Are you Ready for your New Puppy? And if Yes for how Many Years?

Puppies are just too cute, it is almost beyond words. However these cute puppies grow up very quickly and become ‘real’ dogs. The puppy stage only lasts for a few months and the honey moon phase is often over after a couple of weeks of sleepless nights and urine stains on the carpet. So make sure what you really want is a dog and not just the puppy.

Too cute for words!
Too cute for words!

Pointing out the obvious, a puppy is a 12 to 15 year commitment and a lot of things can change during this time. Some are out of our control, such as family and relationship break downs, death, or sickness to name a few; others are very predictable: moving out, getting married, having a baby, the children are growing up, going overseas, having an extended holiday, changing jobs, moving, again just to name a few.


Considering the high number of dogs in rescue shelters, not every new puppy owner has thought about changes in their lives and how they will care for their dog during these challenging times.

I recently posted on my Facebook page that: “If you work full time, have three children under the age of six and work full time, do not get a puppy.”  My argument was that the puppy would not get the training and socialisation she will require to grow up into a well adjusted dog. I also said that the puppy should not be left home alone for long periods of time in the first few weeks.

There was a backlash: How did I dare saying that some people should not have a dog just because they work fulltime? How could I deny a child the opportunity to grow up with a puppy? I was called arrogant, out of touch and a few more things.

Is owning a dog a right or a privilege? I just read the book Run, Spot, Run: The Ethics of Keeping Pets by Jessica Pierce, it really makes you think twice.

We love our dogs but is this enough? I do not think so. I also do not think owning a dog is a right. It is a privilege that comes with a lot of work and a lot of sacrifices. Forget about sleeping in for a few months or years, forget about going out every night and forget about extended holidays.

Before you make a decision ask yourself do you really have the time and commitment it takes to bring up a well adjusted and confident canine citizen? Will you still be in a position to look after your dog in 12 or 14 years time?

Are you ready for sleep less nights, puddles on the floor, the puppy pre-school, daily socialization outings for the next 12 to 18 months?

Are you prepared for the challenges of the teen aged dog and the heartbreak of living with an older dog?

Living with an older dog can be heart breaking.
Living with an older dog can be heart breaking.

I meet a lot of mothers whose families decided to get a puppy for the children, sometimes against the wishes of mum. But often, after the initial excitement, it is the mothers who look after the puppy and they struggle to deal with the additional responsibility and to provide appropriate care. Not because they do not try but because they just do not have the time, next to a full time job, the children and much more.

My tip here for all mums: Unless you want a puppy do not get one: Not for the children, nor the husband (who works full time, too) or for your other dog! It is not going to work.

Here a list of some of the NO – NOS and excuse me for being blunt

Do not get a dog if you

  • will not allow the dog in the house
  • are not able to put the time in for socialization and training
  • work very long hours or travel a lot
  • have very small children
  • or a household member is allergic to dogs
  • are not in stable financial position
  • are a clean freak with a designer loft

Before getting a puppy you should also consider alternatives such as rescue dogs. Considering your life style you might be better of with a senior dog or rescue Greyhound.

Lets assume you are ready.

  • Make sure you research breeds that match your life style and find a reputable breeder. I leave this topic for another day. If you buy a dog online or from a pet shop you are most likely supporting a puppy farm and while your puppy may have a loving home, her parents never will. They will live in appalling and cruel conditions and you are supporting this inhumane industry.
  • Even experienced dog owners can find puppy hood a bit overwhelming. One key point with socialisation is that you cannot postpone which means it makes sense to plan the arrival date carefully.
  • Get consensus in your family on the basics: sleeping arrangements, exercise, house training, where is the puppy allowed before the puppy arrives and stick to them.
  • Puppy proof the house which means remove dangerous things such as electrical cords, cleaners, small objects and set up a confinement area including crates and baby gates.
  • Be ready with the essentials such as beds, collar, id, leads, treats, food (in the beginning same as the breeder), toys, food dispensing toys, interactive toys and more toys.
  • Get in contact with service providers such as puppy pre school, day care, walkers, groomers in your area.

