Selecting A Crate
Your dog’s crate should be just large enough for him to stand up and turn around in when full Adult size if the crate is to be used for the life of your pet
The Crate Training Process
Crate training can take days or weeks, depending on your dog’s age, temperament and past experiences. It’s important to keep two things in mind while crate training. The crate should always be associated with something pleasant, and training should take place in a series of small steps - don’t go too fast, as this can cause anxiety in you pet and an overall fear and dislike of the new crate.
Step 1: Introducing Your Dog To The Crate
Put the crate in an area of your house where the family spends a lot of time, such as the family room.
Put a soft blanket or towel in the crate. Bring your dog over to the crate and talk to him in a happy tone of voice. Make sure the crate door is securely fastened opened so it won’t hit your dog and frighten him.
To encourage your dog to enter the crate, drop some small food treats near it, then just inside the door, and finally, all the way inside the crate. If he refuses to go all the way in at first, that’s okay – don’t force him to enter. Continue tossing treats into the crate until your dog will walk calmly all the way into the crate to get the food. If he isn’t interested in treats, try tossing a favourite toy in the crate. This step may take a few minutes or as long as several days.
Step 2: Feeding Your Dog His Meals In The Crate
After introducing your dog to the crate, begin feeding him his regular meals near the crate. This will create a pleasant association with the crate. If your dog is readily entering the crate when you begin Step 2, put the food dish all the way at the back of the crate. If your dog is still reluctant to enter the crate, put the dish only as far inside as he will readily go without becoming fearful or anxious. Each time you feed him, place the dish a little further back in the crate.
Once your dog is standing comfortably in the crate to eat his meal, you can close the door while he’s eating. At first, open the door as soon as he finishes his meal. With each successive feeding, leave the door closed a few minutes longer, until he’s staying in the crate for ten minutes or so after eating. If he begins to whine to be let out, you may have increased the length of time too quickly. Next time, try leaving him in the crate for a shorter time period. If he does whine or cry in the crate, it’s imperative that you not let him out until he stops. Otherwise, he’ll learn that the way to get out of the crate is to whine, so he’ll keep doing it.
Step 3: Conditioning Your Dog For Longer Time Periods
After your dog is eating his regular meals in the crate with no sign of fear or anxiety, you can confine him there for short time periods while you’re home. Call him over to the crate and give him a treat. Give him a command to enter such as, "kennel up" or ‘In your Bed’. Encourage him by pointing to the inside of the crate with a treat in your hand. After your dog enters the crate, praise him, give him the treat and close the door. Sit quietly near the crate for five to ten minutes and then go into another room for a few minutes. Return, sit quietly again for a short time, then let him out of the crate. Repeat this process several times a day.
With each repetition, gradually increase the length of time you leave him in the crate and the length of time you’re out of his sight. Once your dog will stay quietly in the crate for about 30 minutes with you out of sight the majority of the time, you can begin leaving him crated when you’re gone for short time periods and/or letting him sleep there at night. This may take several days or several weeks
Step 4: Crating Your Dog When Left Alone:
After your dog is spending about 30 minutes in the crate without becoming anxious or afraid, you can begin leaving him crated for short periods when you leave the house. Put him in the crate using your regular command and a treat. You might also want to leave him with a few safe toys in the crate. You’ll want to vary at what point in your "getting ready to leave" routine you put your dog in the crate. Although he shouldn’t be crated for a long time before you leave, you can crate him anywhere from five to 20 minutes prior to leaving.
Don’t make your departures emotional and prolonged, but matter-of-fact. Praise your dog briefly, give him a treat for entering the crate and then leave quietly. When you return home, don’t reward your dog for excited behaviour by responding to him in an excited, enthusiastic way. Keep arrivals low key. Continue to crate your dog for short periods from time to time when you’re home so he doesn’t associate crating with being left alone.
Step 5: Crating Your Dog At Night:
Put your dog in the crate using your regular command and a treat. Initially, it may be a good idea to put the crate in your bedroom or nearby in a hallway, especially if you have a puppy. Puppies often need to go outside to eliminate during the night, and you’ll want to be able to hear your puppy when he whines to be let outside. Older dogs, too, should initially be kept nearby so that crating doesn’t become associated with social isolation. Once your dog is sleeping comfortably through the night with his crate near you, you can begin to gradually move it to the location you prefer.
