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Basic Puppy Training

Basic Puppy Training – Tips, Tricks and Techniques

Ready to start your adventures with puppy training?

Bringing a puppy into your home is an exciting and fun time.

Watching your tiny puppy investigating everything around them, learning new things on a daily basis and soon becoming your best friend is definitely one of the most rewarding and wonderful feeling.

It won’t be long when your puppy has their first walk, that first time going swimming, the first time fetching and playing ball, that first night where your puppy sleeps all through the night without needing the toilet, the first game of Frisbee, the first time you take your puppy to a café, the first time you take your puppy to visit your family and friends.

We know that puppies are cute and comical, but saying that they can also drive you mad. It’s definitely a good thing they are adorable, especially when they chew your phone charging cable, toilet on the carpet in your living room or bark like mad at that imaginary intruder during the night.

Many new puppy owners openly admit that they wonder if it was a great idea to get a puppy, and whether they were really up for the challenge.

But honestly don’t worry, with some guidance you’ll be set for success in raising a puppy. This is your puppy training and care guide. This is going to help set you up for success, provide a safe home and develop that important bond with your new best friend.

Whoever it was that said you can't buy happiness! They must have forgotten about puppies.

Where Should You Get Your Puppy From?

Now you’ve made the decision to have a puppy join you and your family, but from where do you get one from? There are a few different options available from either adopting a puppy or buying a puppy. Here’s some of the most some common ones:

Buying From A Breeder

If you know exactly the breed of puppy you want (after doing your research) and the temperament your after, then looking at getting a puppy from a responsible licensed breeder is a good idea.

There are currently 222 different breeds registered with the UK kennel club and then there is 339 breeds that are recognised with the FCI (Fédération Cynologique Internationale). Breeders who regularly breed will breed for dogs who produce fairly predictable temperaments and certain characteristics. Every puppy that is bred will certainly be individual and its possible that it might stray slightly from the breed standards, But it will gives you a pretty good insight of what to expect from your puppy when it grows up.

If you do decide to go a head and buy your puppy from a breeder, then you absolutely 100% want to make certain that your puppies parents have under gone and passed breed-specific health testing like hip and elbow scoring. Every breed of dog sadly has certain diseases that they are susceptible to, and most are or at least in partly genetic. Responsible and ethical breeders should test the parents for any of these typical diseases and then only breed them if they are clear and healthy. By doing this then the puppies will be as healthy as possible.

When doing your research on a breeder, seriously don’t be afraid to ask them lots of questions about the way the litter of puppies are raised, in fact a responsible and ethical breeder will be more than happy that you’ve asked. Now for example if you are looking for a dog to join your family with a baby or toddlers, then you may want a breeder who recent litter of puppies have been brought up in a home and not outdoors in a kennel, so the puppies are going to be already used to most of the noises in a home as well as being around people.

Ask your potential breeder if they have implemented any type of puppy raising program. A quite popular program that has been proven to help expose the puppy to multiple sensations, different sights, sounds and smells is Puppy Culture, the program is to help make sure that the puppy is well adjusted to everything that they may come across later in life.

A lot breeders will have the puppies meet other people and children before leaving for their new home, It’s a good idea to start them out with crate training and take them out in the car if you have one. The more the breeder puts into raising the puppies, then the more easier it will be to handle the puppies!

Some breeders may have a contract in place regarding breeding rights and regarding to spaying and neutering. Make sure that you are both on the same page when it comes to the age of when your puppy should be spayed or neutered.

Adopting A Puppy From A Rescue

In the UK there are a lot of dogs and puppies who are homeless and find themselves in rescue kennels, adopting a puppy from a rescue centre is a great way to help with the issue of rescues being full as well as gaining a friend for life.

If you decide in adopting a puppy from a rescue centre, then the puppy will have been assessed, they will have received their vaccinations, been given flea and worm treatment, been examined by a veterinarian for any kind of disease the puppy may have, they’ll be microchipped and in some cases they’ll already be neutered or spayed.

In some cases a rescue might be able to give you a rough idea on the size the puppy will be when they are fully grown, the predicted temperament if they know the puppies full breed, or the breed of the parents.

If you have a very specific idea already on what you want with the appearance and temperament of your new puppy, then adopting a puppy from a rescue may not be a good idea, as it’s not always possible to establish the exact breeds in the puppies parentage.

