Happy pup makes a happy home
"I HAVE something in my handbag: a silver dapple dachshund. I need your help."
That was the phone call that woke Suzanne Wright from a peaceful slumber and prompted the dog trainer to write a how-to book for owners dealing with a mischievous pup.
The next six weeks were spent on Skype, training and telling the late-night caller - Suzanne's daughter Sophie in New York - how to overcome her pup's wayward ways.
Then Sophie had some advice of her own for her mother.
"You need to put this in writing so that other new puppy owners like me have this advice," Sophie told her.
After hearing the desperation in her daughter's voice in that midnight call two years ago, Suzanne did put pen to paper.
The passionate animal lover, who opened a training school in 2005 after moving to Noosa nine years earlier, wrote The Essential Guide to Puppy Parenting.
The book focuses on the early stages of bringing a puppy home and is designed to help owners deal with issues commonly encountered by owners.
Suzanne says the first six to eight weeks is the most crucial time for a puppy and owners need to interact with it correctly.
Rather than simple dos and don'ts, Suzanne says socialising your dog, by introducing them to all the things it will experience as a larger dog, is the key.
"The most important thing is ensuring your puppy is introduced to all sorts of life experiences," she says.
Suzanne believes all dogs have the capacity to be trained, but respond in different ways and have their own learning paths.
"All dogs have different things to offer," she says.
For example, Cavaliers are gentle and loving while working dogs are just that: working dogs.
"It is up to the owner to find what it is that motivates the dog," Suzanne says.
She believes "dumb dogs" do not exist.
Rather, owners often are not being consistent or interacting properly, possibly even expecting too much of their four-legged friends.
If that was the case, she says, puppies could become confused.
Owners have to make rules and stick to them, she says.
Suzanne believes the easiest dogs to train are working dogs such as border collies and kelpies, because they are sharp and alert, and pick up training quickly.
German shepherds and guard dogs rate a mention in the intelligence stakes.
However, without set rules, "they could be just as ditsy as any dog", Suzanne says.
Suzanne understands that bringing a new dog home can be an anxious and stressful time and her book is designed to give owners guidance and strategies to cope with puppy issues.
"My passion is getting the training right and getting them off to a good start," Suzanne says.
"I just love working with puppies.
"If people get it right from the start, it saves puppy lives."
The Essential Guide to Puppy Parenting
- Doggie Business Publishing. Hard cover RRP$27; e-book $12.50
- Book and e-book is available directly from publisher at doggiebusiness.net.au or email Suzanne at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Also available from Annie's Books at Peregian Beach and the Noosa District Animal Hospital.