16 May 2017

HOWARD KIRBY - HOW TO DEVELOP YOUR PUPPY'S SOCIALISATION SKILLS.

Chudleys ambassador and leading gundog trainer, Howard Kirby, previously offered his advice on the early stages of training your puppy. This training explained the benefit of using reward-based principles, such as using the pup’s food to help encourage suitable behavioural habits for the future. 

This month Howard’s focus is shifting onto developing your puppy’s socialisation skills. To begin the process of evolving good manners, young puppies must socialise with other dogs may that be young, adolescent, fun or old. This interaction should be in an environment that is supervised and controlled such as your home, allowing your puppy to mix with suitable, well-balanced dogs will provide a good example for your puppy.

How your puppy acts in public will clarify how under control your pup is. The puppy must learn how to avoid distractions that you will come across whilst out walking, things such as livestock, cyclists, runners and most importantly dogs, these should not disturb your puppy’s focus.

To ensure your puppy learns how to socialise in an appropriate manner, you should refer back to the method of using the dog’s daily food ration as motivation and a reward system. You can try simple techniques to introduce your puppy to other dogs, even in your own home!

Pick a friend or family member with a suitable, balanced dog to come over to your house. Ask them to come into the kitchen and stand as far away as possible (the further away the distraction, the easier it will be to keep his focus).  Keep encouraging him to look at you, rewarding him regularly for the puppy’s focus. After a short while, ask the person to leave the kitchen with their dog, not making any eye, voice or physical contact, don’t even look at the puppy, as we want him to learn to ignore other people, especially if they are ignoring us. This is a big ask for a young puppy, regular practise is needed and a gradual build up of his behaviour will see you moving forward, encouraging the puppy to mind its own business.

Overall your main goal should be to train the puppy to want to stay with you rather than itching to approach other dogs or people. If you train appropriately from the outset then you should witness this result.

Try to frequently meet like-minded dog walkers and fellow dog owners to ensure your puppy is given the opportunity to learn how to socialise. Its important to continue to use the methods discussed and most of all enjoy the time spent training your pup.

Chudleys Nutritionists say:

Growing puppies and young dogs need a range of nutrients to ensure that they develop healthy bones, nervous system, skin and coat. It is particularly important in working breeds that puppies grow steadily and not too fast.

Chudleys Puppy/Junior is suitable for all sizes of working dog breeds and should be fed as the puppy’s first feed from when they first accept solid food at around 2-3 weeks old. It should then be fed through weaning and until the puppy is fully-grown, which depends on breed but is usually around 8-18 months old.

The following elements of the diet are particularly important:

Moderate energy levels - Promote steady growth rates and correct bone development.

Balanced minerals and vitamins - The ratio of calcium to phosphorus in the diet will determine the strength of a puppy’s bones as they grow. Puppy/Junior contains enhanced levels of the key vitamins, amino acids and trace nutrients, including glucosamine, which puppies need to develop correctly.

Nutritional support for learning - Young puppies learn rapidly, the patented (2002) QLC natural antioxidant package has been shown to nutritionally support the improvement of learning capacity, as well as to maintain the puppy’s own biochemistry and antioxidant systems.

Highly digestible fibre sources - Puppies need digestible fibre to maintain a healthy digestive system. Puppy/Junior provides fibre sources from beet pulp as well as prebiotic mannan oligosaccharides to promote healthy digestive function.

Don’t forget to enter the Chudleys Gundog Championship at the upcoming Countryman Fairs country shows for your chance to win a training day with Howard Kirby.

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