Whatever a dog learns in the first 16 weeks of life will be the most important lessons that they will ever learn. A dog’s outlook on life is largely determined by its experiences during this period. Learning during the critical periods of development is far more permanent than later learning.
When a dog is introduced to the world, he or she will be exposed to a number of different external stimuli and how your dog interacts with these will impact their development forever. Giving the right training and attention during the first period of their lives is incredibly important. At this age, your dog is learning at a rapid pace, meaning that the environments they are exposed to and behaviours they are taught must be guided correctly by you.
During the first 2-4 weeks of a dog’s life, their senses are beginning to activate. After three weeks they can see, hear and have a better sense of things around them. This is an important time for a puppy to learn how to socialise, a process that is crucial to their development. When a pup is around 2 ½ weeks old, they should be handled for a minute a day, building up to five minutes. This allows the pup to be accustomed to humans as a normal part of their life.
You want your dog to feel comfortable in all situations and not be afraid of certain noises, surfaces or fear people, children etc. You want them to look at people & objects, hear all sorts of noises and think all are similar, to be fazed. It is also important to keep an eye on the mother’s behaviour as any kind of erratic, nervous behaviour can build up nervous tendencies in your pup.
The socialisation period of your dog’s life is paramount, yet many dog owners fail to understand the importance of this step, then wonder why their dogs misbehave or have a strong sense of fear when surrounded by others dogs or growl when people try to pat them.
The phase begins from four weeks and must be practiced up until your pooch is 16 weeks old. Once your dog hits 16 weeks of age, the window of opportunity to socialise your dog and teach them certain behaviours closes. The most important factor to remember is that leaning during the primary socialisation period is permanent and will be retained in the memory of the dog for life! That is why it is crucial that you can provide your dog with the correct training during this time.
The key to socialising your dog is exposing them to as many different situations as you can while they are still young. Take your pooch to a park, down the street, let them explore bushlands and climb on logs. Let them see cement surfaces, grated surfaces, sand surfaces and all other kinds of surfaces that you can, because once they are exposed to their different environments, they are accustomed to this forever.
Introduce your little pooch to young people, older people and all kinds of aged people from all sorts of different demographics, so that your puppy is comfortable around familiar faces and even strangers.
If your dog is overly shy and is struggling to interact with different kinds of people and environments, don’t give up be patient and help set your puppy up to succeed not fail. Visit a training centre to speak to an expert who can help your dog through this time, which is the most critical time for learning of all.
There was a time when you and I had no idea how to chew food, use the bathroom or understand basic manners. Like us, our pets need to learn basic skills and not only do they need to be learned, they need be continuously practiced so that they become habits. Habits must be taught in the right way, so how do you make sure you train your dog to be the best that they can be? If you wanted your child to learn piano and you weren’t a piano teacher, would you teach yourself how to play the piano or would you just pay for lessons from a professional?
Dog training is the same as piano training. Many dog owners choose to do DIY dog training and while this can be rewarding and fun when your dog finally learns to ‘shake hands’ or ‘lie down’, it takes a lot of time and effort to train your dog right. Many dog owners can spend months trying to teach a dog new tricks or obedience habits and find themselves exhausted at how long it takes or frustrated when their dog starts misbehaving again.
Just like us, the first year of our lives is an incredibly crucial time to form new habits, and this is when you want to maximise this time by teaching your dog new skills and behaviours in the most convenient, quick and positive way possible.
There are a number different types of methods to training your dog. These include focuses on obedience, behaviour and agility. They are not all the same thing and it is important to understand the different methods in teaching your dog each of these kinds of skills.
Behavioural is focusing on training your dog to stop chewing on everything in or outside your home or to stop barking unnecessarily and annoying your family and your neighbours! Obedience is important for teaching your dog standard commands like sitting down, rolling over or staying put. Agility is about teaching your pooch to develop his or her natural instincts while keeping them fit and healthy. This kind of training can help to reinforce basic commands, improve communication between you and your dog and help train your dog’s behaviour.
