The latest from our blog

Adolescence

November 22nd 2019

This is the period between sexual and social maturity where there are a lot of hormonal and neural changes going on. In the brain, there is a massive increase in the connections between brain cells and the amygdala is enlarged (the area of the brain associated with emotions and impulses). The dog gains independence and is happier to roam further and investigate things alone. They find the external world more reinforcing, discovering the joys of scenting, flushing and chasing of wildlife or other animals. Hormonal changes means they may be more interested in other dogs, but other dogs start to […]

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Exercising your puppy

November 22nd 2019

5 minutes of exercise per month of age: that’s the routine advice for growing puppies to prevent physical problems during development. So for an 8 week old puppy, that means 10 minutes of exercise per day. However, like most generic advice, I always think this is a bit prescriptive. Whilst it gives us a rough idea to keep in mind not to overdo it with our pups, there is a HUGE difference between relentless ball throwing for 10 minutes with an 8 week old puppy versus a 10 minute mooch most of which is stationary to watch the world go […]

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Why you don’t need to discipline your puppy

November 22nd 2019

Q: How do I stop my puppy stealing items and chewing things they shouldn’t? A: Fill your home with appropriate items for your puppy to pick up, chew on and play with that are far more satisfying than anything that doesn’t belong to them (and if it would be self-reinforcing to the puppy, keep it well out of access). Give the puppy loads of attention (and even drop some food in front of them) when they choose to pick up one of their own items. Ensure you introduce novel items regularly to prevent boredom. I have a mixture of toys, […]

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Teaching puppies to cope with separation

November 22nd 2019

It’s important that we gradually build up periods of separation in young puppies rather than just leave them and hope they cope (or actively ignore them if they are not coping). During the first day after bringing our puppy home, she was not left unsupervised at all. At night for the first week our puppy slept with us, gradually moving her bed away from our bed until it was on the landing. She then stayed sleeping on the landing for another week until I was sure that she was able to last all night without needing the toilet, at which […]

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Puppy classes

November 22nd 2019

Studies have shown that attending puppy classes may be important for social exposure with other puppies and people which could have a positive association with the dog’s long-term behaviour. However, the setup of the classes and the training methods used are likely to have an impact on these results. The priority for me when looking for an appropriate puppy class was that all the puppies have enough space so that the atmosphere is generally calm and relaxed. No barking or puppies pulling on their leads trying to get to each other. It doesn’t matter if the content is great if no […]

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Kids and puppies

November 22nd 2019

Getting a new puppy is an exciting time for children. Owning a dog helps teach children patience, responsibility, empathy, increases self-esteem, keeps them fit and has other health benefits. But it is the responsibility of adults to make sure that the relationship is appropriate and fair. Sadly, most dog bites happen to children under the age of 6 living in the home, and most parents claim it appeared to happen ‘out of the blue’. I have previously been asked by parents for help because their child won’t leave their puppy alone and it has started to growl. It’s a bit […]

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First walks with your puppy

November 22nd 2019

First “walks” are not much of a walk at all. They generally involve the puppy watching the world go by from a safe place. I tend to introduce a very lightweight 2+ meter line at home, alongside the puppy being rewarded for staying with me as I move. The line can be used on walks if necessary, dropped acting as a dragline or held when not safe to be loose and when I want to work on loose lead walking (i.e. rewarding the puppy for ‘being with you’). I try not to let the puppy know the lead can ever […]

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Puppies who pick things up or eat things they shouldn’t…

November 22nd 2019

Puppies explore with their mouths. They don’t have fingers or opposable thumbs to investigate items, so everything goes in the mouth. Most of the time, if the environment is enriched enough with appropriate items for the puppy to play with and chew on, including novel items to maintain interest, they will choose to interact with these objects or return to them quickly after investigating other things. If we respond to them putting items in their mouth or stealing things either verbally or by trying to take the item from them/remove it from their mouths, we risk creating problems. The puppy […]

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Crate training a puppy

November 22nd 2019

Sometimes I think that crates are used purely because new owners think it’s the ‘done thing’ and too often puppies are just put into the crate and expected to be ok. I crate train. The main reason is for transportation. For 90% of the time, I expect my puppy to choose to take herself into her crate and have no reason to shut it. Some advantages of a crate are that it provides a clear boundary for people so that it is harder to disturb a sleeping dog; it can create a cosy dark cave; some puppies and dogs prefer a […]

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Bringing your new puppy home

November 22nd 2019

Bringing a new puppy home is a very exciting time but it’s also important to aim to set the environment up for success from the start, with the aim of preventing potential problems from developing. Young puppies are amazingly versatile – in the space of a few hours they have to experience: – Being separated from their siblings, mum, familiar people and possibly other familiar dogs. – Being taken away from their familiar environment & scent profile and put into an alien one. – A car journey with unfamiliar people. – Introductions to new pets. – Being introduced to a collar […]

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Thinking about buying a puppy?

November 22nd 2019

Buying a puppy is a long-term commitment. It’s important to research breeds and breeders thoroughly and consider what would happen if your circumstances change at any time during the dog’s lifetime. Some things to look out for in a reputable breeder: – All health tests relevant to the breed have been done in both the Sire and Dam, and they are only used for breeding if the results are acceptable. “Vet checked” does NOT mean health tested. – Kennel Club registration is not a guarantee of quality nor that the breeder is reputable. However, reputable breeders of pedigree dogs will […]

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