Dog training - The Dog Club - How dogs learn



Understanding Canine Behaviour

Picking the right puppy

I am your puppy

Puppy socialisation

Raising your puppy to be the dog you want it to be

Critical learning periods

Crate training

House training

Teaching not to bite

Castration... FAQ






Dog training in London


understanding canine behaviour 




The dog's ability to function in a human society is in part due to his outstanding ability to understand the silent communications of body language and facial expression. The dog is able to recognise minute postural changes, facial expressions and physical innuendoes.


The dog knows when we are angry - not, as some people believe, because he is aware of his own transgression, but because he reads our body language and facial expression. Conversely, when we are happy, he recognises those body signals as well.


In addition to his ability to recognise our emotions he has the ability to communicate his feelings through his body postures and facial expressions.


The dog's view of the world is shaped by the combination of his innate behaviors, or instincts, and the experiences he has throughout his life.


A dog learns by association, anything the dog does that is rewarding is far more likely to be repeated and if the effect of the dogs behaviors is unrewarding it is less likely to be repeated. However be wary that it is not what we perceive as rewarding or not, it is the dogs concept we may consider a rubbish bin dirty disgusting and foul smelling to a dog it may be a five star luxury meal. In the same way a water pistol may stop a poodle jumping up at people or stealing food whereas a Labrador may see it as a game and drink the water as it is shot at, all dogs vary just like we humans do.






This test was devised by Wendy Volhard and to date is still the best puppy aptitude test to help you find the right dog for you 




Social Attraction:
Place puppy in test area. From a few feet away the tester coaxes the pup to her/him by clapping hands gently and kneeling down. Tester must coax in a direction away from the point where it entered the testing area.
Degree of social
confidence or
- Came readily, tail up, jumped,
   bit at hands
- Came readily, tail up, pawed,
   licked at hands
- Came readily, tail up
- Came readily, tail down
- Came hesitantly, tail down
- Didn't come at all


Stand up and then walk away from the pup in a normal manner. Make sure the pup sees you walk away.
Degree of following
attraction. Not
following indicates
- Followed readily, tail up, got
   underfoot bit at feet
- Followed readily, tail up, got
- Followed readily, tail up
- Followed readily, tail down
- Followed hesitantly, tail down
- No follow or went away



Crouch down and gently roll the pup on his back and hold it with one hand for a full 30 seconds.
Degree of dominant
or submissive
tendency. How it
accepts stress
when socially and/
or physically
- Struggled fiercely, flailed, bit
- Struggled fiercely, flailed
- Settled, struggled, settled with
  some eye contact
- Struggled then settled
- No struggle
- No struggle, straining to avoid
  eye contact

Social Dominance:
Let pup standup and gently stroke him from the head to back while
you crouch beside him.
Continue stroking until a recognizable behavior is established.
Degree of
acceptance of
social dominance.
Pup may try to
dominate by
jumping & nipping
or is independent
and walks away
- Jumped, pawed, bit, growled
- Jumped, pawed
- Cuddles up to tester and tries
   to lick face
- Squirmed, licked at hands
- Rolled over, licked at hands
- Went away and stayed away


Elevation Dominance:
Bend over and cradle the pup under its belly, fingers interlaced, palms up & elevate it just off the ground. Hold there for 30".
Degree of
dominance while
in position of no
- Struggled fiercely, bit,growled
- Struggled fiercely
- No struggle, relaxed
- Struggled, settled, licked
- No struggle, licked at hands
- No struggle, froze


Interpreting the Scores

Mostly 1's - A puppy that consistently scores a 1 in the temperament section of the test is an extremely dominant, aggressive puppy who can easily be provoked to bite. His dominant nature will attempt to resist human leadership, thus requiring only the most experienced of handlers. This puppy is a poor choice for most individuals and will do best in a working situation as a guard or police dog.


Mostly 2's - This pup is dominant and self-assured. He can be provoked to bite; however he readily accepts human leadership that is firm, consistent and knowledgeable. This is not a dog for a tentative, indecisive individual. In the right hands, he has the potential to become a fine working or show dog and could fit into an adult household, provided the owners know what they are doing.


Mostly 3's - This pup is outgoing and friendly and will adjust well in situations in which he receives regular training and exercise. He has a flexible temperament that adapts well to different types of environment, provided he is handled correctly. May be too much dog for a family with small children or an elderly couple who are sedentary.


Mostly 4's - A pup that scores a majority of 4's is an easily controlled, adaptable puppy whose submissive nature will make him continually look to his master for leadership. This pup is easy to train, reliable with kids, and, though he lacks self-confidence, makes a high-quality family pet. He is usually less outgoing than a pup scoring in the 3's, but his demeanor is gentle and affectionate.


Mostly 5's - This is a pup who is extremely submissive and lacking in self-confidence. He bonds very closely with his owner and requires regular companionship and encouragement to bring him out of himself. If handled incorrectly, this pup will grow up very shy and fearful. For this reason, he will do best in a predictable, structured lifestyle with owners who are patient and not overly demanding, such as an elderly couple.


Mostly 6's - A puppy that scores 6 consistently is independent and uninterested in people. He will mature into a dog who is not demonstrably affectionate and who has a low need for human companionship. In general, it is rare to see properly socialized pups test this way; however there are several breeds that have been bred for specific tasks (such as basenjis, hounds, and some northern breeds) which can exhibit this level of independence. To perform as intended, these dogs require a singularity of purpose that is not compromised by strong attachments to their owner.


The remainder of the puppy test is an evaluation of obedience aptitude and working ability and provides a general picture of a pup's intelligence, spirit, and willingness to work with a human being. For most owners, a good companion dog will score in the 3 to 4 range in this section of the test. Puppies scoring a combination of 1's and 2's require experienced handlers who will be able to draw the best aspects of their potential from them.