Once you know what kind of training you would like your dog to receive, you need to know what method to train your dog. Reward training and praise training are great ways to show your dog what they are doing right. Consequence training or replacement training are methods of providing your dog with undesirable consequences or correcting undesirable behaviours so that they learn to practice good ones.
What it comes down to is how much time you are willing to spend on learning the correct methods of dog training and how confident you are that you will teach it correctly. Hiring a dog trainer might require a small fee, but it is important to provide the right training for your specific dog’s needs. Overall, dog training is fun! And if your dog could speak, they would be sure to thank you for it.
We all know that dogs are beautiful little creatures that warm our hearts. But what some dog lovers don’t know is just how much time and money is needed when they commit to getting a dog. You might have to say goodbye to weekends away and you will definitely have to say hello to daily walks as you take your dog out of the house to exercise on a daily basis. Getting a new dog should never be a spontaneous decision. It is a commitment that will shape the next decade of your life, so here are the things to consider before you decide to be a new dog owner!
You’ll need to do your research
You might think that a German Shepherd is a majestic dog and a pug is totally adorable, but that doesn’t mean you should go ahead and buy one. Many dogs are regularly dropped off at dog shelters with no one to give them a home and they end up being put down. This is because many of the people who choose to get a new dog don’t understand the importance of knowing the personality traits and behaviours of a specific dog breed. Huskis for example, are regularly left in shelters because owners are not aware of the amount of exercise and attention required. Research is paramount to your decision about getting a dog. You need to know what traits a dog breed has and most importantly, choose a dog that has a behaviour that matches your lifestyle. Not all dogs are the same, so take the time to learn more first if you’re not too sure.
You’ll need to commit your time
Having a dog is similar to having a child, if not nearly the same. You need to be prepared to treat your new dog like a newborn baby. Dogs need to be walked once and often multiple times per day. It takes hours each day to look after your dog through training and exercising but the extra time you spend with your dog will be worth it in the long run. If you don’t have this kind of spare time to spend with your dog, then you should reconsider whether you should be getting a dog at all. This is a sacrifice that you’ll need to make.
You’ll need to spend lots of money on taking care of them
Just as you would brush your hair and teeth everyday, your pooch will require the same. You’ll need to clip your dog’s nails and bathe them regularly. There are no exceptions to this. If you don’t look after the health of your dog, not only will they be unwell or uncomfortable, you’ll be forking out extra money to pay for vet and grooming bills. You should trim their nails so they don’t get too long, break or get snagged on things, which can hurt your dog.
Be prepared to fork out thousands of dollars over time for your dog in medical bills. You don’t want to contribute to the millions of dogs around the world that are left homeless at a shelter so be sure to have your dog spayed. Dental healthcare, micro-chipping, tagging, the prevention of diseases, worms, fleas and general health check-ups are all a part of being an owner and there are no exceptions to this. Maintaining your dog’s grooming and health is paramount to their contentment and happiness, so don’t forget to look after them.
You’ll need to train them
Dog training is far more than just teaching your dog tricks and commands. Many people see dog training as a luxury expenditure for dog owners when in fact, training your dog is something that is critical and needs to be done more than once. Your dog needs to understand how to live successfully in a home environment and an external environment. Through training, you can help reduce unwanted behaviours such as destructive chewing, inappropriate parking and being aggressive. Through different classes, your dog can learn how to greet people without jumping all over them, keep stress levels at bay or reduce signs of anxiety and fear.
It’s also incredibly important to increase your dog’s socialising skills to avoid them engaging in any unwanted or aggressive behaviour. Dogs are meant to be social so make sure you allow your pooch to live the life they were meant to live! It is also important to remember that training is not just an occasional thing you do with your dog—it is something you’ll need to do every day. Obedience, like any other skill, needs to be practiced, not just taught. Just as you need to keep practicing learning another language or training in a sport, your dog needs that too. Treat your dog the way that you would like to be treated and they will love you forever!