Woodbridge-based dog training expert Steve Andrews says: “In the chaos of the last year, there’s been a massive increase in demand for puppies and sadly in many cases it hasn’t worked out for the best as owners have been ill-prepared when it comes to understanding the needs of a young and growing dog.
“The first few months of a puppy’s life is the time to establish the ground rules of good behaviour and so here I share my top tips, from selecting a breed to puppy socialisation.”
- Research the best breed for your family and lifestyle – if you’ve not had a dog before don’t buy a guard breed or a working line dog.
- Find a reputable breeder that will have built their breeding off solid confident dogs. If you are rehoming a puppy visit the puppy multiple times to see the true character of the puppy.
- Be prepared with all equipment especially a crate so the puppy has its own safe quiet area to go to. The crate also helps with toilet training. Do not use puppy pads as this promotes toileting in your house!
- Keep life as calm as possible for the puppy if there are children in the house teach them to be respectful to the puppy.
- Your puppy will need 16 to 18 hours sleep a day! Over excitable fractious behaviour is often a sign of over tiredness.
- Feed a high-quality puppy food and ensure water is always available.
- Do not wait until 13 weeks to let your puppy see and witness the real world. Use a rucksack on your chest to carry the pup for short walks so they get used to external stimulus.
- Work with a trainer that’s a good fit for you and that will teach you how to train your puppy.
- The period between 14 to 16 weeks is extremely important to your puppy’s development so don’t let negative interactions take place at this time. If you are able to meet, arrange for your puppy meet a few well-trained calm dogs at this time.
- When out on leash in public make sure you are building value of you and not other dogs or people. Real socialisation isn’t letting your puppy play with all the dogs on the park. It’s about your puppy being neutral to them and being attentive to you. This will aid the puppy’s training going forward.
- Make sure you build a solid reward history using food, toys, and affection in your training. This will motivate your puppy, build confidence and positive associations when out in the real world!
- Most of all make it fun!
Click here to find out more about Steve Andrews and his dog training services