Puppy training classes in North London 


puppy chewing - dog training in london


I am your Puppy, and I will love you until the end of the Earth, but please know a few things about me. I am a Puppy, this means that my intelligence and capacity for learning are the same as an 8-month-old child. I am a Puppy; I will chew EVERYTHING I can get my teeth on.  This is how I explore and learn about the world. Even HUMAN children put things in their mouths. It's up to you to guide me to what is mine to chew and what is not.



I am a Puppy, I cannot hold my bladder for longer than 1 - 2 hours. I cannot "feel" that I need to poop until it is actually beginning to come out.  I cannot vocalize nor tell you that I need to go, and I cannot have "bladder and bowel control" until 6 - 9 months.  Do not punish me if you have not let me out for 3 hours and I tinkle.  It is your fault.  As a Puppy, it is wise to remember that I NEED to go potty after:  Eating, Sleeping, playing, Drinking and around every 2 - 3 hours in addition.  If you want me to sleep through the night, then do not give me water after 7 or 8 p.m.  A crate will help me learn to housebreak easier, and will avoid you being mad at me.


I am a Puppy, accidents WILL happen, please be patient with me!  In time I will learn.


I am a Puppy, I like to play.  I will run around, and chase imaginary monsters, and chase your feet and your toes and 'attack' you, and chase fuzzballs, other pets, and small kids.  It is play; it's what I do.  Do not be mad at me or expect me to be sedate, mellow and sleep all day.  If my high energy level is too much for you, maybe you could consider an older rescue from a shelter or Rescue group.  


My play is beneficial, use your wisdom to guide me in my play with appropriate toys, and activities like chasing a rolling ball, or gentle tug games, or plenty of chew toys for me. If I nip you too hard, talk to me in "dog talk", by giving a loud YELP, I will usually get the message, as this is how dogs communicate with one another.  If I get too rough, simply ignore me for a few moments, or put me in my crate with an appropriate chew toy.




• I am a Puppy, hopefully you would not yell, hit, strike, kick or beat a 6-month-old human infant, so please do not do the same to me.  I am delicate, and also very impressionable.  If you treat me harshly now, I will grow up learning to fear being hit, spanked, kicked or beat.  Instead, please guide me with encouragement and wisdom.  For instance, if I am chewing something wrong, say, "LEAVE IT !" and hand me a toy I CAN chew. Better yet, pick up ANYTHING that you do not want me to get into.  I can't tell the difference between your old sock and your new sock, or an old sneaker and your R 1000 Nikes.


I am a Puppy, and I am a creature with feelings and drives much like your own, but yet also very different.  Although I am NOT a human in a dog suit, neither am I an unfeeling robot who can instantly obey your every whim.  I truly DO want to please you, and be a part of your family, and your life. You got me (I hope) because you want a loving partner and companion, so do not relegate me to the backyard when I get bigger, do not judge me harshly but instead mold me with gentleness and guidelines and training into the kind of family member you want me to be.


I am a Puppy and I am not perfect, and I know you are not perfect either. I love you anyway.  So please, learn all you can about training, and puppy behaviors and caring for me from your Veterinarian, books on dog care and even researching on the computer! Learn about our  breed and it's "characteristics", it will give you understanding and insight into WHY I do all the things I do. Please teach me with love, patience, the right way to behave and socialize me with training in a dog training  class, we will BOTH have a lot of un together.


I am a Puppy and I want more than anything to love you, to be with you, and to please you.  Won't you please take time to understand how I work?  We are the same you and I, in that we both feel hunger, pain, thirst, discomfort, and fear, but yet we are also very different and must work to understand one another's language, body signals, wants and needs.  Some day I will be a handsome dog, hopefully one you can be proud of and one that you will love asmuch as I love you.


Love, Your Puppy







 puppy socializing - dog training in london



It is very tempting when the new puppy arrives home to isolate and protect it from the world in general. However, lack of socialization in puppies before 12 weeks of age increases the risk of behavior problems later in life. Therefore, it is important to expose puppies to humans, animals and new surroundings in a gentle, non-threatening way early in life, with appropriate precautions of course, to avoid puppies becoming ill before their vaccinations.


Dogs have developmental periods similar to children, and a little exposure in these periods can have life-long effects.


The other common misconception is that young puppies are not able to learn commands. In fact, puppies are more easily trained than older dogs. Commands such as sit and stay can be readily taught to very young dogs, especially if you want to stop the cute little ball of fluff from becoming a juvenile delinquent a few months down the track. Remember the 5 kg puppy jumping up to get attention is not so much fun when he jumps up at 50 kg, so start training early and avoid problems later. It is much quicker to learn the right behaviour in the first place than to correct inappropriate behaviour later. So set the ground rules early.


The next few weeks with your puppy will shape how he matures and how his personality develops. A good breeder will have spent a lot of time to ensure that the puppy you have taken home is well balanced and well adjusted - the rest is now up to you. Below is a summary of socialisation activities and the different periods a puppy will go through. If possible try to take your puppy to a puppy kindergarten and then follow that with a more formal obedience course. It is essential that you get your pup "out and about" over the next few weeks.


At around eight to ten weeks the puppy goes through a fear period where it is extremely susceptible to physical and psychological trauma, the effects of which may be permanent and irreversible. This makes the ideal time to adopt a puppy at between seven and eight weeks of age. At this age, the pup is capable of forming strong relationships with both dogs and human beings, though most breeders will not allow a puppy to leave prior to 8 weeks of age unless it is to a trusted, experienced doggy home.






North London Dog Training





The next few weeks with your puppy will shape how he matures and how his personality develops. A good breeder will have spent a lot of time to ensure that the puppy you have taken home is well balanced and well adjusted - the rest is now up to you. Below is a summary of socialisation activities and the different periods a puppy will go through. If possible try to take your puppy to training classes.


