How to run a puppy party: social saviour or social demon?
Wednesday, April 2, 2014
A previous article (Hargrave 2013) discussed some of the predisposing factors that may make it difficult for a puppy's emotional and behavioural repertoire to develop as their owner may expect, potentially leading to puppies failing to cope in the domestic environment and developing compensating, undesirable behaviours that lead to early difficulties in the human–animal bond. Such puppies and their families require vigilance on the part of the veterinary team to spot them early and to enable the initiation of support. This article develops the theme by suggesting a comprehensive package of support that practices, possibly in cooperation with appropriately qualified trainers, may offer puppies during practice-led puppy classes. Such support packages should help puppies, both with or without extra challenging predispositions, to cope with the physical and social complexity and frustrations of co-existence with humans in a domestic environment. Due to the increasing environmental challenges met by young dogs and the growing sensitivity of the general public to dogs that exhibit behaviours associated with a lack of environmental competency, such preventative behavioural support should be as much a basic of practice welfare policy as preventative puppy vaccinations.
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