What is the ideal age to start puppy training?

A Plea To All Puppy Owners – benefits of starting puppy training as early as possible
By Basil Theofanides
I am compelled to write this and convey my despair, frustration and anger at the continuous misadvise that many puppy owners receive from so-called professionals in the pet industry. This includes some vets and many breeders who for some reason think that puppies should be isolated until their final vaccinations and never be allowed to venture out from their owner’s home until then. I’ll site a recent case-in point. A puppy owner booked her 8 week pup to start one of our Kindergarten Puppy Training programs. I outlined the benefits of starting as early as possible due to the critical periods of development (between 8 – 16 weeks of age ) to which she replied that although she was “very keen to start ASAP” the vet told her not to until after its final vaccination (anywhere between 12 – 16 weeks). I advised her that even though her pup was not fully immunised she needed to consider the detrimental impact isolation would have on it I.e. more than likely develop aggression, nervousness, fear, lack of ability to adapt to unfamiliar environments and so forth.

Do we isolate our children from society until they’ve had all their vaccinations and then send them out into the big wide world? I think not. Which is why we should acknowledge the absurdity of isolating pups. Anyway, the puppy owner seemed satisfied with my advice and confirmed her attendance. However, the next day she rang an hour before class commenced. Again voicing concern about the vaccination issue and that now her breeder advised strongly against taking pup to class. I reiterated my advice and also stated that more dogs die each year from euthanasia due to aggression than die from catching parvovirus. To my despair, unfortunately she decided to pull out of the puppy course. I see this situation repeating itself year in year out due to the many vets, breeders et al. who do not consider the importance of the mental development of puppies and strike fear into the hearts of puppy owners with their collective chorus of “do not take the puppy out until after all its vaccinations”! As far as I’m concerned they are partly culpable for the rise in dog attacks within our community, all of which, could have been avoided by using some basic common sense.

Hence, if you know anyone with a baby puppy urge them to enrol in puppy school by 10 weeks of age for the pup’s and community’s sake.

Basil Theofanides has been a professional dog trainer for 25 years and has worked with guide dog & police dog trainers.

Why does my dog bark all the time and how do I stop it?

This is a common problem in dogs, that in most cases can be simply fixed. Incessant barking can be a product of:

1. A dog that is bored.
2. An untrained dog.
3. An unexercised dog.
4. A dog suffering separation anxiety.

If your dog fits any or all of the first 3 categories, then the problem can usually be addressed in a fairly straightforward manner. If however, your dog is suffering separation anxiety, a more detailed approach needs to be undertaken to solve the problem.

A dog is usually bored if it is left in the back yard all the time with minimal contact of family members. Furthermore, boredom can be exacerbated by not walking the dog daily to stimulate it outside its home environment.

To aid in solving the problem, dog owners should ensure the dog is given daily walks and exercise. Bringing the dog inside the house to spend quality time with the family and training it in obedience, will aid considerably, to stop the barking behaviour.

For further details contact our Home Training Service on 03 9877 6522 during business hours.

My dog jumps up on me when I come home from work. How do I stop it?

When a dog jumps up on its owner, it is usually a greeting that has been allowed to develop over the years, unwittingly by the owner.

For example, if the dog has been allowed in the past to jump up for a pat or greeting, then this has imprinted as a normal behaviour pattern in the dog’s mind. Furthermore, if some members of the household encourage the behaviour yet others do not, it will confuse the dog to no end. If the dog does not effectively respond to commands by the owner, obedience training must also be considered to help solve the problem.

To aid in solving the jumping dog problem, never praise or give reward to the dog if it jumps. When you arrive home, ignore it. Do not immediately go out to greet it when it is hyped up. If it does jump, turn away and go inside. By doing so, the dog will learn that its companionship with you ceases, as a consequence of its actions. However, if the problem continues, seek the help of our qualified trainers through our Home Training Service.
Telephone our office on 03 9877 6522 during business hours.

My dog digs holes in the garden. How do I stop it?

Once again, this is a sign of a bored dog. As mentioned with the incessant barking problem, you need to ensure the dog is walked and exercised daily, obedience trained and allowed to spend time in the house with the owners. However, some dogs, such as Alaskan Malamutes, Siberian Huskies or Golden Retrievers, may dig a hole for themselves to lie in. This is a natural trait in some dogs, as it helps them to keep cool during the warm weather.

A little trick you might try in solving this problem, is to bury your dog’s faeces in the hole it digs. This, in most cases, will create an unpleasant association with the hole digging and hopefully cure the problem. Moreover, if the dog has a tendency to bury bones, ensure you remove the bone from the environment once the dog has stopped chewing it.

There are many ways to solve problem behaviour. However, because dog’s are diverse in character just as people, it is important to always consider your dog’s temperament before embarking on a course of remedial training. Command Dog Training School’s Instructors are able to assess this and advise you on the best methods to suit your pet.

If a problem seems insurmountable, ring Command Dog Training School and find out how our many services can help solve your problems.
Telephone our office on 03 9877 6522 for further information.


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