‘PROBABLY THE MOST IMPORTANT THING AN OWNER CAN DO FOR THEIR PUPPY’
This is essential to ensure happy, relaxed, well-behaved and confident dogs that will fit into their home environment. The main aim is to improve the relationship between you and your puppy, and to build your puppy’s confidence. Between the ages of 8 and 16 weeks, puppies have an incredibly steep learning curve when they are sensitive to environmental influences. When pups are young, they are inquisitive and interested in new things. If we can expose them to potentially scary things when they are happy and relaxed, they will understand how to react and not be scared. A scared, unsocialised dog will either react with aggression or cowardice to a ‘scary’ stimulus, but a well-socialised dog will handle this stimulus in a calm, relaxed manner. Puppy socialising, therefore, can prevent many behavioural problems later on.
Puppy classes/Dog training:
Unfortunately puppies are not born well-behaved, so an aim of puppy classes is to lay the foundation of basic good behaviour by teaching the puppy certain commands, such as ‘sit’, recall when called, ‘down’, ‘heel’ and ‘stay’. This is puppy ‘pre-school’ in a fun relaxed environment. Your puppy will be taught by positive reinforcement, and there are no raised voices or reprimanding. They will get used to being surrounded and playing with other dogs and people. Please contact any one of our receptionists to find out more about the puppy classes offered at our clinics.
My Puppy chews anything and everything!
It is important to remember that puppies chew. Although you may have lost 5 Dstv remotes, your mother in-laws reading glasses and your child’s favourite toy car by now, it is important to remember that chewing things is normal behaviour for a puppy. The trick is to teach them what they are allowed to chew and what they are not. They should be encouraged to chew things like rawhide chews under supervision. If you catch your pup chewing your shoe, for example, say ‘No’ and take the shoe away. Then replace it by giving the puppy a chew he is allowed and praise him/her for chewing on the “correct” toy.
Toys are important to keep puppies stimulated. Choose safe toys such as Kongs, Buster cubes or rope toys. Avoid toys with small pieces that could be swallowed. Please ask us for advice if you aren’t sure as some toys should only be used under supervision.
The best method of house training is by positive re-enforcement. If a pup urinates/defaecates in the house, it is the owner’s fault for not anticipating it and taking them outside, not the pup’s fault. There are many ‘old-school’ methods of house training such as shouting at them, rubbing their nose in it or smacking them on the nose with a newspaper. Although these methods may in fact result in your pup not messing in the house, they also have huge potential to break their confidence, make them anxious dogs and even make them fearful of you. The ultimate goal is to build a good trusting relationship with your pet, not a relationship based on fear and dominance.
Rule 1: Take the pup outside immediately after a meal, immediately after waking from sleep, playing a game and immediately if they start circling or sniffing around. As soon as they urinate outside praise them by talking to them and petting them and you can even re-enforce this good behaviour with a small tasty treat.
Rule 2: Never reprimand a pup for making a mistake unless he/she is caught in the act. If this happens, one can say a firm ‘No’ and take them outside immediately, and then praise them on the grass. If you do not catch them in the act, then nothing must be said because your pup will not understand what they did wrong.