It is essential that you get your pup "out and about" over the next few weeks.


At around eight to ten weeks the puppy goes through a fear period where it is extremely susceptible to physical and psychological trauma, the effects of which may be permanent and irreversible. This makes the ideal time to adopt a puppy at between seven and eight weeks of age. At this age, the pup is capable of forming strong relationships with both dogs and human beings, though most breeders will not allow a puppy to leave prior to 8 weeks of age unless it is to a trusted, experienced doggy home.


Every effort should be made to fully socialise the dog, that is, socialise it beyond the normal casual encounters with people. It is highly recommended that you develop a program that will expose the dog to a wide range of different sights, sounds, and textural feelings, both environmentally and socially.


Textures: could include pavement, rugs, cement, sand, grass, gravel, linoleum and dirt.


Sights: would include trees, insects, other animals (horses, cows, chickens etc), men with beards, women with hats, people in wheelchairs, people with canes, children, traffic, planes, trains, pedestrian traffic, long grass, lawns, thick scrub.


Sounds: may include traffic, aeroplanes, trains, railroad crossing signals, construction and the sound of children playing, music, normal household sounds etc.


At the same time, further increase the environment enrichment of the puppy's nest or den, by adding new toys, a Kong, a piece of heavy rope, or a ball with a bell in it. Suspend a rubber tug ring at the puppy's eye level so it can pull on it, or bat it.


The greater the exposure you can give your dog during this critical period, the more it will lead to improved social flexibility, social communication, emotional stability and trainability.


At ten to sixteen weeks of age every attempt should be made to take your dog to a puppy class. The classes should be using training methods that are based on positive rewarded responses. Classes should include socialisation and play periods with other puppies, children and adults. Puppies should learn to be handled and touched by adults and children. The whole family should participate in the puppy class. The class should be conducted in an atmosphere of fun and happiness. Rewards should be used extravagantly. Puppy class should be fun for puppy and family.


Make sure that the person running the class is very experienced and will supervise the puppies closely when they are playing off lead, as you do not want your pup to be bullies, or even be the bully. If your puppy is a little scared, the instructor should be able to help him out of his shell. If all efforts are made from the time the puppies are born, the breeder does his part in socialising them and if the new owner does his part in socialising his puppy, the results will be a bond between you and your pet that will increase in strength and intensity.
You will have a relationship that you can be proud of and enjoy for the life of your chosen pet.






learning periods - dog training



0 to 7 Weeks

Neonatal, Transition, Awareness, and Canine Socialisation. Puppy is with mother and littermates. During this period, puppy learns about social interaction, play, and inhibiting aggression from mother and littermates. Puppies must stay with their mother and littermates during this critical period. Puppies learn the most important lesson in their lives--they learn to accept discipline.


7 to 12 Weeks
Human Socialisation Period. The puppy now has the brain waves of an adult dog, but his attention span is short. This period is when the most rapid learning occurs. Learning at this age is permanent so this is a perfect time to start training. Also, this is the ideal time to introduce the puppy to things that will play an important part in his life. Introduce the puppy to different people, places, animals, and sounds in a positive, non-threatening way.


8 to 10 / 11 Weeks
Fear Imprint Period. Avoid frightening the puppy during this period. Any traumatic, frightening or painful experience will have a more lasting effect on the puppy than if it occurred at any other time in its life.


13 to 16 Weeks
Seniority Classification Period or The Age of Cutting. Puppy cuts teeth and apron strings! Puppy begins testing who is going to be pack leader. You must discourage any and all biting because such biting is a sign of dominance! It is important that you are a strong and consistent leader. Formal training must begin. Such training will help you establish your leadership.


4 to 8 Months
Play Instinct Period. Flight Instinct Period. Puppy may wander and ignore you. It is very important that you keep the puppy on a leash at this time! The way that you handle the puppy at this time determines if the puppy will come to you when called. At about 4-1/2 months, the puppy loses his milk teeth and gets his adult teeth. That's when puppy begins serious chewing! A dog's teeth don't set in his jaw until between 6 and 10 months. During this time, the puppy has a physical need to exercise his mouth by chewing.


6 to 14 Months
Second Fear Imprint Period or Fear of New Situations Period. Dog again shows fear of new situations and even familiar situations. Dog may be reluctant to approach someone or something new. It is important that you are patient and act very matter of fact in these situations. Never force the dog to face the situation. DO NOT pet the frightened puppy or talk in soothing tones. The puppy will interpret such responses as praise for being frightened. Training will help improve the dog's confidence.


1 to 4 Years
Maturity Period. You may encounter increased aggression and renewed testing for dominance, but because you have spent a lot of time with your Boxer, this will not present a problem at all - in fact you will probably hardly notice this, it is just something to keep in mind. Continue to train your dog during this period. Your dog may have another fear period between 12 - 16 months of age.


Regardless of your reason for acquiring a puppy, you'll have to win it over. You, not your dog, will have to be the leader of the pack if your pup is to develop into a well-mannered family member instead of a burden. Dominance and alpha behaviour are important concepts that every dog owner should comprehend.


Dogs are animals, not human beings. They are pack animals by nature. Every pack has a leader, known as the alpha animal, which dominates and leads the other members of the pack. The alpha is the boss who makes decisions for the entire pack. Usually the pack will have an alpha male and an alpha female. All the other members of the pack form a hierarchy of dominance and submission where everyone has a place.


In your home, you and your family become your dog's pack, as do any other dogs you may have. It is your responsibility to establish yourself in the alpha position. If you fail to do this, your dog will do it as a natural behavior. Many people assume that they are automatically in charge just because humans are superior to animals. But are you really the pack leader? Does your dog know it?


