Puppy Class Essentails
Bitting & Nipping
PDF on puppy bitting
Bitting and nipping:
When our puppy's bit our hands or cloths it is always communication. The PDF link will give you more information on why puppies bite and how to prevent it.
I have written a blog post on the top 10 natural chews to buy your puppy.
How our puppies communicate:
It is important to be able to communicate with our puppies, you can do this by reading your dog’s body language. Once we can spot the subtle signs we can then know when to give them space or to take them away from a scary situation. By doing this your dog will be able to trust you and know they can rely on you to keep them safe.
Often we miss the ‘whispers’ of canine communication which are licking nose, yawning, blinking, turning head away, turning body away, pawing, paw up, walking away.
When we ignore the whispers that our dog is communicating to us they start to become punishing for your dog. Your dog will learn they can’t communicate quietly so the next time they are feeling stressed or threatened they will start to ‘shout’ by growling, snapping and finally biting. No dog will “just bite someone out of nowhere” Our dogs would have been showing signs of stress. If we ignore them they will have no chose but to use more confrontational ways to tell us they are scared.
How dogs learn
Dogs do what works for them! It Is a simple as that. If they get rewarded for a behaviour, they will repeat that behaviour again. Now we can use this to our advantage and always reward our dogs when we see them doing a behaviour we like. For example, sitting calmly when attaching the lead, sitting when being greeted or walking nicely on a loose lead.
We can reward our dogs with food treats, their favourite toys, praise or life rewards such as letting them off lead to run around, opening the back door to let me out into the garden for a toilet break, letting them play with their doggy friends etc.
Why punishment does not work
If your dog is choosing to do a behaviour we don’t like such as biting the furniture, digging in the garden, jumping up when being greeted. Remember they are doing these behaviours because they are getting rewarded for them not to be naughty. Puppies chewing the furniture when they go through teething and for boredom as chewing gives our puppies endorphins which makes them feel happy or less stressed. Instead of punishing our dogs for doing a behaviour we don’t like we should teach our puppies an alternative behaviour to do instead and put in some management protocols. Punishment will not stop the behaviour from happening it will only hurt the trust that your dog has with you.
How to prevent your dog from doing unwanted behaviours
If your dog is chewing on the furniture first use management, keep your dog in a dog pen when you are out of the room, the dog pen with prevent your dog from having access to the furniture. Give your dog appropriate chew toys to help with teething. If your dog is digging up the garden, then use management first. Don’t let your dog have access to the garden when they are on their own. Buy a sandpit and hide toys in the sandpit, that way your dog will earn that it is okay for me to only dig in the sandpit and not in the flower bed. If your dog is jumping up on people when you or guests greet your dog. Don’t give your dog any praise or attention until all 4 paws are on the floor.
When your puppy is ready to start going out for their walks it is important to take things slow! For the first 2 months you want to keep the walks short and Mae sure you let your puppy stop as many times as they need to.
Below is a blog post I have written going into detail about how to navigate the walk and why your puppy does a lot of stopping and runs back home as soon as they can.
Your dog's diet
I often get asked about what are the best dog foods. Unfortunately the answer is not that simple but what I can say without going into too much detail is that it pays to give your dog a good healthy diet! Dogs live for on average for 14 years, most dogs have two meals a day. That adds up to 10,000 meals in their life time!! So it's a pretty important decision for a dog owner to make. The saying "we are what we eat" applies to our pets too!! What dogs eat affects their behaviour. Serotonin ( a chemical that has a wide variety of functions in the human and dogs body. It is sometimes called the happy chemical, because it contributes to wellbeing and happiness) Is found in the gut not in the brain. A bad diet can affect the serotonin levels which can affect anxiety and depression.
The less diverse your dogs diet is the higher risk they are to obesity, diabetes, cancer and a poor immune system. Most dry food lack diversity as we tend to buy the same brand and the same flavour. If we just buy the chicken flavoured dry food then your dog won't get all the important vitamins and minerals from lamb or beef or all the OMEGA 3 acids from fish etc. Most dry foods say they are a complete meal and put in a chemical premix into their food which is a synthetic premix of vitamins and minerals.
Here are some facts:
Diabetes in dogs has gone up by 900% in the UK
1 in 2 dogs get cancer!! Yes that is sadly correct and 80% of the reason why dogs get cancer comes down to their diet.
Adding fresh food to your dog's diet has been scientifically proven to help prevent cancer by up to 90%. Here is a informative video on the current research. Rodney Habib a dog nutritionist did a TED talk which it is just 15 minutes long and is well worth a watch.
So many choices
Which Food to Choose?
When choosing a good dog food for your dog you need to make sure it contains at least 60% real human grade meat and it must contain more vegetables and minerals than grains. Dry dog food gets cooked to a high temperature to maintain its shelve life but by cooking the food intensely it reduces the quality of the vegetables and minerals by 60% and reduces the quality of the protein (the meat content) by 70%. If you go to the following links below it rates the best dog foods available. https://www.allaboutdogfood.co.uk
Once you have chosen your dog's new dry food make sure you take out 25% of the recommended amount and replace it with fresh lightly cooked fresh vegetables at lest 3 times a week.
If you would prefer to have something that is already freshly cooked, tailored to your dog's breed, age, exercise regime and delivered straight to your door each week I would highly recommend Butternut Box. I have teamed up with them to get my clients 75% off their first order by clicking on this link: www.butternutbox.com/cambridgedogservices