Our Founder Christiana shares her experience of her second day at the Victoria Stilwell Academy Dog Training Course and the interesting topic of Canine Body Language.  Plus, giving your puppy the best possible start in life. 

What has been the main focus of the day today?

This morning we focused on how vitally important it is to give a puppy the best possible start in life.

I posed a question based around a common challenge puppy owners seem to face these days. Puppies can arrive as early as 6 weeks old from breeders now. This is right as their first Socialisation Period is beginning. Yet, because of the wait until second vaccinations, they are advised to keep their puppy inside, during a time when the puppy would benefit from slow exposure to a variety of things and people in the outside world.

When looking for the right family to choose my French Bulldog from I was really impressed with how the breeder was happy to keep Winnie until 11 weeks old, so that she could have more time with her Mother and siblings. I knew that they would do a better job then I ever could. I think it is irresponsible to ship puppies across country and on planes, trains and automobiles when they are as young and vulnerable as 6 weeks old.

What has been the biggest challenge of the day?

I was trying not to cry when we spoke about the horror of puppy mills and how the experience of being raised in a puppy farm scars the dog for life. More than likely they will never recover from the negative impact of being born in a crowded cage to a stressed mother. The medical issues are numerous and the damage caused to them cognitively is beyond repair.

I personally am delighted that Lucy’s Law has been passed in England, and at Hampstead Hounds we will continue to support the message of choosing your puppy responsibly.

What have you enjoyed most about today?

The in-depth look this afternoon into Canine Body Language. I have a BSc in Psychology so anything to do with behaviour is fascinating to me. Body Language is just one of the ways we can tune in to understand our dogs a whole lot better. They are constantly trying to tell us things via their bodies.

Did you know that a wagging tail does not always mean that a dog is happy? It depends which way the wag is. A happy dog will wag to the right, and an unhappy one will wag to the left.  Once you see these signals you can’t unsee them, I think I have a new hobby to enjoy while out with our dogs!

How will this skill help your clients?

Learning to be more aware of a dog’s body language makes interaction with them a lot smoother as you begin to understand more of what they are trying to tell you.

Have you ever visited a foreign country and not known one word of the language? Do you remember the frustration as someone raised their voice at you because you could not understand them? This is often the experience for many puppies and dogs on a daily basis.

Opening up communication with your dog helps to build a stronger bond and a more harmonious life together.

I think Canine Body language is a fundamental thing for any dog owner to learn.

Keep following our blog for more updates on Christiana’s exciting journey to becoming a fully qualified Dog Trainer.

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