Having trained with many rescue dogs where they have totally surprised their owners, and turned out to be a little bit different than what they were expecting is quite a common thing. Some have had high prey drive higher than what was expected, some have grown much larger than the owner was guessing, some have turned out to have a lot more energy than what the rescue had first thought.

However if you are looking for a puppy that is totally unique and who is going to be your loyal friend, then rescue and save a life! There are a lot of rescues for you to choose from!

Buying Your Puppy From A Neighbour Or the Free Ads

Dog breeding in the UK is somewhat regulated, this basically means that you require a breeding license if you are going to breed. But saying that these regulations are almost impossible to enforce and this has resulted in a lot of litters being bred by back yard breeders. Now whilst the puppies of your work colleague Cocker spaniel and their neighbour Poodle cross might look cute, it really is a wise idea to leave the breeding to the breeders who have planned litters with health tested parents who are selected in their temperament.

The majority of back yard breeders are not very knowledgeable when it comes to raising a litter of puppies, socialisation and they might not take the litter for their veterinary health checks as needed.

Buying a puppy from a situation that's certainly a questionable one, and then finding out the puppy is seriously ill, investing not just your heart but also thousands of pounds into saving your poorly little pup only for them to sadly not make it.

As hard as it is to so no and to keep away from these kind of litters you really do need to think twice. You will more than likely find many cute and fluffy unique cross breeds in the rescues that need a new loving home and these will be healthy and thoroughly cared for.

Buying A Puppy from a Pet Shop

The same as buying your puppy off Gumtree or your local Facebook neighbourhood group, purchasing a puppy from a pet shop needs to be avoided at all costs. The 6th of April 2020 a new law was introduced called Lucy’s law, the law prohibits the sale of both puppies and kittens under the age of 6 months old by any 3rd party sellers and pet shops. Many puppies and kittens being sold in pet shops were being sold sick and were the result of very questionable breeding practices. They quite often came from puppy farms who are only breed for one reason and that’s money.

Hopefully you have decided exactly where you want to get your puppy from, so it’s now time to get your home all ready!

Getting Your Home Ready For The Puppy

A puppy will be joining your family shortly! So it’s time to get your home ready for the new arrival!

Your new puppy, doesn’t require too much, you can be prepared and get some of those essentials now, you can add more bits at a later date, this gives you time to get to know your puppies toy and chewing choices.

Things you can purchase for your puppy:

  • Bowls x 2
  • Bed
  • Collar
  • Crate
  • Tag
  • Lead
  • Food
  • Toys
  • Chews
  • Puppy shampoo
  • Head collar optional

Collar, Dog Tag And Lead

When it comes to taking your puppy out for walks, socialising or a trip out to the vets etc. Then your puppy will need a collar, lead and a I.D tag (which is the law). I highly recommend using flexitags these tags will be engraved with the information that you send them. The tag will need your address and contact number just in case your puppy ever goes missing.

A standard lead that’s about 1.5 meters long is recommended for those daily walks walks. You can use a 10 meter long line for going to places like that the park and practice recall with your puppy. I don’t recommend using a flexi/extendable lead. It is next to impossible to teach your puppy not to pull when using one of these, the idea of the flexi lead is to give your dog that extra bit of freedom and distance for exploring if pulling. This is certainly not what you want to teach your puppy when out on a walk and you want your puppy to walk and not pull.

Instead of a collar for walking you can walk your puppy using a harness. It’s advisable not to buy a no pull harness, all these do to your dog is restrict the motion of the shoulders by pulling tight when the dog walks. you don’t want to cause your puppy to shorten their stride or adopt a gait that is an unnatural walking pattern. The more freedom for the shoulders a harness allows whilst the puppy is walking the better. A good harness to use would be a Y harness from perfect fit or true love

Important: Do not leave your puppy into their crate with the collar on, even more so if it has a dangling tag attached to it. It can easily get stuck in the bars of the crate and cause your puppy to choke. There is no need for your puppy to wear a collar while they are in the crate.

Puppy Food

To start with, ask the breeder what your puppy has been eating whilst at their home or if from a rescue ask them what your puppy was eating and go out and buy some of that food. You can always change your puppies diet to a different brand or type of food at a later date. When your puppy moves in with you, this is going to be a huge stressful time for them that may upset their stomach, so you don’t want to add even more stress straightaway by adding a new food.

