Puppy Guide

We give you some great tips on how to make the most of getting a new puppy.

1) Deciding on a breed – You’ve decided to welcome a puppy into your life. Your initial task is to select a suitable breed. While picking a dog based solely on its appearance might be tempting, ensuring that the breed aligns with your lifestyle is crucial. 2) Finding a reputable breeder – Next, locating a trustworthy breeder who prioritises well-socialised, healthy, and temperamentally stable puppies is essential. A good breeder will interview you, meet you in person, and show you the puppy alongside its parents. Enquire about the parents’ temperaments as well. Keep in mind that animal rescue groups frequently have puppies in need of homes. While you may have less background information on a rescue puppy’s lineage, there are exceptions to this rule.

3) Know the health risks – If the breed is known to have genetic health problems, ask the breeder for information about screening for these. A reputable breeder will be happy you have asked.

4) Socialisation needs – Before bringing your puppy home, it’s crucial to understand their previous socialisation experiences. For instance, if puppies were raised in an outdoor setting like a barn, they might not have encountered typical household noises or met many people, which could cause behavioural issues.

Little Learners Puppy Class

5) Puppy Farms – Be cautious of “breeders” who sell puppies online or over the phone without letting you see the puppy with its mother first. Avoid those who are reluctant to show you where the puppy was raised or suggest meeting at a different location. Additionally, we do not recommend getting two puppies from the same litter.

6) Preparing Your Home – Now that you have your puppy home, did you prepare? This means compiling a shopping list of puppy products. You should include a lead, collar, identification tag, bed, possibly a crate or puppy pen crate, food and water bowls, chew toys, activity and play toys, puppy training pads, baby gate, brush or comb, and food—just to name a few!

7) Puppy Proof – Have you puppy-proofed your house? It’s crucial to do so. Puppies have a tendency to chew and potentially ingest various objects. If they are chewing on items within your home, accessing things on counters, rummaging through cupboards, going through the bin, or tearing up magazines, then your house isn’t puppy-proof. It’s also important to monitor your puppy’s activities in the garden. Some puppies may try to consume soil, stones, worms, leftover waste, plants, or wood, which can cause illness or injury.

8) Dealing with Biting – Puppies tend to mouth and bite, with some being more prone to this behaviour than others. Their baby teeth, which resemble small, sharp needles, will be replaced by adult teeth as they grow older. It’s crucial to acknowledge this and train them how to play appropriately.

9) Early Development – Dedicating daily time to careful socialisation and training your puppy using reward-based methods is essential. If your puppy is not fully vaccinated yet, outdoor walks may not be possible, but you can still introduce your puppy to friends, attend a well-organised puppy party at the local vets before our Little Learners course, and visit places with your puppy to interact with people.


Training can be a great way to bond with your puppy

10) Training – Maintain consistent training and establish clear rules and boundaries to ensure that everyone interacting with your puppy understands what is permissible and what is not. While it may seem adorable to let an eight-week-old puppy jump on kids and family members, habits can develop quickly, leading to potential challenges in the future.

11) Bonding – Bond with your puppy through appropriate games and training. Dogs with a great relationship with their owner, the right amount of exercise, and a full and enriched life are less likely to develop behavioural problems. Always carefully supervise interactions between your puppy and children.


Where are the classes held?

We hold classes on Sundays at Lanchester. We will travel to you for one-to-one private training.

Can I pay for the course on a week-by-week attendance basis?

We require payment for the course in advance. This policy helps us ensure the smooth running of the classes and allows us to provide the best training experience for your dog.

Can I bring the family, and we all train our dog in the class?

Yes, your family is more than welcome to attend the class and take turns training your dog. However, to avoid confusing your dog, we ask that only one person trains your dog on the training floor at any time.

I want to train my other dogs at the same time. Can I bring my other dog/s to the class and train them together?

For the safety and comfort of all participants, we have a one handler/one dog policy for the training class. We recommend separate classes for dogs from the same household. If you wish to bring dogs from the same household to the class with separate handlers, that is fine, although it may inhibit learning if they are in the same lesson.

My dog is aggressive towards other people/dogs. Should I bring them to training classes?

If your dog has already learned to behave aggressively around other people and dogs, it is unlikely that a class will solve this type of problem. You could be inadvertently putting your dog into a situation that they find stressful, and this can make the problem worse. They will be very close to other dogs and people they do not know. A very anxious dog in a class is unlikely to learn anything constructive. Teaching your dog to relax and focus on yourself around dogs and people away from the class would be more beneficial. You would need to book a behaviour consultation. We must consider your pet's safety and well-being and other pet owners in the class. If your dog is behaving aggressively, we will arrange a behaviour consultation.

How quickly will my dog's behaviour issues be resolved?

Canine behaviour can be highly complex, and there is no quick fix. You can see results early on, but you must work on your dog's daily training for real long-term benefits. There are so many factors to take into consideration when working on behaviour problems, and we have mentioned some below:
- Your dog may be genetically predisposed to behave a certain way. Are you aware of this, and do you know how to channel your dog's behaviour into acceptable activities that meet their needs?
- How long has the problem behaviour been going on?
- Your dog's early experiences (or lack thereof) at under 16 weeks of age will significantly influence their behaviour as an adult.
- Has it escalated or developed into other problem behaviours?
- What has your dog already learned from exhibiting this behaviour?
- Have you inadvertently rewarded the problem behaviour in the past?
- How has the problem behaviour been dealt with in the past?
- What is the underlying reason for your dog's behaviour? For example, your dog may have a medical condition, or their diet may be causing or contributing to the problem.
How much time and effort you can put into helping your dog is crucial to behaviour modification. Behaviour modification can take many months, so are you willing to change your daily routine to help your dog? Are you able to commit to an intensive training programme? Is your dog in an environment where you feel you can improve things? Can you ensure that the training is delivered consistently? Can you increase your dog's mental and physical exercise as a critical programme part? We are here to help you, guide you, and offer the best advice, but you must put work and commitment into your dog.

Why do you do behaviour consultations on vet referrals only?

Behaviour problems in dogs may arise directly or indirectly from concurrent or previous medical issues. Therefore, veterinary involvement is essential in eliminating organic causes of the problem and prioritising the diagnostic and treatment strategy in any given case. Some Pet Insurance Policies will cover fees for behavioural consultations referred by your vet, so check your policy. The referral is required because your pet must receive a complete medical check-up to rule out the many other medical problems that can cause behavioural changes (liver disease, neurological disease, chronic pain, to name just a few).

Can I attend a class even if I haven't enrolled?

Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis, and we do this before the course commences. If you have not registered, you should not attend with your dog. If you want to come along and watch a class without participating, perhaps because you have yet to decide whether to enrol, we would be happy to see you, but please do not bring your dog.

My dog is not well. Should I still come to class?

You should seek veterinary advice regarding bringing your dog to class if they are unwell. Your dog cannot attend if not fully vaccinated, in season, or has a contagious illness or parasites, i.e. Kennel Cough or fleas.

What is your vaccination policy?

Our policy is that all dogs attending our classes must be fully vaccinated or have up-to-date titre tests.