The dog food market is a minefield, causing confusion amongst many dog owners. I thought that sharing my knowledge of dog food may help some people get a little clarity.
Many people ask me the question 'What is the best food for my dog?'
The simple answer here is that it depends! There is no size fits all because all dogs are individuals, but there are plenty of factors to consider.
I feel compelled to write this blog because I am seeing more and more people that just want a quick fix with their dog training problems.... People with puppies and young dogs want them trained faster than is realistically possible. People with dogs that have problems want them fixing overnight.
DOG TRAINING TAKES TIME! Why is it that we let children start new hobbies, learning new skills, and expect them to take months and months to improve and learn (even years for some skills!), yet with dogs we don't have the same expectation?
Did you know that puppies need a MINIMUM of 18 HOURS SLEEP a day??
We recommend ensuring that a puppy has between 18 and 20 hours sleep out of 24 hours. That is a LOT of sleep!
It is extremely important that your puppy is getting the required amount for a number of reasons.
Do you have a young puppy? Have they been to the dog groomer yet?
If not, get them booked in! The socialisation window for a puppy is between 4 and 16 weeks of age. During this period, you should be exposing your puppy to as many new experiences as possible - providing they are comfortable in doing so. This should include the dog groomer!
Have you been home more than you normally would be due to lockdown?
Has your dog's routine been different due to lockdown?
Have you welcomed home a new puppy since lockdown?
If at some point you will be going back in to work, NOW is the time to start gradually getting them used to their new long-term routine.
It is hugely important that we don't over-exercise young dogs while they are still growing and developing. Their growth plates at each joint are still developing and slowly closing throughout a dog's growth period.
If excess pressure is placed upon these still-forming joints due to over-exercising, you are potentially opening your puppy up to joint-related health conditions…
Heatstroke can be fatal for dogs!
Brachycephalic breeds such as french bulldogs, pugs and boxers are especially at risk when temperatures soar.
The larger the dog is, the higher the risk.
If you have a young puppy or an elderly dog, they are at higher risk too.
So, what can you do to keep your dog cool?
The Classic Kong should be one of your staple dog toys, as should a Lickimat!
Both provide fantastic mental stimulation, they promote cognitive development in the form of problem solving, and they work brilliantly to help young dogs settle themselves when their excitement levels start to rise.
The key to success with these toys is making sure that they are filled with tasty fillings!
Many people are very excited to get their puppy out for their first walks when it is safe to do so after their final vaccinations. Yet more often than not, they aren't quite the experience people hope for!
It is common for puppies to struggle with their initial outings - sometimes to the point where they just put the brakes on and refuse to move!
How you deal with this situation will hugely impact your puppy and their confidence...
The simple answer is ‘as early as possible!’ – once your puppy has settled into their new home.
Your puppy does need to be fully vaccinated to be able to go out in public before being able to safely attend group classes, but leaving it too long can be quite detrimental to your training journey...
I often get asked this question… People are understandably worried about ‘caging’ their puppies. They don’t want their puppies to think they are being punished by being locked in a crate. They feel it is cruel.
HOWEVER, if you train a puppy in the right way (using positive reinforcement), they very quickly learn to love their crate without experiencing any distress during the training process. It becomes their cosy safe space to go to when they want some peace and quiet or simply to have a nap.
When puppies are young, we restrict their exercise to protect them from any damage that may occur to their still-developing joints.
Often, people try to make up for the lack of physical exercise on walks by playing games with them in the house so that they can 'burn off some energy'. Tug and fetch are the two popular ones that I hear mentioned on a daily basis.
But are these activities causing more harm than good? Quite possibly!!!
There are a number of new trainers and daycares in the area that have recently set up and are offering 'socialisation walks', 'breed meet-ups' and 'puppy socialisation playdates'.
Many people understandably like the idea of these so that their dog gets to 'play with other dogs' and 'be around other dogs', but I personally would be avoiding like the plague....
If you have a young puppy, an adolescent pup or an adult dog that is prone to excitement and high arousal, these sessions will simply cause your dogs to develop problems.
Most dog trainers would not recommend any form of meet-ups like this for a number of reasons...
Many new dog owners are uncertain as to whether they should be using a collar or a harness for their dog.
I am a huge fan of harnesses and will explain why shortly, but I think collars can have a place if your dog doesn’t pull on the lead.
I thought this article may be informative for people who are unsure about the best choice for their dogs.
Flexi leads (or retractable leads) extend in length when your dog pulls and then retract into a plastic casing when the dog returns to you, or as you catch up with your dog. They have a manual braking system to stop your dog from going further than you want them to.
Many of my new puppy owner clients ask me what my thoughts are on flexi leads. My answer: I absolutely detest them! I wish they had never been invented!