In this section we have provided some advice about the health care and training of dogs. We hope you find it useful.

Preventative Health Care

Vaccinations

As well as puppy vaccinations your dog should be given an annual booster. These vaccinations are vital to give your dog maximum immunity against potentially fatal diseases.

Worming

Puppies should be wormed every two weeks until three months of age, then monthly until six months. The dog should then be wormed routinely every three months. Speak to your vet about a suitable worming program.

Fleas

There are various products on the market to deal with fleas but it is better to go to your vet so that your dog can be given a good quality suitable product. It is important that when using a flea treatment you not only treat your dog but also your furniture and carpets.

Ticks

Ticks look like a grey oval or bean shaped parasite which attach themselves to dogs and other animals in order to feed off their blood. Ticks bury their heads into the dog which makes them difficult to remove although there is a tick remover available on the market. If uncertain about removing the tick yourself it is better to go to your veterinary practise.

Kennel Cough

When a dog has kennel cough it sounds as though it has something stuck in its throat and tries to cough it up. It can be serious in very young, old or weak animals and if you suspect your dog has kennel cough then a visit to the vet is wise. Usually dogs still behave the same other than the irritating cough which lasts around two to three weeks.

Vaccines are available against some strains of kennel cough.

General Health Check

A basic check each day is essential for helping to maintain the health and welfare of your dog. Being able to identify what is normal and abnormal in your dog can help you to recognise if there is something wrong.

Checking the dog from top to toe, look for any unusual signs such as discharges from the eyes, ears or nose.

Check the dogs coat and skin for dirt, debris or signs of parasites

Gently but firmly feel the dog’s body for any unusual lumps or bumps.

Check the dog’s nails and pads for any splits or cracks.

If anything seems out of the ordinary and you are worried, seek veterinary advice.

If you are able to recognise what your dogs looks and feels like it is easier to identify any abnormalities.

Choosing a Training class

There are so many dog training classes about and so many different methods of training that it can become very confusing. When deciding on a training class for you and your dog it is important to check things out thoroughly and the following tips may help you with your final decision.

  • Always ask if you can visit and observe a training class before you book
  • Check that the instructors are qualified or suitably experienced.
  • Check that the classes have suitable insurance.
  • Observe the people and the dogs in the classes and ask them questions about their experiences.
  • Make sure that the classes are not too big for the instructors to handle.
  • Are the dogs settled, and if they are not is an instructor helping the owner to deal with it.
  • Do the owners and dogs get enough attention to help them to progress?
  • Are handouts or summary sheets given to help the owners remember what they have to practice?
  • Are the premises suitable for dog training?
  • Make a list of your questions and take it with you, you need to be happy with your decision and you and your dog need to have fun and enjoy your training.

Training Tips

Training should be fun and interesting for both dog and owner.

The following tips should help you to gain and maintain a good relationship with your dog.

  • Build a good relationship with your dog by setting clear and consistent ground rules that all the family adhere to when involved with the dog.
  • Decide on a method of training that suits your dog, not all dogs have the same learning style, this will depend on things like breed, age, temperament development stage etc.
  • Make sure that the rewards for the dog are suitable. verbal praise, Physical contact, toys, games, food and exercise etc are all types of rewards for dogs. Some dogs prefer one reward over another some are happy with any of them. Rewards must be used appropriately when training so that the dog learns to earn rather than taking control.
  • Remember dogs can not learn if they are stressed, make sure the dog is relaxed and that you are both in the right frame of mind before training. Choose an area that is suitable to train and if it is a new exercise make sure there are no distractions, these can be introduced later.
  • Change the training environment regularly, dogs get used to being trained in one area and may only perform in that area. When training in the house change areas, e.g. in the living room, in the hall, in the kitchen etc.
  • Patience is extremely important; remember when teaching a new exercise to break it down into small elements that the dog can understand.
  • Never lose your temper with your dog, if you lose your temper then you start to break down the relationship with your dog. If things are not going quite as you expected and you are becoming frustrated, give the dog an exercise that he fully understands and can succeed at. Put the dog away and assess what was going wrong with the previous exercise.
  • Ask someone to watch you they may pick up on something you are missing.

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