On a different note, in Switzerland prospective dog owners are required to take a course BEFORE getting a puppy or a dog. This course consists of four hours theory to prepare for the arrival of the new family member. While this is minimal it prevents impulse buying and at least sets prospective owners up for success. The sale of dogs in pet shops has been banned for decades.

While you probably will never be fully prepared for a puppy or a dog you can be fully committed to make your puppy the best dog she can be. This will help navigate the set back and the challenges ahead.

Bringing up a well adjusted dog is very fulfilling, great fun and worth every minute!

First published by Pet Professional Guild




Dominance, Resistance to Learning and Switzerland

Why is it so difficult for some to let go of the dominance myth and associated punishment based methods?

I just re-read an interview with John Bradshaw. If you have not read his book ‘In Defence of the Dog’ you are missing out.

No I will not write another blog on dominance. I think we are well and truly beyond that.

It is easier to teach an old dog a new trick than a dog trainer.
It is easier to teach an old dog a new trick than a dog trainer.

I am pondering the question why are there still ‘professionals’ out there who either steady fast insist that you have to dominate your dog and use aversive training methods or call themselves positive but still use punitive or aversive methods (physically manipulating the dog/puppy, using ‘no’ and ‘ah ah’)?

Seminar 7 Flyer - July 17 2016 Flyer
Fun with Fido our latest seminar

And why does this group of trainers have more exposure on TV and other media? Does the dominance group have the better marketing? Are these trainers more into self promotion? Do these trainers spend their money on marketing instead of further education? I don’t know.

But there might be something deeper and darker to it. Life is frustrating for some and anger often not very well controlled. The thought of being able to dominate (and hurt) someone weaker might have appeal to some. And if ‘permission’ is given by ‘experts’ to use those methods why would a certain group of dog owners not do it?

There might also be some out there who are just not educated enough and do not understand the basics of the learning theory. Another reason could be a lack of empathy.

We know using fear and intimidation will cause compliance but at what cost to the relationship. It seems common sense and we do not do it anymore with our children (well most of us anyway). So why do some insist on doing it to our dogs?

Shouldn’t we all know by now that ‘force is not compatible with mutual respect.’ [1] It also destroys trust and inhibits learning. Effective learning is a cooperative process in a trusting relationship.

There has to be an element of maintaining ‘cognitive consistency’ Leon Festinger (1957) proposed the cognitive dissonance theory, which states that a powerful motive to maintain cognitive consistency can give rise to irrational and sometimes maladaptive behavior.’[2] [3]

Dissonance can be reduced in three ways. Individuals could change their attitude. This is often difficult because people have trouble changing behavioural responses. Secondly, they could acquire new information that supports their original believes or thirdly they could reduce the importance of cognitions.

In dog training this means despite all scientific evidence that the dominance theory used in training is outdate, some reduce cognitive dissonance by acquiring ‘new’ information that supports their belief and reducing the importance of cognition. In this case it goes along the lines. It is better to use the dominance theory and its associated punishment based methods to save the dog and/or get the results fast. This is an argument commonly used by rescue groups and balanced trainers supporting these groups. Basically arguing that the result justifies the means, which is another fallacy in itself as punishment does not establish a different, more appropriate behaviour it merely suppresses the unwanted one. In addition to that the side effects can be severe.

Another reason could be that by now ‘balanced’ trainers are so committed to their outdated knowledge that they will very likely resist any new learning. They have said for years now that a force free way is not working. That means they now lack motivation and ability to change and the cost of learning is immense.[4]

Cost of learning used in the psychological sense. If you learn something new that makes your old knowledge obsolete you have to change everything. It means you are not just adding new knowledge but the new way replaces and questions the old way. It becomes even more problematic if there was a significant emotional investment in the previous believes. [5]

For balanced dog trainers this means they have now reached a ‘point of no return’. They cannot change without loosing face and significant investment monetary and time wise to catch up. It also means they will only become more resistant and probably defend their old ways til the end.

