Puppies are constantly learning and, the early weeks and months of a puppy’s life are very important for their behavior and for us to train them how we want them to behave. Puppies will learn to repeat behaviors that are reinforced, thus it is important when teaching a new behavior or trying to change a behavior, that this is done with using something that the pup finds a positive outcome or very motivating. Consistency with training is imperative. We strive to get puppies to do the behaviors we want to see because they find it fun.
Basic training that many people find useful with puppies includes housetraining, crate training, decreasing/preventing separation anxiety, preventing unwanted destruction of the home environment, preventing unwanted mouthing, preventing unwanted barking or jumping up on people.
Puppies need many positive experiences before the age of five months to promote a confident, friendly, adult personality. Our puppy socialization checklist can provide a comprehensive overview of common things that it is important to get your puppy exposure to and ensure they are comfortable. The ultimate goal for socialization is for the puppy to show no fear around new situations. If the pup does show fear, do not try to comfort them, this soothing talk and stroking is perceived as praise and may actually increase any fearful behavior. The correct response is to ignore the reaction and approach the object while you are relaxed. If they are still fearful, move away until your pup is acting friendly and confident, and at this point you need to also be very relaxed. Then you can move slowly closer and praise in happy tone any movement from the puppy towards the object. We recommend continuing socialization throughout the first year of life.
We are also very proud of our weekly Puppy Club! These classes are FREE to our puppies that are on our Head Start Puppy Plan. We ask that puppies are over 8 weeks and have received a physical examination and booster from one of our veterinarians before attending classes. Puppies are allowed to come until they reach 6 months of age. When coming to class, please ensure that your puppy is on a buckle collar and leash (no pinch collars or choker chains are allowed in class).
Puppy wellness exams are also a great opportunity to have your questions answered, learn about normal behaviour and get additional training and handling advice from our knowledgeable and enthusiastic team. Martensville veterinarians and technologists can play an important role in preventing or resolving behavioural problems, so be sure to mention your concerns when you book your next appointment!