After a few days you can start to gradually change to another food if you want. Do this gradually as not to upset your dogs digestion.

  • Day 1: 80% old food, 20% new food
  • Day 2: 75% old food 25% new food
  • Day 3: 60% old food, 40% new food
  • Day 4: 40% old food, 60% new food
  • Day 5: 20% old food, 80% new food,
  • Day 6: 100% new food

Dog Beds And Dog Crates

If you have decided that you want to crate train your puppy, then get a crate that is going to be big enough for your puppies adult size. Your puppy will grow grow quite quick from the time you them up to when they are fully grown. You can always adjust the crate’s size by using a crate divider to make it smaller at the beginning.

For day time naps and changing from the crate your going to require one or more comfy beds. Puppies love beds with raised edges. They love to sleep whist they are touching something with their back and head. It might remind them of cuddling up to their litter mates.

If possible, get a towel, blanket, t-shirt or something similar from the home where your puppy was bred and place it into your puppies bed. The scent will be familiar and will help to calm your puppy down and help them to relax and go to sleep. Young puppies are like little children in the way that they do not know when they are tired and need to take a nap, and sometimes they will even try and fight it. This is where having something to snuggle will help to make your puppy feel relaxed and sleepy, it will certainly come very useful, it will encourage your puppy to stay and get some rest.

The First Weeks At Home

Its the big day that you get to bring home your puppy! You have everything ready and waiting for them and your excited to show them their new home.

Some puppies will take everything in confidently explore everything, whilst running through to the different rooms and into the garden with their tail held high, showing everyone how confident they are!. They might play with you straight away and want to enthusiastically greet every member of their new family.

Your puppy might not be happy, but instead feeling confused and shy. Don’t panic they have just gone through a huge change at such a young age. Some puppies don’t do well at this and miss their mum, their former home and most importantly their siblings! Litters where only one puppy is born is quite rare, and your puppy has more than likely grown up with constant companions. They will snuggle together, play fight together, play chase and slept together.

Some puppies really miss their siblings a lot during the first few days and struggle when in the new home!

Your puppy may seem restless or they might whine a lot. They might have trouble relaxing and going to sleep, they might wake up multiple times during the night. Please be compassionate towards your puppy, it must be quite scary for your puppy to suddenly wake up alone and not have their brothers and sisters to curl and snuggle up with.

And definitely don’t discipline or reprimand them under any circumstances.

Its now the time to show your puppy that your going to be their new best friend in life.

If your puppy whines, just reassure them by giving them a stroke and talk softly to them. Play with them and feed him your puppy out of your hand as often as you can so your puppy starts to associate positive experiences with you. If your puppy wakes up at night, take them out side so they can go to the toilet and stroke them to help calm them down. Don’t make the mistake of discipling your puppy, you want your puppy to know you are kind and trustworthy.

Being excited about your new puppy can be really tuff when they seem to be sad and shy. But seriously don’t worry, if you are friendly and show kindness, then your puppy will soon realise that living with you is brilliant!

During the first week you will want to let your puppy guide the activities that you plan. If your puppy is happy and outgoing, then you can take your puppy to visit your friends at there homes, puppy class or other fun adventures.

If your puppy is an introvert and quite shy. Then you want to make sure your puppy comes out of their shell before taking them on little adventures. If your puppy is really unsure, then being exposed to lots of different stimuli could have a negative impact on them even more and slow down the process for your puppy to start feeling at home.

Where is your puppy going to spend their day?

With a young puppy, you will want to make sure that your puppy only has the run of the house when they are being supervised. Whilst most adult dogs can normally be trusted at home alone, never trust your young puppy.

Having this as a rule will protect both your puppy and your home.

Puppies are known to be destructive and will definitely try to chew on lots of different items around the house. This might be anything from the furniture, rugs, and doors. Your puppy might even try chewing on your plants, electrical wires or even on cleaning products.

Allowing puppies to be alone in multiple rooms unsupervised is unsafe!.

puppies will try and eat things that you didn’t even consider were edible, such as your underwear or even batteries which are extremely dangerous.

Ideally you should have an area that is contained for your puppy when your not able keep an eye on them.

