Welcome to my first introductory puppy advice blog. I guess if you have arrived here then you may also be considering adding a four legged, furry canine companion to your family, or you may have stumbled across this by chance and are just interested. Either way, thank you for reading and sharing my journey of decisions, concerns and hopefully the arrival and progression of a new puppy to our happy house.
My motivation for the blog has transpired as a result of client feedback and personal experience. I feel I have reached a stage in my career now that I would like to start sharing the valuable knowledge I have gathered. This first blog is to give you a bit of background on me, my motivation and a general idea of what direction I’ll be heading with information, advice and tips. I promise things will get more exciting as we progress!
My education journey in behaviour began with the Cambridge Institute of Dog Training and Behaviour (www.cidbt.org.uk) providing me with extensive knowledge and confidence in all areas of canine behaviour management. I am registered as a full member of Canine and Feline Behaviour Association (www.cfba.co.uk) and a Master Trainer with the Guild of Dog Trainers (www.godt.org.uk).
Over the last 3 years aside from having our two gorgeous children I have been working towards a Master’s Degree in Canine Psychology and Training and will graduate from Middlesex University this summer (2015). In the 10 years of full-time work I have assessed and treated thousands of dogs and educated owners on everything from choosing, buying and integrating a puppy and managing their behaviours, through to common dog-training issues, and more serious anxiety and aggression cases.
We are a little family of six. Myself and long suffering husband James, who never quite knows where my passion will take me next, our two lovely young children, our mental golden doodle Marley, who I love very much but has definitely pushed me to the limits of my knowledge and continues to do so! Finally, 12 years ago I gave every penny I had to be the proud owner of very handsome Irish Draught x Thoroughbred horse called George.
As a little girl all I ever wanted to do was be around animals, riding horses was just something that came naturally, I never dreamed I would ever have one of my own. A truly wonderful animal who has helped many young dogs over their fear of horses.
So that’s it, a very normal family providing a platform that many households can relate to in order to create a real life chain of events and problems that integrating a new puppy creates, even for me!!
I have always loved my career and never more so than now, however sadly, of late I am becoming increasingly frustrated with the media management of dog news, dog programmes aimed at educating the public, but failing, due to excessive editing leaving them meaningless. Plus the vast amounts of confusing and conflicting advice available on the internet from so called ‘experts’. I for one do not class myself as an expert, I have an amazing base of knowledge and successful cases thanks to the people and animals that have helped along the way, and I have worked hard on my academic career, but you cannot and should not ever stop learning. This attitude I believe is the key to working with animals.
On reflection of my career to date, I have noticed a substantial increase in the severity of the cases I am requested to help with. Having never received a dog bite in 27 years of working with dogs in all forms of challenging conditions, 2014 was a rude awakening. I have always prided myself on effective canine communicative skills, I don’t know much but I do know dogs! That said there is no accounting for the actions of others and consequently I have been seriously attacked twice in the last year. One incident has led to permanent scarring and a rapid evaluation of how I would set cases up before I visit. These were a shocking realisation that I am not indestructible.
Events such as these can have a positive effect, not only have I tightened up every safety aspect of how I approach a consult but I have really begun to focus on considering how the pet-dog is managed and how they cope with domestic life. This is re-enforced with a motivation to educate others on the serious elements of dog ownership and the impact positive and potentially negative this will have on a family and home life.
Why a Puppy Blog?
Many people have reported that they would like an easy ‘go to’ port of call for advice on how to choose, integrate and handle a puppy to ensure they tick all the boxes and end up with the perfect pet. I have decided that I would like to document an honest account of our journey as a family, my role as a behaviour practitioner and how this affects my decisions. I will cover discussions around key topics and why I make the choices I make. A selection of a few of the topics I plan to cover are as follows:
A Few Topics
Here’s a example of a few of topics I will cover over the coming weeks:
- Choosing the breed and an overview of considerations, previous experience
- Why I am considering getting another dog
- Avenues for purchasing or obtaining a dog
- Does the age of the dog matter
- Can I afford to buy the dog to start with
- Can I realistically meet a dogs essential needs
- Meet Hugo, the ‘Stud’ dog on his quest for a Valentine and follow his journey!
- Choosing the breeder and breeder roles
- Role and responsibilities of the Stud dog owner
- Considering the financial implications: Insurance / Vet Fees / Holiday Cover
- Medical conditions relevant to the breed and measures to reduce their occurrence
- Male or female
- How to choose a puppy from a litter
- Bringing the puppy home
- Food and feeding regimes
The list will evolve and continue to incorporate all of the things people ask me questions about when they consider this life changing decision.
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New puppy – whatever stage in the thought process you are, you have big shoes to fill…