All puppies and their new owners can benefit from Puppy Preschool. It is an important learning and socialisation tool and it’s also LOTS of fun! At Inner South Veterinary Centre the puppy classes are run by fully qualified and experienced nurses. The course consists of a one hour class each week for four weeks, and is usually run in the evenings from 7-8pm. The classes help owners teach basic training methods and provide tips to help minimise problem behaviors associated with puppy hood.
Socialisation in Puppies
Puppy development includes a critical socialisation period. This critical development period begins as the puppy’s eyes open and it begins to interact with people and animals in its surroundings and ends around 16 weeks of age. In this sensitive period your puppy is learning what is ok, what is scary, what is appropriate and what is a ‘no-no’. Socialisation helps your little puppy feel relaxed as a pet within a society that includes a huge mix of people, environments, buildings, sights, noises, smells, dogs and other animals.
Many behavioural problems in dogs are due to inappropriate or insufficient socialisation. Your pup needs to get out there in the big wide world! You need to expose them to the people, animals, plants, objects and natural phenomena they are likely to encounter throughout their life. This includes things like the sight and sound of cars, buses and trucks, schoolyards of yelling children, crowds, cats, crying babies and thunderstorms.
After 16 of weeks of age, dogs become much more cautious of anything they haven’t yet encountered. Once they reach 18 weeks, it can be more difficult to teach a dog to like something new, or help them become comfortable with something they find frightening. You can always teach an old dog new tricks but by taking advantage of this sensitive period you can help your pup be a generally well adjusted and chilled family member.
The puppy classes cover:
- Basic obedience – with a bit more taught week by week.
Week 1 – sit and settle
Week 2 – come and stay
Week 3 – drop and walking on loose lead
Week 4 – looking on cue
- Nutrition – it’s vitally important to start your pup on a good diet. Like all of us “we are what we eat “
- Environmental Enrichment – toys and games to keep the puppy busy and active and to prevent boredom and ultimately separation anxiety
- Crate training – a relatively new training technique in which your puppy is taught to accept a crate as its safety zone. They are ideal for helping teach toilet training, preventing damage to your house whist your puppy is unsupervised and providing safety when travelling.
- Vaccination protocols – what diseases your puppy needs to be protected against, and the schedules that work best and are least likely to cause adverse reactions
- Toilet training – an eternally frustrating but important topic
- Internal parasites – heartworm and intestinal worms and appropriate prevention
- External parasites – fleas, ticks, lice and appropriate prevention
- Dental health care – prevention of the most common disease in dogs over two years old – dental disease
- Benefits of desexing
Week four is graduation week, and a celebration of the steps that have been taken along the way.
Our staff would love to answer your questions about puppy classes at Inner South Veterinary Centre.
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