Despite what people tell you, when you lose a dog there’s never a best time to get a new one.

There’s simply the right time for you.

When we lost Barry it took a year for us to mourn the loss and welcome another Bordeaux into our home.

But, when we lost our first dog Flo at the age of 14, we decided about month later that the time was right to get a new dog. We still had a rescue dog Barry the Bordeaux, so I thought a smaller dog would be a good idea as he wouldn’t take up much room in the van, and be able to come on the daily dog adventures.

I decided to get a cocker because one of my first dog walking clients was a cocker spaniel called Lily. As fate would have it, at the same time as I was thinking about getting a puppy, I discovered Lily’s owners mam had also reserved a black cocker from a local breeder, and so I went and reserved a chocolate one which we named Sid.

I’ve worked with a lot of dogs but the high energy Cocker sure took some getting used too, especially when compared to our 6 year old slow, plodding Dogue de Bordeaux.

We crate trained Sidney and I was delighted with how he took to training. He’d mastered 6 tricks within a week and was pretty much house trained within the first fortnight. Despite those early successes I wanted to give Sid the best chance possible and so I was keen to attend puppy classes with him.

However, I didn’t just want any old puppy class, and I certainly didn’t want to attend a ‘puppy party’ where the puppys are allowed and even encouraged to play and roughhouse with each other.

These kind of interactions might look cute, but in most cases the puppies are learning to be bullies, to be bullied or at the very least they learn that other puppies are for playing with, which usually leads to puppys who become obsessed with playing with other dogs.

This can lead to recall problems, reactivity issues and even dog to dog aggression.

So, when I was looking for a puppy class I knew I wanted someone who was on the same page as me when it came to dog training, that’s why I chose Sue McCabe at Muttamorphosis. Sue and I share similar philosophy about dog training, we’ve shared a couple of mentors, and Sue had also been incredibly helpful to me when I first set up my business, allowing me to observe some classes she was running at the time. I was a no brainer that Sid and I would attend Sue’s class.

The main thing I remember from Sue’s classes was how she stressed how crucial it is for you have a strong bond with your puppy.

If you want to own a dog who is easy to look after, and a pleasure to take to the park then you need to be more than just an owner who watches hi play with his doggy friends.

You need to be the provider, teacher, friend and the playpal your puppy loves spending time with.

If you do that your puppy will look to you for everything and be a doddle to look after. This certainly proved to be the case with Sidney.

I had already started my dog training journey but for a lot of the people in the class this was their first experience of owning and training a dog. I remember how just like me and Sidney, over the six weeks of training, they gradually strengthened the bond with their puppies who morphed from being yappy little attention seekers, to fairly well behaved dogs who actually enjoyed listening to, and spending time with their owners.

This is why I’m delighted that Sue McCabe agreed to be one of the speakers for the Tour de Rescue event, which takes place in Morpeth on the 9th of September.

Sue will be sharing her top tips to successfully settle a rescue dog into your home, AND she’s just one of the fabulous speakers taking part. We also have Rebecca Ashworth, Stephen Wylie and yours truly.

It’s going to be an epic evening, and all the proceeds go to the rescues I visit during the day.

Click here to grab your ticket now.

You can find out more about Sue’s puppy classes by clicking here

Get a copy of Dom’s Puppy book The Perfect Puppy Project by clicking here now

Get the Perfect Puppy Audiobook with a free audible trail by clicking here now

If you like this blog you may like this interview with Sue McCabe about how to avoid dog to dog aggression – click here to view.

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