Training vital for happy, well-behaved dogs
Ask the vet
Esther Van Luipen
I mentioned before that a big percentage of dogs end up in dog pounds because of behavioural issues. If you’re getting a new dog, remember: No dog trains itself. A pup will try to copy the behaviour of an older dog, so if you already have a mature, well-behaved dog, it can be a great help. However, if you don’t have an older dog, you will have to do all of the training yourself.
It is so important to give your dog a proper upbringing. Just like you teach your children to behave, your dog also needs to learn how to behave itself. That is why I recommend that everyone brings their puppies to puppy school or gets lessons from a proper dog trainer. Training a puppy is not easy, you need to be very consistent and the whole family needs to be on the same line.
At puppy school, a puppy will learn all the basic things, like sit, stay, stand up, walk close, come when called or to walk on a lead without pulling as well as more difficult things. Other behaviour issues, like housetraining, biting, aggression, chewing and learning to be alone need also to be addressed.
Even if you don’t have much time, you owe it to your puppy to find time for socialisation. This is not difficult to do, but it is the most important thing in the dog’s life. It will ensure it will become a well-balanced and friendly dog. Get your puppy used to all kinds of people, noises, smells and sights in its environment before the age of 16 weeks. Dogs that have not been socialised are afraid of all kinds of things they come in contact with and can become aggressive or highly stressed in situations that shouldn’t be stressful at all.
Make all your puppy’s experiences happy ones by giving treats when introducing them to a new experience or a new person.
Before socialising with other dogs make sure your puppy has had its vaccinations. The first vaccination can be given at eight weeks of age. If you are getting a puppy from a breeder, make sure the breeder has already been socialising the pup before you get it. For example, puppies handled properly by children at an early age are easier going around children as adults.
Remember: You can teach an old dog new tricks, but it is much easier to teach them to a puppy! When you train your puppy to be well behaved, you will not only get a gem of a dog, but you also get great bonding, so you gain a friend for life.
Qualified professional dog trainer Margaret Turner MBIPDT, MIACE, runs a Puppy School and classes throughout Co Mayo. She can be contacted at 086 8168343 or 094 9360838, or at email@example.com. ‘The Perfect Puppy’, a book by Gwen Bailey, is also worth reading.
Esther van Luipen is a veterinary surgeon in Claremorris Small Animal Practice. Feel free to contact her with any of your small-animal concerns on 094 9373955 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.