This means we can only wait for a generation change and until then have to go with Bradshaw: “They [dogs] need defending from people who persist in the old methods and don’t take any notice of science.”[6]

We are waiting for the new generation of dog trainers.
We are waiting for the new generation of dog trainers.

Or there is one other way: Switzerland introduced a licence for dog owners in 2008. A ‘side effect’ of this was that the dog training industry had to be regulated. All dog trainers now have to have a basic education including an assessment (total of 140 hours minimum), at least three years experience in dog training and having passed a practical exam with their own dog, similar to the Canine Good Citizen Award in Australia. These trainers then need to adhere to a code of ethics and do further education to keep the accreditation valid.[7]

How would that be for a start?




[3] McLeod, S. A. (2014). Cognitive Dissonance. Retrieved from





Balanced dog trainers

Balanced trainers popping up right left and centre. What does it mean ‘balanced’ trainers? Sounds good, doesn’t it?

Balanced trainers define themselves (and I try to keep this objective) as using all four quadrants in operant learning. I will not go into the details but what distinguishes them from force free trainers like me is that they will use tools such as check, prong and shock collars or (positive) punishment such as yelling, jerking, hitting as they see fit. Most ‘balanced’ trainer will use (positive) reinforcement such as praise, interaction, treats as well. They will also say that the four options are all suitable for training, depending on the situation. To be fair, most will try to use positive punishment as little as possible.

If they tell you that upfront, it is then obviously your choice if you want to go ahead with this kind of training or not. There is no law against this and it is still very common.

Their argument goes that with positive reinforcement only, you cannot train a dog.

Guess what I do agree! In addition to reinforcing and rewarding the good things you need to manage and set up for success.

I am not going to watch my dog bark, run off or harass another dog. I will also not watch my puppy chew up the furniture or my hands.

But my approach to teaching is based on mutual respect and trust. I will not force my dogs to do things but I will TEACH. This is not the same thing.

Positive trainers like me use a lot of management tools such as confinement areas, carful supervision, management and a lot of reinforcement based training. I will also break it down into small steps so the dog has every chance to succeed.

And yes sometimes we get it wrong and the dog does the wrong thing. We are all just humans. In these instances we use ‘interrupt’ calmly with their name, ‘redirect’ meaning ask for an acceptable alternative behaviour and ‘reward’. Be careful, if you have to use this too often you are just training a behaviour chain. This means you teach the dog to first, jump up then sit to get a treat. This also means you are reactive (sorry the pun) and not pro active.

I have made a choice for ethical and moral reasons not to use positive punishment (I will also not use negative reinforcement just to be clear). I know they can work to suppress behaviour but they are not teaching an acceptable alternative, they can be detrimental to dog’s wellbeing and affect the bond and trust.

If I have to make a choice between a seemingly quick fix and a lasting and trustful relationship I am always choosing the later.

I am following a few of the balanced trainers for different reasons and I am really trying to understand their reasoning.

However their argument is just not cutting it. One is asking for case studies to proof that punishment can have severe side effect, trying to make the point that the science is not there (here you go or to then proceed to say that he has case studies to proof the opposite. Well that is a classic, anecdotal evidence is not science.

Another one goes on to describe the problems we can create when ‘training in drive’ caused in his example by the use of toys in training. Then he changes tack and blames food to create too much drive. While there is the odd Labrador that goes ‘crazy’ for food there is an easy solution to that, just use lower value food. Problem solved.

In my experience, food is actually calming most dogs down!

They also seem to miss that perception is changing on what are acceptable ways of treating other beings. It was ok to use corporal punishment in schools until the 1970ies in Australia, not any more.

But the real give away about ‘balanced’ trainers is the language they use and the vitriol against positive trainers; calling the positive trainers a cult, extremists and more, just to mention the ones that can be used in a professional context.

I am very passionate about no PAIN, no FORCE, no FEAR but I am not slandering, intimidating or swearing when discussing the ‘balanced’ approach. I am trying to understand and reason within socially accepted norms.

