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Puppy training BEFORE you get to puppy classes

posted 3 Oct 2012, 03:09 by John Lawrenson   [ updated 3 Oct 2012, 03:12 ]
Puppy classes are great. In fact, they're one of our favourite things here at Treat 'Em. However, for some elements of your puppy's training, classes may be a little too late. 

What a lot of dog owners are unaware of is that a puppy's socialisation period is generally between 8-16 weeks (there are slight variations in this), which means that as soon as your little ball of fluff comes home (usually around 6-8weeks) the clock is ticking before that window shuts and your little angel goes from running happily up to anyone and everything to a growly, snappy, nervous little doggy!

This means that if you want your pup to grow into a confident, happy dog you will need to expose him/her to as many different experiences as possible in this time frame. Unfortunately, this time frame also coincides with your pup not having vaccinations yet so he/she can't go outside (I know....typical right?) so you will need to be clever with socialisation until you can join up with a friendly puppy class.

The following tips may help you. As always, feel free to give us a call for more advice or a one to one session or puppy pack.

Get social! - It'll be hard for your pup to learn to be social if you live like a hermit. Get yourself out there with your pup wherever you go. The more people and larger variety of genders, ages and background the better! Going to a friends house? Take pup! Seeing the relatives? Take pup! Collecting a parcel at the front door? T.....well, you get the point. Your target should be that your pup meets around 50-100 new and varied people by the time he/she is 12 weeks old, SO GET MOVING!

If you take your puppy anywhere outside the home, make sure you keep him/her off the floor and away from unvaccinated dogs until your pup has been vaccinated.

Get dog smart! - Start looking early for puppy social groups and socialisation classes. If you know other dogs that have been vaccinated and are well behaved, you can introduce pup to them too. You want all meetings, both human and canine to be a positive and happy experience, so keep close control of any new situations.

Housetraining! - Do not wait for puppy classes to start house training! Simple. If you need help with this, call about our puppy pack

Chewtraining! - Do not wait for puppy classes to start chew training!  Simple. Noone wants a pup that eats everything in sight, start early. If you need help with this, call about our puppy pack

Basic cues! - Puppies are already transmitting adult brainwaves. This means that although they might have a teeny, tiny attention span (or less if you're lucky enough to own a terrier), puppies can learn grown up things. So start early with 5 minute sessions. Use your puppy's daily allowance of food as training treats to stop him/her getting porky! 

Bite Inhibition! - For more information on puppy biting check out my previous post on puppy bite training.

Strange noises and situations! - Certain things will scare the life out of pup to start with (the hoover springs to mind), don't hide him/her away from these. Children in particular can be scary due to being unpredictable and noisy, so early exposure is vital. Some noises are more difficult. Bonfire night is a prime example of this, pup never hears fireworks until he/she is older, it's too late, you now have a dog terrified of loud noises! Now, don't go running off to buy fireworks yet, a far safer approach is to purchase a noise CD for your pup. These are generally cheap and include noises like fireworks, thunder, trains and other sounds your pup might come into contact with. Play this during play sessions, starting at low volumes and building up to real life situations. The key is to associate loud noises with great things happening.

All these things are incredibly important, particularly socialisation and bite inhibition. If you start early, you give your puppy a great chance of enjoying a long and happy life with you in your home rather than a lonely existence in a shelter. 

If you are struggling with your puppy or don't know where to start, please call us early.

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