Your Puppy

Puppies 1st year of socialisation & training.


Please visit...

Four Paws Dog grooming Christine Sherwin 01782 838411

Also look in 'DOG WELFARE' for safety topics

Do not bring dogs to training if they are ill, coughing, diarrhoea, or bitch in season.

Recommended reading Gwen Bailey - The Perfect Puppy, 2nd or 3rd edition. Also The Blue Cross web site.. Leaflets

Having thoroughly researched your chosen breeds’ suitability for your needs, do not just have the one you like the look of. Find out what it was bred for, working lines may need more training and not just walking but also mental stimulation.

So if it's a guarding, herding, searching or sight hound? Do you have time and the environment to give your dog the correct mental and physical exercise and training they need?

Also it's GROOMING requirements are important.

One of my instructors is a qualified dog groomer with City & Guilds, 37 years experience and her own dog grooming salon,

so any questions on this area can also be answered. Christine Sherwin (Details above and contact page)

Contact the breeders to check which health tests have been undertaken. Then, book an appointment to visit the puppies. Ask to see the pups mum and dad if he is there, it is important to see mum with puppies - as her influence and temperament will affect the pup. Assess their surroundings. Are they in a kennel or home environment? A puppy that is in the home has usually seen more objects, met people and heard everyday noises. If from kennels, they possibly could not have had these experiences. These could need extra time to adapt.

Bring the puppy home ( usually at 8 weeks of age) having previously prepared the living environment, equipment, and food needed usually the breeder will supply a small amount of food and a diet sheet. It is a good idea to bring a piece of bedding from the breeders to comfort the pup when it arrives in your home. Make sure the area is safe with no wires or objects that could injure him.

Be sure you have enough time to to be with your puppy, it is better not to be left alone for more than a couple of hours at a time but they need to be able to cope with very short periods of separation first, as with toilet training you need to take pup out at very regular intervals.

Dogs do not understand our language, so we need to learn theirs. It is mostly done through body signals, and some vocal sounds.

Put into practice the socialisation* and training program. Dogs need to learn good manners so decide on what things are acceptable from the moment your puppy comes to live with you. Make sure all the family know the plan for training and adhere to it, as dogs need consistency so as not to be confused.

*The scientific term for the way an animal gets used to new thing and learns they are safe is 'habituation'.

That is what 'socialisation' should be.

Puppies need to learn how to habituate easily- a skill that is a great deal more difficult once adulthood is reached.*

Socialisation means learning how to behave in a socially acceptable manner with other people & animals.

This means NOT making your dog so friendly towards people that it becomes a nuisance. Not all people want to be it's friend.

* With 'Dog laws' a dog , needs only to jump up or frighten someone to be classed as out of control.*

Get puppy used to wearing a collar and be sure to have an I.D. tag on it with the correct information, which should be..

your name, address & postcode, by law this is required. Phone number can be added. Also it is mandatory for dogs to be microchipped.

You only need to observe a guide dog to see how the ideal dog should behave.

Puppies need to learn that all the things they come across, both in the home and whilst out and about, are on the whole, safe and nothing to be afraid of. Not learning to feel safe in their world puts them at risk of being frightened of certain things for the rest of their lives, which may result in some dogs behaving aggressively because they feel uncomfortable.

To build confidence two things are important. Puppies need to experience all of the things they may come across during their lives, and they need to experience them in a way that is not frightening.

After settling in, contact the vet for a health check and vaccination program. Ensure that this is as stress free as possible. On arrival at the surgery make sure that there are no dogs waiting as this could cause stress if an anxious barking dog was present. You need the first visit to the vet to be as pleasant as possible.

If attending ‘puppy parties’. (These could be beneficial if carried out correctly.)

You should assess the situation before taking the puppy in. For instance, are there too many pups so that there is no real control? Are there large breeds bullying the smaller ones, are fearful pups forced to defend themselves? It is better for only two to be off lead at one time, and that they are matched for size, age and temperament.

