Sully 3 weeks on

Life now has a routine based around Sully and his needs, my work and caring for Braccy and Bingo. He’s still on 4 meals a day but supper will no longer be served after the weekend.

He has several very short training sessions each day so he’s learning to stay still for handling, grooming and toweling. Also sit, down and stand. We also play the follow me game which is basically a baby version of walking on a lead nicely.

Sully loves to play tug and fetch. I try to change the toys he plays with each day. Much of this is from the recycling bin, cardboard boxes or tubes with treats hidden inside, milk containers with stones/water/rice or nothing inside. Once he’s finished with them they go back into the bin.

He has met some very nice dogs and played, visited pet shops, watched some horses grazing, sat on a bench and watched traffic and people pass by, yesterday he went to Go Outdoors. We have just returned from his 3rd visit to the vets to be weighed. Over the next few weeks I will continue to broaden his positive experiences with the outside world.

Sully’s first day

The journey to collect Sully, my 8 wk old Border Collie puppy, from his breeder was one of mixed emotions. I was excited to bring him home and start our new life together but still grieving for the unexpected loss of my young dog last year.

That face!

I prepared his travelling crate with fleecy bedding from my house and his breeder’s. I used Pet Remedy, a natural product which has a calming effect on cats, dogs and other species. Despite this, he spent half the journey telling everyone he had been kidnapped. Every time he looked like he was falling asleep he cried again.

I carefully introduced him to my older dog (Braccy) and cat (Bingo) using a light collar and houseline (see earlier blog) to manage him and keep all of them feeling safe. We explored the garden together. He went to the toilet, had his dinner and supper.

At bedtime it took a while to settle him in his pen and all seemed well. I got up the next day to find he had climbed out the pen, eaten the cat’s food and litter tray contents and was asleep in Braccy’s bed!

What does puppy socialisation mean?

Many owners believe that socialisation is allowing their puppy meets as many dogs as possible.

But it is so much more than that

Puppies need to learn about the living world, people, cats, cows, sheep, dogs, swans, horses etc. There are different shapes and sizes in all of the above

They also need to learn about ‘stuff’, wheelie bins, doorbells, vacuum cleaners, hot ovens, stairs, cars, smoke alarms and so on

Good breeders raise puppies in their home and help them to gain confidence with daily, gentle, new experiences so that they are more likely to slot into their new home with few problems.

Their early environment can be crucial for some pups, if they have had limited experiences, maybe living in a kennel or stable, then moving to a new home can be a difficult time for them. They have so much more to cope with than a well-raised puppy.

But you can help by building their confidence with new experiences which can be as simple as putting their food into several pieces of scrunched up paper in a cardboard box or taking them out to sit on your lap to watch the world go by. It could involve a car trip to a local pet shop or sitting in a car park watching vehicles and shopping trolleys pass by.

The most important thing is that your puppy enjoys the experience. If you watch they will show how they are feeling.

It is good sign if your puppy has a relaxed face and is taking treats happily. Yawning and mouth-licking usually mean that the puppy is anxious not, as many people think, tired and hungry.

Particular care needs to be taken with puppies when meeting other dogs to make sure that they are not worried or have a bad experience. Make sure that the dog wants to meet up, ask the owner to have them on lead so that you can allow your puppy to approach as close as is comfortable for them. Keep the meeting brief and move on. Protect your puppy from bouncy, friendly dogs as well as aggressive dogs. Early scary experiences will have a lifelong impact and sometimes can cause pups to grow up to be aggressive when on the lead.

If you think enrolling on to a puppy party might be useful then visit without your puppy so that you can be sure that pups are carefully supervised and it is not a free for all. If you decide to take your puppy and you are concerned for them then intervene, help them out if they need it.

Try to make sure your puppy has one new enjoyable experience each day.

Finally do make sure they get plenty of rest; learning about the world can be exhausting.

And have fun!

Meeting a new person means getting a treat from them, you will need a good supply with you

Hot dogs

The sudden change in the weather has been a shock to our systems and our dogs.

Dogs cool themselves by panting, they need cooler moving air in order to maintain a safe body temperature.
That is why it can be so dangerous to leave a dog in a vehicle

At home make sure they have shaded spaces to relax and plenty of fresh cool water.
Try to get some air movement too.

Some dogs love to wallow in a paddling pool and can be great fun for everyone

Walking your dog earlier in the morning and evening will allow them to enjoy their walk much more than in the heat of the day

Don’t forget the 5 second rule, it you cannot hold the back of your hand on the pavement for 5 seconds it is too hot for your dog and may burn his feet. Today I saw several dogs being walked on pavements during the hot part of the day.

Enjoy the sunshine while it lasts

Firework Season is here again!

It is very distressing to see your lovely dog terrified in their own home or too frightened to go into the garden for a comfort break.

Some dogs even begin to worry as soon as it gets dark

This little book by Toni Shelbourne and Karen Bush has some great tips for helping anxious dogs to cope

If you need more help then call me on 0794 1122737

Babies and dogs

This week I have visited two families, one with a 3 yr old dog and the other with a 10 week old puppy. Both families want to keep their baby safe and were worried about the excitable behaviour from their furry friend. Although the needs of the two dogs were quite different the principles behind how to improve their behaviour is the same.