It is 2016!



Socialise your puppy but let them play, too!

50 years ago not too many trainers or owners talked about socialisation. Not because puppies did not need it, but because for the most part puppies ‘self-socialised’, they wandered and roamed the neighbourhood, accompanied children to school, hung out with other dogs, sometimes got into bingle with one of them, occasionally a child got bitten or a dog hurt by a car. Even 20 years ago back in Switzerland our dog would go to work with my husband, roam the streets, spend time with strangers, steal sandwiches and come back when it was time to go home. He got picked up by well meaning people occasionally and once by police. It was no big problem, no fines either and it was a different time.

Do not get me wrong, I do not advocate puppies to roam and wander the streets. Things have changed dramatically and most dogs are much more than a pet today. They are a family member and the thought of them being unsupervised out and about is too stressful for most responsible dog owners. However, on the other side, dogs are not allowed anywhere unless on a leash and with their owners these days. This makes socialisation very important and more difficult.

We probably all agree that early stimulation and socialisation is beneficial for the development of our puppies. Proper socialisation is the most important task when raising a well adjusted dog. You can teach an old dog a new trick but if the short window of socialisation has closed we are always playing catch up.

Socialisation at a basic level is respondent conditioning – creating an association between two stimuli, in the case of puppy socialisation hopefully a positive one. Most will also agree that the most important window of opportunity is between about 4 weeks to 16 weeks. After that the window of opportunity starts to close and often closes quickly. A properly socialised puppy is more likely to perceive the world as a safe and fun place. Whereas an under socialized puppy could be fearful of new things and might end up being cautious or even anxious.

Breeders have to play an important role and more and more breeders are really on the case. Puppies are born in family homes and exposed early to the normal noises and coming and goings of busy households. They invest a lot of time and effort in early handling, socialising their puppies to a wide range of stimuli, including strangers, other animals, surfaces and more. They also create a stimulating environment with environmental enrichment for their puppies, where puppies can freely explore and investigate in their own time and pace, interact and manipulate. This contributes to puppies being more inquisitive, better able to cope with stress and able to solve problems. Most good breeders will also start early training.

Chillax, that is his name!
Chillax, that is his name!

Responsible owners will keep socialising once they have brought their new puppy home. However, in addition to lack of exposure there is another way to create a fearful puppy: Inappropriate exposure. If we are not careful we might create negative association and sensitize puppies and make them scared.

Imagine this scenario, a well meaning mum takes her brand new puppy to see her daughter play soccer, pops the leash on and goes to the park. Her daughter’s entire team runs up to the puppy and tries to pat. The puppy might feel trapped but the leash prevents her to back off and she might get really scared by this overwhelming experience. The puppy now has a bad association with the lead, open space, girls of a certain age, screaming children, and more.

The bulldog class!

Socialisation has to happen at the puppy’s pace and the puppy has to be able to make a choice. If a puppy decides not to approach a certain stimulus then we need to accept that. There is nothing wrong with encouraging but under no circumstances should the puppy be forced into it.

Create a positive association with fun play, interaction, tasty treats, cuddles and pats.

Puppy pre schools are a great opportunity to socialise your puppy to a wide range of people and environments. It is also the place to set owners up for proper training and help with trouble shooting.

There can be a saturation point however, where it all just becomes too much, if there is no choice anymore and the puppy cannot proceed at her own pace. This can happen in a group situation where well meaning owners and a bit of peer pressure sends the puppy over the edge. So a word of caution there you do not want to scare or sensitize your puppy.

A puppy class can only provide a certain amount of socialisation, maybe 5 %, the rest is homework.

However one important aspect of a well run puppy school should be socialisation with other puppies. It seems this has ‘gone out of fashion’ a bit, at least in the Australian context and it baffles me.

Most dog owners with the appropriate information can socialise to people, surfaces, noises and environments but who has access to other puppies of a similar age? Hardly anyone! Even if a puppy will never go to an off leash area, they will meet dogs in social settings and need to be able to interact appropriately. A well run puppy pre school is often the only place where a puppy can safely meet other puppies and practice appropriate body language.