This will also make toilet training your puppy a lot easier.

There are a few different set-up options that work well for this.

  • Play pen
    Play pens are metal structures that are designed to be moved around, similar to a play pen used for toddlers. They help you to keep your puppy safely contained wherever you would need to. Play pens are quite useful to have, for example they restrict a puppies access to only one part of a room or bedroom. You can add chew toys, a bed and a water bowl for your puppy to use.
  • They can be used in the garden. A play pen will come in handy when every you have any guests around, whilst cleaning the car or even if you to have a picnic in the park and you want to take your puppy.

  • Baby Gates
    If you have rooms with floor tiles or lino like the kitchen, you can use the baby gate to keep your puppy to just this room. Any accidents will be a lot easier to clean up and also less likely to happen, your puppy won’t get into any bother when left unsupervised. Baby gates are a more permanent solution than the play pen option, they are usually harder to move around and they require to be adjusted to the width of the doorways in your home. However they are more stable than a play pen and they are often used as a long-term solution for many dog owners.

  • Puppy play room
    You may have a room that is safe for your puppy to have as a play room, maybe a bathroom or utility room, you might also want to use this room as your puppies play room, this can be used when no one can actively supervise your puppy. Same as the baby gate option, this usually turns into a long term solution that can work very well for both the owner and puppy.

Whist you can watch your puppy and make sure that they remain safe, they can be anywhere you’d like them to be of course! You can have your puppy with you when you relax, do the house work, do the gardening etc. Just remember to keep an eye on them, because puppies can cause a lot of mischief faster than you think.

You can teach your puppy from an early age that in the evening its time to becalm and that its family time. You can give your puppy a frozen Kong to chew while you relax watching TV, reading a book or play games on your phone.

Toilet training, feeding and go for a walk

Toilet Training

One thing puppies do a lot of is pee. A young puppy will need to go to the toilet a lot! Puppy owners usually feel quite overwhelmed when it comes to toilet training and get quite frustrated about the amount of accidents the puppy has inside the home.

It is imperative for successful toilet training that you follow the above advice on restricting your puppy’s access throughout the house when their not being supervised.

Here is how problems with toilet training start:

Naturally puppies are really clean. Their mother will keep them clean whilst they’re really young and then later on they’ll leave their whelping box to to go to the toilet themselves. Puppies can tell the difference between the living area, playing areas and areas where they go to the toilet. They certainly don’t want to soil the places where they are going to eat, play and spend the majority of their time.

Whether its a breeder or a rescue volunteer who is raising a litter of puppies, they definitely won’t be giving any puppies the run of the house. The puppies will be restricted to a pretty small area, may be the kitchen, utility room or similar. It is a lot easier for the puppies to avoid any accidents in their own living area and for them to only go to the toilet in the designated area like on puppy toilet pads as it is clear to them which area is which.

The puppy now lives with you. And all of a sudden you puppy has a huge house all to themselves! They see some parts of their new home as living/playing/eating/sleeping areas, and the others, well quite often the parts where we spend the less time, such as a corner in the hall as the area to go to the toilet. To your puppy your home is that big that it is beyond their understanding that there is no toilet spot in there.

It is very important that you either supervise your puppy or put your puppy into an enclosed area like a puppy play pen. If your puppies surroundings are small enough then your puppy will make an effort not to go to the toilet there. When you come to get your puppy you can then take them straight outside to their designated toilet area and teach them to pee and poop there.

Example, you want to do some washing. You put your puppy into the kitchen with the baby gates up. You fold the clean dry washing and after about 30 minutes you come back to your puppy. They’ll definitely need to go out to the toilet as they’ve been holding it in, as they didn’t want to mess in the kitchen play area, good puppy!

You take your puppy outside to the exact spot that you want them to pee at, they pee and then you praise them and give them a treat. That was a great learning experience for them.

If you’d have left your puppy out on their own and unsupervised then they might have just gone into a corner in the house and gone to the toilet there thinking this was an acceptable place to toilet.

When ever your puppy is being supervised and has the run of the house, remember that they have to go to the toilet:

  • after each meal
  • after they’ve woken up
  • after having a play
  • and regardless of the above, after every 20 minutes

You might learn to tell when they are about to go. Dogs tend to start circling and sniff the ground before going to the toilet. If your puppy starts doing this, then pick them up quickly and carry them outdoors to where you want them to go.