Teach your dog what to do, if you don’t want him to jump up, reward him for keeping his feet on the floor. Food rewards are easiest to manage and can be part of their daily food allowance to prevent weight gain.

The arrival of a new baby changes many things in your dog’s life. It is important to maintain his regular walks and give him some one-to-one time so that he doesn’t try to gain your attention when you are busy with the baby.

I recommend ‘Babies, Kids and Dogs’ by Melissa Fallon and Vickie Davenport for in depth advice and support to help you and your family as they grow. But just like any recipe book, the results may not be quite what you expected and advice from a knowledgable and experienced dog trainer may be just what you need.

Houseline help with puppies

Since my Border Collie puppy, Riff, came home I have had a houseline attached to his collar or harness whenever he is out of his safe area and I am able supervise him.

Why?

Because prevention is better than cure:

If he was free to roam he could be:

  • learning to bite my laces when I’m tying them
  • chasing my cat
  • putting his head in the fridge when I open the door
  • jumping up to greet people
  • rushing out through open doors
  • playbiting people
  • bothering my older collie, Braccy
  • falling in the pond

As a result of using the houseline to guide him he is learning to:

  • watch me tie my shoes
  • look at the cat and allow her to approach
  • watch me open and close the fridge
  • keep feet on the floor to meet people
  • keep teeth on toys
  • investigate the pond safely
  • not to play roughly with Braccy

How?

By preventing unwanted behaviour I can more easily guide and reward him for ‘good’ behaviour.

For example, when my cat comes in I stand on the line to keep the puppy still so that she can approach and investigate him in safety. If she moves away I reward him so that he is less likely to have the urge to go after her, which will make her run and will cause him to chase and learn a new game which will distress my cat.

This makes for a calmer household, I avoid having to rush after him, grab him, scoop him up or tell him off I can just stand on or lift up the line and he cannot go wrong

Simples!

Playing with your dog

Playing with your dog or puppy;

  • builds a lifelong relationship that teaches them that you are fun to be with
    • if you don’t they will be more interested in other dogs/people etc.
  • provides appropriate games for their natural drives
    • if you don’t they will start to play the ‘wrong’ games e.g. chasing and not coming back
  • is a great way to use up their energy, mentally and physically
    • if you don’t they’ll use it another way e.g. jumping up

A recent survey of 4000 dogs, carried out by Emily Blackwell at Bristol University, found that those who play less with their owners are more likely to show behaviour problems such as anxiety, aggression, jumping up, not coming when called.

So getting into the routine of playing with your dog 3 or more times a day can really help your dog to be more contented

Many dogs love ‘fetch’ they also love using their noses to find toys/food – look out for my next Scent Games date – tugging, shaking, hide and seek.

Play your dog’s favourite games and he will be a more settled dog to live with.

To learn more about how to play with your dog or puppy appropriately, contact me to find out more information about dog training and puppy training classes.

A brief overview of neutering your puppy

The surgery for the removal of the internal reproductive organs is termed:
Castration (testicle removal) in males
Spaying (womb and ovary removal) in females

There are arguments for and against the operations and when might be the best age for surgery.

Pros of spaying

  • no risk of womb infection
  • no risk of ovarian tumours
  • prevents phantom pregnancies
  • prevents unwanted pregnancy
  • if carried out before her second season can reduce the risk of mammary tumours
  • avoids the mess and inconvenience of seasons (usually twice a year for 3 weeks)

Cons of spaying

  • increased risk of incontinence (urine)
  • affects growth rate
  • affects maturation
  • can affect coat
  • more likely to put on weight

Pros of castration

  • no prostate problems
  • no testicular cancer
  • may reduce aggression (take advice from a qualified behaviourist as it may become worse)
  • will reduce inappropriate sexual behaviour e.g. roaming, mounting

Cons of castration

  • affects growth rate
  • affects maturation
  • can affect coat
  • more likely to put on weight

For more information: http://www.apbc.org.uk/system/files/private/apbc_summary_sheet_of_castration_risks_and_benefits.pdf

It is important that you and your vet have a full discussion before deciding what is best for your dog.

House training your puppy

Dice-asleep-croppedAs dogs have a natural tendency to move out of the nest to go to the toilet, from three weeks of age your puppy will begin to leave the sleeping area to do so.

When he comes home, you need to teach him that your house is his ‘nest’

When you take him outside stay with him, otherwise he may be too anxious to go when he is alone and instead will do so when he comes back indoors to ‘safety’.

When he is about to go introduce a cue e,g, hurry up, be quick etc

Once he has been praise him well and reward him with titbit or a favourite game

Wait for a few minutes, if he doesn’t go, take him in and keep him with you using a lead or houseline and try again later.

If he begins to go indoors you can interrupt him with a ‘Quick, quick’ and easily guide him outdoors.

Swooping down suddenly and scooping a puppy up in the air can be frightening for them and make them worried about hands coming towards them.

When you cannot concentrate on your puppy, confine him to an area with suitable flooring so that any accidents can easily be cleaned up and the floor washed with warm diluted biological washing solution.

As your puppy learns where he should go to the toilet he will begin to show signs that he needs to go out, such as going to the door, pawing at it or whining.