Sunday, 3 September 2017

1. Veterinary Nurses Do: Puppy Parties

My First Guest Blogger - Puppy Parties

- I asked a good friend of mine recently if she'd be happy to write a blog post for me. Her years and dedication to Puppy Parties far out weigh any knowledge I have of them, so I thought it would be a good insight into them, for both owners and other veterinary nurses thinking of running them. Here's what she had to say:

The end of a 11 hour shift and it's puppy party time, a great time to relieve stress from a long day with cuddles from the little bundles of cuteness, or is it frustration? As your trying to talk to people and all the puppies are barking each other and you can’t hear yourself think.
I feel a 1-hour class sometimes isn’t long enough to talk to everyone individually, an hour class can pass by so quickly with answering peoples questions that the puppies don’t even get a chance to practice any training. t should really be called owner training and would be really ideal if once a week they came without the puppy and brought a list of questions? Maybe something for me to think about in the future. I mean how hard can it be talking to the clients?  Believe me when there are 3 or 4 puppies barking, then their owners telling the dogs to be quiet, you can barely hear yourself think.  Normally by the end of the hour, my throat hurts and my voice is husky.  But as I have been helping run the classes for 10 years it goes without saying that they certainly are fun and rewarding.
I remember the first puppy party class, standing out in front next to the dog trainer and thinking I haven’t got a clue how to answer some of these questions. But gradually overtime you realise the answers are so simple.  I’ve never had a puppy myself, I’d always rehomed adult dogs so I'd never fully experienced what the new puppy owners were going through. With all the questions and problems, I hear about every week, I’m unsure if I ever want a puppy, they sound so hard work and time consuming. 

I absolutely love seeing the puppies grow up and develop throughout the weeks. It is so rewarding to  help and guide these people through their puppy’s development.   It is so lovely to build up a bond with the clients during the puppy parties, and go on to support them throughout the dogs life.

As an RVN I find puppy behaviour problems are sometimes due to the lack of owner education; regarding development behaviour changes as a puppy, their life stages, body language, understanding the breed they have brought i.e: guard dog, retrieving, hunter or is it a stubborn breed?  As dog owners they are told that they must socialise, socialise, socialise! But what does that actually mean? Does it mean in a room with lots of other puppies playing off the lead? Or does it mean interaction with the whole family? Take the pups into town on market day and bombard it with lots of noises? Or controlled puppy parties where it's on the lead socialisation only?  The thing that people forget is not all dogs are going to like each other, not all people like each other so why do we think all dogs should like each other?

Over the past few years there has been a lot of discussion as to whether puppy parties are a good or bad idea. The experts are concerned about the canine behaviour.  I feel that if you are running puppy parties then you will need to understand the different expressions that the puppies may display during the class.  A very common exercise is to ‘Pass the puppy.’  Most of time its considered as an excellent idea, everyone gets to cuddle another cute little puppy normally a different breed as well.  However most people who cuddle a pup won’t see the body language signs that the pup is uncomfortable with the situation.  Often the owner has never had a dog before and some are even fearful of handling their own pup. They also often worry about how their own pup is reacting to everyone else rather than worry about the pup they are supposed to be handling.

The Internet is a wonderful knowledgeable thing to have, but with dog training there are a lot of different techniques to obtain the same outcome, such as play biting.  The different techniques are:

  • Smacking on the nose – can the dog become fearful of the hand coming towards them the to be stroked?
  • Distracting them a toy when they bite you – is this rewarding the behaviour?
  • Feeding them with a treat – does this mean bite me and I will give you food?
  • A very loud scream and walk away – If you do this wrong or too often will the puppy learn to be afraid of loud noises?

Image result for confusionAs you can see it’s a lot of confusion as to what’s the right thing to do. 

One of the most common questions is ‘why is my puppy so good at home and then when at puppy classes they are so naughty?’  Simple answer is: how often do you sit still at home for one hour with the puppy on a lead next to other puppies?  The answer will nearly always be never.

Funny questions I have been asked at puppy parties

How do you tell the difference between a boy and a girl dog? So I had one person who didn’t know if they had brought a girl or a boy!! 

My dog has produced a brown crayon? I was so confused and honestly had no idea what she meant. - Scooting her bum along the carpet and a brown crayon appeared, Oh I get it anal glands! 

Can you check my dogs knees?  Yes of course, I check the stifles and the owner says 'oh do they have knees on the back legs as well I thought it was only the front?' She wanted me to check the carpus.

How do dogs mate? Ok not a funny question but I found this really hard to answer with a room full of children, as some parents were giving me a weird look of please be careful what you say.

'The two litter mates wont breed will they because they are brother and sister?' -  Yes, they probably will and they could also mate if they are in two separate crates next to each other - The owner was horrified that this could happen.

A huge thank you to my friend for writing this informative and fun post :) sp forever <3

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