Potential Problems Too Much Time In The Crate
A crate isn’t a magical solution. If not used correctly, a dog can feel trapped and frustrated. For example, if your dog is crated all day while you’re at work and then crated again all night, he’s spending too much time in too small a space. Other arrangements should be made to accommodate his physical and emotional needs. Also remember that puppies under six months of age shouldn’t stay in a crate for more than three or four hours at a time.
If your dog whines or cries while in the crate at night, it may be difficult to decide whether he’s whining to be let out of the crate, or whether he needs to be let outside to eliminate. If you followed the training procedures outlined above, your dog hasn’t been rewarded for whining in the past by being released from his crate.
Try to ignore the whining. If your dog is just testing you, he’ll probably stop whining soon. Yelling at him or pounding on the crate will only make things worse. If the whining continues after you’ve ignored him for several minutes, use the phrase he associates with going outside to eliminate. If he responds and becomes excited, take him outside. This should be a trip with a purpose, not play time. If you’re convinced that your dog doesn’t need to eliminate, the best response is to ignore him until he stops whining. Don’t give in, otherwise you’ll teach your dog to whine loud and long to get what he wants. If you’ve progressed gradually through the training steps and haven’t done too much too fast, you’ll be less likely to encounter this problem. If the problem becomes unmanageable, you may need to start the crate training process over again.
DO's & DON’T’S - Regarding Dog Ownership
Never permit a dog to think it is HUMAN!!
Never use anything remotely interpretable as Human in a exercise designed to stimulate the prey drive in a dog!!
Never leave a child unsupervised with a dog!!
Never accept growling, "back chatting" in human terms!!
Never leave two or more dogs together…EVER!!
The puppy must have time out away!!
Do not allow the puppy to be teased or tit-bitted by children!!
Do expect the puppy to nip hard but if you train yourself and the puppy this phase should not last!!
Do get the puppy to classes, do read books on dog behaviour!!
Essential Equipment For Your Puppy
Your puppy needs a comfortable bed, so buy a bed big enough for it to grow into, and stretch out in. There are many types of good bedding for your puppy.
Most puppies love snuggling into a piece of ‘vetbed’ or similar. This is a synthetic simulated sheepskin, which is hygienic, machine washable, totally non-allergic and relatively resistant to chewing. It can also help to prevent pressure sores on bigger dogs. Buy two pieces so you use one while washing and drying the other.
Puppy crates, play pens and child-gates
Some dogs love having their own ‘four poster beds’ and many puppy owners find these useful for containing the puppy and keeping it safe and out of trouble when it is alone, rather like putting a baby in a cot or play pen.
When ordering a crate for your puppy, buy one big enough for it to lie in stretched out and standing up in when it is fully grown. Make sure that the mesh is not too big as puppies may get their mouths caught. Put some bedding inside and tie some toys in the far end of the crate so the puppy has to go in there to play with them. Gently place your puppy in there whenever it falls asleep. Leave occasional treats in the crate for the puppy to find, so the puppy learns to love going in there. Do not shut the door until your puppy is comfortable being in there, and start closing the door when you are feeding it and when it has fallen asleep. Make sure you stay around to let it out the moment it wakes up or finishes its meal.
You can gradually increase the time the puppy stays in the crate, and initially this should be whilst you are in the room with it.
Make sure it has recently emptied its bladder and bowels before it enters and do not leave your puppy in the crate or puppy pen for more than a couple of hours during the daytime. Although most puppies are content to sleep in their crate overnight, they get very distressed if they have to foul near their beds, so you must be prepared to get out of your bed to let them out if they need to toilet during the night. If they have fouled inside the crate, you must clean it out immediately or the puppy will hate being in the crate.
Never use the crate as a sin-bin or you will teach your puppy to resent it. Always remove the puppy’s collar when in the crate in case it gets caught up on it.
Choose a comfortable collar that is suitable for the breed, size and age of puppy. Puppies grow rapidly and collars should be checked almost daily for condition and fit. These should not be so loose that they can slip over your puppy’s head or so tight that you cannot slip two fingers underneath.
