Puppy training

Proper training of puppies

The puppy needs proper training to get a strong and healthy body. At the same time, it is important not to overload the puppy’s body. Where is the limit for what is constructive training for a puppy and what is too much?

Text and photo: Therese Norman Andersen

puppy training puppy training

– If the dog gets to build strong joints and good basic muscles at an early age, it will give the dog a good starting point for a healthy body in adulthood. Physical activity is important for the puppy to develop healthy and well-nourished joints that are less prone to injury, says Kristin Halle. She is a veterinarian with continuing education in veterinary chiropractic, osteopathy on dogs and horses, sports medicine on dogs and specialization in neurology.

Activity is important for the puppy

Physical activity is generally important for building a healthy and strong body that will last the life of the dog. The physical activity should always take place on the puppy’s premises, at a leisurely pace and with free expression. After each you can go gradually more and more walk as the puppy gets older. At the same time is it is important not to expose the puppy to frequent and heavy loads such as a lot of stairs and too much intense play with abrupt movements. Puppy life should consist of fun activities with a lot of exploration, enough rest and lots of fun.

Study on puppy training
Kristin Halle says that studies have been done on training puppies. The studies showed that the puppies that got moved a lot (more kilometers per day, compared to a few kilometers per day) increased cartilage thickness, the content of glucosamine and glucans. Among other things, this helps to “lubricate” the dog’s joints.

The studies also showed that the puppies that went extremely far every day (4 miles each day) had, among other things, poorer cartilage formation. It was also negative too the puppy’s body with static ball throwing and intense play with other dogs – especially on hard and slippery surfaces.

Unfoldment for the puppy

Puppy on a trip

The puppy needs to explore the world around him. They do not need to go for long walks on the asphalt in bands. Instead, let the puppy sniff the flowers, stumble over twigs and learn to coordinate and balance his body in rough terrain without a leash. During the period of restraint, you can put a longline on the puppy. It is important to remember that the puppy is like a baby. It is not how far you go that counts, but what the puppy gets to experience along the way. Kristin advises not to take the puppy on long jogging and skiing trips. – A puppy is terrified of being abandoned by the herd. It will follow the owner until it plunges, no matter how tired it is, she says.

Dog play

Wild dog play

Play and ball throwing consist of many abrupt and intense movements. It is easier for injuries to occur when the growth zones in the joints are not closed. This does not mean that dogs should not play or socialize with other dogs. However, you may want to be aware of who and what kind of dogs the puppy is playing with. Young dogs are often wild in play. Especially small dogs can be injured when playing with wild, large dogs. You can alternate between playing and taking leisurely walks on a leash, having a treat for treats or going for walks in the woods with other dogs. They really benefit from learning to be calm around other dogs.

Forest trip with the puppy

Forest walk with dog

– A good training session for the puppy can be that you take a backpack and packed lunch on a walk in the woods. Sit down and let the puppy explore and buzz around on their own. Then it has the opportunity to take breaks when it is tired, and be active when it is completely rested on its own terms. Let the puppy paws feel on different surfaces, balance on tree trunks and other obstacles in the forest. If you see the puppy lying down, the puppy is tired. Then give it a longer break or carry it with you in a backpack.

Varied training for dogs

mountain hike with dog

Kristin Halle recommends varied training. Both for the puppy and for the adult dog. Even if you are going to train an agility dog, it is at least as important, if not more important, to train variedly on other things outside the agility track to avoid injuries. Everything from leisurely walks on a leash, to ski and mountain hikes, strength training, walking in rough terrain in the woods and in the mountains. Vary both gaits, intensity and length of the walking and training sessions.

The body of the dog adapts

Strong and healthy dog

Many dog owners, especially those with large breeds, are often advised to spare the dog as much as possible from physical exertion until it is around a year old. What is important to know is that the body adapts to the activity it is exposed to. If you wait until the young dog is a whole year before taking it on trips and activities, this could have negative consequences for the dog later. It is important to have regular physical activity from the puppy is small, so that the body can adapt and not get a shock if the dog first starts moving at the age of one year. The physical build-up should take place gradually and calmly, but inactivity is directly unhealthy.

Stairs with dog

puppy and stairs
Photo: Markandeya Kunchi

– Everything in moderation! There is a difference between living in 4. Floor in a block of flats and have to go up and down the stairs several times a day, than if you have a couple of steps the puppy has to walk every now and then, Kristin says. Going up stairs can be a strain if done often and a lot. At the same time, the puppy should learn to coordinate his steps and walk stairs at an early age, so that this does not become a problem when he gets older and you can no longer carry it. Everything in moderation!

Teach the puppy to calm down

Puppy relaxing

Teaching puppies to be calm is something many people forget. If you go for long walks every single day, and it is only exposed to high-intensity activities, you will quickly be able to get a stressed dog that is unable to calm down. Introduce one or more rest days a week early, and make sure that the puppy gets a good rest between each activity. You will get this again for later, and it will be easier for the dog to adapt if you get sick or one day do not have the opportunity for a long walk or a lot of activity. Not least, mental training is very important! Nose work in particular often has a calming effect on many dogs.

What is too much activity for the puppy?

Let the puppy calm down after activity

Some puppies lie down or clearly show that they are tired and weary. Then it is important to listen to this, and give the puppy a longer rest. Many puppies can also go up in intensity when they are tired. They bite more, run more, and put on an extra gear. They simply get tired. If the activity they have been on lasted a little long, or contained too many impressions, the puppy can often struggle to find peace when it comes home. Then the best solution is to adjust the activity down, maybe go for a shorter walk next time and help it calm down.

Enjoy the time with the puppy and take good care of it!