Being the pack leader does not mean you have to be big and aggressive. Nor does it mean that there has to be a battle of wills after which you are the victor. Anyone can be the pack leader. It is an attitude an air of authority. It is the basis for mutual respect, and provides the building blocks of communication between the two of you.









Before you start actually using your crate, your puppy will need to learn that it is a good place to be. Many breeders begin the crate training before the puppies leave, if this is the case with your puppy, still follow the steps below, but expect to have a puppy who just loves being in the crate very quickly.


Take a tasty treat and / or chew toy. Lure the puppy into the crate, praise and make a general big fuss with the puppy while they are in the crate, give the treat, have a little game with the toy and then allow the puppy to come out of the crate. Do this 2 to 3 time in a row, several times a day. Your puppy will soon be running into the crate of his own accord, so you can now put a 'word' to the crate for your puppy. 'Crate' 'Den' or 'Bed' are quite good words to use.


Once your puppy is happy in their crate, close the door and leave them in there for a couple of minutes. If you do this when your puppy is tired in all they may even lay down for a sleep when you close the door. Keep repeating this, letting the time your puppy spends in the crate build up. If the puppy cries ignore him. Only open the door when the puppy is quiet and calm. If you do comfort the puppy or let him out of the crate if he is letting his displeasure show, he will be very quick to work out that this type of behaviour works to get what he wants.


You will soon be able to extend the time your puppy is in the crate. Many pups and adult dogs will retreat to their crate (or 'den' to their way of thinking) if they want some quiet time. The crate should be your pups own personal space, just for them, somewhere quiet but where they can still see what the rest of their pack (you and your family) are doing.


Never leave a young pup or adult dog in a crate for long periods of time unless absolutely necessary. The crate is just a training aid and safe house for your pup and should not become a total way of life. Young pups should be crated or denned for their own safety when they can not be supervised, but they need to come out frequently to go to the toilet - even at night. See the article on housetraining on how to manage calls of nature with your puppy.


As your puppy get older and more sensible you will have to crate him less and less. You may find that you go several days without using your crate, but it is still a good idea to have your dog go into his crate occasionally so he is happy with it when you do need it. Many people leave the crates up all the time with the door permanently open and their dogs can go in and out of them as they please.


Crates are cruel. This statement is very true for the poor dog who is crated for 23 hours out of 24, but like anything, if used properly they are a wonderful tool. Dogs are natural denning animals - they like somewhere comfortable and safe. If introduced to the crate properly they love it. A dog accustomed to a crate will gladly run into it when the command is given, and be happy to spend some time in the crate. It is far crueler to leave a young puppy roam the house or yard unsupervised, as they could get into many things which could make them very ill or even cause their death. Far better to have them safe and snug in a crate when they can not be watched over.






North London Puppy Classes


Dog Potty Training Review 



Housetraining involves a big investment of time for the first couple of weeks, but it pays off in the long run by saving you a lot of time cleaning up 'accidents'. It's not difficult to teach. Your puppy has a natural instinct not to wee and poo in his den, and this is a great help. So long as you take him out often enough and at the right times, you're 'home and dry'!


If you leave it too long, he will get in the habit of weeing and pooing indoors, and this habit is difficult to break. So how often is 'often enough'? It depends on how old the pup is, and what he is doing. Little pups usually need to go as soon as they wake up from a nap, after they have been active (which tends to stimulate bowel movements) and after they have eaten. Your pup will also give signs that he wants to 'go', by sniffing. A lot of the work involved in housetraining is anticipating when your pup needs to go.


You can make your task easier by not waiting for the signs, but taking him out immediately after waking, eating, etc. Some owners even carry very young pups outside, to ensure they have their 'waking up wee' in the garden. Do this very gently, and talk to your pup softly as you carry him out, so that he isn't startled.


How often should you take your puppy outside? Some people recommend taking young pups outside every hour during the day. This is difficult if you also have a family to look after, and are trying to earn a living, but it's true that the more often you take your new pup outside, the faster he will become housetrained. Guides often recommend the pup's age in months plus an hour, but this varies a lot from pup to pup, and the time of day. It helps to keep a housetraining diary, recording when your pup 'goes' so that you can predict his needs, and how long he can be safely left without risk of accidents.


You should gradually be able to leave the pup for longer between each trip outside, though you will probably find that it's not as simple as, say, 'every four hours' in the daytime, since pups tend to need to wee and poo more often during the part of the day when they are more active. Your puppy may be able to hang on for five hours in the morning, at the age of four months, yet need to go out every two hours at least in the evening. By this age, your pup should be telling you when he needs to go, by whining, standing by the door, or climbing on your lap. Different pups try to communicate to you in different ways, so watch your pup to see what he is trying to tell you.


Your puppy does need to be accompanied when he is outside. If you just shove him out of the door and wait for him to 'perform', he is likely to want to come back indoors to be with you. Likewise, if you just leave the back door open and stay indoors, your puppy is quite likely to go outside for a sniff, and come back indoors for a wee, especially if you have thoughtfully provided him with newspapers to wee on. Never mind if you are in your dressing gown, it's 9am, and the neighbours can see you, your pup needs you! You'll have to get dressed if you have no garden. You can keep easy-to-put-on clothes by the bed, like tracksuit bottoms and a jacket, until your puppy can last the night.


Praise your puppy when he 'performs' outside, so he gets the idea that outside is where he is meant to go. You could even give him a small titbit now and again, while he is very young. Give him a little game after he has performed too, if it's not too cold and wet in the garden. This teaches him that fun happens when he 'goes' - whereas if you take him straight indoors and ignore him once he has 'performed', he could delay 'performing' because he doesn't want to go indoors. Pups may also delay a wee if you start to play games with them as soon as you go out, so give him some sniffing and weeing time before you play games, as well as sniffing and weeing time after a game.


