PUPPY SOCIALISATION & PLAY DATES - Price per hour £10 or day care £25.00
Socialisation is one of the most important things you can do for your puppy as it helps them become friendly and outgoing. It’s all about giving them lots of positive new experiences, especially in their first few weeks of life.
How socialisation helps your dog
Socialisation has a big influence on your puppy. It teaches them about the world they live in and how they should react to normal, everyday events. A well-socialised puppy is more likely to grow up to be a friendly and outgoing dog.
Dogs that haven’t been socialised can have serious behavioural problems. They are more likely to be aggressive towards people or other dogs, suffer from anxiety and fear, and develop behaviour problems. These are issues which often result in dogs being given away to rehoming centres or even being put to sleep. Tragically, this happens to thousands of dogs every year.
But these problems can easily be avoided by giving your dog the right socialisation early on in their life.
The best time to start socialising your dog
Socialisation starts at birth. Puppy’s brains develop fast so it’s crucial that your puppy gets used to everyday experiences during the first 8 weeks of their life. This is usually while your new puppy is still with the breeder or at a rescue centre. Before you get a puppy, check that they’ve been given the right socialisation since birth.
Socialisation doesn’t stop when you bring your puppy home. By 8 weeks old, they’ll be more wary of new situations and experiences so making these calm and positive is really important
Training is a great way to keep your dog’s mind active. It also helps you bond and understand each other.
Without training, the world can be a pretty confusing place for your dog. We all expect dogs to behave in set ways and follow certain rules. Your dog needs to understand those rules before they can stick to them!
It’s easier to learn when it’s fun. The kindest and most effective method is called “reward-based training” – also called “positive reinforcement”.
How reward-based training works
By rewarding your dog with a treat when they do what you want, they will want to behave that way again.
Repeat this several times. So if you want them to sit, give the command and give the treat either during the good behaviour or immediately afterwards. Your dog will eventually respond to your command without needing the reward.
The Golden Rules of Reward-Based Training
- Know what makes your dog tick! The reward has to be something that your dog really likes, so that they’re prepared to work for it. Some dogs like treats they prefer praise.
- Timing is everything. Help the dog link the behaviour with the reward: give the reward during the behaviour or within half a second after they’ve done it.
- Keep it short. Don’t make training sessions too long, or your dog will lose interest or get frustrated. Always end on a high, after a success.
- One by one. Focus on training one command at a time. When your dog has learnt one, then you can move on to the next.
- Clear commands. Use short commands. Avoid confusion by only using the command for the behaviour you want.
- Keep going. Keep rewarding when your dog does what you want. It may take lots of repetition but, with patience, your dog will eventually understand the command and what you want. It’s a great moment when, suddenly, the penny drops and your dog gets it!
- Ignore mistakes. Every dog makes mistakes sometimes. It’s not their fault – it just means they haven’t learnt the task yet. Ignore the mistake and give the reward next time they get it right.
- Never use punishment. Shouting, smacking, hitting, using gadgets like water pistols, or using rattle cans and choke chains are all forms of punishment. They cause anxiety and fear; which are proven to make animals learn slower. It’s unkind and doesn’t create lasting results. It teaches your dog that people can’t be trusted and this can lead to behavioural problems later in life. Instead, use positive, fun, reward-based training – it’s kind and effective.
- Get everyone on board. Everyone in contact with your dog should praise the right behaviour, use the same commands and ignore mistakes. So your dog gets the same message from everyone, rather than gets confused by different messages.
- Get them to eat the right treats. Dog obesity causes health problems. Try using healthy food as rewards, e.g. a very small slice of carrot. If your dog is only interested in less healthy food, such as small pieces of sausage, give them a smaller main meal so they don’t get too much food on training days.
Training classes: the right class for you and your dog
As soon as your puppy has had their vaccinations, they’re ready to start training classes. It’s best to start training when your dog is still young but it’s never too late to start – old dogs can learn new tricks, too!
- we offer a classes that uses reward-based training
- Avoid any class which bases their training on the idea that dogs need to be dominant.
- Puppy socialising and learning good dog manners is essential
Reward-based training in action: Teaching your dog to ‘come’
Here’s an example of how to use reward-based training to teach your dog basic recall. Once they’ve got the hang of it, your dog will come to you when they’re called.
Your dog is much more likely to want to come back to you if you’re being exciting and fun – so remember to keep the training positive and upbeat!
- Start off somewhere quiet, where there’s very little that can distract your dog (for example, in your living room or garden).
- Call your dog, then back away from them.
- Kneel down, hold your arms out and call them to you. Remember to make sure you keep your voice light and cheerful – your dog won’t want to come if you sound serious or angry.
- When your dog comes to you, remember to reward them with lots of praise and a small healthy treat straight away. As your dog gets better at recall, you won’t need to reward them every time.
- Once your dog’s got the hang of it, move further away from them before you give your ‘come’ command. When you feel your dog is doing well, go out to a local park and work on recall in a busier environment.
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