The Dog Training Academy

RANDBURG

PUPPY SCHOOL

2 month course

(Six lessons over 

the 2 months)

Total cost = R800.00

Saturday

11:00-12:00 am 

12:00- 1:00 pm


Check out our CALENDAR for dates


 FLORIDA

PUPPY SCHOOL

2 month course

(Six lessons over 

the 2 months)

Total cost = R800.00


Sunday

11:00 to 12:00am

Monthly start 


Check out our CALENDAR for dates:           

                    


REQUIREMENTS TO ATTEND PUPPY SCHOOL:

- 2nd vaccinations (vaccinations cards will be checked on arrival)

- Puppy MUST be under 16 weeks of age at the start of the course


  Why Puppy Socialisation?

What is socialisation, and why is it so important?

From 8 to 12 weeks of age, puppies go through a fear imprinting stage. During this time, it is crucial to carefully introduce a pup to a variety of stimuli every day, and to ensure that the experiences are positive. This is also a good time to start training the pup in basic behaviours.

These socialisation efforts make the difference in the dog's outlook on life. Instead of reacting fearfully to new experiences, the dog is comfortable when encountering new things, animals and people. This helps the dog and everyone else, since the most common cause of unprovoked dog aggression is lack of proper socialisation.

What is socialisation? 

Introducing and familiarising a canine to new experiences - including people, places, objects, other animals - in ways that help the dog learn how to respond to and interact with these experiences appropriately and without fear.

The list of things to socialise a pup, or dog, to include umbrellas, canes,  wheelchairs, bikes, keys, men with beards, people in hats, young children, passing trucks, odd sounds and sudden, loud noises and other animals.

The puppy brain is most inclined to accept new experiences up to the age of approx 4 months. Missing the window after 4 months of age can socially handicap the pup. Of course, the dog can still learn, but it is harder, mostly due to the need for to help the pup unlearn unproductive and inappropriate responses. Prevention is far better than rehabilitation, so if you can work within a puppy's critical learning window, you and the pup have an immense advantage.

Socialisation Principles:

Introduce the pup to new people, places, objects and situations ONLY when you can control the experience.

It's your job to protect the dog from situations that frighten him. Something as simple as letting someone get too close too soon can cause a setback in socialisation, causing the dog to hide behind you or adopt a fear-aggressive posture and growl at the offending person. If this does happen, correct the human, not the dog. Tell the person to back away, which will show the dog you can protect the pack and that he does not have to.

 Avoid dog parks and other areas where there's higher risk of exposure to disease, until your puppy has received all three vaccinations. Do not let your dog sniff faeces or to play with any dogs who might be unhealthy or aggressive.

Introduce a puppy into a large group only after having socialised him to  smaller groups.

Use treats, praise, touch, even play to reward, and thus reinforce, your dog for displaying positive responses.

Reward the behaviours that you want repeated and ignore or give a signal to the behaviors you do not like. The signal could be "uh uh" or "too bad". If the signal does not discourage the undesired behaviour, try a time out - a brief separation period from the fun interactive environment.

Be aware of the signals you send. Make it obvious to your dog that you enjoy encountering other people, animals and things. Even puppies observe and sense their handlers' reactions.

You must think of what you are teaching your dog in every situation. Your dog is aware of your actions and reactions, your attention or lack of attention, even if you don't realize it.

Understand when and why your dog shows fear, but do not reinforce it. Cooing, coddling and cuddling a pup or dog when she is showing fear will not help the animal lose that fear. Help your canine realize that you have control of the situation and that the dog does not have to be afraid, or take matters into his own paws (or jaws). You want your dog to trust that you will protect him.

It is not fair to put any dog in a situation in which he might feel threatened or prompted to use his teeth. This is why you must educate not only your dog but the people in your home. 

Be careful about the people you choose to help care for your dog. Be it your spouse, roommate, children or petsitter, you need to explain that you are trying to socialise your pup, and that it is necessary for them to reinforce good behaviors in the same way you do in order for the pup to learn. If you are not sure an individual will abide by this, limit that person's contact with your dog during the socialisation and training stages. Otherwise, the person can undermine and undo the progress you make with your dog.

One reason that puppies should not be separated from their mother and littermates before 8 weeks of age is that they learn core behaviours from mother dog and siblings. These include proper social play and bite inhibition.

Socialisation does not end at puppyhood. While the foundation for good  behavior is laid during the first few months, good owners encourage and reinforce social skills and responsiveness to commands throughout the dog's life.

Steps to Socializing Your Pup or Dog

Interaction is key to socialisation:

As pack animals and social beings, dogs need interaction with their owners, other people and other animals. The more you isolate the dog, and the less you interact with the dog, the more likely she will develop negative behaviours.

Companionship is vital to a dog's emotional well-being. Integrate the pup into your family from the start. Place your pup's crate or play pen in a room in which your family spends considerable time each day.

Raise a dog in an environment that doesn't allow him to be teased, tormented or attacked by other dogs.

Part of interacting with a dog of any age involves consistently rewarding all desirable behaviours - thus increasing the likelihood the dog will repeat those behaviors - and to take steps to prevent the development of undesirable behaviour.

The latter is usually accomplished by redirecting the dog's energy into a positive behaviour for which you can reward her, and when she does something "bad", to ignore the undesired behaviour. This is based on the principle that dogs typically engage in behaviors to get attention and/or obtain something they desire such as a treat, toy, special privilege or higher status.

And this is why pushing off a jumping dog usually will not stop the jumping behaviour; even though pushing the dog away seems like a negative reaction, to the dog seeking attention, any interaction she achieves seems better than none. Therefore, it is far better to get your dog to "sit" before she tries to jump. That way, you can reward her with the attention she wants, while reinforcing only good behaviour. It is important to think about why your dog is engaging in a particular behaviour.

Socializing with other dogs:

Exposing a puppy or new dog to other friendly dogs is the best way to teach essential social skills. (This is why canine behaviour experts warn not to bring a second dog into your family until the resident dog has been taught good behaviour and social skills.) Writes Pat Miller in "Plays Well With Others," (Whole Dog Journal, March 2000), playtime with other puppies and non-aggressive adult dogs enables a dog to learn how to talk and read "dog-ese" through appropriate interactions with and responses to other dogs' body language. If this doesn't happen during the pup's critical learning period, well before the age of six months, you may end up with a canine nerd whose inept use of physical and postural language gets him into trouble. Either he sends inappropriate messages or fails to respond appropriately to another dog's message.

Playtime in a controlled situation is a great way to socialise your pup to  other people and dogs. Puppy school will provide the ideal controlled environment.

If one dog starts bullying another, intervene. The old saw about "dogs will work it out themselves" does not apply here. Your impressionable pup can develop defensive aggression if frightened by the dominant or intense nature of another pup or dog. 

Our instructors and assistants will maintain a safe environment for your pup to develop appropriate social skills.  

Vigorous play is OK as long as both dogs are having fun. Be ready to intervene if the one appears scared or things start to get out of hand.