At the start, your puppy will not know that their toilet place is outside, and isn’t just for playing with leaves, tugging on the lead, digging etc. try standing still and don’t start to play or walk until your puppy has relieved themselves. This will soon become quicker and quicker and the place itself will become a cue for your puppy to go over time.

For the first few weeks expect to take your puppy out to the toilet during the night. There are some puppies who will sleep all the way through the night without the need to go out to the toilet right from the beginning, but if not you will have to get up at least once or twice during the night for your puppy to go out for a pee for a while. But no need to worry don’t, it will get better and they will soon sleep all through the night.

Feeding your puppy

When it comes to feeding your puppy there are lots a few different options available. You can feed them a complete dry food diet, canned wet food or even a raw food diet. A complete dry food diet is the easiest and the most convenient for a lot of puppy owners, so for now we will focus on that.

Its recommended that a puppy should be fed 3-4 times a day. Remember that your puppy will have to be taken out to the toilet after every meal!

Personally i don’t advise on free-feeding, this is where the dog has access to a constantly filled food bowl all day. This can make toilet training a lot harder and it can take twice as long to master, due to never knowing when your dog eats.

Allowing free feeding also doesn’t allow you to plan for your training sessions. You don’t really want to try and train your puppy with training treats when they have just eaten and aren’t really interested in the food that’s in your hand. For treats to be really tempting they need to be really wanted by a dog that has at least a little bit of an appetite:

Free feeding vs meal times

Free feeding:

  • Issues with toileting: If your puppy has a lot of toilet accidents, then free feeding will make your puppies eating times more uncontrollable and toileting training more unpredictable

  • Not interested in training: If your dog is allowed to eat whenever they want to, then they might have no interest in training due to having a full stomach

  • Multi dog house: If you have multiple dogs in your home then it is best to try and avoid any food aggression by not allowing everyone to have access to one bowl at all times, as they may feel that they need to defend the food

  • Controlling portions: If your dog is having problems with maintaining a healthy weight, it is totally impossible to control their portion intake when allowing access to as much food as they want at any time they wants

Meal times:

  • Issues with toileting: knowing when your dog eats makes it easier to knowing when your dog needs the toilet, especially if its a puppy as they usually need the toilet straight after eating

  • Not interested in training: Your able to make sure your dog isn’t full from eating their food just before any of your training session, you puppy will be a lot more interested in eating the training treats

  • Multi dog house: By not having any rare resources around the house, that the dogs might feel the need to defend against any of the other members of their household will make everyone’s life less stressful

  • Controlling portions: If your dog is struggling to maintain a healthy weight, you can help your dog to lose weight by measuring exactly how much your dog eats for each meal, and you can then adjust the portions to that your dog requires for the weight loss.

Fun feeding ideas

If possible you should try different ideas when it comes to feeding your puppy. You can have your puppy eat out of a bowl if you are too busy, but if your not try feeding your puppy by hand, by doing a small training session or using food puzzles!

Every little piece of food that your puppy eats is a perfect opportunity for you to exercise their mind, their body and to teach them some new skills.

Scatter feeding: Scatter your puppies food throughout the house or in the garden if you have one, don’t just put it in one place, your puppy will sniff out their food, which will help to calm your puppy down and wear them out.

Rolled up blanket: Roll pieces of your puppies food in a towel or blanket, and let your puppy work out how to get their food

Toilet rolls stuffed: Put pieces of food in the toilet roll tube and close up each end, and let your puppy have fun working out how to get the food

The treat bottle: Use a clean empty pop bottle and put in some food or treats and let your puppy work out how to get at the treats

Box of treats: use small boxes like you get from Amazon, put in some treats, and close the lid, let your puppy work out how to get at the treats

Taking your puppy out on walks

As soon as you get your puppy you want to start going for walk. Walks should only be short to start with and should only happen where it is going to be safe for your puppy. You need to make sure that the places you go are not high trafficked areas with other dogs before your puppy has had all their vaccinations, don’t go to places like parks or on popular dog walks.