Some people get their pups to 'perform' on command, by saying a word or phrase (like 'hurry up') when the pup 'goes', which can trigger the pup to 'perform' faster on a cold and rainy night. This works better if you use the same area every time, either a spot you choose, or one your pup seems to prefer. You can either 'go with the flow' and speed up production by going to the spot your puppy has chosen, or try to influence the choice by taking your puppy on a lead to a weeing spot of your choice, and rewarding the puppy for weeing there.


What do you do if you catch the puppy in the act indoors? It's tempting to shout 'NO' and drag the small offender outside, but this can be counter-productive. It can make the pup fearful of weeing and pooing when you are around, which will make it more difficult for you to housetrain him because he'll be reluctant to go when you take him out. It's better to walk fast to the door, calling your pup's name and saying 'outside', in an excited and happy voice, like 'outside' is a good place to be.


If your pup has already left a little puddle or heap, scolding him probably won't have any effect, since he may not understand why you are cross, and may just come to see you as scary. Just clean it up - there are special deodorising cleaning liquids you can buy at pet stores - and try to keep him off difficult-to-clean areas, like those with a carpet, when he is unsupervised.


What do you do at night-time? After all, you need to sleep. Thankfully, it doesn't take long for puppies to last the night - they can usually manage this by the time they are about three and a half months, but you do have to take them out for a last thing at night wee, and as soon as you wake up in the morning - what's the first thing you do when you wake up? Exactly what your pup wants to do!


Older pups can be taken for a short walk round the block last thing at night, since this is more likely to be productive in terms of a poo than just taking them into the garden. Don't forget your poo bags! With younger pups, you just have to sleep a bit less than normal, if you want to house train your pup fast.


Owners of older pups, especially single male pups, may find that their pup is reluctant to wee and poo in the garden, which can be a problem if you live in a rough area and don't want to go round the block late at night. You can try playing a quick ball game in the garden to get his bowels moving. Another trick, to get him to wee, is to invite his friends into the garden during the day. They will tend to wee on his territory, which in turn will stimulate him to wee where they have weed.


Many owners have their pup in the bedroom in a dog cage (also called an indoor kennel, or crate) by the side of the bed. This means that the pup is safe - not likely to wander round the floor and be trodden on by a large, sleepy human, and the owner can hear the pup if he wakes up in the middle of the night and whines to be let out for a wee. Some behaviourists frown on pups sleeping in the bedroom, because they argue that it can encourage separation anxiety, since pups need to learn to be alone. However, if your pup is left alone for part of the day, he has already learnt how to be alone, and he shouldn't get too clingy sleeping in the same room as you.


Cages have to be big enough to house the pup as he grows, with enough space for him to turn around. Think what size he'll be in a few months' time when you buy the cage. Give him a chew to settle him at night. You can leave water inside in a container attached to the crate wall, so he doesn't knock it over. Pups don't like to wee in their dens, so they won't usually wee in a cage, if they can help it.


They should always be let out when they ask for a wee, and should never be left shut in a cage in the daytime for long periods, otherwise you may force your pup to wee in his den. This will please neither you nor him! If you leave a very young pup outside the bedroom at night, it's kinder to leave the cage door open and give him access to a toilet area, in case he needs to go and you can't hear him. Pups take longer to housetrain if they are allowed to wee indoors, but not everyone can handle 3am trips out into the garden.


You may take your pup outside only to find that the trip is unproductive. This may simply be that your pup is learning to hang on for longer, though there are other reasons. Bitches may delay a wee until they have pooped, and a poo takes longer to produce than a wee, so walk her round a little and see if this helps. Bitches too tend to have their favourite weeing spots, and generally prefer to wee on grass rather than tarmac or pavements.


Puppy Pooping

Dogs generally prefer to wee where another dog has been, and this becomes more important as your male puppy gets older. Some dogs may become inhibited about 'performing' with a human watching, especially if they have been shouted at for accidents indoors. If this has happened, you may need to stand at a discreet distance. You have to judge what is happening from what you know about your pup. If he simply doesn't need to go, take him indoors and try later, making sure he's closely watched, or somewhere he isn't likely to wee, in the mean time.


You can tether a pup to your waist if he is reluctant to go outside and then leaves little puddles as soon as he gets indoors. This is especially effective for pups that have become inhibited about peeing when their owners are watching, which may be the case with rescue pups. Use a fairly long line to allow him to lie down comfortably but still be near you. Take him out for long periods too, with rests, so that he is bound to want to go while he is out.


You may think that you have housetraining sorted, only to have your pup regress. This is common after a period in kennels, and when bitches have their first season. It can also happen if there are noises in the early morning, eg a neighbour leaving for work, which wakes your pup up and reminds him his bladder is full. Just be patient, try to let your pup sleep somewhere relatively quiet, and go back to the routine for a younger pup, tethering him to you if needed. Do check with your vet in case your pup has a urinary infection, if you can't think of any obvious reason for his regressing.


Rescue dogs may have forgotten any toilet training that they had learnt, or may never have learnt to 'go' outside. They can be treated as though they were pups, and they do learn, even if it takes a little while longer, and the puddles are a little bigger!


Puppy owners may have to leave their pups alone for several hours at a time. You may have to go out to work, or work from home and not be able to keep a watch on your pup. You can use a cage for short periods, but keep an ear alert for your pup if you work from home, and make sure he is not confined to his cage for long periods if you go out. This is not just because he may not be able to hold it in for very long, even adult dogs should not be left in cages for longer than four hours in the daytime, because they need to be able to stretch their legs.


You should be able to tell how long your puppy can comfortably last from your diary. Pups can be left in a puppy-proofed room with a toilet area, with the cage as a den with his dog blanket and chews, and the crate door open. You can fence off part of the room if you can't puppy-proof the whole room, or your house is open plan. Bathrooms tend to have washable floors, so are one option, if yours is big enough, only make sure the pup can't reach the toilet roll, since pups do like festooning the bathroom with tissue paper!


