Ahhhh – No not all puppy schools are created equal. In fact a lot of them are just there to make a buck out of you give you the wrong advice and not be of really any help. They are run by shop assistants who get given a few notes to read – primarily selling vet or store products to you or run by vet nurses who have zero behavioral expertise to back up anything they are saying. In fact a lot of the horror stories I see are caused by these people because they don’t understand the issues they create or the in-depth psychology behind the canine mind. I outline a lot of the common issues in other articles.
What should be the purpose of a puppy school?
The purpose should be for the instructor to be able to have the dogs safely mingle in an environment which is controlled and the behaviour is monitored to ensure appropriate play and language learning between dogs. The instructor should be able to explain to the group at any time what the dogs are doing and the associated behaviors as often humans will interpret actions that are innocent as otherwise, and stop valuable learning for the dog. It is an opportunity to create the correct neural connections in the brain of the dog in preparation for obedience later on and to teach the human parents how to get their dog appropriately socialized in the human world. It should also be about non biased information as to the best care for your puppy. It should also cover Child safety and Basic drives and Instincts of a Dog.
If your puppy school separates sizes (like saying short people can’t mix with tall people) or separates breeds (like racial discrimination) or doesn’t allow play of the dogs safely or is more about selling you stuff then I would highly recommend changing puppy schools.
Oh my Lord – one of the most infuriating things we have to deal with is where we have a dog that freaks out at the world because the poor owners were told to keep the dog inside till at least 16 weeks of age. The poor owners then come to us with a dog that is fine inside but an absolute mess the minute it walks out the door. The reason vets says this is to scare you with Parvo. Behavioral problems are the number 1 cause of death for dogs.
So here is the medical information straight from the Veterinary governing body.
“Young puppies are very susceptible to infection, particularly because the natural immunity provided in their mothers’ milk may wear off before the puppies’ own immune systems are mature enough to fight off infection. If a puppy is exposed to canine parvovirus during this gap in protection, it may become ill. An additional concern is that immunity provided by a mother’s milk may interfere with an effective response to vaccination. This means even vaccinated puppies may occasionally be infected by parvovirus and develop disease. To reduce gaps in protection and provide the best protection against parvovirus during the first few months of life, a series of puppy vaccinations are administered. Puppies should receive a dose of canine parvovirus vaccine between 14 and 16 weeks of age, regardless of how many doses they received earlier, to develop adequate protection.
To protect their adult dogs, pet owners should be sure that their dog’s parvovirus vaccination is up-to-date. There are titers available that measure the dog’s level of antibodies against the canine parvovirus, but the antibody level may not directly translate to protection if the dog is exposed to the virus.
In spite of proper vaccination, a small percentage of dogs do not develop protective immunity and remain susceptible to infection.
Finally, do not let your puppy or adult dog to come into contact with the fecal waste of other dogs while walking or playing outdoors. Prompt and proper disposal of waste material is always advisable as a way to limit spread of canine parvovirus infection as well as other diseases that can infect humans and animals.”
Bitches should be boosted before mating or immediately before whelping in order to transfer protective antibodies to the puppies.
How does a dog become infected with parvovirus?
The causative agent of CPV disease, as the name infers, is a virus. The main source of the virus is the faeces of infected dogs. The faeces of an infected dog can have a high concentration of viral particles. Susceptible animals become infected by ingesting the virus.
Subsequently, the virus is carried to the intestine where it invades the intestinal wall and causes inflammation.
Unlike most other viruses, CPV is stable in the environment and is resistant to the effects of heat, detergents, and alcohol. CPV has been recovered from dog faeces even after three months at room temperature.
Due to its stability, the virus is easily transmitted via the hair or feet of infected dogs,
NOTE ### human contaminated shoes, clothes, and other objects. ##### Direct contact between dogs is not required to spread the virus. Dogs that become infected with the virus and show clinical signs will usually become ill within 7-10 days of the initial infection.”
So – What the vets don’t tell you is you can walk it inside to your house.
So what should you do
– this is something I like to go in-depth with at my puppy schools. You need to get your dog used to our world. We have conquered the planet to the detriment of every other species so we need to teach them how to cope in our world. 8-16weeks of age is the most CRITICAL period to learn this – after that it is the hard road of desensitization. So we need to make it as positive as can be – puppies are very resilient – so when they learn to cope now they go well i coped as a pup I can now as an adult – this doesn’t mean it stops as an adult they are always learning – it just makes it considerably easier and nicer. So take them out to nice and safe places – Bunnings in a trolley – a shopping centre (the worst they will do is chuck you out – meanies don’t like pups) – railway stations to see a variety of humans and their smells. Remember the puppy is following your lead – if the dog reacts adversely to a situation
1. Do not force the issue
– let the dog realize its ok – show them its ok.
2. DO NOT REACT!!!!!!
– unfortunately you are human and you will find the need to nurture, this is the worst thing you can do as you are giving the puppy the sign they are behaving correctly and they will continue to do that in situation again – that can be scary as an adult dog. You need to remain calm and composed – only react when you can a positive sign from your puppy and praise. The biggest issue I always see is the human putting their emotion onto the dog and then as an adult dog they are a mess thinking it is the correct way to behave in those situations.
3. Always praise a positive response to a situation.
The puppy will learn very quickly if they approach a situation well they get love and praise from the human, not the reverse.
This time period for your pup affects the rest of their life so it is important to get it right – you are the parent of a brand new life – no one generally goes out of their way to intentionally screw it up – so please when you look at a puppy school consider the above. Remember that google contains all the information on the planet from both dumb and smart people. You don’t have to be smart to put up information on google.
Finally – Make sure you are informed with accurate information that gives you the control and ability to make an informed decision base on logic not emotional garbage that pushes an ideal to either sell you stuff or make you follow a particular path. And please remember you can love them as much as want but they are a different species and have specific needs and drives that make them unique and make them Canine not Human.
Life is full of decisions – make an informed one.