There are so many cute pups about at the moment that I thought it was time for a behavioural refresher.
Inside a Puppy’s Brain
It is all grey and squishy with lots going on. Finding focus is not easy. Put simply they repeat behaviour that they get something out of. For example, pups may keep jumping up on people when they get patted, keep barking when you yell at them or keep scratching and whining at the door because you let them in for doing that last time.
Inside an Owner’s Brain
Owners should identify what items [food, ball or toy] or interactions [pats or praise] best motivate their pup. Then ignore all unacceptable behaviour as much as possible Try and initiate all interactions with the dog ie take control and ignore whiny, barky, nudgy behaviour. Set rules for all family members as pups need predictable responses to their behaviour to learn effectively. When a pup does the right thing then the reward should be consistent and immediate [remember it’s squishy in there].
Provide a routine of social times, including play, training and a chance to eliminate, followed by periods of inattention away from you where the pet can engage in object play or rest in an enclosed, yard, playpen or crate. Use social and feeding times as a way of reinforcing behaviours that the owners wants the pup to learn eg coming when called, drop and give objects, sitting calmly etc. Never take good behaviours for granted and be generous with praise and rewards initially.
Prevent Fear and Anxiety
Once fully vaccinated expose them safely on lead to variety of people, places, sounds and animals. Learn to “read” your pup’s body language and avoid rewarding anxious behaviour [lowered ear or tail carriage, struggling, shaking, avoidance or aggressive behaviour]. Allow interested passers by to give small dried liver treats.
Polite Puppy Preschool
Our behavioural trainer, Becky Emans, runs a four week course on Wednesdays 5.30 to 6.30pm at the hospital. December is already booked out so reserve your space for January now! She runs a junior clicker course at Burrill Pines straight after at 7.15pm. Contact Becky directly for bookings firstname.lastname@example.org