Tag Archives: puppies

What do you think, are puppy training classes enough?

What do you think, are puppy training classes enough?

Click on the image ” A poem from an untrained puppy” to enlarge and read

What do you think, are puppy training classes enough?

Puppy training classes can be a great start to socializing and training your dog if run correctly but that is all they are, just a start.

Usually classes are run for four weeks and only take dogs up to 4 months of age. They cover the basics in behaviour and training but very few, cover anything in-depth.

They do not prepare the owner for the problem behaviours that often occur in the “teenage period” which usually starts around the 6-7 month mark and can continue until the dog is 15-20 months old, this time frame can vary depending on the dog.

Young dogs are quite pliable and can be easy to teach, owners often say to me “he is such a good boy/girl, does everything I tell him/her” but four weeks of puppy training is not enough to in-still basic training in a dogs mind.

Many not all, puppy schools, do not teach/tell you the owner, about the benefits of having good leadership skills, in other words, what you need to know and do, to ultimately have a well rounded  dog, who is a joy to have around.

Dog owners expectations can often be set too high, they expect too much too soon and this can result in them becoming, frustrated, angry, tired, and unhappy with themselves and their dog. Sometimes they forget the reason, why they even got a dog, in the first place.

Dog training, takes commitment, consistency, repetition, time, patience (its not all smooth sailing) and a great sense of humour. There are no quick fixes, when it comes to training your dog. Its not a chore but a labour of love but that is sometimes, forgotten.

I often chat to owners who are having problems with their dog and they say “We took him/her to puppy training”. Which is great but its not enough.

Good leadership skills are the key. After all, there is more to training than just “Sit and Stay”. It can be really hard without any guidance, and while Google and helpful friends may give you some advice, that advice may or may not, be helpful.

Not all dogs are the same, and what tricks and tips, work for one dog, may not work on another.

Classes should give you a good grounding and help set you up for life. That is why its is important to continue on, with some form of obedience and enrichment.

Canine enrichment, is important because today most dogs have lost their jobs, they were born and bred to do. As well as exercise, they need to have their brains stimulated and used, which in turn can tire them out. Exercise and enrichment can help elevate boredom, reduce behaviour problems or eliminate them altogether, depending on the problem.

Other articles you may find helpful if you want a happy well rounded dog. 

Dog safety for all (not just kids)  Signs of stress in dogs: is your dog stressed?

Boarding Kennel Stress: Things owner need know!   Socialising your dog the right way

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Posted by on November 27, 2018 in About


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Before you go jumping in, ask yourself, “Is a dog the right pet for me or in reality, would I be better off, owning a goldfish?

Before you go jumping in, ask yourself, “Is a dog the right pet for me or in reality, would I be better off, owning a goldfish?

Again, here is another post I wrote sometime ago, unfortunately it is still relevant today, with rescues, pounds & shelters seeing more dogs than ever, coming through their doors.

While you may love the idea of owning a dog, the reality maybe, you would be better off owning a goldfish. Why a goldfish you may ask, well goldfish don’t demand the same level of time and commitment from you, as a dog does.

Ask any rescue, shelter or pound and they will tell you, the continuous number of puppies & dogs, coming through their doors, isn’t slowing down.

In our consumer driven society, dogs seem to be another thing that get thrown on the heap, when the novelty has worn off. Many are in love with the idea of having a dog but the reality is, they are work, they are not “something” you leave in your backyard and ignore.

Dogs are fun and great to have around, they make wonderful companions but they will change your life as you know it, for many years to come. Whether you decide on a puppy, adult dog or a dog from rescue or shelter, you could be looking at a 10-15years + commitment, depending on the breed and age of the dog.

Are you ready for that?

So as a prospective dog owner, you have to think carefully about:

1. Your Lifestyle

Are you home a lot or do you spend a lot of time away?

Do you work long hours, are you always busy? If you are too busy, then owning a dog probably won’t be your top priority.

Do you own your own home or are you renting? (rental properties often don’t allow dogs)

Dogs are a 365 day a year commitment, to build up a good relationship and to enrich their lives, they need time spent with them everyday. Whether its training, going for a walk or playing games, Being tired or busy is no excuse for not spending time with your dog.  In fact, dogs can be great stress relievers, they are a good excuse as well, for turning off your phone, TV or computer for a while.

2. What breed of dog is right for you

All I can say on this is, do your research, don’t be swayed by, the latest TV or Movie star dog, they may look cool on-screen but don’t be fooled, these dogs are well-trained. Don’t get sucked in by that “cute” puppy look, all dogs look “cute” when they are puppies but they soon grow up and loose that “cute” look.

Some breeds may need to be groomed regularly, while others may need more exercise, so if you are not into grooming or running/walking a couple or so kilometres a day, be smart, don’t get a dog that requires grooming or a lot of exercise. Dogs don’t just need exercise & training they also need their minds enriched as well, so just walking your dog, isn’t really enough.

