Hello dog lovers and owners. We hope you're keeping well and staying cool in this heat with your dogs.
We have a great blog this month from Bex @ Berries Elite K9's. We thought about what some of the most asked questions would be and Bex kindly gave us the answers! How is that for luck!
Q. My dog pulls a lot on the lead, what advice can you give me to help stop this?
A. Pulling on the lead is one of the most asked about training questions and is a simple one to answer. A dog who pulls on the lead has learnt that pulling on the lead gets them to where they want to go more quickly. Every time our dog pulls, and we take a step in the direction that they are pulling us, we are reinforcing the pull as we are showing them that pulling works. We therefore need to stop moving when our dog pulls and only move forward again when the lead is loose. This teaches our dog that a tight lead gets them nowhere, but a loose lead does. Training a dog to stop pulling on the lead can be a long process, especially if they have pulled on the lead for a long time but it can be resolved so be patient!
Q. How Do I Stop My Puppy from Biting?
A. Biting is a natural behaviour for puppies as they use their mouths to explore the world and to communicate with their mother and littermates. This is of course not the way you would like to communicate with your puppy so the best way to avoid this is to teach your puppy new ways to communicate with you. When your puppy is playing and goes to bite you, use a toy instead to redirect their play onto. It is important for us to show our puppies what play is appropriate at this age. If your puppy does bite, stop the play, and walk away.
Q. What is better for my dog, a collar or harness or both?
A. I personally always recommend a well fitted ‘Y’ shaped harness for walking and training as it is more comfortable for your dog and the harness helps to take the pressure off your dog's neck as constant pulling into a collar on the neck can cause injuries. I also use a collar to attach my dogs ID tag to as this is a legal requirement for your dog to wear.
Q. My dog is destructive and chews things a lot. He’s not a puppy anymore, he’s a few years old, why is this and how can I stop them?
A. Chewing is a natural dog behaviour. Dogs can chew for lots of different reasons due to being bored, lonely or stressed. Some dogs can become bored or stressed if they are left alone for too long or if they are not getting enough physical or mental stimulation day to day. To help with this, you can provide your dog with acceptable chews such as a pizzle stick so that they have an opportunity to express this natural behaviour in a safe way. You can also provide your dog with mental enrichment at home such as giving them a stuffed kong, a likki mat or rolling up a towel with treats in. These all work to help tire out your dog mentally which is just as important as physical activity.
Additional note from Jules: Stripey do a great offer currently for a Snuffle mat and box of treats for only £17.95 – great value and a great mental game for your dog.
Q. My puppy's recall used to be really good but now he won't come back at all. He is 9 months old. Why is this happening?
A. Dogs start to reach adolescence anytime between 6 and 12 months and we often refer to this stage as their 'teenager phase'. During this phase, some dogs can stop coming back when called and not respond to training that has previously been taught. Although it seems that your dog is deliberately ignoring you, the truth is that they have a lot going on in their brains and this is overriding any previous training. When they start to reach adolescence, they become a lot more daring and are keener to explore new things, so this takes over. During this time, it is best to go back to basics and remind your puppy what has previously been taught to help your dog through this phase.
Q. How do I train my puppy to toilet outside and not inside the home?
A. It is important when toilet training your new puppy to give them lots of opportunity to toilet outside and give them lots of praise when they do. You can repeat cue words such as 'wee wees' or 'be busy' to help them learn. Ensure to take your puppy outside after every mealtime and when they have just woken up from a nap or have been left for a period of time. Try to recognise the signs they may be about to toilet, such as sniffing the floor and wandering around and encouraging them to go outside. It is normal for your puppy to have a few accidents in the house to begin with as they only have small bladders and are not yet in a routine. If this happens, calmly clean it up using an enzymatic cleaner.
Q. What is the safest way to travel with my dog in the car?
According to the Highway Code, it is the driver's responsibility to make sure that dogs or other animals are appropriately restrained so they cannot distract you when you are driving or injure you or themselves if you stop quickly. There are several ways that you can safely transport your dog including using a crate, travel harness and seat belt, or a boot gate where your dog can sit in the boot but not be able to get through to the front of the car.