Puppy Development

Putting in the work early with the right help will go a long way in building up your dog to be environmentally stable, happy and responsive.

There is a known critical development period for puppies, which is up to the age of 16 weeks. This means that from the time you get your young puppy and until they are 4 months old it is particularly crucial that you are setting them up to be the dog you want them to be for the rest of their life. After the critical period, your puppy is still in development mode for many months. For this reason, even if your puppy is older than 4 months, it is not necessarily too late to have a profound impact on their development.

There are some key areas that we address when working with you and your puppy, which can make a world of difference:


Having a dog that copes well with the many strange and noisy stimuli presented in the urban and natural world is an objective that takes some effort and commitment to achieve. Understanding how to implement daily and productive environmental exposure is a key component of puppy development. By exposing your dog to the outside world in a smart, safe manner during the critical period, you are preparing them to be comfortable with a wide range of stimuli in varied environments. 


Building your puppy's engagement with you is so important, and this can be FUN! 

By establishing clear reward markers, exciting reward delivery and play, we can harness the natural desires and motivations in your puppy to set up a foundation for obedience training that leads to spirited, reliable and even beautiful obedience performance outcomes for you and your dog.


Well considered management strategies are extremely important in setting up your puppy for success, keeping them from developing unwanted habits, and toilet training. You will need to implement a routine based around all of your young dog's needs. A backbone of this is conditioning your puppy to happily use a crate for resting and sleeping. A crate for your puppy can be an invaluable tool in creating a stable, happy, independent and well behaved dog. We generally advise the use of a puppy pen as well as the crate.


This is an aspect of owning a puppy that many people tend to focus on, thinking that their puppy needs to play with lots of dogs and that socialisation is the primary task during the critical period. This thinking can get you into trouble later on - when suddenly your puppy is obsessed with other dogs, potentially leading to frustration, reactivity, excitability, and making outdoor environments extremely difficult to navigate. Problematic behaviours may also be induced where negative experiences occur with other dogs. These circumstances are very difficult to control if you don't know the other dogs you are socialising with.


Positive, safe experiences with other dogs are beneficial, but your puppy does not need to have constant access to them. You will do yourself a great service by ensuring there is a large focus on exposing your puppy to the picture of dogs being in the environment, without the need to directly interact. By building engagement with the handler, the goal is that other dogs walking past on the street are of relatively low importance to a well developed young dog. A puppy that can learn to ignore dogs is often more friendly, and, with appropriate play manners learnt, is a lot less likely to get into trouble with other dogs.