Puppies learn to communicate at an amazingly early age, despite being born blind and deaf they are able to source everything they need to survive when they first arrive in the world, by using their super powerful nose!
As their sensory skills develop they follow their nose and by pushing along with their feet they move their little bodies. Exploring on their bellies and experiencing novel surfaces is the start of mobility and awakening their tactile senses, increasing confidence to negotiate what will become their familiar surroundings.
As time progresses their mouths become part of their learning tools too. They learn that jostling a sibling at the milk bar can gain them access to a prime place to suckle. As they get stronger, their limbs and muscles develop and their eyes open, followed shortly by the ability to hear.
They are already learning a language that will stay with them all their lives to communicate with their own kind. Learning how to join that conversation is where we start to develop our bond with these incredible beings.
Studies have shown that puppies have a critical learning window between 5 - 16 weeks of age. During this time it is most important that puppies have appropriate education for each stage of their development. Early introduction to stimuli such as novel surfaces, size appropriate unusual objects, soft toys to explore, different textures, mindful body work, sights and sounds. These should all be started with care and consideration by the breeder as part of habituation to home life and the environment.
Teaching social skills with people and other dogs should always be supervised and carried out in the most pleasant and positive way possible being mindful to set up the surroundings and ensure that the puppy is feeling safe and on familiar territory. Give choice. In an ideal world each puppy will be shown respect and offered the ability to choose to engage with humans, not just picked up because they are small and cuddly, but rather have the human sit on the floor and allow the puppy to approach them. The lessons learnt at this formative time will be those which will become part of your dogs learning history and form the basis of how he/she will respond when faced with different scenarios in the future.
I have been breeding for 23 years and have always striven to produce confident well balanced puppies. As part of my dedication to keep up to date with current methods in both the breeding world and the training world, I have attended and continue to attend workshops and seminars to expand my knowledge. Applying what I have learnt from continuing my professional development to my own litters and adult dogs enables me to see for myself what works for us and thereby, I am able to offer help and support to those seeking to breed well balanced puppies, or effectively educate adolescent and adult dogs.
All my training and the work I now do with my litters has at it's foundation the Tellington TTouch Training method. I am a TTouch Practitioner and hold workshops and give talks to veterinary practices and other organisations on the TTouch Training methods.
All my teaching is based on the NOSE - Nosework, Observation, Senses, Enrichment and Education - these are key foundation skills in rearing well balanced, confident and socially adept puppies and my aim is to keep those elements thriving in adolescent and adult dogs too by educating and empowering their guardians.
Here at Four Paws Learning I help you lay those foundations with your puppy or build them with your adolescent or adult dog. Giving you practical advice and ideas to build a fun relationship with your dog built on mutual trust and understanding. All the teaching is FORCE FREE and based on the scientific principle of progressive positive reinforcement.
Appreciating that busy professional people and families leading busy lives can sometimes find it difficult to integrate training the four legged member of the family into a hectic daily schedule, I give the opportunity for you to press the 'easy' button and let me do it for you. I teach puppies and dogs in real life situations and in lots of different scenarios.
Day Training is a convenient and effective, bespoke training package, tailored to your requirements and goals. I teach your dog in a mindful gentle and positive manner and then help you achieve the understanding of the skills and methods used so you can maintain the behaviour. The result will be a relaxed and happy dog that is a pleasure to live with. If you would rather have a more hands on approach through the whole process then please take a look at my 121 Learning and I am happy to modify any services to suit your individual requirements.
"Spreading the word on how dogs learn and communicate, not just as puppies, but for the rest of their lives."