As we continue to navigate our way through the pandemic, we’ve seen a huge increase in the number of pups being bought or adopted. While we have plenty of evidence for how beneficial the human–animal bond can be, owning a dog is a big responsibility and a long-term commitment.
Taking care of a four-legged friend, young or old, requires a lot of hard work, long hours, dedication and training, as you may have already experienced! Your new family member will be totally dependent on you, so you need to be around the home as they settle down and begin to explore life in a new environment. Done right, this time can be really enjoyable for you both!
Training and socialisation are an important part of your dog’s life. For puppies, training will help your little one develop into a great dog, while also providing mental stimulation to keep them happy and healthy. This can include anything from teaching your puppy basic commands and recall to toilet training and games to engage their brains – and it doesn’t have to stop once your puppy becomes an adult, as older dogs will benefit greatly from ongoing training too.Socialisation is the process by which a puppy or dog learns to interact positively with people and other animals. While some elements of socialising your dog will be more challenging during the pandemic, it is a vital stage of development and should not be missed out on. Socialising includes getting your puppy used to new smells, familiarising them with the car and, of course, encouraging them to be confident around people and dogs outside the household.
Teaching your dog basic commands will help keep them safe throughout their life. It also helps prevent undesirable behaviours in your house, such as turning your favourite shoe into a chew toy! A command like “leave” or “drop” will help in many situations, and a solid recall will make off-lead exercise more relaxing for all.
Have a go at teaching your dog commands like “sit”, “stay” and “leave it”, and see how they get on. If your dog already knows these commands, keep practising them frequently and try your hand at new ones. Can your dog learn the “down” command? There are plenty of online training resources if you’re stuck for inspiration.
“Don’t forget to keep training sessions short and fun. Remember: they should be enjoyable for both you and the dog and always end on a positive note. Find out what really motivates your dog – this could be a treat or a toy – and use this during training sessions to get the best out of your pup.”
Dog trainers and behaviourists can also be a great help when training your new best friend. It’s important to find a trainer who practises positive reinforcement. We recommend that you use one who is accredited by the Association of Pet Dog Trainers, the Institute of Modern Dog Trainers or the Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors.
You will often hear dog owners, trainers and other specialists talk about enrichment, but what is this and why is it an important aspect of our dogs’ lives? Canine enrichment refers to any form of mental stimulation for your dog. Providing your dog with adequate and appropriate enrichment and entertainment will ensure your dog is healthier, happier and easier to live with.
There are plenty of ways you can incorporate enrichment into your daily routine with your dog, from feeding time to walks – it can even be used to help calm them down. Our team have put together plenty of tips, tricks and inspiration that will help you enrich your dog’s life.
Getting a bouncy, playful canine companion is thrilling and rewarding, but in all that excitement it is sometimes easy to forget that pet ownership is a lifetime commitment, one that has financial implications too. Sadly, puppies and young dogs get signed over to us all too often, soon after being bought, as families realise they cannot cope. If you are struggling with your dog, please contact us for help and advice.
From microchipping your pooch to picking up their poop, there are laws that will affect you as a pet owner. Here are just a few that are worth familiarising yourself with.
When in a public place, your dog must wear a collar with your name and address on it or on a tag. As a preventative measure against pet theft, we don’t recommend adding your dog’s name to its collar.
Since 2016, it has been a legal requirement for your dog to be microchipped – a vital procedure that will help you and your dog be reunited should your dog become lost or be stolen.
The Dogs (Fouling of Land) Act 1996 made it a criminal offence for an owner to knowingly allow their dogs to foul and not pick it up. So keep those poo bags at hand, ready to scoop the poop!
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