Walks are an activity that are calm and relaxing. And you should communicate that to your puppy right from day one. Don’t take your puppy out for a walk when they are buzzing with energy and tugging on the lead. Alternately, play with your puppy for a while first and then go on a walk when your puppy is starting to calming down a little. That way you can set yourself up to succeed with training loose-lead walking.

Remember Your puppy is still growing and the puppies bones and joint aren’t yet fully formed so you don’t want to expose your puppy to any repetitive, high impact exercise such as jogging. Don’t run with your puppy when they are on the lead. Allow them to decide the pace of the walk and go as slow as your puppy wants to.

It is important that during the walks you allow your puppy to sniff a lot. This will help calm them down and feel confident. The better your puppy knows what’s happening in their neighbourhood, the safer your puppy will feel. A dog will gain that knowledge by using their sense of smell.

If you come across people on your walk and they ask to stroke your puppy, then allow your puppy to make the choice of whether they want to greet them or not. Having strangers being bent over them and stroke them can be quite scary and threatening to some puppies and they don’t like it. If you can see that your puppy is trying to hide behind your legs, just tell them that stroking your puppy is probably best for another day.

Now if your puppy would like to greet the others, you should ask them to only make a fuss of your puppy when all four paws are on the floor. A puppy that might only weigh a couple of kilograms who jumps at a stranger’s legs might be cute, but an adult dog who weighs over 20kg that has learnt to do the same won’t be very cute any more! It’s best to start creating the habit of not jumping from the word go.

Its not advisable to let your puppy greet other dogs that you come across on your walks whist your puppy is on the lead. Unless you actually know the other dog and they will be trustworthy and friendly for example the elderly dog next door, Meeting other dogs whilst on lead can cause confrontations that are best avoided.

Why on lead meeting should be avoided

  • leads stop dogs from using proper body language, like turning their body sideways and using lateral motion to communicate calm intentions.

  • Holding dogs on lead who are pulling to get at each other puts them into a position of staring at each others eyes which is considered very threatening.

  • The physical pressure in the dogs neck will make the situation more tense and for both dogs to less likely to react properly.

  • The lead stops the dog from being able to retreat when they aren’t comfortable, so they might charge or lunge due to no other options

Even dogs who have met before and liked each other might react and have a snap or a growl at each other when meeting on the lead. Save any dog to dog interactions in situations where they are able to act freely without being restrained on the lead, you can always use barriers or longlines for safety.

Training Your Puppy

When Should you start training your Puppy?

As soon as your puppy comes to live with you, you can start to train your puppy in obedience and manners. The earlier your puppy experiences consistent rules the quicker your puppy will learn what to do and will adapt to them.

A mistake a lot of owners make is to get a puppy at 8 weeks old and then wait until they are 4 months or older until you start doing any training. Yes a 2 month old puppy is cute and tiny, that it is not really that necessary that they know how to sit, stay, go to bed or don’t pull on lead, but your going to want these skills later so its best to begin them now.

The longer your puppy has to practice bad habits like lead pulling or running out the door, then the harder it will be to break them.

Every time your puppy does a certain behaviour, a new pathway is formed in the brain that makes it more likely that your puppy will repeat that behaviour in the future. You really only want this to happen with good behaviours like sitting nicely or not stealing the treats out of your hand. Rehearsing and getting used to bad behaviours need to be avoided through training.

What should you teach your puppy to do first?

Train your puppy to do a “default sit”. This means that whenever the puppy wants the treat you have in your hand, wants your attention or wants to interact with a stranger, your puppy will sit. This is certainly a much better option than allowing any jumping up, barking or even biting and tugging on your arm or a shoe!

For dogs, sitting is a natural behaviour that they often do when they are not really sure what to do. This makes it very easy to train your dog to sit. Have some treats in your hand and stand in front of your puppy without saying anything. Your puppy might jump up at first, so just ignore it. Sooner or later your puppy will sit. At this moment you can tell them Yes or good! and give them a treat. Using treats and praise will make your puppy happy to participate in the training.

Throughout the day pay attention to your puppy. Does your puppy perhaps sit at your feet when you are sat reading? Will they sit when you get out their lead to go for a walk? Does your puppy sit when they are waiting for their breakfast? With these events you can praise and reward your puppy for their sit. Over time practising this will train them to offer a nice sit in lots of different situations, as well as being a well-behaved puppy!

