Socialisation and training

Many dog owners fall into the trap of thinking that their puppies will inherently be naughty or angelic based on breed or other genetic factors. This is far from the case! 

The truth is that it takes time, work and the active participation of everyone in the household to produce a friendly, well-mannered and hassle-free adult dog. 

From 3 weeks old to 16 weeks old, puppies are primed for learning about people, other animals, objects and their environment. This is called the critical socialisation period. If they don’t receive adequate exposure, training and guidance during this period, they can develop into poorly-adjusted adult dogs who may be fearful, aggressive or destructive.  

Veterinary behaviourists recommend that at a minimum, puppies attend socialisation classes and that owners plan to input at least 1 or 2 short training sessions with their puppy each day. Puppy preschool is highly recommended as it is fun and educational for both you and your puppy and is a great opportunity to meet other puppies in a safe environment. Please ask us about the puppy school that we run here at the clinic! Our classes have been developed by Veterinary Behaviourist Dr. Sally Nixon and are based on the most up-to-date science of canine learning and development. 

It is also important that puppies are given opportunities to socialise even prior to the completion of their 16 week vaccination booster, which falls at the end of their critical socialisation period. In addition to puppy school, we recommend regular structured play dates with calm, well behaved older dogs, that are healthy and up to date with vaccinations and worming. These play dates should occur in safe, low disease risk areas such as a house or backyard, with no access to unfamiliar or unvaccinated dogs. 

Get your puppy used to being handled by gently touching their ears, paws and mouth and offering them a treat for being good! Many older dogs require their teeth to be cleaned, nails to be trimmed and tablets to be given. If you put the ground work in now, you will make your life far easier later on in your pets' life!

Behaviour problems - we can help!


Dr. Chloe Groves is one of our veterinarians who has been with us since Townsend Vet Clinic first opened and now works remotely. Dr Chloe has a particular interest in behavioural medicine and offers a behavioural consultation service to help you problem solve those frustrating issues that are tarnishing your bond with your furry best mate! 

What does a behaviour consultation involve? 

Behaviour is a complex and constantly evolving field of veterinary medicine, so getting to the bottom of a behavioural issue can take time! Gathering an accurate history of the problem is crucial, so we first give you a questionnaire to fill out about your dog or cat’s behaviour and lifestyle prior to booking your behaviour consultation. 

The initial consultation will take an hour and a half or more and will be an opportunity for Chloe to observe your pet’s behaviour, discuss their physical health, as well as to gather more information about their behaviour in the home or consult room setting.

Following this first session, Chloe will formulate a detailed behavioural report which will outline a diagnosis of your pet’s particular behavioural problem(s), a series of recommendations (which may or may not include medications) and a prognosis for improvement.