Puppies are cute and lovely, but it can be a real challenge to bring them up to be lovely dogs. Puppies jump, hang, bite, destroy, run away, empty bins and make-up bags, chew on shoes, trainers and plug sockets — the list goes on. Of course, all puppies are different, therefore some people will remember those days fondly; others will remember how stressful and tiring it was; but most will have erased this stressful time from their memory.
How often do you play with your dog?
Is play part of your routine together, or something that gets sidelined depending on your mood and motivation after a hard day? Do you prioritise training or physical exercise over games with your dog? Perhaps now’s the time to think again!
My teckel [AKA Dachsund] is proving to be a valuable learning experience. This is code for “what have I done?” The adolescent challenges just keep coming, and progress has not only stopped, we are heading rapidly backwards. My marvellous plan of just sticking with it is seeming less and less practical as the days pass and the problems increase.
No, I’m not suggesting that you and your dog toddle off for a daily pumpkin spice latte. Although, if your local branch is dog-friendly and you like your hot beverages sugar-rather-than-coffee-based it’s as good a place to do some socialisation as any I’m sure (for more on the importance of socialisation watch this video).
Starbucks for dogs isn’t about Starbucks. It’s about creating the Starbucks (substitute your favourite cafe here) experience for your dog. In his / her crate.
When I was five or six years old my mother took me to kindergarten. I am told I cried the entire day, sitting in the corner and sobbing hysterically. Nothing anyone did assuaged me. When my mother returned to pick me up, I reportedly ran screaming across the room, grabbed onto her legs and wouldn’t let go. Oh my.
I thought of that somewhat embarrassing story when a friend asked if they should put their dog into a local Doggy Day Care. If you’ve been following my blog you know my answer: “It depends.” A bad doggy day care is no less than abusive and dangerous. A really good one can be a wonderful option for some dogs, but not others. I can relate to the “not others”. If I’d been a dog when I was young, I would have hunkered in a corner, big-eyed and silent, or growling and snarling under a chair. But how does one know which dogs would enjoy doggy day care, and what day cares are safe, healthy places for the dogs who are good prospects?
There’s little doubt that most of us could do more of it – dog training that is!
Trying to juggle training your dog with the rest of daily life can be quite a task, especially in a busy household where there are literally hundreds of other factors competing for your attention. Bearing in mind that even fellow professionals complain to me that they don’t have enough time to train their own dogs, it’s little wonder that practising a sit stay is often way down the list of priorities for the average owner.
So, with the practicalities of daily routines firmly in mind, how can we ensure that we do give our dogs the share of our time and energies that they need?
Puppies should be bright, bouncy and into everything. They should be filled with natural curiosity and sociability. They should be friendly and have the confidence to approach and be handled. I have just returned from seeing a puppy as a behaviour case which was anything but – and it nearly broke my heart.
This 14-week-old nervous puppy was so fearful of life in general that she was completely withdrawn, curling up in one corner of the kitchen and hiding her face under her tail – completely immobile – simply because there was a stranger in her house. This little puppy had taken three weeks to even cope with the presence of her devoted owners – and still wouldn’t eat in front of them.
Welcome to the Fireworks “season” (for those of you in the UK). When did that happen? When did it stop being about November 5th and start to become an excuse to set fire to things at any time of the day or night for at least a week, and probably up until New Year?
Let’s face it, fireworks are a slightly strange idea. Ok, humans generally love them (although I’ve seen many a too-small child being laughed at by their own family for being petrified at a display) but really what is the fascination with making the sky explode, loudly and repeatedly? Evolution would suggest that we should run away; we certainly wouldn’t be standing around watching if it was a bomb exploding overhead. But then we can differentiate between “safe” fireworks (?) and dangerous alternatives.
Our Halloween tips for dog owners will ensure even four footed friends have a good time
Planning on including your furry friend in your scary celebrations? Here are a few tips to ensure everyone is having a good time…
1. Should I take my puppy trick or treating?
Nope! Excitable kids in shape-shifting outfits and masks (MASKS!) making weird noises, in the dark, with the potential for fireworks, calling on strangers’ houses where there may be less-than-friendly dogs, etc etc. Yes, your puppy needs to experience everything – kids, dressing up, strangers, being out at night – but not all at once! Leave the pup at home, in a safe place (pen / crate) with a yummy stuffed Kong. Better still, someone stays with the pup to make sure he is not frightened with all the neighbourhood shenanigans.
What dog owners should know
It takes 10,000 hours to become an expert, as Malcolm Gladwell discusses in his entrancing book Outliers. (Well, 10,000 hours to become a chess grandmaster in fact.) Isn’t that, like, a lifetime??? It’s a large chunk of your dog’s lifetime anyway. Here’s the secret <shhhh!>