Who doesn’t love puppies!! We have the best jobs ever here at McDowall Vet Practice, and never is it more evident than during our free puppy school meetings! These run every Monday and Tuesday evening from 6.30pm to 7.30pm and each course runs for one month. Because we believe so strongly in the positive benefits of dogs attending puppy school, we have made the decision to offer this class free to our clients, which is quite unique – we are the first vet practice in Australia to offer this service! Our puppy school is run by our wonderful, friendly certified veterinary nurses Laura and Steph.
There are so many benefits to attending Puppy school. Firstly it allows your bundle of fluff to experience positive socialisation with puppies of differing sizes- and with other people from outside their family. Often this is the first time puppies have seen another dog apart from their litter mates and it can be quite a culture shock! It is really fun to watch puppies mature and come out of their shells over the 4 weeks of puppy school. Ultimately, a well socialised dog is a happy one and means you are much more likely to take them out and about with you exploring.
We offer a relaxed and safe place for puppies to have fun and experience new things. Our practice is a clean, disinfected and controlled environment, so we are happy that puppies who have not yet had their full set of vaccinations can safely mix with other puppies who are at the same stage. Laura and Steph watch closely to make sure that nobody becomes too overwhelmed by the experience or picked on by bigger dogs!
Another benefit of attending puppy school with us is that it allows your puppy to become accustomed to all the sights and smells of the clinic. Most dogs only visit the vets when something bad happens and so naturally, they can find it a daunting place. If we can make your dog’s first few visits a fun and happy experience, the next time they have to visit us, it’s not so scary for them- or for you! Our puppy school graduates usually come bounding through the front door and often are confused as to why all their friends aren’t there as well!
We will also go into more detail on all of those puppy care topics like diet, flea and tick control, toilet training, teething, prevention of biting and so on which Rob, Tara and Jenny may have discussed with you already. In this environment we can spend more time on the topics and give you plenty of time to ask questions about anything that is concerning you. We know how “full on” those first few weeks of puppy ownership can be!
Another aim of puppy school is to get our puppies to learn basic commands, such as ‘sit’ and ‘drop’, and you will learn how to gently train your pets and get them to start toeing the line! However this isn’t the main focus of puppy school – we are more interested in teaching the puppies to be well socialized than obedient- at least during this stage in their life! And of course the main idea behind puppy school is to have fun!
Puppy school 101 also teaches our fluff bags to recognize the body language of other puppies and become aware of what is socially acceptable in the doggy world. They’ll learn that some dogs want to play and others don’t; that some are shy and some want to be the centre of attention. They will learn the behavior that other dogs display when they are interested in interacting and when they want to be left alone, which can save them some trouble as they get older and mix with more dogs that they don’t know.
Observing the puppies in a busy environment also allows us to identity some of the common problems that puppies can develop, such as guarding food, social anxiety or jumping up. If noticed, we will work with you to help resolve them before they become a more serious problem as the puppies grow into dogs.
In summary, we LOVE our Puppy school and I am sure you will to! It allows us to really get to experience the characters of the individual puppies and start to become great friends with them. If you are passing the clinic on a Monday or Tuesday evening and would like to brighten up your day, just pop your head in and say hello!