Most puppies love to play. They need to learn to interact and meet other puppies of different sizes, temperaments and looks.

On leash interaction causes the exact problem we try to prevent with supervised and moderated off leash interaction. On leash puppies cannot approach in a circular motion, leashes get tangled and head on greetings are the outcome. It also creates the wrong expectations. If I walk my dog on leash down to the local shops I do not want her to interact and try to play with every dog she meets. I want her to walk with and pay attention to me.

Of course a lot of puppies are excited off leash and will greet head on but very often and after the initial exuberance they will display more appropriate body language, especially if the play is professionally moderated.

I also strongly believe that puppies who spend the entire time in puppy pre school on leash and are prevented from interacting with the other puppies can either become frustrated and might start lunging and barking when meeting other dogs on leash or worse become fearful of other puppies.

And like any other part of socialisation there is only a limited window of time and you cannot and should not take your puppy to the dog park. There are many reasons for not taking your puppy to the off leash area too early: The puppy is not fully vaccinated, the dog park is unpredictable and potentially dangerous for a puppy or a small dog, a lot of adult dogs do not like puppies in their face and one bad experience can cause a lot of damage! A puppy pre school without moderated off leash interaction is in my opinion a lost opportunity.

To raise a well adjusted dog, super socialise your puppy. Do more than one puppy pre school, visit moderated play groups, take the puppy to new environments on daily basis, introduce friendly children, adults on an ongoing basis and make it a pleasant and positive experience. Let the puppy proceed at her own pace and let her make choices.

Despite the window of opportunity closing you have to keep it up so the ‘socialisation muscle’ stays strong, fit and healthy! You will need to expose your teenage dog on an ongoing basis and in a positive way to new experiences and even mature dogs benefit from social outings. I recommend taking a young dog up to about a year to new and different places two to three times a week, once they are over a year and up to about 3 years, take them to a new place or for a new experience once a week. Just to make sure! And don’t forget socialisation is not just exposure but associating the experiences in a positive way.

First published on





Just another day at the off leash park!

There is mum, three kids and their exuberant six months old Labrador. He is jumping in everyone’s face while mum shouts: He is friendly and just wants to play. The other dogs try to run but there is no escape.

The local dog trainer is there with yet another dog scared of other dogs, trying to increase distance and avoid the other dogs. But he cannot escape because he is on a leash. The trainer explains that he ‘needs to get used to it’. The dog is showing a lot of stress signs but no one takes note, then he lunges, gets yelled at and jerked on the leash. The owner looking rather confused.

Hipster is on the phone and his French Bulldog trying to hump a Great Dane. Everyone laughs and thinks it very funny. The Bulldog loves the attention and keeps going.

The Jack Russell has disappeared into the bushes, her owner yelling ‘come’ over and over again, to no avail.

I will make no secret; I am not a big fan of off leash areas. In my experience only about 20 % of dogs are enjoying the experience, 30 % will cope and do their own thing as long as the other dogs leave them alone but 50 % of the dogs in the park are saying loud and clearly: Get me out of here – this is no fun!


catching a wave
Shellbe catching a wave a the dog park

The dog park is a relative new concept, California introduced the first one in 1979, Switzerland in 2012 and Australia has had them for about 20 years now. However, these days it seems to be the most popular and often only place for dog owners and every dog has to go.

While dog parks have benefits there are a range of problems associated with them. The main problem is the artificial set-up. We make dogs meet unknown dogs on an ongoing basis and expect them to play with strangers or at least tolerate them. But dogs are a bit like us. As children we will talk and play with everyone, as teenagers we tend to have a group of friends but will still engage with new people easily, in our twenties we become a bit more choosy with whom we interact, in our thirties we start to be set in our ways and after 40 we rarely make new friends at the pup. Dogs are the same when they are young they will play with most dogs they meet but once they get older they become more specific and will only play with their friends and dogs they know. It is unrealistic to assume dogs will play indiscriminate with other dogs once they have reached social maturity. It is also unrealistic to expect dogs to get along with every single dog they meet.

