Training your Puppy
Responsible ownership involves having a well-trained dog and this training should be commenced as soon as the puppy is acquired. Puppies are continuously learning from the moment their eyes are open and responsible breeders will ensure that the elements of training have commenced before you acquire the puppy at 6-8 weeks of age. Remember training is not some “formal” process but should occur all the time that you are together with your puppy.
Training and socialisation are intermixed. A well socialised dog is invariably a well trained dog and vice versa, hence early socialisation is important. They should be handled by family members and strangers as soon as possible and be introduced to other dogs and puppies, as soon as their vaccination status allows. Our leaflet “Training your New Puppy” has further details.
How do I ensure that my puppy is well socialised?
Your puppy should be socialised from 4 weeks of age onwards, the most useful time being up to the age of 12 weeks. During this time the puppy is very impressionable to social influences. If your puppy has had positive experiences it is likely to accept them, whilst negative or unpleasant experiences may promote unacceptable behaviours when they are encountered in the future.
We encourage you to expose your dog to as many situations and influences as possible, however since the puppy will not have built up a complete immunity from vaccination until approximately 11 weeks of age exposure to potentially harmful diseases should be avoided. The aim is to strike a balance: obviously not expose him to the risk of disease but at the same time ensure that as much socialisation as possible, both with people and other animals, takes place. We will be happy to advise on your individual circumstances.
What type of playing should I expect from my puppy?
Stimulating play is very important. Stalking and pouncing are important play behaviour in puppies and are necessary for proper muscular development. If given a sufficient outlet for this behaviour with toys, your puppy will be less likely to use family members for these activities. The best toys are lightweight and movable. These include wads of paper and rubber balls. Any toy that is small enough to be swallowed should be avoided.
Can I discipline a puppy?
Disciplining a young puppy may be necessary if its behaviour threatens people or property, but harsh punishment should be avoided. Hand clapping and using shaker cans or horns can be intimidating enough to inhibit undesirable behaviour. However, remote punishment is preferred.
Remote punishment consists of using something that appears unconnected to the “punisher” to stop the problem. Examples include using spray bottles, throwing objects in the direction of the puppy to startle (but not hit) it, and making loud noises. Remote punishment is preferred because the puppy associates punishment with the undesirable act and not with you.
Our nurses run monthly puppy parties where you are invited to the surgery to meet other puppies and have a look round. It is an excellent opportunity to ask questions and get your dog acclimatised to coming to the surgery.