Dog Behaviour Training

Ask the Expert

Fill out the Enquiry Form about your pet’s behaviour and our Delta Trained behaviour consultant Jenny Harlow will respond within the next couple of days… And don’t forget to visit our website regularly for handy tips and training ideas! (Some of the responses below are from our former behaviour consultant Gayl O’Grady.)

Q. Mel from Castle Hill 

“I have a new puppy and a 10-year-old female Cavalier King Charles. The older dog is not happy with the puppy. I have been saying ‘No’ in a stern voice to the older dog but I am unsure what I should be doing?”

Gayl’s Answer:

It is very difficult for a 10-year-old dog to accept a new puppy straight away, it takes time and patience. Puppies have terrible manners and older dogs, especially females, sometimes aren’t very tolerant. You need to give them short happy times together so they are both getting attention and treats and then take the little one away.

Do not leave them for long periods alone and unsupervised. This is to give the older one the space and peace they deserve. Also, it is important not to reprimand or get upset with the older dog if she growls or snaps at the puppy. This is a warning that the older one is losing patience and your cue to take the little one away.

The older one needs to be able to communicate her displeasure. It is also important to remember sometimes the older dog may have some undiagnosed pain such as arthritis. A young one bouncing on her may be causing pain.

Q. Tom from Dover Heights:

“My dog is always pulling on lead when she sees other dogs and people to say “Hello’. It is embarrassing and I can’t seem to stop him. He is very friendly. How can I stop him?”

Gayl’s Answer:

Dogs do not need to say Hello to everyone they walk pass in the street. Dog parks are for socialising not when they are on lead. It becomes a habit which people often encourage when they are puppies.

It is wise to not allow any dog to say hello and especially not play while on lead. If they are not in the habit of doing that behaviour, then the need to do that behaviour extinguishes.

To break the habit, simply cross the road every time you see a dog coming towards you and get your dog’s attention and focus on you by talking to the dog and possibly give them a treat. If you can give some time and patience to changing that behaviour your walks in the future will become more pleasant.

Puppy Preschool 

We run regular, on-site, puppy preschool classes for our younger fluffy friends to help get them started in establishing good behaviour patterns. Like children, puppies learn very fast at an early age. It is important to take advantage of this fast learning period so what we teach them results in a well behaved and socially integrated adult pet. By starting early we can help prevent normal, undesirable, puppy behaviour such as: biting, digging, barking and chewing.

We also teach our puppies acceptable social etiquette in a fun and friendly environment. Another benefit of your puppy attending pre-school classes is socialising – they get to meet other puppies of the same age and learn how to behave appropriately around animals in a respectful and friendly manner. Basic manners like “come”, “sit”, “stay” “walking nicely on lead” and “drop” are taught during the course, as well as some basic handling and calming techniques.

It is important for owners and puppies to learn that there are occasions when the puppy should have quiet time. During the classes we discuss many common puppy problems, while puppies socialise with each other and learn appropriate doggy behaviour.

Cost: $180 for the 4-week course. Our Puppy Preschool Courses run for 4 weeks, classes are held once a week.

Vaccination and puppy preschool:

The routine course of puppy vaccinations consists of 2 injections: one at 6-8 weeks of age and one at 10-12 weeks.

To attend Puppy Pre-school at Gladesville Veterinary Hospital, a pup must have at least had its 6-8-week vaccination. It takes a week for the pup’s immune system to mount a response to a vaccination. Therefore, there is a very slight risk to the pup, until a few days after the 10-week vaccination. But it has been our experience that pups who have all of their recommended shots do not experience problems.

As well as a forum for the puppies to socialise and “let off some steam”, we also educate the owners. This is very important when trying to raise a well mannered puppy. The “imprinting” or “socialisation” phase of a pup’s life is between 3 and 16 weeks of age, the time when your pup has the most to gain from attendance at Puppy Pre-School.

Note: Bookings essential.

Canine College

Let us introduce you to the Gladesville Veterinary Hospital Canine College for Post-Graduates:

This programme has been designed by Jenny Harlow, our Puppy Pre-School coordinator. Jenny has completed the Delta Society’s Canine Good Citizen Behavioural Dog Training Course (Certificate IV in Companion Animal Services).

Although for most of the pupils the post-grad programme is a follow-up from puppy pre-school classes, graduation from pre-school is not a pre-requisite for attendance. The programme has a rather long and impressive sounding name in order to emphasise the importance of early training for your pet. The most common cause of death for dogs under the age of two years is euthanasia because of behavioural issues. Behaviour such as digging, barking and snapping can become an enormous problem in a family’s life.

The course is designed for juvenile dogs, and the minimum age of attendance is 16 weeks. It is run over eight weeks, with weekly lessons of one hour each. There is a maximum of six pups in each class, and two instructors are present at all times. The underlying principles of sound dog training are used – kindness and positive reinforcement.

Although there is significant structure in the course, there is also plenty of opportunity for fun and games. Pups even get experience at our “mini agility” course. The most important reason to continue on with training at this age is to instil good manners in your pet, so that it becomes an integrated member of the family. Many owners, though, enjoy the experience so much that they continue on with further formal obedience training.

Canine College Level 1 Course includes:

  • Attention – Looking to owner when he hears his/her name.
  • Socialisation – Being comfortable with different breeds and aged dogs. Being relaxed and comfortable with different people.
  • Good manners – Sit, drop and stay.
  • Meet and greet people on lead.
  • Wait at a doorway to let owners through.
  • Walking nicely on lead.
  • Come when called (an extremely important command for every dog.)
  • Calm behaviour – settling on his mat.
  • Effective and appropriate leadership.
  • Communicating and understanding your dog – Recognising stress and calming signals in your dog and other dogs.
  • Managing common problem behaviour – for example chewing, digging, barking and jumping.
  • Responsible dog ownership – including understanding local council dog laws.
  • Basic Agility – to help reinforce the commands learnt in a fun and relaxed environment.

What to Bring

  • A hungry dog, with a flat collar and lead (no check chains please).
  • A variety of training treats that your dog loves (eg liver, chicken, cheese etc).
  • Something with which to settle your dog such as a ‘Kong’ or a favourite toy.
  • A mat for your dog to lie on.
  • A supply of poo bags.

Where: Boronia Park Boy Scout Hall, Farnell St, Boronia Park.

Cost: $350 for an seven week course Classes are of a one hour duration on Saturday mornings.

Note: Bookings essential

Advanced Canine College Level 2 Course

  • To participate in these classes, dogs need to have graduated from Canine College Level 1 and maintained that level of obedience.
  • A large part of the class is run “off lead” and the dogs must focus on their owners, ignoring what the other dogs are doing.
  • This challenging course may not be suitable for all dogs, classes should be a happy experience for our dogs, not a trial.

Dogs that have completed the Level 2 course may continue training towards the Delta Canine Good Citizens Award.

For more information on this advanced course, or to discuss your dog’s suitability to participate, please call us and ask to speak to Jenny Harlow.

Note: Bookings essential.