You are required by law (The Control of Dogs Order 1992) to inscribe the name and address of the owner on the collar or on a plate or disc attached to it. You must comply with this, even if it is micro chipped, and you can be fined up to £5,000 if you do not. You may also want to put your telephone numbers on the tag, but you do not need to put your dog's name on it. Engraved discs are better than barrel types, which often undo and lose their contents. You do not need to buy a dog licence any more.
It makes complete sense to have your puppy micro chipped as an extra safety precaution, so that if it is lost or stolen, when found (without its collar) it can be scanned by an authorised agent such as a vet, dog warden or rescue centre. If you have registered your puppy’s microchip with Pet log (this can be done at time of implantation), the microchip number can then be quickly matched up with your records on the Pet log database. The aftercare services of a reliable database are vital in the reunification process. Pet log is the largest pet reunification service in the UK and exists to support responsible pet ownership and the welfare of the dog.
Choose a lead that is suitable for the size and breed of your puppy, not too long, too short or too heavy. A good rope lead is both strong and comfortable on your hands. Chain leads can hurt your hands, but may be useful if you have a puppy that likes to chew or carry its lead in its mouth. Nylon leads are strong, but can hurt your hands. Whatever type you choose, make sure you attach it to the ‘D ring’ of the collar and not onto the split ring that attaches the identity disc to the collar, as this is not strong enough to take the weight of your dog.
Many people still prefer the traditional leather lead which requires to be oiled or saddle soaped to be kept clean and supple. Particular attention should be paid to the catch/ clip which must be strong and not liable to break or straighten.
You are required by law (Clean Neighbourhoods & Environment Act 2005) to clear up after your dog in public areas and dispose of the bag in an appropriate bin, so you will need a supply of Poo bags, sandwich bags or nappy sacks to take with you whenever you are out with your puppy.
It is very important that your puppy has a range of appropriate toys to play with, otherwise it might chew on your things, instead of its own. Chew toys also provide mental stimulation, help to keep your dog’s teeth clean and allow it to exercise its jaws. Select toys for your puppy carefully – some may be too small and might choke your puppy whilst other items might splinter.
You should also have toys that you can play with interactively, like balls on ropes and Frisbees, so that you can have fun with your puppy.
Do not let your puppy play with sticks, golf or squash balls. All these things can easily get stuck in the throat and cause damage or even death. For this reason, it is important to bear in mind the size of your puppy and the size of the chew or toy you decide to purchase. If a chew becomes too small after a prolonged period of chewing, do not take the risk and throw the chew away.
Food and water bowls
You will need separate (non-tip) bowls for water and food. These should be raised up off the floor for tall dogs. Make sure fresh water is always available for your puppy.
Car harness, travelling crate or dog guard
A dog should travel either behind a dog guard, secured with a car seat harness or, ideally, in a crate or fixed car cage. A crate or cage gives a dog its own space and ensures both safety and comfort. If you have space for a crate then this provides a safe haven for your puppy in the car. There is nothing worse than seeing a dog squashed in a car with luggage piled up around it.
Accustom your puppy to car travel with very short trips at first ideally when the puppy is tired so it will go to sleep. If the puppy is car sick try fixing the crate on the back seat as the car sways far more at the back which can cause travel sickness.
Short coated dogs need to be groomed regularly, especially when they are moulting as their short hairs get can get stuck into everything! Use a rubber toothed brush or a short bristle brush, which massages the skin and works out the loose hair.
Always brush your puppy slowly and gently. Gradually introduce the concept of grooming in very short sessions. If your puppy tries to bite the brush, put some taste deterrent on the brush so it learns not to bother.
Some dogs will need to have their nails trimmed if they get too long. If your dog has dew-claws (like little thumbs on the inside of its ‘wrists’) they should be checked frequently as these do not get worn down naturally and can grow in a circle and cut into the flesh. You can learn to trim the nails yourself or have a vet or groomer do it for you.
In particular, dogs with white or sparse coats can be susceptible to sunburn so use a high factor sun cream on their ears and other exposed areas in hot sunny weather.
Doggy toothpaste and toothbrush
Gum disease is far too common in middle-aged dogs and can lead to all sorts of health problems, so it pays to brush your puppy’s teeth. Use special canine toothpaste, which comes in tasty flavours and does not foam (unlike human toothpaste) with a special rubber thimble for dogs’ teeth.
