(Updated 08/02/01)

Puppies to get a headstart in life at Crufts


VISITORS TO the Blue Cross stand at Crufts this year can learn how a new puppy socialisation scheme could put an end to the problem of dogs biting people and other animals.

Head of Animal Behaviour Services at the Blue Cross Gwen Bailey, and other members of her animal behaviour team, will be on hand to discuss the importance of early puppy socialisation and habituation in producing well-adjusted adult dogs, with the new scheme ‘Headstart for Puppies’.

Gwen says: “Very often aggression in dogs is based on fear. But if a dog is socialised properly it will be comfortable with new encounters with people or situations later in life, and therefore less likely to feel the need to defend itself by becoming aggressive”.

‘Headstart for Puppies’, which is being sponsored by animal health company Intervet, gives dog breeders and owners comprehensive advice on how to produce well-adjusted dogs. It encourages them to introduce the puppies to different types of people, situations, animals, sounds and smells to prepare them for the outside world.
The stand will have leaflets, wipeable puppy socialisation charts and audio tapes containing everyday sounds, such as those made by washing machines and vacuum cleaners, for breeders and owners to take away with them.
‘Headstart for Puppies’ was unveiled last October with a series of seminars across the country which were attended by over 1,000 breeders. Intervet will also be promoting the importance of early socialisation on their stand at Crufts.

The need to teach breeders the importance of socialising puppies was highlighted in a recent survey carried out by Intervet, an animal health company, in consultation with the Kennel Club, CABTSG and the CDL to gain a better understanding amongst breeders of the importance of early socialisation. It revealed that one quarter of all puppies are not introduced to children by their breeders, despite the fact that many of them will be homed with families.



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