At just eight weeks old, Lawson is starting to show some of the characteristics that we require in a fully trained dog: confidence, an interest in people and in playing. On arrival in Banbury, Lawson was given a health check by the vet, along with his first vaccination. Life is tiring when you are a small puppy, so Lawson was given time to have a nice sleep, in a comfortable basket, before Puppy Coordinator Vicki took him to his new home in the West Midlands, to meet socialiser Alison and her family.
Until Lawson has had his full set of vaccinations, Alison will carry him when they are out and about. It is important for Alison to introduce Lawson to a variety of environments from a very young age, so that he becomes accustomed to the world around him. Once his vaccinations are complete, Lawson can begin to go for short lead-walks. Walks will initially be on quiet roads, so that he is introduced to passing traffic from a safe distance. Then, as his confidence grows, he will be introduced to busier roads, so he learns not to be startled by cars rushing by and any unexpected loud noises. Alison will make sure that Lawson has lots of opportunities to meet other dogs, people and children, so he learns not to be scared or anxious, and how to behave politely when he is meeting and greeting someone new.
Alison will gradually introduce Lawson to wearing his green Dogs for Good training jacket. It's important that he associates his jacket with lovely experiences, so Alison will make sure she gives Lawson lots of praise and reassurance when he's wearing it. Alison will be able to take Lawson everywhere she goes, whether it's to a café, shops, the bank or even the cinema. All of our socialisers are given a comprehensive guide with instructions to ensure that both they and their puppy feel confident about their role and enjoy their time together. Vicki, their Puppy Coordinator, will work closely with them throughout the year and, as well as seeing them at puppy class, will visit them at home to monitor progress and discuss any worries or issues they may have.
Lawson will start learning basic obedience commands: - 'sit', 'stay' and 'down'. These are vital for him to understand at an early age, as they are some of the most common instructions that a working dog will hear. He will practice being handled for health checks and grooming and learn to sit and wait for his meals, being released from his wait with the sound of a whistle. This gives Lawson an association between the whistle and food, which can then be used to teach recall when he is a bit older.
Lawson has an exciting year ahead with lots to learn. Its early days and we cannot predict how his personality and behaviour will develop, but with the love and support of his socialiser and the team here at Dogs for Good he has every chance of success.