The outcome of a bad experience at this young age could effect some dogs for life.

Get your pup used to different sounds & noises by having a DVD of noises playing at low volume in the background. Then slowly increase the volume if pup is accepting it. If he shows any anxiety, decrease to a lower level.

Ensure no stressful situations occur at this critical age.

Most people have a puppy at 8-12 weeks. This is a critical stage in a pups’ life known as the socialisation period. Puppies at this age can soon become afraid of new things they have not encountered before. Never force the pup to interact with something he does not want to. Let him approach in his own time and give him the choice to move away. If he is cautious of an object, move towards it yourself in a relaxed way and touch it to show that it is not a problem.The more positive training you do at this age is very beneficial as puppies learn very quickly (good and bad things), so play & train little and often.

Build a good bond with play and reward so that positive behaviours can be rewarded. Distract any unwanted behaviour, making sure that the pup is not put in a situation it is not ready for. If the pup does seem anxious around an article or noise, keep to a distance that is acceptable and reward and play while calm, then slowly get closer but making sure not to draw attention or reward negative behaviour. Also, do not introduce too many new situations at one time, keep sessions short as not to confuse the puppy.

Discuss a training plan that the family will all adhere to, as dogs’ need consistency so as not to be confused.

Never leave babies and children alone with dogs, they should always be supervised. (look on 'welfare' page)


Start to handle your puppy gradually. This is more easily achieved when he is sleepy or relaxed. Gently stroke a part of his body and if he shows no resistance quietly praise or feed a treat, very gently restraining him, then release. It is good to get him to accept all parts of his body to be examined as one day, pup may have to visit the vet with an ailment. Practice on all parts of the body gradually building duration. Also use a towel to gently rub and introduce a soft grooming brush but never allow him to play with these articles. Groom him every day but only a minute at a time to start with.

Qualified groomer is one of the instructors, Four Paws 01782 838411.

,Relax/ Settle.

Have an area in the home where you relax and if your dog joins you, teach them that this is an area they do not play but sleep or remain calm.


Introduce the collar and lead gradually, better when pup is relaxed and calm.

Advising visitors to greet the puppy only when not jumping up, going down to their level and calmly greet them. If pup is too excitable have guests sit down first, then if needed bring puppy in on lead, this way the handler has control. Have an area that he can settle on a mat or bed and have a toy or chew to distract him from the visitors. By having a lead on in the house the pup gets used to control even before the vaccinations are complete and is able to ‘go out’. Getting them to follow the handler around house and garden on lead will also encourage calm behaviour before a walk. Playing a game before a walk will also release some of the pups’ energy making walking calmer.

Start to train walking on a loose lead in the house with no distractions. Pup should learn that at any time the lead goes tight, forward movement stops. Praise for a loose lead and then move forward again. Build this process up in different areas.

(As dogs do not generalise they need to be trained in different places to understand what is expected of them.)

If you allow the puppy to pull you around on the lead, then inadvertently you are teaching him to pull.

Introduce RECALL games. Use puppies’ name. If he looks at you reward with praise and a smile, a treat or toy.

Do not keep saying his name if he ignores you, as you want his name to be an instant response.

It is better to use a distracting noise, then when he looks at you say his name and reward.

Start to do this with no distractions, then in different areas. Move further away, then into other rooms, garden if well enclosed.

This is called 'generalisation'

Be sure NOT to let him off lead in any non-secure areas.

One sure way to have a BAD recall is by allowing him to run up to and play with every dog he sees. This is confirming in his mind that you are less fun than other dogs. This also is the quickest way to get your dog 'beaten up' by other dogs.

Just because your dog is friendly, does not mean the others are.

If your dog is anxious around other dogs be sure that all contact with others is under control.

Establishing good manners with set rules is important. Be consistent in all training. If the household has young children they should always be supervised around the dog. Children need to be taught how to be calm around the pup and not to over excite him. If dogs are allowed to chase, jump up and pull at clothes at a very young age they may still practice this habit when older and bigger. Pups also need a quiet place to retire to rest, so children need to respect this area.