Dogs only need to be bathed every few months unless they have been swimming or have rolled in something smelly. Use a dog shampoo and put a non-slip mat down if using the bath. Towel drying your puppy is important and will get it used to being dried when it comes home wet from a walk.
There are lots of devices (mostly harnesses and head collars) that claim to help stop dogs from pulling on the lead. Some of these rub, squeeze or pinch the dog, and tend not to be tolerated well, so shop around and make sure that your puppy is comfortable wearing it. You should allow your puppy time to become accustomed to any aid you decide on. However, if you ensure correct training from the start, your puppy should not pull on the lead.
Outdoor kennels and dog runs
Dogs are sociable animals and most of them prefer to live indoors, and can get pretty miserable if left outside. However, if your puppy spends most of its time outside, then you need to provide it with an enclosed run and a specially designed kennel, or it will wreck your garden. Providing toys is particularly important if your puppy is left alone for periods of time. They can be useful in providing a space for the puppy to call its own. It will also allow the puppy to become less reliant on constant companionship and avoid separation anxiety in the future.
Puppy Toilet Training
Toilet training should be quite a simple process, as long as you take the time and trouble to get into a good routine.
Initially, you will have to build your routine around your puppy’s needs, and these are reliably predictable when they are very young.
Puppies need to urinate immediately after waking up, so you need to be there to take your puppy straight into the garden without any delay.
Eating its meal stimulates its digestive system, and puppies normally urinate within fifteen minutes of eating, and defecate within half an hour of eating (although this might vary slightly with each individual).
Puppies have very poor bladder control, and need to urinate at least every hour or two. They can urinate spontaneously when they get excited, so take your puppy out frequently if it has been active, playing or exploring.
You may find it useful to keep a record of when your puppy eats sleeps, urinates and defecates. A simple diary list will do.
Repeat cue words like ‘wee wees’ and ‘Poo poos’ or ‘be busy’ and ‘be clean’ while the puppy is actually urinating or defecating. Use different words for each action so that you will be able to prompt the puppy later on.
Always go with your puppy into the garden so you are there to reward and attach the cue words to the successful actions!
Fortunately, puppies are creatures of habit, so as long as you introduce the garden to your puppy as its toilet area early on, you should be able to avoid most of the common pitfalls.
Toilet training errors
Unfortunately there are many reasons why ‘toilet training’ might not go as smoothly as it could, so make sure you do not make any of the following mistakes...
Feeding an unsuitable diet or giving a variety of foods.
Not feeding at regular times.
Feeding at the wrong times (which could cause overnight defecation).
Punishing the puppy for its indoor accidents (which can make it scared of toileting in front of you – even outside).
Feeding salty foods (e.g. stock from cubes) which makes them drink more.
Using ammonia based cleaning compounds (which smell similar to urine).
Expecting the puppy to tell you when it needs to go out; this is unrealistic, so it is better to take them out at regular intervals.
Leaving the back door open for the puppy to come and go as it pleases (a puppy will think that the garden is an adventure playground, rather than a toilet area. Also, what is a puppy meant to do when the weather gets cold, and it is faced with a closed back door?).
Leaving the puppy on its own too long, so that it is forced to go indoors (which sets a bad precedent, or even a habit of going indoors).
Mistakenly associating the words ‘good girl’ or ‘good boy’ when they toilet, as opposed to the specific cue words. Guess what could happen the next time you praise your dog?
Access to rugs or carpet (which are nice and absorbent – just like grass).
Laziness on your part, resulting in more wees indoors than outdoors.
Leaving the puppy alone in the garden, so you are not there to reward it for going outdoors… how is it meant to learn that it is more popular and advantageous going outdoors, if you are not there to show your approval?
Submissive or excited urination on greeting (if this occurs, take your puppy outside before you greet it and tone down your greeting so it is less exciting or overwhelming).
It is unfair to expect your puppy to go right through the night when it is very young.
Sleeping the puppy in a crate or puppy pen can help with house training but you should let it out in the garden to relieve itself during the night.
Teaching your puppy to toilet out on a walk
Many owners appear disappointed that their young puppy will not toilet when out on a walk, yet relieves itself the second it gets back home. This is because the puppy has been taught to toilet only at home (hopefully in its garden), and being creatures of habit, they often wait until they have returned home before evacuating their bladder and/ or bowels.
