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Info & Advice


This page is dedicated to what we believe might be of interest for you and your pet. In-depth articles packed with useful information & practical tips for your companion animals. 

Encouraging Good Dog Behaviour

Most people will be shocked to read that approximately one in four of all euthanasias in dogs are due to behavioural problems and the rate is even higher in dogs less than one year old. A dog's behaviour is influenced by three main factors -  environment, genetics and learning.
Some problem behaviours can be managed by changing the environment and training. Genetic factors cannot be changed but can be avoided by careful selection when first acquiring a dog.

Before you get a new pup or dog

Consider what type of dog you want carefully. Is your property suitable for a large energetic breed? If you live in a busy urban area then any dog that is bred to guard may become territorial and cause problems by barking at passing people. When choosing from a litter consider the pup's temperament. The timid one may always be more fearful and may not suit a busy noisy household whereas, if you weigh 50kg yourself, the most boisterous of a litter may end up dragging you along on the lead!

When should you start training your dog?

Now! Regardless of the age, breed, or how long you have had it, every interaction with your dog is training. The most important point to remember is that dogs and humans think differently. One excellent guide to dog training and behaviour is a book called "The Dog Listener" by Jan Fennell. The underlying principle is that dogs, being descendants of wolves, are instinctively pack animals which require a leader figure. A dog needs to learn that all members of the household are higher in the pecking order than he is. Everyone should be part of the training process. We can provide more information on request.

Some Tips for Training New Puppies

  • Avoid punishment, use praise.
  • Take pup to designated place to toilet after eating, waking or playing and wait with it, giving praise as soon as it performs.
  • Supervise when inside until house trained.
  • If accidents occur inside bring it to the appointed spot as quickly as possible but do not scold it.
  • Train to lead as early as possible. If it pulls forward stop and wait until it walks on a loose lead.
  • Expose to other vaccinated dogs and novel situations as much as possible. Reward calm behaviour.
  • Teach pup to obey "sit" command before feeding, putting on lead or to settle him down when difficult.
  • Ignore barking and only give attention when he is calm.
  • Do not allow jumping up on any person.
  • Provide suitable toys for chewing especially when left alone.

Bay of Islands Veterinary Services, Kerikeri clinic, hold puppy classes on a regular basis. They are taken by Rebecca Roper of the Bay of Islands Canine Association, check out the 'What's On' tab at the top of this page for more information.

Geraldine Gorman, MVB MACVSc (Small animal dentistry and oral surgery)

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