It can take puppies at least 6 months to become 'clean', be patient don't expect them to learn to quickly but you do need to take them to the area you have chosen regularly usually just after waking, or playing, eating and drinking or being excited. Then reward with gentle praise and use a word as he 'goes' which could be 'Quick', toilet or what ever you decide.

Never reprimand if caught going in the wrong place, as all this teaches is not to 'go' while you are present.


It is important that puppies learn not to bite, it is natural for puppies to mouth and bite. However, they must learn to do this on appropriate toys if they are to be safe around people and dogs.

This needs to be leant quickly and before they get their adult teeth and strong jaws (around 4-5 months).

Do not allow dogs to become over excited while playing, keep hands away from pups mouth or biting may develop unintentionally, any contact with skin or clothes is not acceptable, dog laws are quite strict, so mouthing anyone is not an option.

Other puppies and dogs will tolerate ‘play’ biting - but if it gets to hard they will yelp and the game will stop.

People need to follow a similar pattern. Whilst playing with the pup, if he bites, say ‘oow’ and stop the game for a while. If repeated biting, leave the room or put the pup out.

Use suitable dog toys to play with but don’t have too many out at once, rotate toys.

This allows you to bring out a “new” item when you need to distract pup from something.


Having good manners around food is also important, as many human foods are dangerous for dogs. Chocolate, raisins, onions, chewing gum are a few of many foods that are poisonous to dogs.

Do not allow anyone to feed the puppy from the table. Put the lead on and have him settle with a family member while others are eating or put behind a gate.

If he is fed from the table this would be very rewarding and could quickly turn into a problem.

Teach a leave command. If puppy is playing with a toy or object show him a treat and when he drops the article reward him. Make sure that if he steals an object you do not chase him otherwise this becomes a game.

Do not allow puppy to always have attention or company all the time, they need to be left alone for short amounts of time and to start this as soon as possible is best. Otherwise separation anxiety problems could occur.

If there is already another dog in the household introduce them gradually, being aware of the existing dogs

behaviour towards puppies. If crate training the new arrival, the other can see him and be rewarded for calm attitude. Not allowing larger dogs to play roughly with small pups, or if an old dog is present not to be bullied by the younger.

Playing roughly with another dog could teach the puppy that he can do this to others. If he were to run to play with another dog, and that particular dog was a fearful dog, your puppy could be bitten or attacked. This could then make him defensive around dogs. They need to have respect around other dogs and only play with others that are safe and reliable but not on every meeting, otherwise it will be expected and this in itself could cause problems. Sometimes just walking under control next to a dog but not playing.


As he starts to grow and approach 6 months his attitude may change as he becomes more independent,

He develops more of an interest in the environment and other dogs, sexual maturity and hormonal changes begin, so at this time changes in temperament can also occur.

Adolescence can be a disheartening time for owners as what the puppy wants will be more important to him now than what you want. At this stage you will feel that all he has learnt has been forgotten.

Usually not coming back when called is a common problem as other things take his interest. If this starts to happen, use a long line on his collar and call him back frequently before getting to the full reach of the line, rewarding or praising when he returns. Care has to be taken to ensure puppy (or others) do not get tangled in any loose line.

With all aspects of training do not progress too quickly as this could cause confusion. Be sure the dog understands what is expected before moving on to the next stage.

If training classes are already being attended continue to socialise and work through distractions using rewards and motivation.

Training should be continued throughout a dogs’ upbringing to maintain control and respect.

Learning to recognise the dogs’ body language and not expecting him to understand our spoken words.

Canines communicate with each other through gestures, movements and sounds. It is up to us to understand what they are indicating.

Adolescence will pass more easily if you know about it, this stage usually does not last as long in dogs as in humans. By the time your puppy is 12 to 18 months old it will have passed.