To break this habit, you will have to get up very early one morning (when you have plenty of time), and get your puppy out on a walk before it has had its morning wee. You should not bring it home until it has been forced to go out of desperation.
If however, you are unsuccessful, and your puppy has not toileted, then take it immediately into the garden on your return, or you risk it relieving itself indoors.
Essential Puppy Training and Toilet Training
Every puppy needs to be taught good manners and have constructive lessons in basic control. This includes responding to its name, how to greet and behave politely around people and dogs, coming back when called, walking nicely on the lead, sit, down and stay on command, and allowing itself to be groomed and examined by you and your vet. As a dog owner you also need to learn what laws affect you and your dog.
Dog training classes
Most owners can benefit from attending good training classes, and training in the company of other dogs is very useful because of the realistic distractions this involves. Ideally, you should start your classes as soon as your puppy’s vaccinations are complete, but classes can be invaluable for older dogs too!
It is a misconception that training a dog takes away its personality, on the contrary a trained dog is a content and happy one.
There are lots of schools of thought on dog training and it is important that you find the right approach for you and your puppy. Go and visit several classes first (without your puppy) to make sure you have made the right choice. Puppies can take part in the Puppy Foundation section of the Kennel Club Good Citizen Dog Scheme which provides a progression to a well trained dog.
Finding the best dog training club
Before enrolling with a dog training club it can be beneficial to attend a session without your dog and decide whether this is the right environment for you and your puppy.
Things you may wish to consider include:
• Do you like what you see – are the trainers friendly, are people happy and enjoying training their dogs?
• Are the dogs happily focused on their human family?
• Are the instructors giving lots of encouragement and information to all attendees?
• Are the instructors maintaining a controlled, safe environment for everyone?
• Are instructors treating everyone fairly and meeting the needs of the whole group?
Really important training tips:
• Start as you mean to go on. If you are always consistent you will avoid confusing your puppy.
• Puppies have a very short attention span so train for short spells on a regular basis.
• Keep it short and keep it simple, but most of all, keep it fun!
• Puppies respond better to cheerful voice tones, rather than to threatening orders.
• Gentle play builds trust and a strong bond between you and your puppy as well as making training fun.
• Patience is the KEY ingredient in dog training. If you try to rush things you will only get frustrated and confuse your puppy.
• Keep it interesting: cultivate a range of different rewards incorporating play, fuss, praise, treats and toys. This will stop both of you from getting bored.
Firstly, it is vital that you are patient with your puppy – do not expect too much too quickly as all young animals need time to learn what we expect of them.
Socialise your puppy
Puppies need to meet and have pleasant encounters with a wide variety of adults, children and other animals. Begin when they are very young, taking care not to overwhelm them. Do a little every day, especially during the early weeks. Attending a well-run puppy training class will help your puppy sociable with other dogs. However, please remember that your puppy could be unprotected from some canine diseases if it has not been fully vaccinated – speak to your vet for more information.
Educate and teach good manners
Puppies need to know where their boundaries lie just as children do. Teach them gently but firmly what is acceptable and what is not.
Use positive, effective training
Reward based training can begin as soon as your puppy has settled into the household. Use positive methods for all education, from house-training to coming back when called.
Help your puppy find its place in the hierarchy
Puppies need to learn their place in the human pack. Strong-willed puppies need to learn that they cannot have their own way all the time and what you want must come first.
Teach your puppy to be left alone
Pack animals like to be with others and our pet dogs need to be taught to tolerate being alone. Begin with short sessions when your puppy is young and build up to longer absences gradually.
Cope with chewing
Puppies chew while teething and during adolescence. Provide plenty of suitable chews and change them often. Teach your puppy what to chew and what to leave alone. Try not to leave your puppy in a place where it can damage your things or itself. Prevention is better than cure.
Be prepared for adolescence
Adolescence can be a difficult time during which your puppy’s behaviour may deteriorate considerably. Try not to worry – it soon passes!
Don’t be afraid to ask
If you are experiencing difficulties, ask your vet or other experienced people for advice. Problems with puppies are usually easily solved so ask for advice sooner rather than later.