There are some groups of dogs who should not go to the off leash area: unvaccinated puppies, females in season, sick and old dogs, reactive or aggressive dogs. Entire males are also not the best candidates here in Australia. There are so few un-desexed dogs that they get ‘picked on’.

Not suitable are dogs who do not enjoy other dogs company, who are fearful or nervous around other dogs. Contrary to common believes, the off leash dog park is not a place to socialise your dog. There are too many things that can go wrong.

Very small dogs are at risk because not all big dogs have learnt to play appropriately with little dogs. Sometimes bigger dogs also mistake little fluffy dogs in the distance for a rabbit and chase. Depending on the prey drive of the chasing dog this might not end well.

So who then makes a good candidate? Dogs who are well socialised and resilient and enjoy the company of other dogs, even unknown ones.

Teenage dogs from around 6 months to 2 years often enjoy interacting and playing with other dogs. They should have done a good puppy pre school that provides moderated off leash interaction. They should have met socially with a lot of appropriate dogs so they have developed resilience in case something goes wrong. They need a very reliable recall and basic obedience.

The choice of dog park is an other important consideration. The first visits have to be during low traffic times. Choose a dog park that has some features (water access, trees, play equipment and not just an empty space), fencing can be helpful. Check the other users and the other dogs first. If your dog does not like to share his toys, leave them at home.


Ideally, the dog park is a place where dogs are playing nicely with each other, the owners supervising closely, occasionally calling their dogs back, rewarding, then asking for a sit, another reward and let them go again. Things are rather calm and relaxed. If a dog gets bullied, both owners will intervene and redirect their dog to a more appropriate play mate. Arousal levels are low and the dogs are supervised at all times.

But most people do not recognise ‘good play’. Good play ebbs and flows, one dog is chasing, then the other; one is on top then the other one; there is disengagement and engagement; play behaviours such as play bow, eye flashing, ‘bouncy’ movements are displayed and there is the occasional lull in the activity. If it is too one sided and too rough, interrupt and regroup.

The dog park is not place to rehabilitate reactive, fearful or even aggressive dogs, ever. The environment is too unpredictable and accidents can happen in seconds. The other users of the dog park also have not given consent that they agree to expose their dogs to dogs who need re-socialisation. A lot of owners in the dog park have spent time socialising their dog to be friendly and socially apt. They do not want to risk that for an aggressive dog or a bully.

And for the record there are a lot of lovely, happy, completely normal and well socialised dogs who do not cope with the dog park and do not want to go there. As an owner you should respect this and look for alternative ways of having a good time with your dog.

A good alternative is going for walks with a group of dog friends and a play at the end. Or a fun Agility class or any other dog sport where dogs meet in a social setting without having to play if they do not feel like it. A well run day care where they meet their friends is another option. I also recommend on leash walks in different environments, in most places, city or country, dogs are allowed on leash. There are great State Forests where you can take your dog for walks or the Spit to Manly walk on the Northern Beaches is a great walk (part is off leash).

Off leash time, yes, in moderation and only for suitable dogs!



in the rain
The only ones in he rain.


first published on







Teenage dogs!

This is only week three of our teenage dog training class! First we did a little bit of trick training, then stays under distractions (the star jumps are a bit of fitness for the owners during class), then the very first part of loose leash walking while the other dogs practice the coffee shop.
We also did leave it, focus exercises like watch me, hand target, doggie Zen and recalls. It is a full program and these students are making great progress.

The dog park!

Just a quick one on the dog park. There are a lot of well socialised, friendly and happy dogs out there who do not want to go to the off leash park and play with strangers.
The dog park is full of dogs who approach, interact and play inappropriately and rough. Mainly because no one supervises them or has taught them some manners.
So if your dog does not enjoy the experience take her for a walk and do some fun training with her.
The dog park is not for every dog!

 in the rain

Fearful puppies

Sometimes we see a puppy in class who is really scared of other dogs and displays behaviours such as growling and barking when other puppies approach even on their owner’s lap. Not because they are excited and want to play but because they are scared.

