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Puppy Advice

Top tips for looking after your puppy

Toilet Training Tips

  • Always let your puppy out as soon as they’ve eaten/woken up/had a play session as this is when they are most likely to need to toilet
  • Try to put a command as they go to the toilet so you can encourage this later on e.g. “Wee-wees” or “quick quick”
  • Bear in mind your puppy may be fussy about where they want to go to the toilet, some only like grass, some only like concrete/pavements
  • Insist your puppy goes out even when its raining – put a coat on them if necessary and go out with them if you usually go out. If you break your routine because of bad weather, your puppy will just have an accident in the house
  • Crate training or newspapers by the back door will help

Noise Desensitising

Many dogs are scared of fireworks. Puppies born in spring and summer will have had no experience of fireworks until they are past the critical learning period (8-14 weeks), so they are even more likely to be sensitive to fireworks.

Therefore it is important to introduce all puppies to loud bangs in a controlled manner during the critical learning period. This can be done by playing firework CDs or rock-type music at low levels to begin with. Then increase the volume gradually over a period of weeks when the puppy is happy and contented. If they appear frightened at any point, go back to a volume level where they are not bothered for a few days, before trying to increase the volume again.


Exposure to other dogs, cats, people, objects and environments is incredibly important for puppies so they grow into friendly, well-mannered, confident dogs. See the checklist below of all the things we recommend getting your pup used to seeing and hearing.

Always make the experience a happy and rewarding time, not scary or overpowering.

Training Classes

We strongly recommend you enrol your puppy in training classes, even if it’s only so they get used to playing with other puppies nicely.

There are loads of different training options in the area; we recommend finding someone that uses purely reward-based methods (such as treats, toys and clickers) rather than any form of punishment-based technique (such as water pistols, rattle bottles, compressed air, shock collars and check-leads). As your puppy gets older you could consider more advanced training regimes such as the Good Citizen scheme, agility, search and rescue, flyball, gundog training and more! Our nurses (particularly Head Nurse Sian Gale) can give you up-to-date recommendations of local trainers – just pop in or give us a call.

Here are some links to local trainers to get you started. Please note we do not recommend any particular club; it is up to you to research which class is most appropriate for your puppy.

And here are some of our favourite websites for puppy owners:


Puppies need exercise little and often. It is important to practise getting them used to wearing a collar and lead from a young age around the home and garden, then from one week after their 2nd vaccination you can begin taking your puppy for short lead walks.

For large breed dogs as a guide we recommend:

  • Initially 10 minutes three or four times a day until they are 4 months old
  • Increase gradually so you are doing 20 minutes of lead walking 3-4 times daily by 6 months old
  • Continue to increase gradually so you are doing 30 minutes per walk by 8 months, 40 minutes by 10 months, and 1 hour per walk by the time they are a year old.

Gradually increasing exercise in a controlled way is particularly important with large breed dogs as their growth plates do not fuse until they are at least 1 year old. Small breed dogs are usually classed as adults by 10 months old so they can be doing lots of exercise by this point, although the idea of starting with little and often and gradually increasing the length of each walk is the same as for larger breeds.

When introducing off-lead running and playing it is recommended you do this towards the end of a lead walk when they are tired and less likely to run off. It is advisable to try to find an enclosed area the first few times you let your puppy off the lead. Practising recalls in your garden and in the gardens of family and friends before going public is a good idea. There are also long lines (up to 30metres) you can buy to practise doing recalls in open spaces.

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