Ex­pert Q&A: Tips for train­ing your puppy

Woman's Weekly (UK) - - Contents -

Q

Could you give me any ad­vice on toi­let train­ing our new puppy?

Be pa­tient, and try to see things from your puppy’s point of view. Make it easy for her to get it right, and praise her when she does. Take her out­side af­ter food, or when she wakes up from a nap. Learn to recog­nise the signs, such as walk­ing in tight cir­cles and sniff­ing the ground, and take her out smartly so she can do it in the right place. Then praise her for get­ting it right. It can be use­ful to teach her a com­mand, by say­ing a suit­able word while she’s go­ing to the toi­let – just choose your word care­fully as sooner or later you’ll be us­ing it in front of other peo­ple!

Q

Peo­ple have told me I need to so­cialise my puppy, what does that mean?

This is about your puppy learn­ing how to in­ter­act with other dogs so he can have fun with­out be­ing ei­ther fear­ful, or too rough and ag­gres­sive. Once he’s old enough to go for walks, try to en­sure he has lots of pleas­ant en­coun­ters with other dogs. Puppy classes are a good way for him to meet other pups, and you will pick up lots of train­ing tips too.

Pup­pies al­ways want to play but other dogs may not be in the mood. It is your re­spon­si­bil­ity to keep him un­der con­trol un­til he learns the bound­aries. Put him on a lead when you meet an­other dog, un­til you can train him to wait un­til you tell him it’s OK to play with them.

Q

My spaniel seems scared of the vac­uum cleaner, what should I do?

Try to ig­nore the un­wanted be­hav­iour, and take care not to re­in­force his fear by vac­u­um­ing close to him when he’s in his bed, or back­ing him into a cor­ner. You won’t de­sen­si­tise him, you’ll only make things worse. Don’t make a fuss ei­ther. He needs the free­dom to be able to move away to a dis­tance he finds com­fort­able. Store the vac­uum cleaner in plain view so he can get used to it be­ing around and, if pos­si­ble, try to do most of your vac­u­um­ing when the dog isn’t at home. Try to keep ses­sions short and in an­other part of the house away from the dog, and build up grad­u­ally.

Q

My labrador puppy is some­times re­luc­tant to get in the car, is he car sick?

Many pup­pies are fine trav­el­ling in the car, but some do get car sick. Of­ten they will grow out of it, but oth­ers be­come very un­happy, drool­ing and anx­ious even be­fore you set off.

Try get­ting the dog used to be­ing in the car with­out go­ing any­where, then build up start­ing with short trips of just a minute or two be­fore let­ting them out again. If that isn’t work­ing, you may want to con­tact a dog be­haviourist for help. Your vet may be able to pre­scribe med­i­ca­tion to help with the oc­ca­sional long jour­ney, but these drugs aren’t suit­able for daily use.

Q

My ter­rier whines and barks when I leave her alone, what should I do?

This is called sep­a­ra­tion anx­i­ety, and it can some­times be­come quite ex­treme, lead­ing to de­struc­tive be­hav­iour. Ide­ally you would take her for a walk be­fore you leave her, or at least spend a few min­utes play­ing out­side, so she’s ready to re­lax and have a nap. Some own­ers find it help­ful to leave the ra­dio on when they go out. You can also vary the amount of time you leave her, some­times com­ing back af­ter just a few min­utes. If you’ve tried these with no im­prove­ment, then the next step is to get help from a dog be­haviourist. Ask lo­cal dog walk­ers for a per­sonal rec­om­men­da­tion, or talk to

your vet.

Be pa­tient with your new puppy

get help if your dog is anx­ious

Emma march­ing­ton, a small-an­i­mal vet at Bre­lades Vets in Sur­rey, is our ex­pert in an­i­mal health.

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