Some very important advice to help ensure your puppy grows into a well adjusted, well behaved adult dog. Please be sure to put these things into place by regularly working with your puppy, and always following through the work suggested. Thankyou – from your puppy – and me.
Anyone who has had a puppy from me will have had an ‘Establishing pack leader status in your dog’s life and home’ document in their puppy pack. Please implement everything on that document as discussed, and put the following into place as well:
1. It is very important that you are always able to take things from your dog’s mouth. This, as with most training, starts from the time your puppy is very young. Practise taking toys from your puppy’s mouth giving a clear command to ‘give’ or ‘leave’, and praise/reward immediately he/she releases the toy. Once this is estabished, move on to chews/food items. You should be able to put your hand in your pup’s food bowl with no adverse reaction from him/her whatsoever. (Hopefully my pups will respond with a waggy tail!!) If you decide to take the food bowl away, you should always give a clear command to leave before removing the bowl, and must always add something extra nice before returning it, so the puppy welcomes this action rather than sees it as a threat. It is important to make the pup feel it is a good thing to have humans around at meal-times, so hold back a few biscuits from the meal, and gradually drop a few at a time in the dish, and feed a few by hand. This will make the pup feel dependent on you for his/her food, and see your hands as being friendly, rather than a threat.
2. Hold onto your pup’s chew for part of the time he/she is eating it. Be sure you are always able to examine his/her mouth/teeth whenever you choose to – it is all good practise for enabling you to remove things from the mouth when necessary. Try to make it fun by saying “how many teeth in there” – or something equally silly, so that the pup doesn’t feel the invasion is threatening in any way. Do this regularly as your pup grows, and on into adulthood.
3. Always use a clear, strong tone of voice when giving a command. Start with the pup’s name, then add the command i.e. Ben Come! Ben Sit! etc. You need to get the pup’s attention before giving the command – especially while they are so young, and busy investigating their new world. Always praise immediately so they make the connection between what they have done and the praise they are receiving. This should be done within 2 seconds.
4. Always make your puppy ‘work’ for his/her food/treats by sitting/waiting/giving a paw etc.and do this without exception – remember everything in his/her life is a privilege not a right – (with the exception of good basic care etc., of course).
5. Get your puppy used to being stroked/handled on the back of his/her neck and the top of his/her head, from a young age, as this is where a dog would attack in a fight – therefore if you don’t ever handle this part of the dog, then suddenly decide to do so, the dog might see it as a threat, and retaliate with aggression. Handle your pup as much as you can – not only stroking the back of the neck – but also paws, tail, ears etc – grooming is a great way to achieve this, and also gives you the opportunity to check for ticks/lumps/cuts etc. I always check my dogs’ ears every time I groom them, and clean them if necessary. This is a good way to guard against ear infections, which can be very distressing for a dog, causing much pain and discomfort, and can occasionally make them bad tempered.
6. Never disturb your puppy/dog whilst he/she is sleeping. If it is absolutely unavoidable, always call their name before approaching, as they can also find it threatening or startling if you touch them whilst in a deep sleep.
7. Remember that giving your dog boundaries and a clear set of rules, is the kindest thing you can do for him/her, and is truly loving them – as it will provide security, which in turn will make him/her happy, well adjusted, and accepted in society as a stable and reliable dog.
8. Continually socialise your puppy with other dogs, adults, and children of all ages at every opportunity, and be sure to keep this going right into adulthood. Never ever allow a child to annoy or irritate a puppy or dog – as this can make them snappy, and this is not the dog’s fault.
9. Always remain calm but confident when dealing in any way with your dog.
10. Remember your dog will learn more between the ages of 7-16 weeks, than at any other time in his/her life – so it is crucial to get the training/conditioning right at this time.
11. Book your puppy into a good training class, and then move through the stages of training classes as your puppy grows. This is a great way to teach them obedience in a situation where there are distractions, and also a good way to socialise them. Do be sure to check carefully that the class you have chosen is a good one with reward based training only, and that the trainer/s are competent in what they are doing.
Please remember that whilst Golden Retrievers are one of the gentler breeds, they are still dogs, and as such need the correct training from a very young age. Any dog, by definition, has the capacity to display fear/possession/dominance aggression if not brought up correctly, and taught from day one that they are the lowest ranking member of your ‘pack’. Always do this with positive and kind training, and with tone of voice and body language – never ever smack or hit your puppy or dog – you will simply end up with a dog who is nervous, and fearful of the human hand. Please never use a shock collar either – they are extremely cruel and should be outlawed.
PREVENTION IS ALWAYS BETTER THAN CURE!! If you do these things from the start, as with my pack leader document, you shouldn’t ever experience any problems in the future, and will have a dog to be truly proud of.
I am always here to help: 07789 235980