From my iPhone photo you really get no sense of the silky smoothness of Zoli’s coat and the loose skin waiting to be grown into! He is a ten-week-old Hungarian Viszla who now lives with people who’ve not had a dog before.
This is the message I received last week: ‘I really just want to start off on the right foot with him. He is biting, which I know puppies do but I would like to know an effective way to stop this. There are so many things and I think I am getting anxious and possibly making him the same? I would really appreciate some sensible help and advice’.
This is perfect. It is so much easier to teach a puppy from the start not to jump up, not to fly all over chairs, not to mouth and nip and to walk nicely on lead, than it is to convince an adolescent dog who has become out of control. They need to know things like just what to do when they have people for dinner, as they did last week, and Zoli flies all over them, nipping and getting out of control excited, and then creates a noisy fuss when put out of the way into his pen!
Rescue centres are full of misunderstood six to nine-month-old dogs. Humans, being human, think that being ‘firm’ and saying ‘no’ and ‘scolding’ is effective training and discipline, but that’s simply not the case. Imposing control rarely works and invites defiance later on and even sometimes aggression. A dog with self-control is happy and trustworthy.
It is important not to over-burden him with commands, play and especially exercise. A puppy needs plenty of rest and walks should be very short to allow his soft bones and joints to strengthen and grow healthily.
I shall now be here for them with help and practical advice for Zola until adulthood and beyond.