Monthly Archives: July 2012

Raising a Puppy – Tips and Advice

By Sally Gutteridge | Posts , Puppies

Do you have a new puppy in your home, or are you thinking of taking on a young dog to live with you?

How you introduce a puppy to new experiences is an important job that needs some thought and research if you want it to grow into a well socialized and friendly adult dog.

A puppy can be easier to socialize than an adult dog that has already learned a fear based reaction. In this article you will learn some of the experiences that your puppy will need to go through in order to prevent a nervous and fear based reaction later on.

A dog will be happier to accept new and sometimes unnerving situations if they are introduced in a positive manner. By using treats, play and your own confident unfazed reaction you can teach your puppy that new experiences are fun and nothing to worry about. Read on for some useful tips about the importance of socialization to a new puppy.

Early Days

Before your puppy is vaccinated and ready to go out walking it is worth speaking to your veterinarian on whether it’s wise to carry your dog into populated areas. Some areas have high levels of infectious disease and others are lower risk, your vet will be able to let you know how dangerous it would be to socialize your puppy by carrying him outside of the home.

It is beneficial to a puppy to broaden his social experience from as young an age young as possible. By doing this you will be decreasing his sensitivity to new experiences, unusual sounds and other things that could be deemed frightening if not experienced early on. Good and ethical dog breeders will introduce puppies to household sounds, children and as many new situations as possible from the day that they are born. It is also possible to buy desensitization soundtrack to play in the background at home which will gently acclimatize your puppy to the sounds of traffic, fireworks, thunderstorms and many other sounds.

Meet the Masses

When your puppy is protected from disease by being fully vaccinated take him to as many places as possible. Open days, barbeques and busy parks will all provide a puppy with social experiences. Make each of these experiences positive for your puppy by offering treats and ensuring that you don’t put him into a position where he feels fearful or threatened. Many veterinarians offer puppy classes that get a group of young dogs together for games and crucial canine interaction, under careful supervision. If possible it is certainly worth attending a class such as this.

By meeting and spending time with a broad range of people your puppy will learn that such an experience is pleasurable. Contact with people of all ages that offer physical attention and small but tasty treats will create a confident and happy dog. Canine interaction with other dogs is paramount to ensure that your puppy learns to interact and respect others of his species. Many dogs that have fear based or aggressive reactions to other dogs were simply not socialized from a young age.

Teeth, Feet and Ears

Preparing your new puppy for his lifestyle includes introducing him to grooming and possible vet treatments. This preparation involves handling him all over his body including looking in his eyes, ears, mouth and touching him all over including his paws. Do this every day and make it a fun and rewarding experience. You can do this by offering a reward of either physical and verbal praise or a small food reward to reinforce regular relaxed handling.

Regular handling and grooming of your puppy will prepare him to be a relaxed dog when he is being treated by the veterinarian or yourself. By checking his ears, eyes and teeth regularly you will teach him that this action is nothing to worry about. Later on if you do have to put in ear drops or similar your dog will welcome the action far more than if you had not regularly carried out the action of looking in his ears as part of his daily routine. Regular handling prevents an issue when treatment is necessary by showing your dog that there is nothing to worry about.

So by realizing your puppy’s social needs and meeting them as he develops into an older dog you will be helping him to become a confident, friendly and secure adult dog. Register to the forum and begin to talk to thousands of other dog owners, you are sure to find a lot of good and positive advice on raising your puppy.

The Best Way to Train a Puppy – Positive Reinforcement

By Sally Gutteridge | Posts , Puppies

Training a puppy can feel like the most difficult thing in the world to do. Advice from dog training professionals can sometimes seem conflicting and a new puppy owner can easily feel that they have no idea which is the right way to train their young dog. Are you a new puppy owner that would like to know the best and most effective way to train your new family member to behave nicely?

Positive reinforcement is the only effective, kind and long term dog training technique that your puppy will truly enjoy. The theory behind this type of training is that you always reinforce a behavior that you would like your puppy to repeat and ignore each action that you would prefer your puppy to leave behind. Many professional dog trainers use positive reinforcement to train older dogs that are going to carry out a role of employment such as assist a disabled person or search for an item.

Here I will explain how simple it is to use reinforcement by providing a positive result to a behavior offered by your puppy. This training ethic is a way of molding your puppy into a dog who behaves in a way that is useful to you and healthy for him. It is also great fun to carry out. Read on to discover how easy and enjoyable it is to train your puppy using positive reinforcement.

Toilet Training

Never punish your puppy if he has an accident in the home. He has simply not learned yet where he should go to “perform”. Offer him plenty of opportunity to toilet outside, observe throughout and then when he does toilet outdoors reward the action with plenty of praise and a game or treat.

A young dog wants to please you. They like the result that your pleasure provides, which is praise and a reward. Therefore by showing your dog that you are over the moon with his action of toileting outdoors you will trigger something in him that makes him want to repeat the action. It won’t happen overnight but by repeating this over a few days you will be using positive reinforcement to toilet train your puppy.

Come when called

A young puppy is not designed to run away. Dogs prefer to be near other creatures and this includes human beings. Recall problems occur when the environment is more interesting that the person doing the calling. Positive reinforcement when used as a technique for training recall is easy. Always reward the puppy when he returns to you. Be an interesting and worthwhile prospect. You can also vary your tone of voice to grab the attention of your puppy; anyone that has worked with puppies will confirm the effectiveness of “puppy, puppy, puppy” delivered in a high pitch to get a litter of puppies racing towards them.

By offering a bonus for a prompt and keen return to you then you are reinforcing a good recall. Think of it this way, the dog will choose the most gratifying option to himself. So make yourself and the treats/toys that you carry reward enough to overcome any distraction then ensure that the reward is sufficient to bring him running back next time you call.

Ignore the unhelpful behavior

One of the most important rules when training your puppy with positive reinforcement is that you do not inadvertently reinforce unhelpful behavior. If your puppy is offering a behavior that is, or could develop into a problem you can make this behavior extinct by simply ignoring it. For example if a dog that is jumping up for attention, is then picked up into the arms of his target, he has just been taught to jump up. Which is cute behavior from a 2kg puppy but not so welcome from a 40kg Labrador.

Ignoring the unhelpful act and offering a favorable reward for the behavior that you would like repeated is a useful way to mold a nicely behaved puppy. As an intelligent creature, your young dog will soon learn that he gets the best result from certain actions then strive to achieve the result again and again.

Check out Jean Cote’s new obedience training program which utilizes positive reinforcement as a way to train your dog in everyday good behavior and to teach him fun actions along the way.