Posted 27th July
Welcoming a puppy into your family is an exciting time! The special bond that you form with your puppy in the beginning will last for a lifetime.
Once your puppy has settled into the family and feels safe and secure in its new environment, it’s important to start toilet training as soon as possible. Sometimes this can take a little longer than anticipated, however this is perfectly normal, and the great news is there’s plenty you can do to help your puppy learn and be more trainable.
To help you give your puppy the best possible start in life, Kellie Ceccarelli, EUKANUBA’s Veterinary Training Manger, has some simple suggestions to help nourish your puppy with brain boosting omega 3 DHA.
Ensure your puppy’s diet encourages healthy development
The grey cells in our brains help us to understand information, and the same can be said for our dogs. In a puppy’s brain, the grey cells contain high levels of Docosahexaenoic Acid – or DHA for short - a key building block in brain development. It’s also critical for other aspects of the central nervous system, as well as for developing sharp eyesight.
During pregnancy puppies initially get DHA from their mother and thereafter through their mother’s milk. However, following birth a puppy’s brain develops rapidly and the demand for DHA is particularly high, especially for the first 12 weeks. Therefore, after weaning, your puppy will benefit from a DHA enriched puppy diet.
Although often dismissed as an old wives’ tale, fish is good for both human and puppies’ brain development. Again, this is all down to DHA, the special omega 3 fatty acid which is found naturally in mother’s milk as well as in fish.
Why is an improved ability to learn so important?
When it comes to training your puppy how to behave, whether it’s housetraining, curtailing chewing or teaching your pup how to socialise, ensuring your dog’s diet encourages healthy brain development from day one will go a long way!
Behavioural problems are often a reason for dog abandonment and can be a frequent cause of anxiety for new puppy owners. Separation anxiety is a prime example of a common behavioural issue faced by dog owners. While most puppies quickly learn to embrace their new lives, for some, being separated from you can be a worrying experience. Puppies who suffer from separation anxiety are not misbehaving or being spiteful. Don’t punish or isolate them for this. Instead, provide your puppy with a haven, such as a crate, to reassure them that there’s a comfortable and secure place for them to go within the home while you’re not in.
You should also teach them to tolerate your comings and goings. Give them a treat, and then leave the house for a minute or two. Your puppy will begin to associate your departures and good behaviour with receiving a reward. Gradually prolong the amount of time you're gone until they can cope better. It’s important that you don’t make a big deal of your arrivals or departures. If they gauge from your body language that being left at home is no big deal, they might start to believe you.
What can you do to encourage development?
As well as feeding of DHA, socialising your puppy is an absolute necessity. Socialisation and puppy training classes will help your puppy to develop the good manners and skills needed for a successful human-dog bond. Like children, puppies aren’t born with the social skills required to live with their family, be that a canine family or a human one. As a pet owner, it’s your responsibility to ensure your pet is not only obedient, but also friendly to all kinds of people and animals.
Start by introducing your puppy to your friends or family for a short period of time. When greeting your puppy, have guests crouch down low and allow your puppy to approach them in their own time. This will give them a greater sense of control. Once home visits have been accomplished, try taking them to the park to meet other dogs, but let them decide who to meet and how long for. And once your puppy has had all vaccinations, book a place at your local puppy socialisation and puppy training classes. You could both learn a thing or two.
Training a puppy takes time. Be patient and they will eventually get to grips with the way in which the world works. Remember, a diet which supports healthy growth and brain development can greatly help to shape how a puppy behaves and how quickly they can be trained!
For more information on EUKANUBA’s range of advanced nutrition, visit their website here.