Lastly puppy owners often want to know when their pup will start lifting his leg. This very much depends on the pup, and his circumstances. Some male pups start very young, and are leg-lifting regularly by the time they are five months' old. Others never or rarely go in for leg lifting. This applies especially to neutered dogs in isolated areas, since leg lifting is about marking, and neutered males tend to mark less, while dogs that don't live near other dogs have no need to mark.


There are also dogs that wee like a bitch in their own gardens, and lift their legs in areas frequented by other dogs. Bitches may pee in a way that is similar to dogs, doing a crouch squat with a little leg lift. This seems to be more common among certain breeds, especially northern breeds. Some people see leg lifting in bitches as a sign of 'dominance', though if it is, it's to do with competing with other bitches, and your bitch may be a sweetie with you, and still lift her leg.Lastly puppy owners often want to know when their pup will start lifting his leg. This very much depends on the pup, and his circumstances.


Some male pups start very young, and are leg-lifting regularly by the time they are five months' old. Others never or rarely go in for leg lifting. This applies especially to neutered dogs in isolated areas, since leg lifting is about marking, and neutered males tend to mark less, while dogs that don't live near other dogs have no need to mark. There are also dogs that wee like a bitch in their own gardens, and lift their legs in areas frequented by other dogs.


Bitches may pee in a way that is similar to dogs, doing a crouch squat with a little leg lift. This seems to be more common among certain breeds, especially northern breeds. Some people see leg lifting in bitches as a sign of 'dominance', though if it is, it's to do with competing with other bitches, and your bitch may be a sweetie with you, and still lift her leg.









If you watch a litter of puppies playing, you will notice that they spend much of their time biting and grabbing each other with their mouths. This is normal puppy behavior. When you take a puppy from the litter and into your home, the puppy will play bite and mouth you. This is normal behavior, but needs to be modified so you and the puppy will be happy.


The first thing to teach your new puppy is that human flesh is much more sensitive than other puppies and that it really hurts us when they bite. This is called bite inhibition. A puppy has very sharp teeth and a weak jaw. This means that the puppy can cause you to be uncomfortable when mouthing or puppy biting you, but can not cause severe damage. An adult dog has duller teeth and a powerful jaw. This means that an adult dog can cause significant damage when biting.


ANY DOG WILL BITE GIVEN THE RIGHT OR WRONG CIRCUMSTANCES! If a small child falls on your adult dog and sticks a finger in the dog's eye, you should not be surprised if the dog bites. If you do a good job teaching your puppy bite inhibition, you should get a grab and release without damage. If you don't, you may get a hard bite with significant damage.


It is simple to teach a puppy bite inhibition. Every time the puppy touches you with its teeth, say "OUCH!" in a harsh tone of voice. This will probably not stop the puppy from mouthing, but over time should result in softer and gentler puppy biting.


The commands necessary to teach a puppy NOT to mouth, are easy and fun. Hold a small handful of the puppy's dry food, say "take it" in a sweet tone of voice, and give the puppy one piece of food. Then close the rest of the food in your hand and say "off" in that same sweet tone of voice. When the puppy has not touched your hand for 3 to 5 seconds, say "take it" and give the puppy one piece of food. We are teaching the puppy that "off" means not to touch. You should do this with the puppy before every meal for at least 5 minutes.


After a couple of weeks of the above training, here is how you are going to handle puppy biting or mouthing:


  1. Unexpected mouthing
  2. (you don't know the puppy is going to mouth, until you feel the puppy's teeth): "OUCH!"
  3. Expected mouthing (you see the puppy getting ready to mouth you): You say "OFF" before the puppy can mouth you.
  4. The puppy is mouthing you because of a desire to play. You have to answer the question, "Do I have time to play with the puppy now ?" If you do, then do "sit", "down", "stand" or other positive 'lure and reward' training.


If the answer is "No, I don't have time for the puppy, right now," then you need to do a time out (crate, or otherwise confine the puppy, so the puppy can't continue to mouth you and get in trouble.


I believe you will find the above much more humane than yelling at the puppy all of the time









Owning a dog is a pleasure but increasingly owners are made to accept responsibility for their dog's behaviour both legally and social awareness.Consequently many owners wish to seek ways to prevent their dog causing a nuisance and push to know how to cure or better still avoid behavioural problems they do or could encounter.


For the above reasons neutering is often considered.However, there is no going back.Many owners seek information before making a decision.


The following is aimed to help give a better understanding of neutering and the problems it may help to prevent/cure and those it will have no effect on and the possible side-effects.So an informed decision can be made with the consultation of a veterinary surgeon.



What Makes a Male Dog

Dog training in London


When the dog is a foetus the main hormone that determines the sex of a dog is testosterone.

In the male puppy testosterone is increasingly produced by the testes so that by 6-7 months (puberty) the levels of the hormone are high enough to activate secondary sex characteristics, such as leg lifting, mounting and aggression which will enable it to compete with other male dogs, mate and reproduce in adolescence.



What is neutering


Neutering or castration in reference to male dogs is the surgical removal of the testes usually performed under a general anesthetic.The dog is usually at the surgery for one day, returning in ten days to have stitches removed.



Main reasons for castration


1.Population control.

Thousands of unwanted puppies are born yearly from unplanned matings.To prevent further unwanted puppies most dogs homes specify that dogs must be neutered and bitches spayed before re-homing or as part of a new owners agreement.


2. Medical Health.

Veterinary Surgeons may recommend castration for the following reasons:

Testicular tumours, enlargement of the prostate gland, certain types of anal tumours and cryptorchidism (retained testicles, if the testes have not descended into the scrotum by the age of ten months they are unlikely to do so and are prone to tumours later in years).


