Welcome to this week’s podcast, where we dive deep into the exciting world of canine families we create. Our focus this week is on the challenges and r experiences that come with training mother dogs alongside their puppies.
As you join us, prepare to discover essential tips and tricks to ensure both generations thrive under your care. We’ll share heartwarming stories from our own experiences, alongside expert advice to guide you through the process. Whether you’re an experienced dog owner or new to the world of canine training, this podcast is packed with practical steps to help you create a strong, obedient, and joyful group of dogs in your home.
Training a Pup Alongside Its Mother and Other Dogs
Breeding a litter is a massively exciting and daunting experience for any owner. Whilst the outcome is hopefully a happy, healthy litter, it’s not always plain sailing and can be an exhausting time mentally. When all the pups go to their fabulous new homes, you can sigh a big sigh of relief knowing that your job is done and you have added some well-bred pups to the working gene pool… right? Right, unless you decide to keep one, then your job is far from done. Despite my well-planned litter with the reason to keep a pup, I had subconsciously blocked myself from thinking that rather than an 8-10 week period of anxiety and lack of sleep, it was going to be prolonged as I was keeping a pup. So rather than put my feet up at 8 weeks, that’s when the fun really started as I needed to start training and integrating the keeper into the established pack.
So, let me introduce you to Yara – the keeper, the long-anticipated pup. Training her alongside her mother and our established pack became my next chapter.
The Training Journey
Stage 1: Acclimatising to the Household
Up until 8 weeks, Yara had stayed with her brothers in the whelping pen and slept in a big pile of pups, so stage 1 was getting her used to being on her own. I set an extra crate up in the kitchen and set about crate training refresher but on her own. I had already done this with the pups as a group, so the process was very straightforward, and quickly Yara was happy in her crate. I gradually increased the periods of time she was alone in her crate whilst all the normal goings-on happened around the house. The other dogs came and went, including mum, and all was fine. Everything went swimmingly, and Yara spent her first night in her crate in the kitchen with the other dogs without a hitch. Brilliant! Stage 1 complete, Yara was sleeping and spending time alone in the kitchen with the other dogs outside her crate.
Stage 2: Initiating Training
Training had to start; this was a mixture of short sessions in the kitchen, garden and being carried out and about. The other dogs were a massive distraction, so these sessions were when the other dogs were shut away. This enabled me to have some alone time bonding with Yara and get a head start on her foundation training. Solo training will continue for some time, ensuring our bond is strong.
Stage 3: Socialising with the Pack
Next was getting Yara used to the other dogs, and the other dogs getting used to her. Yara was introduced to the other dogs one at a time: Mum then, great aunty, then uncle, and then my housemate’s puppy springer. All introductions went well, and they are gradually spending more and more time out together. In the evenings, we have a pen set up in the living room so the other dogs get a bit of time out, and Yara can practice settling around them. They have also been travelling in the car together, so habituation to the other dogs is well underway. I just need my dogs to be neutral around each other, so they are happy to be together but equally happy to be separated.
Stage 4: Advancing Training and Integration
The next stage is just moving forward with Yara’s training and slowly starting to bring in the others into her training. My main priority is that I am more important to Yara than the other dogs, particularly her mum Nuka, who she is obviously quite close to. I have been taking her on our more relaxed outings, where the others get a bit of free time, and she has been running around close with them and practicing her recalls away from them, which has been going well.
Reflections on Rearing and Training
Keeping a pup with mum has had its plus points and its negative points. On the plus side, Yara is a very bold pup and is settled and confident in her family unit. The downside is that I think it has been more difficult to manage the relationships between the dogs as Nuka is obviously more protective than she would be had a strange pup come into the pack. As Yara matures, I am sure I will come across more hurdles in the mother/daughter dynamic, but I am ready to tackle them and press on building my cocker dream team.
Additional Considerations in Rearing and Training
Health and Nutrition: Ensuring that Yara and her canine family receive proper nutrition and veterinary care is crucial for their development and training. Regular check-ups, vaccinations, and a balanced diet contribute to their overall wellbeing, which directly affects their ability to learn and integrate into the group.
Behavioural Observations: Monitoring interactions between Yara, her mother, and other dogs provides invaluable insights into their group. Understanding each dog’s personality and behavioural cues aids in preventing conflicts and promoting harmony .
Continuous Learning and Adaptation: Training a dog, especially within a group, is an ongoing process. It’s vital to stay informed about training techniques and canine behaviour to effectively guide Yara and the other dogs. Adapting strategies as they grow and learn ensures continuous improvement and a strong, cohesive family.
Training Yara with her mum and the other dogs needs time, lots of watching, and love. It helps them all get along better and learn well. It’s a big job, but it makes a happy and smart dog family. Want to hear more? Check out our podcast this week for all the details and stories!
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