Tuesday, 3 April 2012

An Intro to Training & Socialisation

We get a LOT of queries into us about dog training or issues that people are having with their dogs. Unfortunately we just don’t have enough time to give behaviour advice to each and every query we receive but we have compiled this blog to help point you in the right direction!

Socialisation means letting your puppy get used to other dogs and to learn proper doggy communication skills so that he can get on happily with other dogs in the future. If a puppy is not socialised properly from the time that you get him and throughout his first year, this can lead to serious fear and aggression problems in later life. It is therefore, very important. If you want a happy, friendly dog that you can take anywhere and meet anyone, then socialisation is the key!

If your puppy is not fully vaccinated then carry him around to see people, experience traffic noise, public transport, or meet other dogs that you know have been vaccinated.

After the first vaccination it may be possible to attend a local puppy party or class, so that your puppy can meet other puppies of a similar age in a safe environment. Your veterinary surgery may run these or know of a good trainer in your area. Make sure you visit without your puppy first, so that you are happy with their methods. Here they should go through a range of different experiences you should socialise your puppy in, as well as exposing them to people of different shapes and sizes, and of course other animals, some other examples are
·        Normal household appliances – the vacuum cleaner, washing machine etc.
·        Traffic
·        The postman / paperboy / dustbin men etc.
·        Travelling in cars, buses and trains etc.
·        The veterinary surgery / grooming parlour
·        Loud noises – fireworks, babies crying etc. (try to obtain a tape of these and play quietly to your puppy during enjoyable times, such as feeding – slowly increasing the volume over time until he isn’t bothered by even loud bangs).

We always recommend training classes for all our dogs and even if you have not gotten your dog from Dogs Trust, you should definitely consider some sort of obedience training with your pooch. It is never too late to start, it just may take a little longer with older dogs! It is a great way for both yourself and your dog to socialise and will help you build a lovely bond with your dog. 

Luah practices his "sit" with John.
Luah is actually deaf and has learned to respond to hand signals which help him live a normal life!

Dogs Trust strongly support positive reward based training and we don’t believe that any dog should be hurt or scared whilst being trained. A reward could be a yummy treat or even a quick game with your dog's favourite toy - just make sure it's a quick game as it will lose it's value otherwise.

If you are based in Dublin, do check out Dog Training Ireland, who are based about 10 mins from our centre in Ballycoolin. They run all types of classes as well as a behaviour clinic, daycare facility and a fabulous grooming parlour. Here’s a link to their website - http://www.dogtrainingireland.ie/home.php

If you are not based here in Dublin, check out the Association of Pet Dog Trainers who are all accredited dog trainers here in Ireland – their website is http://www.apdt.ie/

Training really helps to stimulate your dog's brain which really benefits your dog's well-being. Clicker training and agility training are great ways to get your dog thinking for themselves. When your dog is stimulated mentally, it is less likely to get bored, which in turn makes it less likely to be destructive or have poor self control.

If professional training classes are out of your price range, then check out some of our training videos on our website http://www.dogstrust.ie/az/t/trainingvideos/ and remember to reward your dog for getting things right! We also have launched an app to help you with your puppy training so you can download that onto your iPods, iPads etc - here's a link http://www.dogstrust.org.uk/az/a/apps/default.aspx for more info :)

Treats have been hidden in this laundry basket for Bingo to sniff out!

Bingo pictured above is a Beagle, and just LOVES to sniff things out so our Training and Behaviour advisors devised some really basic games to keep Bingo stimulated. Bingo is a fabulous young man who had a bit of a rough start and is currently looking for his forever home, where he deserves to be absolutely spoiled rotten!

Please note that if you notice that your dog has suddenly started getting a bit aggressive, or out of character - please do make sure to bring to be checked out by your vet. Your dog may be in pain or be sick which is causing it to behave strangely.

Well that's the end of this week's blog. If you guys have any suggestions of things you would like to see us write about, please do comment below or on our Facebook page! :)


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