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When can I bring puppy home?

In Victoria, the LAW does not allow a puppy to leave its mother unless it is 8 weeks old, has had the first injection, and is micro-chipped.  Between the 6 and 8 weeks old,  the puppy learns play and bite inhibitions in the litter, both things are hard to learn from a human! Be wise and do NOT bring your puppy home before, regardless of what people say. The risk of the puppy missing these crucial skills will affect the puppy for the rest of its life, and you may well end up with a puppy that is aggressive or suffers from separation anxiety!

When can I take puppy to puppy school?

We recommend that you take your puppy as soon as puppy comes home. Most professionally run puppy classes will take puppies from 8 to 16 weeks. During that critical period, most can be learned as part of play, and therefore is enjoyable.  Also, the sooner the class, the sooner we can control nipping, toilet training, jumping and other puppy unacceptable behaviour. Leaving classes until later, means the puppy behaviour is not what is wanted.

My vet says it is too risky to go to puppy class prior to the final injection?

There are risks everywhere in life. The benefits outweigh the risks 100:1 and if the puppy class is run professionally all care is taken to minimise health risks. Please review the AVA tips on this matter to get the vet industry recommendation. Also remember that puppies learn 60% of what they learn in life between the 8th and 16th week! Attending a puppy class is the best start in life you can give your puppy so that it turns into a relaxed, calm and happy, well-socialised adult dog. A small investment in time and dollars in a good puppy class , is one from which you and your dog will benefit for the entire life of the dog, which can be between 12-15 years.

What makes a good puppy class?

A good puppy class is run by a professional dog trainer, in a clean and enclosed – puppy safe environment with not too many puppies (eg max 8-10).  Where handlers and puppies learn to communicate and socialise with each other in a positive manner.  Where reward based training is used to teach the puppy the basics of sit, recall, walk to heel, stay and drop and where you learn about husbandry for your puppy to grow in to a well-balanced dog.

Are classes with puppy off leash better than those on a leash?

We do not recommend off leash puppy classes as puppies are a bit like children, there are the shy, the small ones, the big ones, outgoing ones, bullying ones. Off leash there is no control and a small, shy and insecure puppy will be 'bullied' – which will imprint on the puppy potentially for life. Puppy classes on leash, teach the puppy to interact as it will as a dog, mostly on leash and controlled by the owner. Play off leash can take place when the puppies have settled and we have created a balanced environment where all can learn at their own pace.  A good dog trainer would have all puppies interacting at the end of the first session!

How do I toilet train my puppy?

There is a variety of ways, and we have a detailed fact sheet with more detail for your to review.  Start early and be consistent, and implement these guidelines frequently for good success. Again spending time now to teach the puppy to toilet on leash and on command is a very useful skill for any dog and handler.  A small investment for a big gain!

My puppy hates the leash.

Please review the online fact sheet to help you with this.  The more the leash is slack the quicker the puppy adjusts and starts ignoring wearing a collar & leash.  Leave the soft collar on all the time to grab puppy if needed.  Without that, should the puppy escapes, it will be near impossible to catch a puppy, especially if frightened. When you have multiple dogs, you may need to review this, as otherwise the puppy may chew the collar.  Puppies should be leash friendly before they come to puppy class.

Where should puppy sleep?

Please see the fact sheet on our site. Puppies like humans need their own private, secure, confined sleeping space.  Whilst a puppy is small and needy, it is great to have the pup in your bedroom, let alone on/in your bed…. But when the dog is an adult, it will want the same and may take up half of your bed, so it's not the best of ideas…. Treat puppy how you want the adult dog to be, where to sleep and work towards that goal. The more confined the space, the less issues with barking, toileting etc, as the puppy will feel safe. The darker the space, the longer the puppy sleeps.  

How do I stop puppy from nipping?

Puppies often nip for attention. Teach your puppy now that biting is not accepted; remove your hand and all interaction. Any interaction reinforces the behaviour; please see our fact sheets for more information.

Puppy has many bad habits

Puppies can become a great dog, and they don't make great humans!  Often we allow our puppies to do things that they will 'grow out of ’ and things we possibly do not even allow the children to get away with. The puppy period goes very quickly and it is NOW that the puppy needs consistent guidelines and parameters. Like a baby it needs to know what is allowed and what is not.  Anything you allow it to get away with as a puppy, it will do as an adult dog.  Jumping, nipping, chasing, barking for attention, sweeping everything off the coffee table etc. See our many online factsheets for help or call us.

What if I miss a puppy class week?

Provided we have been advised in advance,  we may offer a catch-up session prior to the next class, or any other form of make-up we have available and suits your needs. No shows for any class forfeit that right for assistance, no refunds are given at any time.

How many puppy classes do I need to do?

Our puppy classes run for 4 [usually consecutive] weeks. That is normally more than sufficient to gather the knowledge and experience to take your puppy through to juvenile stage. It is expected that owners practice with their puppy between weeks. Sometimes, the trainer may recommend that a puppy and handler attend a subsequent series of classes if it is considered helpful for the puppy's development (eg timid, dog aggressive, etc).

What is the next step after puppy class?

Dog trainers mostly take dogs from 20 weeks old in adult basic obedience classes and that is because dogs younger lack the attention span required to do an obedience class.  We run a special juvenile class – for dogs from 18 weeks to 12 months old, some of the more difficult dogs attend these classes.  Dogs that have missed or not attended puppy classes; dogs that have developed issues and need help. The juveniles can be a handful and need some guiding. For more details, please visit here It is advisable to continue training regardless of age, stop training and dogs will regress [go backwards], similar to what happens when humans stop practicing.  

I don’t have time for puppy classes.

The time and effort made to take your puppy to classes is the best possible investment in your dog, and a very small one compared to what we spend on toys, baskets and other goods for our new puppy! Our recommendation is to make time.  If not possible there are a few options to consider:
  • Consider an in-home session. Provided your dog is accustomed to the leash [lead friendly] this is a suitable substitute, but obviously the dog will not have the chance to socialise with other puppies as in a group class - missing invaluable social skills.  More details
  • Should that fail, please buy yourself the best DIY training tool we have seen, with training booklets, charts and pocket cheat sheets to take along. More details

I am having problems finding a collar small enough.

We have them in our store and also have the right puppy leashes.  Strong, locally made, glued and stitched leashes to match the collars. Never put a cat collar on your dog as they are usually elasticated making it very easy for puppy to slip the collar.