The UK has taken the decision to outlaw the electric collars used by some to ‘train’ dogs.
I have to say this is a great move, but should they even be in existence in the first place? Why would anyone want to electrocute a dog to correct their behaviour? It is beyond me.I believe positive reinforcement is the best way to train a dog in most situations; that and repetition.
I want to say here that the collars CAN be suitably used for life threatening avoidance training, for example snake avoidance. However in the UK, we do not have any deadly predators that dogs will generally come across in the wild, but I can see how they would be extremely useful in certain countries that do have dangerous animals that could kill a dog.
Using these collars to punish a dog when they have been ‘naughty’ or had an accident is NOT a suitable use for this kind of collar.
I have been spending a lot of time with little Vinny recently (my neighbours Puppy French Bulldog) and I thought I would write about puppy training from my personal perspective.
My view is a little different from most, as the puppies I have are usually bred by me, so I start training them from the day they are born. This also helps the puppy owners that the other pups are re-homed to as they already have a head start with house training and sleeping in a crate at night (if they chose to continue with this).
When puppies are born, they are kept in a small safe and warm enclosure. With Bulldogs, I don’t let the mum stay in with the puppies when I am not around as they are quite clumsy and often can smother the puppies by accident. But for the most part, I am with them 24/7, so mum stays in the enclosure with the puppies for warmth, feeding, bonding and socialisation. At this age, toileting is done by mum and by myself with a warm wet cotton pad if mum isn’t doing so well.
When the puppies get a little older, they start moving about and I create a toileting area separate from, but not too far away from their bed area.
Dogs are naturally clean animals and do not toilet in their beds. They will move as far away from their beds as they can to do their business and then return to their clean areas to rest, even at only a few weeks old.
If house trained from the beginning, they soon learn to recognise a specific place to toilet which makes it easier to train them as they get older.
I like to use either tea bag bedding when they are smaller (it helps to keep the pups clean) or puppy mats as they get bigger.
The puppy mats are great because you can move them further and further away towards the back door as they grow, and eventually outside. So the puppies learn that they have to take themselves outside to do their business. Eventually, you can get rid of the mats altogether.
If you have older dogs, training can be much faster as they teach the puppies where to go. Puppies will copy behaviour from older dogs, so always make sure if you are getting a new puppy that your current dog is trained well enough, or you could end up with 2 dogs that need training!
As I mentioned before, from birth, the puppies are kept in small enclosures to keep them warm and safe. As they grow, so does the enclosure to give them enough room to explore, but also to allow them to feel secure. I am a huge fan of crate training for a couple of reasons.
It gives your dog somewhere to call his own. If he has had enough of human contact or other animals, he can take himself inside his crate and know that he will be left alone.
Toilet training is so much easier with a crate! As I mentioned previously, dogs are naturally clean animals and don’t like to mess in their beds; so if you are having issues house training overnight, keep them in their crate and they are more likely to hold their toileting until morning. Just make sure you let them out before bed and straight away when you wake up. They should soon get the hang of it.
If you have your new puppy and they have never been crate trained but you want to start, it can be hard at night time as they will cry. Sometimes they will cry even if they are used to a crate, because they have been taken away from their familiar surroundings.
The best thing to do here is find something to cover the crate. Make sure that you leave enough ventilation gaps and don’t cover them if you live in a really hot area without aircon or a suitable fan, but a cover can make them feel more secure.
Make sure you have a blanket or a toy from the breeder that has the scent of mum and siblings on it to help them to settle in their new home.
You can also leave the crate open during the day and encourage the puppy to go into the area by giving them treats when they are inside.
Positive reinforcement is key here, never punish a dog by sending them to their crate. They will associate the crate as a punishment.
If you have any puppy training questions, please drop me a message below, I would be happy to help!
Thank you so much for visiting, much love, BB xx