Puppy Behaviour
The most important thing you can learn about your puppy/ dog is that it is a canine with natural primal needs that are different to the needs of humans. In their natural environment dogs live as a pack, follow a strong, calm and consistent pack leader and their behaviour is centred on survival - hunting, eating, drinking, sleeping and reproducing. It is when they are not being provided with their primal needs that behaviour issues can start to occur.
You might think that your new puppy is a cute clumsy bundle of fun but this is your window of opportunity in ensuring that your puppy develops into a balanced, happy, friendly dog. Your puppy will be absorbing information like a sponge, so it is crucial that you start teaching them from day one. If you have a puppy that was lucky enough to have been with its mother and siblings until 7˝ weeks then they will have already started learning the basics before coming to live with you. However if your puppy did not, you will need to work fast! It is now up to you and your family to ensure that you continue to provide your puppy with the education and basic structure it requires in order for it to grow into a balanced member in your pack.
The following structure will help you to achieve this:
Your puppy will need daily exercise walking on a lead, by your side or behind you so that it learns that you are the leader in charge of the walk, not them. You can practice the walk in your garden or where you know there are no other dogs until your puppy has been fully vaccinated. You should start with 10-15 minutes at 7˝ weeks of age, progressing to a minimum of 2 x 35 minute daily walks from 6 months onwards. Obviously this will depend on the energy level of your dog in addition to its breed. Don’t be fooled, however, into thinking that small breeds don’t need a daily walk - they still have primal needs.
A puppy’s mother creates and instils rules immediately they are born in order to achieve respect as their leader. So in order for you to achieve respect from your puppy early on you must continue to instil rules. Discipline is provided by giving calm assertive leadership NOT angry, frustrated, physical punishment as this may cause your dog to become fearful of you and not respect or trust you. Your puppy communicates by scent, energy and body language and will only respect and trust a calm assertive leader that provides consistent and clear rules. Daily training work with your puppy can start from the moment you get them.
Affection can take the form of praise, food, toys, playing, grooming and bathing - basically anything where your puppy is receiving positive attention. Affection must only be given when your puppy is calm and not when they are excited or fearful. You must only reward positive balanced behaviour, so they understand that is how to behave.
This advice has been kindly provided by Jo Cottrell of Dog Trouble.
Dog Trouble provides a range of services based on rehabilitating dogs with behaviour issues and teaching people about dog behaviour. Based in Wokingham, Dog Trouble is owned by Dog Behaviourist Jo Cottrell.
If you would like to learn more about Dog Trouble or book a Puppy Basics Consultation click here to go to the website or telephone 01189 791214 or 07919400920.
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Nine Mile Veterinary Practice is part of CVS (UK) Limited, a company which owns over 200 veterinary practices within the UK. Company Registration Number 03777473 – Registered Office: CVS House Vinces Road Diss Norfolk IP22 4AY.