Puppy’s first walk – what to expect
The big day is finally here, your puppy is allowed to go for a walk! It’s what you’ve been waiting for so eagerly. However, be prepared to be underwhelmed; your puppy will probably hate it! Even if you have managed to spend time around the house getting your pup familiar with your collar and lead, they still won’t want to go anywhere. If they don’t spend the whole time sitting down and refusing to move, they will just sniff the ground and take no notice of you.
Patience is the key when training a puppy
It takes time to train a puppy – remember that every day. Try not to expect very much at all, then everything will be a bonus. Did you notice and admire Ounce’s bespoke lead? Unfortunately the glitter tag and lead both weigh a ton, so she spent most of the work complaining that she couldn’t move :p
Length of Walk?
Five minutes per month of puppy’s age: An 11-week old puppy should only be out for up to 15 minutes. That’s why we started and ended our first walk with her in the Pet Sling.
What did I do first? Let her off the lead of course! My sister rather anxiously asked if I wasn’t worried about her running off. I wasn’t worried then, which isn’t to say I won’t be worried in a few weeks’ time. I need to let her off the lead and work hard to get her paying attention to me, thinking I am really exciting and wanting to come back to me. I will then be able to cope when she does start to realise that the world is exciting and there are other things to do.
What else did we do?
At this age, you want all your puppy’s attention on you, for some of the time. So we practice retrieve and down. These video clips show the initial stages of both of these activities. With the retrieve, we want the puppy to go to the toy and sniff it. When she does this, I make sure she knows by saying “YES!” Then we do it again until she picks it up and brings it back to me.
Finally, we practised a bit of going into a ‘down’. Not to be confused with ‘get down’ when they are jumping up, for which I say “off!” Just like teaching a child to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ this is one exercise that needs to be done a million times. To start with we use food to bring the puppy down into position, with the hand as a strong cue. When I’ve done this a few hundred times I start to say the command at the same time.
Of course it’s not all hard work! There must be time for play and cuddles as well.
What do you call a collection of collies? Think I have a ‘handful’ here. Maybe a chaos of collies? Anyway, I decided today to take Ounce out with her family for a runaround. As you can see they largely ignored her! She thought it was pretty exciting, but was also able to return to me … Continue reading First Family Walk
First time dog buyers – when should you do this? I’ve just been reading about how difficult it is to understand what it’s like to not know something. Apart from a few years at university (when I had a cat) and then living in shared rented houses (with another cat), I have always had at … Continue reading First Dog: When is the right time to add a dog to your family?
Going by bike: a different way to exercise your dogs? What do you do when you want to save your poor aching feet, but want your dogs to have a bit of a run on a Sunday morning? You go for a bike ride of course! We only do this periodically and always VERY carefully … Continue reading Dogs and Bikes – Ounce’s first bike ride!
When should you start agility training? This is Ounce’s second agility ‘lesson’. Five minutes playing, then a break, then five minutes more. Last time she just learned about tunnels, so now she knows that they are super fun! Please try not to pay too much attention to my delayed reactions. Today she also had a … Continue reading First Agility Steps
This week, all they’ve done is feed, sleep, squeak, wriggle and of course, be cuddled and admired. They’ve had quite a few visitors and already have a hefty fan club. Sunny has continued to be a perfect mother, despite being completely exhausted at times. She has now started to see a few gaps in between … Continue reading First week
Going off lead: be brave! Talking to a friend recently who has a nervous, rescue girl and I found myself saying “you could let her off lead you know. She’s not going to go anywhere, you’re her mum”. How can I be sure? What if she sees a squirrel? What if she chases a deer? … Continue reading Off lead – How and when to achieve freedom for your dog
Dog Doc Question 14: What happens when the puppy stops coming back? Oops. Ounce is nearly 7 months old now and this is often when the trouble starts. She is more or less fully grown (although she will fill out and might creep up a bit more in height). She is also becoming more mature, … Continue reading Recall Fail – When the puppy doesn’t come back
Labrador – the perfect dog for beginners? From an unusual breed, the Spanish Water Dog, to the most popular of all! The Kennel Club describes the breed as follows: the Labrador is the most popular of all pedigree breeds and his popularity comes from his versatility as family companion, service dog, guide dog as well … Continue reading Labrador: Interview with an owner
Fireworks: What can I do to help my dog cope? If you have ever had a dog who is terrified of loud bangs or fireworks, you will know how agonising it can be. Symptoms include: panting, drooling and whining restlessness and fidgeting anxiety and aggression hiding or scrabbling at furniture. I remember on the … Continue reading Fireworks and Dogs – how can we help our dogs?