3. Unwanted dogs.

If you visit a re-homing centre the unwanted dogs are more likely male than female and average of 1-3 years of age.One of the reasons owners frequently go for re-homing relates to the behaviour.


4. Behavioural problems.

As the puppies change to adolescence and then to adults, owners are sometimes surprised by changes in behaviour particularly if they are objectional.Changes may become apparent from the age of 6-7 months to full social maturity, 1-3 years depending on the breed of dog.Of course, not all male dogs become difficult as they mature but be aware of potential change.


Sometimes owners feel their dog is in an unacceptable way but the problems normally develop gradually.The first sign is lack of obedience.A puppy who used to stick close to its owner on a walk may now start to wander and not come back when called.Your dog may be more interested in other dogs and bitches, and may even fight with dogs he played with as a puppy.At home a young male puppy can become increasing difficult to live with.



The most frequently mentioned problems are:

1. An increasing possessive over toys, stolen articles or food and growling at owners to defend them.


2. A general reduction in response to owner's commands, selective hearing and a tendency to be boisterous.


3. An increase in aggressiveness towards visitors


4. A puppy introduced to an older dog as a companion can become increasingly more aggressive towards it.


5. Previous house-trained dogs may start to lift their legs and urinate on furniture.



If a dog's behaviour becomes difficult or unacceptable during maturation owners should contract with veterinary surgeon and castration may be one of the solutions mentioned. Many owners ask for castration thinking that once it is done all their problems are over but often behaviour modification and basic training are needed to reverse the behaviour problems that have been learnt.The learnt behaviours need to be un-learnt by the dog and most times owner. The problem behaviours most likely to be improved are sexually diamorphic.



Sexual Diamorphism

What is that I hear you ask?


Many behaviour patterns are common in both dogs and bitches, such as tail wagging grooming play and greeting. Bitches have behaviours that dogs do not have and vice versa. Bitches display a variety of behaviours that relate to their breeding cycle and maternal instincts not seen in male dogs. Male dogs tend to mark their territory, seek out mates, mount and tend to be more aggressive. Before we think castration is the answer to the problem you perceive you have we must first consider what is normal canine behaviour.



Normal Canine Behavior


So called problem behaviors are normal canine behaviors.However the life-style we expect our dogs to live is unnatural to the dog.It is not surprising dogs get confused when their natural drives and instincts are considered by us as anti-social, and even dangerous.In the wild the below mentioned behaviors would have positive benefits.


Urine marking:

Dogs cock their legs so they can mark their territory.Urine is mostly deposited on vertical objects, i.e. lampposts, trees, gates etc.Other male dogs smell these and glean information from it.


Territorial aggression between males:

Male dogs compete with other male dogs for the right to reproduce and pass on their genes.Males of most species are aggressive to strange males encountered on their territory.Domestic dogs meet strange dogs in what they consider their territory, i.e. streets, parks etc, where they have scent marked and we expect them not to show aggression.



This is normal sexual behaviorand a necessary function for the mating process.


Possessive aggression:

In the wild dogs will guard food and their mate while she is in season.Domestic dogs may guard food, toys and stolen items.



Dogs will travel many miles to find a mate.If a bitch is in season close by your dog may wander ignoring all attempts to call him back.



Does Castration Work


Research has shown that when castration is carried out the response rate vary.Of the dogs that are likely to respond some will do in two weeks. The remainder will do so within six months.

Castration alone is not the answer


A training programme and behavioral modification is often needed.Castration works in the cases of sexual dominance and territorial aggression.Castration is not recommended for fearful and nervous dogs.


Two male dogs in a family may fight.It may be a young male dog is trying to assert itself over its older companion or perhaps both dogs are a similar age and size.A pecking order is hard to establish.Fights are often noisy with little physical damage.Frights are often caused when the owners upset the status quo.


Castration can help in the above but the owner needs to establish himself as the pack leader, which helps inhibit the siblings inclination to fight.The lower ranking dog is the one I recommend to be castrated and promote the other dog as higher ranking.



My dog is aggressive on the lead.  

Will castration work?


In the early development of fear aggression the dog is content that it can move away when threatened off the lead.When the dog is on the lead moving away is not an option.The dog uses aggression to make the potential threat go away.As he is usually successful the level of aggression increases and may become so overt it starts to be displayed off the lead too. Castration is not recommended as it is related to fear rather than hormonestatus.In fact castration may make this worse by attracting other dogs, provoking more fearful behavior.



My dog is aggressive off lead.  

Will castration work?


If he is aggressive to both sexes it may be due to lack of socialisation as a puppy and his behaviour is due to lack of canine social skills.If the aggression develops after maturity and the aggression is aimed at other male dogs, castration is most likely to help in three ways:


1.     Castration may improve the aggression threshold – meaning a greater provocation is needed to trigger off aggression.

2.     The desire to dominate is reduced.

3.     The dog smells less masculine and challenging so other dogs are less likely to act aggressively.


Behaviour modification techniques must always be considered as part of the cure whatever the cause of canine aggression.Even if castration is indicated learnt behaviour has to be counter conditioned.



My dog lifts his leg and urinates indoors.

Will castration work?


This problem can develop in male dogs once they reach puberty.It usually occurs in regular locations, normally vertical ones, i.e. curtains, chair and table legs etc.Urine marking may often be triggered by the presence of another dog or a bitch in season in the vicinity.The introduction of new furniture or even visitors legs or bags that have the scent of another dog on them.Scent marking often occurs when a dog visits another persons home.


In a survey relating to the urine marking in the home, castration was found to be effective in 81% of the cases.Surveys show scent marking in the home is mostly done by small dogs then large dogs and is often related to dominance (pack hierarchy).A behaviour modification program to reduce status may be needed alongside castration.My dog constantly stops to urinate on trees, posts, walls et.His bladder must be empty but he still manages to squeeze a little out.WHY?