Train your puppy to be calm

Puppies love to run, play and being silly. If your not wanting the adult version of your dog to be dreadful inside your house, then you shouldn’t allow your puppy to practice these behaviours either.

Quite often you see puppies getting the “zoomies”. When they are in this state they are aimlessly running around, jumping up on the sofa, running over tables and flying into people. Zoomies are a normal puppy behaviour and they are a completely healthy expression of happiness. Your glass dinning table however may not be the right place for your puppy to show that sort of happiness!

It is important you don’t allow any behaviour that you dislike right from the beginning. If you don’t want your dog to race around inside your home, then don’t allow it to happen. If your puppy starts to going crazy, then pick them up and them outside where they can safely zoom around like in your garden. Show your puppy where is okay to zoom around.

Never allow your puppy to race around where the floors have slippery surfaces! Dogs, more so puppies, do not understand that they shouldn’t run about on these surfaces. They will slip and hurt themselves. Many dogs have injured themselves and torn their ACLs by racing around on tiled or laminate flooring.

Saying that, you want your puppy to be calm and relaxed in your living area and you do that through training. Running and jumping around might not only damage your furniture but it might also be dangerous for your puppy. It only takes your puppy to knock into a glass cabinet, shatter it and end up covered in glass, suffering from multiple cuts that may require stitches.

Make sure your puppy has had some sort of activity to do before doing any training to hang out calmly with you. You can take your puppy to the park, play with or teach your puppy some tricks. Then give your puppy something to chew and sit down together and relax.

If your puppy is still being a live wire, then try attaching a lead to your puppy and attach them to either you and something like a chair. This way they will not be able to go anywhere. Your puppy will more than likely throw a little paddy at first but they will soon settle down and relax. Do this every time your puppy is wound up, it will teach them that slow down and relax. Actually for a lot of dogs the lead eventually becomes a signal to calm down and relax!

Playing with your puppy

Dogs being one of the few species that really enjoy playing throughout their lives. And they certainly love to play as puppies! You want to introduce good playing habits straight away so that your dog will be fun to play with when they are a lot stronger and bigger.

Game of Tug-Of-War with your puppy

Playing tug-Of-War is a great way to interact with your puppy. Does playing tug really make your dog more aggressive or boisterous? The easy answer in no its just a myth. As long as you put a few rules in place, you decide when its time to play, and you decide when its over, you have to be consistent that “out” means “out”, it is a brilliant game that dogs do really enjoy it very much.

Use soft toys for tugging. The knotted rope toys that you can get in pet shops are not really ideal, especially for puppies who are teething and don’t want to grab something that is hard and hurts their mouths.

Soft, floppy toys without stuffing or even just a cut-up old T-shirt work really well.

Quite often you’ll see owners play tug with their dogs and have the toy high up in their air, bouncing the dog up and down.

You want to play tug with your dog’s four paws on the floor with hardly any yanking motions, these motions from playing tug are all absorbed by your puppy’s neck and back!

Have a game of fetch with your puppy

Dogs enjoy a game of fetch. Don’t overdo it with your puppy, 5-10 minutes is more than enough. Never play fetch on floors that are slippery or hard such as laminate or concrete. Soft grass, sand or on a thick rug are okay for playing fetch.

Train your puppy to not chew

Puppies love chewing on anything and everything. The sofa, chairs, tables, your socks, your feet and hands, doors, cables. Some puppies will practically attempt to chew on anything they can get their teeth into!

You need to understand that chewing is a dogs natural desire, that is impossible to stop. All dogs have a genetic desire to chew. For puppies it is usually very strong and does get weaker as they get older. However some dogs will chew right up until their senior years. If you don’t offer your puppy appropriate things to chew, they will certainly find something themselves to chew!

Dogs really love to chew on items that taste natural. This actually means things that come from animals or animal products, like:

  • Cow hooves
  • Bully stick
  • Yak milk chews
  • Deer Antlers

Keep a few of these around for your dog to chew on, for when your dog feels like having a chew. The more options your dog has to pick from, the less likely your dog is to chew on your furniture.

Rope toys, Nylabones, cuddly toys and tennis balls things you can find in pet shops are not chew items that are appropriate for your dog. They shouldn’t be ingested. Have these toys purely for playing together with you. Seriously under no circumstances leave your dog unsupervised with stuffed toys that your puppy might chew, take out the stuffing and eat it. This can lead to an intestinal blockage which requires emergency veterinary intervention, usually ending in costly life saving surgery which will be expensive and certainly dangerous for your little puppy.