These are behaviours which I consider ‘out of the norm’. It is not something you would expect a puppy to do. This could be caused by a genetic predisposition or bad experiences very early in life. In this case I think it is a bit of both.

We had such a puppy in one of our last puppy classes, she came from a pet shop and the owner was really worried. I was, too!

To live with an unsocial dog is stressful, worrying and exhausting. Even if you do not intend to go to the dog park, the puppy will meet other dogs on social occasions.

We went very softly and let her explore the room on her own, then gradually matching her with calm puppies. I recommended an ADAPTL collar early on but the vet advised against it. She did not improve as much as I hoped and by the end of the four weeks, a lot more needed to be done.

I could finally convince the owner to get the ADAPTIL collar and I offered a repeat of the puppy pre school class at no extra cost.

The owner was more than happy to do this and brought her back to class.

As she had been in the room before, has had a lot of positive association, she was much more confident.

She has now started to interact appropriately with the other puppies, initiates play and social interaction. Not once has she growled or barked in fear.

This is not the end. The owner needs to keep socializing carefully and appropriately until she is at least 12 months old and beyond that.


Growly puppies and how to prevent resource guarding

Another important topic in puppy class is safety. I know that does not look or sound fancy but unsafe dogs don’t live very long.

We all want safe dogs. However, dogs can develop the tendency to guard things (food, toys, humans, places). It is most often seen with food. A resource guarding dog is a dog who stiffens up, cowers, growls and snaps when people approach ‘his’ food. Or what he perceives as his. The first two signs and other stress signs are often missed.
To prevent this we need to teach the puppy very early that is a good thing to give up things they have. In the video you will see what we call ‘exchange’. The puppy has something we would like and we offer the puppy something else in return. This will eventually lead to a ‘leave it’ cue. But first we let them know it is just ok to give things up.
The second one is the ‘food bowl’ exercise. Don’t get me wrong every dog deserves to eat in peace but dogs who bite when approached while eating are dangerous.
It is very important to make sure they perceive hands coming close as a positive thing. In this exercise the dog learns that hands BRING more good things and do not take it away.
If your dog or puppy goes stiff, cowers or growls stop immediately and talk to an appropriately qualified and experienced trainer.

Play puppy play

Supervised play in a puppy pre school is not the same thing as taking your puppy to the off leash area which you should not do under NO circumstances.
However, we all want puppies who are social with people but a lot of owners also want their dogs to be social with other dogs and go (at some stage) to the dog park. If you intend to never do this that is fine. But if you do and every dog will occasionally meet other dogs, you might want to consider safe puppy to puppy socialization for your puppy.
If they do not learn this as puppies they probably never will. Dogs have a so called finite socialization period which means what they have not experienced at a young age might cause them to go into fight or flight mode.
Like any other aspect of puppy socialization people of all ages, ethnicity, mobility, sounds, surfaces etc etc dog to dog socialization needs to be done in an appropriate and positive way.
Better no off leash interaction then inappropriate ‘free for all play’. Puppy to puppy socialization has to be only two puppies at any one time, of similar play style and confidence level and it has to be managed extremely carefully.
On leash interaction is not the same as off leash. I do not know about you but if I am walking my dogs I really do not want them to interact and play with every dog they meet. I want them to walk nicely on the leash, without pulling, and paying attention to me.
I know as a puppy it is cute but unfortunately not for long and you are setting your puppy up to fail. You also create the wrong expectation.
You are also potentially making your dog leash reactive. If dogs meet off leash they will do that in a circular motion, going for the bum sniff. On leash we make them meet head on which is confrontational in dog body language. If you make your puppy meet other dogs head on too many times even the best tempered dog can get scared and develop unwanted behaviours such as lunging, barking or even snapping.
Yes puppies have to and should play but it should be off leash. And it should be well moderated and supervised.
And again, the dog park is not a place to socialize puppies it is a place for well socialized and resilient dogs.