This is caused by the dog's desire to leave his scent (marking) in the area he regards as his territory. GUYS STAY AWAY, HELLO GIRLS !!!! I AM HERE !!!! Castration can be recommended for this.




When I leave my dog alone he is destructive.

Will castration work?


Destructiveness is usually caused by owner absence (separation anxiety).Castration will have no effect on this behavior.



My dog constantly pesters and mounts other dogs.

Will castration help?


Some owners never let their dogs off the lead to avoid this, but the reduction in the exercise that the dog needs can cause other problems.Castration can work very quickly in these cases and be very effective.Many owners have commented that after castration their dogs can be let off lead and stay much closer, although they still need to be trained.   Castrating dogs does not make an obedient dog but it will reduce the distractions and make your dog easier to train.



My dog mounts people's legs


Mounting behavior is normal in puppies and is frequently triggered by hormone changes during puberty.It is often seen when the dog gets over excited.Young children are often mounted because their response is rewarding.They may laugh or scream and do not have the strength to push the puppy away.If this behavior continues into adulthood then castration is advised and possibly behavior modification is needed as this can become a learnt behavior.


In some cases mounting can be an extension of dominant behavior; in much the same way as rape in our own species is not about sex but about power.



My dog mounts cushions when he is excited.

Will castration help?


This behavior (which is pleasurable to the dog) is frequently associated with cushions, cuddly toys and blankets.If mounting continues after puppy hood then castration is advisable.Dogs will often display this behavior purely as attention seeking device.It is important to ignore this and not reward it.A few funny anecdotes come to mind but I will resist them.



Someone told me that mating my problem dog may ease his problem.

Is this true?


It is a myth that mating a problem dog will stop problems and can make matters worse as the dog's sense of status and increased interest in bitches is increased.Only dogs with very desirable traits should be used at stud.The most important thing to breed into a dog is good temperament.



Is it wrong to take away a dog's desire for sex?


In most cases pet dogs are not allowed to mate but their instinct drives can cause problems and frustration. Once the drive to reproduce is removed by castration dogs seem more content. The old saying of what you have not had you cannot miss comes to mind.



I have a male dog and just got a bitch I might like to breed from.

Should I get the male castrated?


More and more people get a second dog for companionship for their original dog while owners are work. Owners that have entire male and bitch will encounter problems when the bitch comes into season. Male dogs can suffer very badly at these times. Dogs have been known to go off their food. They have been known to try and break through doors and jump through windows to reach "their bitch". If you wish to keep a bitch entire for breeding purposes then you must castrate your male dog to avoid the mental anguish he will go through each season.It is important to remember if you castrate your dog close to your bitch's season they should be kept separate as fertile sperm may be present several weeks after surgery.




I have a 7 year old dog and when my neighbours bitch comes into season 

he will not eat and just howls


No, he is not too old.Castration has been found to be very successful for this type of problem in older dogs.



Isn't it unnatural to castrate dogs?


Yes, it is also unnatural to bring up male dogs in an artificial environment and expect them not to behave like male dogs. Surely it is kinder to ensure they do not have urges they cannot express.



My veterinary surgeon has suggested hormone treatment.

Will this work?


In many cases the use of synthetic hormones and hormone inhibitors can give time for owners to modify the way they interact with their dog to change its behavior without the need for castration.



Is hormone treatment a good guide to the effect of castration?


Yes, responses of less aggression and reduction in urine marking are indications of the changes surgical castration can make.However, hormone treatments can have a calming effect via the central nervous system. Behavior improvements may be a cause of this rather than a change in hormone imbalance, which makes the true effect of castration less than certain. Some hormone treatments can increase a dog's hunger so if food guarding is an existing problem it is best to avoid these. Although I have found a reluctance by many vets, I have found when a dog has been castrated two courses of hormone treatment helps solve problems quicker than making owners suffer till the benefits of castration kicks in.





When is the right time to castrate?


Castration can help alter a dog's behavior at any age after puberty but it is important to remember that castrating dogs does not have an overnight effect. It can take several months before an improvement. Inappropriate learnt behaviors need to be trained out.



Castration of young male dogs


It is becoming increasingly popular to castrate male dogs at a young age as a preventative measure, which I think is a wonderful idea for dogs and owners alike. The optimum time to castrate is just after the dog reaches puberty and starts to lift his leg to urinate. This is a policy which has been used by Guide Dogs for the Blind. Let's face facts what other organisation in the World does more research into raising dogs from birth to death.



What are the disadvantages of castration?


In some dogs there may be coat changes and you may need to groom them more to avoid matting. Some neutered males become sexually interesting and are often pestered by other male dogs. It is believed after castration the dogs smell like a bitch, or is it that they do not smell like a male anymore, as they no longer produce testosterone. In a survey of 98 dogs who had been castrated, 23 owners reported this attraction of other male dogs but one year later the figure dropped to 14.



After castration will my dog put on weight?


Commonsense should prevail here. Castration can increase the appetite so many owners give more food hence the dog gains weight. Castration is not the cause of this, over-feeding is. However many dogs do not need as much food to maintain their body weight and reducing the food intake, if weight gain increases, is the solution.



I have a working dog. I have been told that castration can make it lethargic


Quite the opposite. Castrated dogs are mostly easier to train than entire dogs as they are less easily distracted. Lethargy will not occur unless he is allowed to put on weight.



My male partner is against castration


This is a common reaction from what Freud called "castration anxiety transferred to the dog". Many men think of their own sex life, cross their legs and grimace. Yet ask them about having a bitch or cat spayed, they are fine about it. Also many men worry castration will turn their macho dog into a wimp."IT WON'T".


Dog training in London - - The Dog Club



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