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A New Puppy:
The Beginning of a Relationship
by Martin Deeley

There are so many articles written on selecting the right pup that I am going to presume that you, as owners of a new pup, have done a lot of homework already and selected the right breed, the right sex, and gone to a reputable breeder of true working dog who has had the parents of their pups checked and certified for physical health. And, very important, a breeder who has already started socialising the pup to people and some of the experiences he or she will have during its life.

Many books and trainers give the impression that you do not start training until the pup is six months old. Although we may not start formal gun dog training, your pup is learning and developing habits the moment you pick him up. This misconception came from the fact that if a pup is sent to professional trainer they really cannot start get solid progress in training until the pup has some maturity under his collar. However, most professional trainers will tell you that their life is easy if the owner has done some very good basic puppy training, socialisation and habituation.

"Lessons taught now will last a lifetime."

From the moment you pick up your pup you are beginning to form a relationship which will be the basis of your life together. The bedrock of that relationship is respect, an affection for each other and understanding leadership from you. Your pup may become your shooting companion, friend and member of the family but it will always be a dog and although we may anthropomorphise with our dogs we must always recognise that very important fact - it is a dog.

Your pup is learning and being trained every minute of the day even when you are not formally 'training'. Habits and behaviour patterns are being formed all the time and these first months of ownership are the formative ones. Lessons taught now will last a lifetime. It is easy for pup to learn good habits if we think about what we are doing but so often we owners teach bad habits without even realising.

For example - owners and visitors encourage a pup to jump up to be petted, and they think it is fun. They rub, pat and pet his head vigorously, wrestle and over excite the pup, tease it with an old sock or special toy, and play tug of war. They grab and catch him as it is running away or even coming towards them. If the young pup has an accident and urinates indoors (usually because the owner has not been watching closely enough or doing 'puppy management' correctly), often they shout at him, chase him down and take him outside telling him what a bad dog it has been in a very stern voice. They may even rub its nose in the

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