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Dogzwag’s experts talk all things about Puppies

Puppies normally get up to mischief when they have too much time on their paws. So, firstly, make sure he has loads of chew toys and big bones, to entertain him. Some just like to dig, so give him his very own sandpit and hide some rubber toys in it to excavate. Finally, if he insists on digging in a favourite bed or patch of grass, place some of his poo in the hole, but make sure he is not looking when you do so.

There is only one reason for this behaviour, your puppy is being given titbits by someone in the house. Make sure everyone is on board and stop feeding him from your plate. If you want to give him a piece of left-over meat, clear away all the dinner plates and pop it in his bowl. He will soon work out food doesn’t come when you are eating and leave you in peace to enjoy your meal.

We do worry about puppies in lockdown. We have written a short puppy in lockdown article; you will find it on the home page. We hope it helps.

Puppy socialisation is the most important investment that you can give your puppy. A socialised puppy can go anywhere, be left alone, and fearlessly handle everyday life. Puppy socialisation has many facets, it takes some time and effort at key developmental stages, yet the rewards last a lifetime. All of this and more is explained in our Puppy Socialisation Course that takes you through all the age appropriate stages and shows you how to raise a socialised, happy puppy.

Puppies nip. This is also called mouthing. Mouthing is one of the ways they make sense of their world. But mouthing is very annoying and needs to be stopped before it becomes a habit and they get bigger. Everyone in the house should respond the same way when nipped. When a puppy hurts another pup, in his litter, the other pup would yelp and immediately stop play. So this is exactly what we need to do, but you have to do it immediately, yelp and stop, turn your back. You can resume play after the pup has calmed down.

Dogs are very good at not showing how ill they are. In the wild a sick or weak dog could be a target for predators, so they are hard wired to not show their vulnerabilities.

Things to watch out for is:

  • If they get grumpy and it is out of character
  • Go off their food
  • Act different, less energy, not interested in playing.

A vet visit is a good idea to check all is ok.

Yes some puppies do have adverse reactions to vaccinations. These take the form of lethargy, seizures and, at the more minor end, a lump developing on the site of the vaccination. However, it only affects a very small percentage of puppies. You must weigh up the pros and cons. Not vaccinating exposes your puppy to some really nasty viruses, with extremely high mortality rates. I feel the first set of 3, spaced out vaccinations, are very important. You can give the homeopathic remedy, Thuja, to help clear their system after a vaccination or, better still, go to a holistic vet for her vaccinations.

Take a step back and don’t try to rush things.  Put the lead on the floor and let her explore it without putting it on.  Let her smell and touch it and then put it away again.  Leave it for a while and then repeat the process, until she is no longer concerned.  Once she is ignoring it, put it on but don’t hold the lead.  Distract her with a game, or treat and let her run around with the lead dragging behind her.  Take it off and leave it for a while.  Once she is happy to move around with the lead hanging loose, then try picking it up and walking with her.  Remember, she’s a baby.  Take baby steps.

This is a highly recommended bonding time with your puppy. Massage has been proven to improve the overall health and wellbeing of your puppy, plus lowering their, and their masseur’s, blood pressure. Just remember to massage gently, either in long strokes, or tiny circular movements.

It is best to start potty training immediately, because once a habit has formed it is much more difficult to break. As soon as you bring your puppy home take her to the place in the garden where you want to encourage her to toilet. Immediately after she goes shower her with praise and reward her with a small high value treat. Take her outside whenever she wakes up, has eaten, last thing at night, or starts to turn in little circles. Always give loads of praise when she goes outside. If she has an accident inside, ignore her but clean that up immediately. You can get sprays from pet shops that mask scents, use this to obliterate the smell. Dogs tend to return to the same place to toilet. I would remove rugs, for the forseable future, they seem to be a huge attraction for these delightful wee monsters. And please don’t ever put down a training pad, in the house, during the day, it sends a message that toileting in the house is ok. The only time to do this is during the night, but this can become an issue for the same reason. Best of luck!

De-sensitising or counter conditioning is the term used to describe helping your puppy to get used to scary sounds. You can find sounds online. Start by playing the sound very low and every week play it a little louder, until it is very loud and your puppy displays no reaction. You could do this with both your puppy and your dog that currently has issues. If either seem frightened then lower the sound level and keep them on that level for longer.

There are a few things to consider when deciding the best time to take your puppy for a walk. Firstly, no public places until they have received their three sets of their 5 in 1 vaccinations, plus your vet has given the all clear. Secondly, think of your puppy as a human toddler. You wouldn’t take your toddler for a long walk as you know it would not be good for her. Your toddler would certainly let you know, in no uncertain terms, when she got tired! This is where it differs for your puppy. He will do anything to please you, even to the detriment to his health, so we need to think for him. No long walks until he is full grown, which is around 12 months of age. Short walks and playing in the garden with other dogs or children, is all the exercise he needs as a puppy.

We recommend leaving a puppy for no longer than 2 hours initially. Ensure that the area of the house, that you plan to leave her in, is safe and contained. Draw the curtains, put on the TV or radio and leave her with safe toys and chews. Make sure she has somewhere to go for her toilet. During her first week with you, start building her up for this time. Start slowly, leaving her for no more than 10 minutes the first time. Then try 30 minutes and build up until you get to 2 hours. When you do go back to work, if you are unable to check on her after 2 hours, arrange for a friend or pet service to pop in.

There are some plants that are poisonous for our dogs. We recommend taking pictures of your garden and popping along to your local garden centre information kiosk. Get them to work through the plants that you have and tell you which ones are dangerous for your puppy.

What we choose to feed our dogs is a really important decision for their long term health and wellbeing. You know the saying “you are what you eat”? Well, this applies to dogs as well. Over the years, we have become more reliant on processed food, either in tin or biscuit form. If your child was to go to a Doctor and the Doctor recommends you feed a bag of biscuits for the rest of her life, you would be horrified. Processed food is not healthy and can even make for a hyperactive dog. I have been feeding a species appropriate diet for the last 18 years, with great results. I recommend taking the time to research canine diet. Have a look at the documentary Pet Fooled (it was on Netflix). We have a course that covers diet in full, as we feel this is one of the golden rules to raising a healthy happy puppy.

Dogs can get depressed. Check it is not an issue with their health. Perhaps take them to the vet to give them a once over. If all is ok, I would ask myself “has anything changed in their life”? A relationship breakup? Have they lost someone, or an animal, close to them? Have your work hours extended, resulting in less time for them? Shake things up a bit, you could change their routine. Reassess how they spend their days, ensure they are occupied during the daytime with friends, walks and interesting things to do. Once you have identified and addressed the issue you will find they will easily snap out of their doldrums, dogs live in the here and now. Our enrichment course is something that can really help. There are homeopathic remedies that can assist with emotional issues, dogs respond very well to the right remedy. There are loads of remedies, so consider a visit to a holistic vet for a solution.

When a puppy is small jumping can be tolerated but as they get bigger it becomes more of a nuisance. In particular with the bigger breeds. So teaching your puppy 4 paws on the ground is important. The earlier that you start the better, as habits are much more difficult to break. Constantly carry high value treats around with you until this has been mastered, because you need to react in the moment. Firstly, when a puppy jumps step immediately away. This gives a clear message of no interation when 4 paws are not on the ground. Ignore your puppy when he jumps. Most importantly stay calm. Don’t over excite him. Ask him to sit and approach him, if he keeps all four paws on the ground, pet him immediately and give him a treat, say good dog! So 4 paws on the ground results in calm attention and treats. Whereas jumping you ignore and step away. keep this message consistant and get buy in from everyone in the house. Puppies are clever and will learn quickly.