Having Kong toys that are filled and frozen are a great way to offer your puppy a delicious chewing option.

Dogs, pets, people and your puppy

Your puppy being around other pets

Do you have other pets as well as your puppy? Maybe an older dog, or a cat, some ducks or chickens, guinea pigs?

One extremely important rule is:

Behaviour in puppies is unpredictable.

This means you need to be always there to supervise your puppies interactions with your other animals. The thing you can be certain about is that your puppy is a curious, energetic baby who can and will annoy the life out of your other pets at times.

Let’s take a look at dog-dog interactions first.

Train your puppy to be respectful around your other dog’s

Be your older dog’s advocate and this needs to be really important. Don’t expect your older dog to discipline your puppy or teach your puppy the ropes.

A lot of dogs will allow puppies to test their patience and tolerance levels quite a lot. Puppies will tirelessly try and make another dog play with them or they will attempt to take bones or toys away from them.

Even though your older dog might not physically go after your puppy your older dog will more than likely be annoyed with your puppy and not want to form a positive relationship with them. It is really imperative that you watch all their interactions together and step in when you see that your puppy is getting too much. A hyper excited and wound up puppy is likely to ignore any warning growls and curled lips from an older dog.

You don’t want your older dog to think that they need to bite or nip the puppy to stop them from being obnoxious and overbearing.

Make sure that your puppy and older dogs never have any conflicts over any kind of resources. This includes any chews, toys, food, or whilst they are sitting next to you etc.

Have lots of fun time with your puppy. Take your puppy and older dog out on walks together, go on some adventures, take them to the park or woods etc. When your doing any training with your puppy, give your older dog treats as well every now and then so your older dog does not feel jealous and left out.

When it comes to adding a puppy to your household that already own a dog, is to be proactive and diligent by making sure that all of them have positive experiences with each other.

Non-canine pets and your puppy

If you don’t have a older dog but you do have other pets, like cats, reptiles, hamsters, chicken, rats, birds etc., then you need to be understand that your puppy will have prey drive.

Puppies who are very young don’t really seem to have much prey drive. A puppy at 3 months might meet a hamster or gerbil and not really show any interest in wanting to chase the pet. Your puppy might not case or fetch balls, or want to run after other dogs etc. Your puppy also showed no prey drive when he met the hamster.

However when your puppy is over a year old and has developed prey drive and has started showing a big interest in racing after moving things.

Young puppies can give you a false sense of security when they are young and you have them around other animals. A lot of puppies do really well with chickens with hardly any training or none at all to begin with. But once they start to grow up and that prey drive starts to develop, then your puppy might start to go after the chickens for no real reason. You don’t want to one day come home to the results of a puppy whose predator instincts have suddenly kicked in.

Never leave your puppy on their own with any other pets unsupervised. The risk is too high.

Puppy socialising

You should ideally try and expose your puppy to lots of different people, places and dogs as they grow up.

A word of advice though:

Do not let your puppy see you as their driver!

When socialising puppies, you will often find yourself trying to make all outings and encounters in public highly pleasant for your puppy. The puppy will soon learn very quickly that everyone will be friendly and will want to fuss them. And maybe they will have a tasty treat for your puppy.

After a while, your puppy will become more and more attracted to every body else except you. Your puppy enjoys exploring and sniffing at all the places you take them to, but your puppy doesn’t seem to care that much for you. It is really important that you make sure that your puppy prefers you a lot more than any person or place you go!

When you go out to socialise with your puppy make sure that they always find some high value reinforcement through you. This could be in the form of earning some tasty treats by sitting and lying down. This might be a game of fetch at the park. It might mean playing a fun game of fetching a toy or even having a game of tug-of-war.

Socialisation is not about teaching your puppy that everything is more fun than you! It is about exposing your puppy to everything around them.

This also applies to doggy day cares and the problems that can arise from them.

Your now all set for your puppy. Enjoy your time with them and don’t get stressed out too much when it comes to training. It is totally normal if things get a little manic, they are puppies after all. It’s all part of a fun and loving journey, so enjoy it!

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