Sleeping Cocker puppyHere is Archie, a thirteen-week-old Cocker Spaniel puppy. He was lying oh so still and peacefully!

Archie also lives with Duncan, a chocolate coloured Cocker Spaniel aged twenty months who had been badly treated in his previous home. When his horribly matted fur was cut back, it revealed scars of cigarette burns on his thin body. He has a beautiful mellow nature despite this, and his new owners have given him confidence in humans.

Archie however could well be a different matter. He was the most bossy and confident puppy in the pack. He growls when he is asked to move or when he doesn’t want to be touched, which is unusual for a puppy, particularly because his owners are gentle and fair. Where Duncan will come straight away if called, Archie stays put and just looks at them! He is challenging them already.

We have looked at non-confrontational ways to get Archie to cooperate willingly, and ways to start him off the right way walking on a loose lead. It is so much easier to start off right with a puppy with a willful and strong personality, than to sort out a seven month old adolescent later on. The journey can be fun – if you have patience and a sense of humour! I go to many pups of seven to eight months old who have already gone off the rails.

NB. The precise protocols to best use for your own dog may be different to the approach I have worked out here. Finding instructions on the internet or TV can do more harm than good sometimes. Every dog is different and every situation is different. If you live in my own area I would be very pleased to help with strategies specific to your own dog (see my Help page)