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  • Ask The Expert
  • 26 Feb, 2019

Puppy Love

Puppies arrive at Mayhew for many reasons. Sadly, this can sometimes be the result of irresponsible breeding, as was the case with the seven Jack Russell terrier pups who came through our doors recently.

Although puppies that come to us may have had a shaky start in life, once they are in our care we can offer them the best chance of a happy ever after. Read on to find out how that happened for this special crew, plus some top tips on the best way to play with and train a puppy if you have one already, or are planning on getting one soon.

Puppies in the house!

Towards the end of last year, we had a surprise delivery when our Animal Welfare Officers brought in seven unwanted Jack Russell terriers, which we suspected were from a puppy farm. Word soon spread among the staff that there were some adorable new arrivals at the Home, and everyone was keen to catch a glimpse and hopefully sneak a quick cuddle. As soon as the puppies were safely in our care, they were placed into the expert hands of our Vet and Kennels teams to look after until it was time to find their forever homes.

A thorough check-up

Every cat and dog that comes in to Mayhew is immediately seen at our on-site Community Vet Clinic and given a full health check with vaccinations and flea and worm treatment. Once the puppies had all been examined, the next task was to give them names. As they were such sweet bundles, they were named after treats: Fudge, Cookie, Pudding, Pie, Custard, Waffle and Truffle.

Over the next few weeks, the puppies kept our Kennels team really busy – you can just imagine the fun, and the mess! There was a lot of playing and socialisation, and the puppies made the most of our indoor doggy play area, which is full of things to explore and stimulate them, both physically and mentally.

Finding the perfect match

Our Kennels team carries out behavioural checks on all our dogs, and they closely monitor them to see how they react around food and with toys, people and other dogs. Our expert animal behaviourists can spot particular character traits that will help each dog find the right owner when it’s time for adoption.

“All animals, including pups, are assessed as individuals to gauge their personalities and specific needs. These assessments help us match the dog to the right home and highlight any training needs that we can discuss with the new owner, providing personalised and ongoing support.”

Tanya Madden

Deputy Head of Animal Welfare

Time for forever homes

When they were nine weeks old, all seven puppies were neutered in our vet clinic and were then ready for rehoming. Our Adoption team works hard to ensure each dog ends up with the perfect family, so they always provide a profile of the animal on our website rehoming pages to ensure the best fit can be found. We were inundated with people wanting to adopt these pups, and once the new owners had been interviewed and home checks were completed, we waved the puppies off to begin life in their new homes!


Cassie (was Custard)

Cassie definitely landed on her paws with her new owner, Antonia, who soon let us know how Cassie was getting on: ‘Cassie loves her walks and meeting people and other dogs, and there is nothing she likes doing more than snoozing on the sofa after walking us around the park or playing with her cat toys. Cassie is such a lovely, loving puppy, who everyone adores.’

Alfie (was Fudge)

Alfie was adopted by a family in London. His new owner, Conrad, explains how Alfie is now very much part of their family: ‘Alfie is happily running rings all around us with so much zest, love and enthusiasm. He is such a lovable, cute, ultra-friendly and good natured puppy, with a typical Jack Russell cheeky (sometimes naughty!) comic character. My family, and Alfie of course, are very grateful to Mayhew for all their good work and for bringing us together.’

Maggie (was Truffle)

Maggie found a forever home with loving owner Emma. A few days after adopting her, Emma emailed to update us: ‘Maggie has already settled in and is a credit to every lovely person at Mayhew who’s looked after her.’ A short while after her adoption, Maggie came back to Mayhew to meet our new Patron, The Duchess of Sussex, on her official visit.

Life with a new puppy

Our Adoption team always requires owners to continue with puppy socialisation and to book basic training classes for their new family member. Taking on a puppy comes with a lot of responsibility and careful planning is needed. You should be prepared for lots of play, but also know how to play with a puppy in the right way. They need to learn ‘bite inhibition’ (see below) and receive plenty of positive praise for calm play.

Top tips for pawsitive puppy play

Puppies often bite when playing, but you should discourage this as it can lead to a bad (and painful) habit as they grow. Dogs normally learn to stop biting, or ‘bite inhibition’, as part of learned pack behaviour when their siblings yelp if play is too rough. But when puppies are away from the pack it is something they will need their human family to help with. Here are a few tips that you may find useful:

  • Play with your puppy regularly throughout the day to keep them stimulated and tire them out.
  • Never offer your hands for your puppy to play with.
  • If your puppy starts to bite your hand when playing, try and redirect onto a toy.
  • If your puppy insists on biting your hand, you may need to walk away and give them time to calm down.
  • Ensure your puppy has lots of toys. They need a selection of appropriate things to chew on, or they may choose your new slippers instead! A shopping trip to purchase some toys for your new arrival is a must. Take a look at our online shop to see our selection.
  • Give lots of positive praise for calm play.

Sit, stay

To continue training and socialisation, our Adoption Officers ask new owners to enrol for puppy training classes. We recommend that you go along to the class before you take your dog and, most importantly, check the credentials of trainers. The Association of Pet Dog Trainers lists local classes across the UK on their website.

The end of puppy farms in sight?

Last year, the government confirmed it would be banning sales of puppies and kittens by third parties – meaning that all young animals have to come either from rehoming centres like Mayhew, or reputable breeders who can show prospective owners the animal’s mum and provide proper advice and guidance. The ban shines a light on the suffering, both physical and psychological, that the animals people see in pet shops, or respond to online, have likely experienced though poor  breeding practices and conditions. Everyone at Mayhew looks forward to seeing the ban come into force this year, and we hope to see a decline in the numbers of unwanted puppies – like these seven Jack Russell terriers – coming in to our Home, so we can focus on helping more dogs, cats and people out in the community.  

National Puppy Day is coming up on Saturday 23 March and we’d love to see your pooch’s puppy photos, so tag us in your snaps on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.

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