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  1. Inappropriate toileting in puppies is very common but can also be difficult to overcome. 
    Having a well thought out strategy and getting everyone on the same wave length is very
    important in order to achieve success. Puppy pads? Typically we advise not using puppy pads. This is simply because if you are using them for a
    number of weeks your puppy is being reinforced for toileting on the mat and therefore for
    toileting inside. This means that weaning them off of the mat in the future can prove to be
    difficult. So what should I do? The best way to teach your pup where is and isn't appropriate to toilet is to simply get them
    out more often than you think you need too. If you are giving your puppy plenty of
    opportunities to succeed and less chance of toileting inside then they will quickly learn the
    routine. Think of it as each time they toilet indoors you are taking a step back, whereas each time
    they toilet outside you are taking a step forwards. With the end goal being learning where to
    toilet, obviously we would like more steps forward. More opportunities = more success! We can speed this process up by using treats to make going outside extra positive. If we
    reward them each time they go outside then they will begin to realise it is much more worth
    their while if they do it outside rather than in. But what about overnight? Overnight can be tricky as many puppies simply can't hold it in for such a long duration. If
    your puppy struggles at this time we need to build them up gradually. As much as it's a pain,
    set your alarm for around 3am. If you have gone to your puppy and they have toileted then
    the next night you need to get up a little earlier. If you have gone to them and they are clean,
    then let them out, once they have toileted outside put them back to bed. The next night get
    up a little later. Won't they just get better with age? They may well get better as they develop better self control and a stronger bladder. However
    if we continue to let them practice the behaviour over night, this can turn into a bad habit
    which may be harder to conquer if it has been reinforced a lot with age. It's best to grit your
    teeth now and get up, every puppy develops at different rates, some may require more
    practice than others.

    George Rooke - Head Behaviour Counsellor
  2. As many of you reading this will be aware, physical stimulation is something which is very 
    important for any dogs and some breeds more so than others. A tired dog is a well behaved
    dog. But what about mental stimulation? Mental stimulation is a fantastic tool to keep your dogs occupied, focus their attention and
    give them something to do when we are busy or out the house. Think of it this way, someone who works in an industry that isn't physically demanding will still
    go home and be shattered, this is because they have worked their brain and not their feet.
    If we can tire your dog out physically as well as keeping them engaged mentally throughout
    the day, you will have one tired and happy dog. So what can we use for mental stimulation? There are plenty of mentally stimulating activities you can take part in with your pooch,
    anything that gets them thinking and isn't as straightforward as tug this rope or chase that
    ball is going to be very effective. Games such as scent work can provide a fun and engaging source of mental stimulation.
    Scent work can be used to find hidden treats, toys or even everyday objects if trained
    correctly. As you play this game you will see the cogs turning and your four-legged friend
    trying to find those pesky hidden rewards. This is a fantastic game where you can see the
    mental simulation taking place. Agility is another option. Many people look at agility and think it is all about the physical
    attributes of the dog and handler, however this is not the case, it is so much more. During
    agility both handler and dog have to work together to overcome obstacles, tight turns and
    complex routes before reaching the finish line. Not to mention the initial confidence building
    it takes to jump, climb and weave their way to success using obstacles most dogs will never
    have encountered before. These are just two examples of activities you can get involved in as well as your dog but
    there are many more. So what about mental stimulation your dog can acquire without the need of their owner? Mental stimulation specific games/toys are designed to test your dog's ability without the
    need of your help. Kong as a brand have many of these available on the market and are a
    fantastic place to start. A generic Kong toy can be stuffed with food/treats and your best
    friend has to work out how to get them out. A toy such as this can last as long as an hour
    before your dog has completed it. If your dog spends this much time working their brain, that
    is the equivalent of a 45 minute walk for their brain! The nice thing about these types of mental stimulation is that they are infinitely customisable.
    By keeping what treats you put in them different every single time, you also keep your dog's
    interest and motivate them again and again to keep working their brains. By all means you don't need to head out and buy a thousand things to stimulate your dog,
    try to be creative, anything that gets them thinking and working hard will give them a good
    amount of mental stimulation and the more you can give them the better.

    George Rooke - Head Behaviour Counsellor