3. Costs 

Well dogs are not free, they come with costs, you have purchase costs, food bills (they need to eat) veterinary costs, that could be for anything, such as, vaccinations, operations, check ups, flea treatments, worming treatments etc

Then there is housing, where are you going to keep your dog, inside or outside or both. You may need to look at purchasing a kennel & run, or securing your property by altering or improving the fencing.

Then there’s bedding, collar, lead, toys, dog crate, registration, training, boarding/house sitter, if you want to go away. Grooming, dog walking, if you employ a dog walker, doggy day care, and the list goes on.

4. Damages

Ask any dog owner and they will tell you, dogs can chew, so be prepared for possible chewed furniture, clothes, shoes and the like, oh and I forgot TV remotes, just to name a few. If you get a puppy the chances are you will have accidents in the house, while house training, if your dog becomes ill, the same can happen, along with being sick, on your good carpet. All par for the course when you own a dog.

So if you are not phased by any of the above, dog ownership maybe right for you but if any of the above make you think twice, then owning a dog at this time, may not be, right for you.

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Posted by on April 22, 2017 in About


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Dog Safety and the need to be aware, there is no room for multi-tasking here!

Dog Safety and the need to be aware, there is no room for multi-tasking here!

Lately, I have noticed a lot more dog bite prevention information finding its way on to Facebook and the like, and it got me thinking, I wonder how many people, actually stop and read any of this information, or have many, become immune and don’t even give it a second glance.

Whenever a reported dog attack/bite incident hits the news, it creates a feeding frenzy, unfortunately in many cases, we the public don’t get to hear the full story and yet for many it fuels a lively debate, on what should be done, what isn’t being done but one thing that always seems to come up, somewhere along the way, is the need for more education.

There are many good education programs and resources out there already both online and offline. So what is going on here, I know funding can be an issue for some, even here in New Zealand but are we doing enough?

Is complacency to blame, do we see dogs too much as part of the family and forget that they are dogs.  All too often they are put in situations, (whether it be at home or away), we would not put ourselves in, if the roles were reversed, and yet we expect them to behave and be good dogs.

As a dog trainer, I personally talk to and hand out information sheets to all my clients on dog safety and dog bite prevention. I also tell them they have to become teachers/educators and teach and show anyone who comes into contact with their dog, how to act and behave. Which I know can be hard because many worry they may offend someone, by telling them what to do.

I wonder how many dog trainers, behaviorist, dog training clubs, Veterinary practices (who frequently run puppy classes) pet shops, rescues, dog breeders etc do the same.

I think Molly Summer (Kindred Companions LLC) hit the nail on the head  in a recent article she wrote.

Titled: “You’ll think twice about taking your dog’s photo after reading this…”  (to read the full article click on the link)

“Dog trainers and behavioral consultants see it and we warn the public. We tell owners that “dogs don’t like hugs and kisses”. We explain dog body language and try to open a channel of communication. And finally we try to set healthy boundaries for families and pets. But for some reason all of this education and warning fall on deaf ears. This phenomenon is a relatively new thing. Sure dogs have been family pets for hundreds of years. But the requirement that a dog be tolerant of anything done to it, especially from a child “that doesn’t know better” is new. Most parents wouldn’t leave their toddler alone with a horse, a parrot, or even a cat, but for some reason, a dog is no longer an animal. Instead it is everything but an animal.

Perhaps Facebook, Instagram, and other social media platforms are partially to blame. Dogs are no longer the family pet. They are the decoration in family photos. The dog is supposed to be the child’s “best friends” but did anyone ask the dog? And even if they are, the meaning of “best friend” is to care about that friend’s needs and concerns. Forcing them to interact while expressing discomfort is not treating them like “best friends.” And before an owner says that they “didn’t see the signs”, ignorance is no excuse. If your best friend spoke a different language you’d do your best to try to understand it. Yet for some reason, dog language rarely becomes part of the conversation. ….”



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Posted by on April 16, 2015 in About


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Puppy Buying Tips: what prospective owners should know


I run monthly dog training classes throughout the year, times and dates can be found on this blog.

I first posted this article in June 2014 but I thought I would repost it again because many people look at buying a puppy at this time of the year.

Are you are thinking about getting a new puppy? A puppy can be a joy to have around but also, a lot of hard work. And yes they all look “cute” when they are young but they do grow up.

So do some research, decide which breed is best suited for your family and lifestyle. There’s no point choosing an active breed of dog, that needs a lot of exercise, if you are not that way inclined.

Visit dog shows, the SPCA and other animal shelters, read books, contact the N.Z. Kennel Club (they can supply you with specific breed information and breed club contacts.). Be prepared for the costs associated with dog ownership, such as Vet bills, Dog registration, Microchipping, Grooming, Food & Training, just to name a few.

