Blues people: The Puppy party
The puppy party – a lot of fun, but with a serious side. As we wrote in our last blog, the concepts of socialisation and habituation are so important at this stage of Blue’s development. He has had his vaccinations but has not yet been allowed ‘out’ in the wider world, so the puppy party gives him the opportunity to mix with other pups in the same situation, in a safe environment.
It also gives a chance to see how our pups cope with different situations so we can take evasive action at this early stage if any potential behavioural issues show up – probably the most common ones seen are fearful behaviours. If these are not addressed whilst our pups are young enough to adapt, they may cause lifelong issues.
Families are invited to the parties because some pups may not have had a chance to meet children, older people, people of different shape, size and gender. Our pups need to learn that all possibilities are ‘normal’ – wheelchairs, zimmer frames, push chairs, walking sticks, spectacles, hats, moustaches and beards, uniforms etc.
Another advantage of the puppy party is it gives young pups a really positive experience of a vet’s surgery. The next time Blue went in to the waiting room he almost dragged me in, looking for the same ‘fun’ that he had experienced at the party. Often a pup’s first experiences at a vets are a bit painful – injections, microchips etc – so it is no wonder that they start to see the surgery as a place to be a bit anxious. If they get anxious often their owners get anxious, and the dog picks up on this and the cycle escalates. If a pup can have a great experience at the surgery they will often run in quite happily afterwards. They also get to see and smell some of the staff in a more relaxed environment, which is all good for building up their confidence.
Kim and Ali did a great job on the puppy party night, watching pups, making sure that play was appropriate, mopping up and sorting out the party bags. Vets and qualified nurses are on hand at all parties to answer any questions, clinical or otherwise. And the party is FREE!
The basic examination is a great thing to do with a pup, as part of their daily training, and Blue really enjoys it - especially as he gets a treat afterwards. He just has to stand still whilst I check his gums, teeth, eyes, ears (it’s so beneficial for your pup to learn to have his ears handled whilst they are comfy and normal. If the first time you try to handle them is when he has a painful infection, it’s going to be a real struggle), then onto his coat, body condition (you should be able to feel the ribs in all dogs, pups and adults) and picking up all 4 feet to get him used to this. Lastly, gently lifting his tail so that he doesn’t become too protective about his ‘back end’. All done smoothly and gently and rewarded.
It’s also a great idea to get a pup used to going to the surgery and having nothing done. Bring them in every time you call in, let them come into the waiting room and have a sniff around, even into the consulting rooms if they’re not in use. Pups need worming every month, so why not bring them in to use the weighing scales each time they need a worming or flea treatment, then just hang around for a while so they can have a sniff and investigate. A nurse will surely come passed and make a fuss of them at some point too.
The puppy parties at The Oak are a once a month event (usually the last Thursday of each month), and are intended as a springboard to encourage greater socialisation of pups. Following on to attend a regular puppy class with a local trainer is highly recommended, as much from the social aspect as it is for the training itself.
As I repeat from the last blog, puppies can only learn body language from other dogs. There is no substitute. And although I don’t completely agree with the saying that goes “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks”, it is most certainly a lot easier to teach them to young dogs. Don’t miss this vital opportunity to help your pup’s development.
Puppy parties are held on the last Thursday of every month - you can book a place by phoning us on 01437 766111 or messaging us through Facebook.