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Training and Socialising your Puppy

How to have a happy and well-adjusted dog

Every dog owner would like a dog that is happy, comfortable, and easy to control in all situations. If we start working at it when she is very young, we can ensure that we have a dog that is a pleasure to have and take anywhere, and whose life is rich, happy, and fulfilling. It’s so much easier to prevent unwanted behaviour problems in a young puppy, than to have to deal with them in an adult dog!

Always encourage/reward good behaviour and prevent/stop unwanted behaviour using positive methods only.

The crucial learning period is when your puppy is 3-13 weeks old, called the ‘sensitive’ period. During that time, your puppy will learn what she likes and dislikes. Any unfamiliar things encountered during these weeks are interesting to her, not necessarily scary. During this sensitive period it is important to ‘proof’ your puppy against everyday, but potentially scary situations. She will then be able to develop coping strategies to use later in life.

After 12 weeks of age, new experiences can become worrying for your puppy and she is less able to cope.

How often have you heard someone say something like “My dog hates men in hats, she must have had a bad experience with this as a puppy”? In fact it’s more likely that this dog had never seen a man in a hat until she reached adulthood and was therefore not used to this sight, and so becomes fearful or aggressive in defence!

Below is a checklist for you to help prepare your puppy for adult life:

It is important that these things are not just done once, but regularly during the sensitive period and then continued for the first year of your dog’s life in order for her to remember them.

Places to go

Carry your puppy to some of these places as there is a risk of disease if other unvaccinated dogs are in the area.

Activities to encourage

People and animals to meet

Things to encounter