Lastly, some words of advice, “Let the buyer beware”, if you buy a puppy, the 1st thing you should do, is take it to your local vet and ask them to do a health check. This should be done within a couple of days of you bringing your new puppy home. If your puppy fails its health check, ask your vet to write you a report. Then inform the breeder, pet shop etc, as you maybe entitled to an exchange or refund.

Also make sure when you pay for your puppy you get a receipt, too many people just exchange cash/cheque etc and have no prove of purchase.

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Posted by on January 6, 2015 in About


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Avoiding Heatstroke in Dogs

One of the main causes of heatstroke in dogs, is when dogs are left in parked cars. Here is a very good article on heatstroke in dogs and puppies and how to prevent and treat it. A must read for all dog owners, seeing as summer is upon us again.


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Posted by on November 26, 2014 in About


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Adopting two puppies/dogs at the same time, great idea or not!

Adopting two puppies/dogs at the same time, great idea or not!

Getting two puppies or 2 older dogs at the same time, may sound like a great idea. Good company for each other, you may think. One puppy/dog on its own is alot of work let alone 2. If you are not careful they will bond with each other and not with you.

They need to have one on one time/training, spent with them, so you can teach them to listen and learn and bond with you. Separation related issues can become a major problem as well,  if the dogs bond too much with each other.

Below is a link to another really good article on “Problems Associated With Adopting Two Puppies at the Same Time”

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Posted by on November 19, 2013 in About


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With another recent spate of reported dog attacks in New Zealand, dog safety-dog, bite prevention education is needed more than ever.

With another recent spate of reported dog attacks in New Zealand, dog safety-dog, bite prevention education is needed more than ever.

With another recent spate of reported dog attacks in New Zealnd,I think its a timely reminder that more education in this area, is needed. Of course many more incidents go unreported.

Children under the age of 12yrs are the main victims of dog bites. Prevention through education is the key.

Maybe its time that dog bite prevention/dog safety education segments are introduced into puppy & obedience classes. As well as more education through the school system. Parents & Caregivers, also need to know just supervising dogs and kids together isn’t enough. They need to understand more about dog behaviour and be able to educate the children in their care, how to act around dogs. Whether they have a dog or not.

While, irresponsible dog ownership can shoulder some of the blame, I believe more education is needed in many areas. Many dog owners, are not well informed on such things, as Dog Bite Prevention, Dog Control Act, Dog behaviour-understanding, how dogs communicate with each other and with us. I cover the above topics and more with my clients, whether it be in class or privately.

I personally think its time for more clubs and trainers, who run training classes and the like, to do more, than just teach basic obedience and behaviour, to clients. Segments or FAQ sheets on some of the above mentioned issues, would not go astray.

In fact all adults whether they are dog owners are not need to know the basics on how to act around dogs. I hope the link below helps to inform and educate.

Here is a link to another very good article from Lola the Pitty

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Posted by on October 27, 2013 in About


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Boarding Kennel Stress: Tips for boarding an anxious/nervy dog

Boarding Kennel Stress: Tips for boarding an anxious/nervy dog

Tips for anxious/nervy dogs

So you have an anxious/nervy dog who needs to go into a dog boarding facility, what do you do?

Leave it to the last minute and expect your dog to be ok. Yes well, you can do that. It still suprises me how many owners do, even though, they know their dog displays this behaviour.

Staying in a boarding kennels can be stressful for any dog but even more so for dog who is anxious and nervy. The wellbeing of your dog should be your main concern, so in the case of anxious, nervy dogs, dogs who need more space or dogs who have separation issues, a few visits/stays maybe required. As they need more time to adjust. Their experiences have to be good ones, depending on the dog.

To read more click on the link: Boarding Kennel Stress: Tips for boarding an anxious/nervy dog

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Posted by on October 15, 2013 in About


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Dog Theft Manawatu Standard: Dog rumour barking up wrong tree

I heard about this the other day “Dog rumour barking up the wrong tree”
Dog owners need to be aware, dog theft is a reality and certain breeds are targeted more than others. There are few things dog owners can do to reduce the risk of their dogs being stolen. Most thefts are opportunistic, so don’t make it easy for thieves.So when you are not home:

1.Make sure your gates are locked and secure.
2.Don’t let your dog run the fence line.
3.If you have a kennel and run use it and padlock the run. If your dog is running free make sure to keep it at the back/rear of the property if possible, behind secure gates.
4.Leave your dog in your house or garage or in something similar and don’t forget to leave plenty of water for your dog.

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Posted by on September 19, 2013 in About


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Photos from Dog Training Classes: Woodville & Ashhurst, Palmerston North. July, August & September

Just a few photos of some of the dogs & owners who have attended my classes in the last 3 months. Next lot of classes start in October. Book Now! to secure your place.
Details can be found on my website: or checkout my Dog Training Class page on this blog.

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Posted by on September 9, 2013 in About


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