Jack Russel cross is just seven weeks oldThey have had Jack Russel X Alfie for a week now and he’s still only seven weeks old. He should not yet have left his litter mates. Consequently, he’s not had a chance to learn stuff he should be learning from other dogs, especially regarding the use of his sharp little teeth!

When people have not not had a puppy before, how can they know who to listen to and what information is correct? The breeder said feed him chocolate and whenever he poos indoors to rub his nose in it. The pet shop said pick him up by the scruff of his neck. Someone else said don’t shut him in his crate. Unbelievable. TV programmes and internet all give conflicting advice.

Today I worked on a ‘starter’ puppy plan with the lady and her eight-year-old daughter – a very switched on and willing little girl where their animals are concerned. They have two rabbits and a guinea pig running free in the garden along with two cats, all of which Alfie must learn to get along with. I found a small rabbit harness in my bag of bits that fitted him so that we had something to attach a lead to without causing him discomfort, and so he can happily get used to the other animals in safety. The family must now provide Alfie with what he should be learning from his ‘dog’ family – behaving a bit as other puppies would when he nips or grabs and won’t let go. In this way he will understand what is required of him.

I shall be visiting again in about three weeks because he will then be old enough to learn a few basics like how to walk nicely beside them – off lead initially, and to get used to a lead.

A tiny puppy can change a lot it three weeks!