Advice When Purchasing A New Puppy.
Suggested Items Before You Get Him/Her Home
I would suggest that you get a few puppy toys for him/her, the best toys for a puppy are the Nylabones that are readily available and also 'Kongs' that are very hard wearing giving a good 'chew' toy.
There are cheaper versions available but they are a false economy as the cheaper ones do not live up to a Bull Breed’s strength of jaw.
A very good toy is a knotted rope that acts not only as a chew toy but also helps to keep their teeth clean as the strings separate as they chew which acts like dental floss for us.
If you buy any other toys I strongly suggest you DO NOT buy squeaky toys as the 'squeak' they get from biting the toys can be associated with the cry of a baby and can lead them to believe that the 'squeaky baby' is also a toy.
I would give this advice to anyone buying any breed of dog!
I also strongly recommend the purchase of a Crate/Cage as this is what he/she is used to and will give him HIS/HER OWN space for sleeping and eating. It is also best when getting lots of visitors as he/she will get some peace and also if visitors are not 'Dog friendly' then he/she can be safely away giving both yourselves and your visitors some peace.
Perhaps if you have a cuddly toy for him/her to sleep with as he/she is used to being with all his/her littermates. If you have a soft toy take off the eyes nose etc so that he/she doesn't chew and swallow them. We also give them a small cushion or blanket to snuggle up to.
These are things that are best in place before he/she arrives.
Attempting to use the crate as a remedy for separation anxiety won’t solve the problem. A crate may prevent your dog from being destructive, but he may injure himself or damage the crate in an attempt to escape from the crate.
Separation anxiety problems can only be resolved with counter-conditioning and desensitization procedures.
You may want to consult a professional animal behaviourist for help or try your self, with our help chapter below.
Dogs with separation anxiety exhibit behaviour problems when they’re left alone. Typically, they’ll have a dramatic anxiety response within a short time (20-45 minutes) after their owners leave them. The most common of these behaviours are:
Digging, chewing and scratching at doors or windows in an attempt to escape and reunite with their owners.
Howling, barking and crying in an attempt to get their owner to return.
Urination and defecation (even with housetrained dogs), as a result of distress.
Why Do Dogs Suffer From Separation Anxiety?
We don’t fully understand exactly why some dogs suffer from separation anxiety and, under similar circumstances, others don’t. It’s important to realize, however, that the destruction and house soiling that often occurs with separation anxiety is not the dog’s attempt to punish or seek revenge on his owner for leaving him alone, but is actually a panic response, not unlike a Human Panic Attack
Separation anxiety sometimes occurs when:
1. Dog has never or rarely been left alone.
2. Following a long interval, such as a vacation, during which the owner and dog are constantly together.
3. After a traumatic event (from the dog’s point of view) such as a period of time spent at a shelter or boarding kennel.
4. After a change in the family’s routine or structure (a child leaving for college, a change in work schedule, a move to a new home, a new pet or person in the home).
What To Do If Your Dog Has Separation Anxiety
For a minor separation anxiety problem, the following techniques may be helpful by themselves.
Keep arrivals and departures low-key. For example, when you arrive home, ignore your dog for the first few minutes, and then calmly pet him.
Leave your dog with an article of clothing that smells like you, an old tee shirt that you’ve slept in recently, for example.
Establish a "safety cue"--a word or action that you use every time you leave that tells your dog you’ll be back. Dogs usually learn to associate certain cues with short absences by their owners. For example, when you take out the Rubbish, your dog knows you come right back and doesn't become anxious. Therefore, it’s helpful to associate a safety cue with your practice departures and short-duration absences.
Some examples of safety cues are: a playing radio; a playing television; a bone; or a toy (one that doesn’t have dangerous fillings and can’t be torn into pieces). Use your safety cue during practice sessions, but don’t present your dog with the safety cue when you leave for a period of time longer than he can tolerate or the value of the safety cue will be lost. Leaving a radio on to provide company for your dog isn’t particularly useful by itself, but a playing radio may work if you’ve used it consistently as a safety cue in your practice sessions. If your dog engages in destructive chewing as part of his separation distress, offering him a chewing item as a safety cue is a good idea. Very hard rubber toys that can be stuffed with treat and Rope toys.