An introduction to developmental problems in puppy hood

Claire Hargrave
Monday, July 1, 2013

Many veterinary staff wondered why the Companion Animal Welfare Council, that conducted independent studies into the welfare, care and treatment of companion animals, concluded that the minimum standard of accredited qualification for professionals instructing a puppy class should be at level 4 to 5, i.e. equivalent to a foundation degree or early years of undergraduate level study. It is intended that this article will go some way towards explaining the complexity and variety of problems that can be faced by the young puppy and why it is essential for veterinary staff in charge of this part of a dog's emotional and behavioural development to be able to recognise problems and give appropriate advice to owners. To fail to intervene appropriately in this essential aspect of preventative behavioural medicine can lead to permanent and irreversible behavioural problems. In turn such problems may lead to abuse, relinquishment or euthanasia of the dog and to potential injury to owners. Put simply, there is more to preparing puppies for life than opportunities to play together and it is particularly inappropriate to encourage a party atmosphere of excessive emotional arousal.

An introduction to developmental problems in puppy hood
An introduction to developmental problems in puppy hood

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