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Puppy Training and Behaviour

Find valuable information on puppy basics

Early Training

Everyone wants a puppy that's well behaved, happy and sociable, but you'll only get from him what you give. That's why it's very important to start training early. Indeed, training will have probably started before you've collected him; your puppy may have been taught some basic obedience as well as toilet training.

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A few ground rules

As your puppy grows, so will his need to assert himself. Puppies often choose mealtimes as a battle ground. But giving in to him is a mistake.

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Introducing the collar and lead

Although it will be a few weeks before you can walk your puppy outside on a lead (prior to vaccination, you should carry your puppy so as to avoid the risk of infection), you can get him used to a collar when he's had a few days to settle into his new home. What type of collar? Your puppy's first collar should be one with a buckle, definitely not chain or choke collar. When you put it on, you should be able to slide two fingers between the collar and his neck. Choose a time when something pleasant is about to happen to your puppy, such as feeding him, playing with him or taking him outdoors.

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Behaviour training for your puppy

Your new puppy didn't come with good behaviour included. Granted, his breeder may have introduced him to some initial toilet training, but the way he behaves as your pet is entirely up to you.

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The leader of the pack - your puppy or you?

Dogs are pack animals and are used to having a leader. In this case, the leader is you. Setting some rules early on will help your puppy to feel secure and help develop a bond between you.

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Learning through play

Playing with your new puppy is both fun and exciting. It's also at the very heart of his early training. Playing games will help you to form a strong, enduring bond very quickly.

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Stamping out aggressive behaviour

A lot of people think dogs bite "because that's what they do". But dogs don't become aggressive without good reason, and most dogs express aggression because they find themselves in a stressful situation.

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Puppy psychology

Probably the most important thing you can do for your puppy is to learn something of his psychology. An understanding of dog psychology can help you to live happily and harmoniously with your dog. We're not expecting you to become a dog psychology expert, neither is it necessary.

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Why does your puppy bark?

Barking is a totally natural aspect of a dog's behaviour and you must expect your puppy to grow into a dog that will bark. It is unrealistic, even unfair, to think you can train your dog to stop barking, but you, your family and neighbours will be happier if you can bring it under control.

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Basic commands through clicker training

Your puppy will love to please you; he'll relish your approval and will show off to get it! But he will expect you to be in charge, so teaching him to behave will be great fun. And once he's learned some basic commands, communicating with your puppy will be much easier, and help you build your relationship with him. For example, you'll be able to make sure he always comes when he's called, walks to heel, and behaves well when out and about.

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Managing your puppy when she is in season

If your puppy hasn't been spayed, she'll come into season for the first time at around 5-8 months. Unless you want to breed, there's no benefit for a puppy to come into season and many owners decide to have their puppy neutered before this happens.

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Managing your puppy around a female puppy in season

At around six months of age your puppy will be turning from a juvenile into an adolescent. This can bring about changes in body shape as growth slows down and the body starts to fill out. Long legged gangly puppies will adopt more elegant adult proportions over the next six months.

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Adolescent puppies can be challenging

If you thought 'terrible teenager' syndrome was reserved for humans, think again! Puppies hit adolescence at around six months and will often become quite wilful as they test the limits and assert their independence. Your puppy will probably challenge your leadership now and you may notice a sharp decline in his desire to please you! All this is exacerbated by a hormonal surge brought about by growing sexual maturity. If you haven't already had your puppy neutered, now's a good time to do it.

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Helping your puppy to socialise

Socialisation. It looks and sounds like a big, important word.

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