Virginia's Blog


Tuesday evenings 6pm
Saturday morning 1pm

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We have a couple of puppies in class whose owners are little concerned that they are being shadowed by their new furry family members
When we bring a new puppy home and away from the family they were born into (that's most likely Mum, brothers & sisters and their breeder) they can find it quite traumatic. We often take it for granted that they will simply 'slot in' with us and our routine. However their surroundings smell completely foreign as are the new people they are going to be living with. They can usually pretty quickly attach themselves to whoever is the most constant in their new daily lives and will often make sure they never let them out of their sight. This can be a little worrying
We talked about what would be considered 'normal' new puppy behavior and what possibly is not, with suggestions about what can be done to contribute to a more secure environment for the puppy - and giving owners a bit of a break too
Another new group of puppies joins us next week, with the other classes midway through their course


Despite school holidays being over and kids no doubt experiencing the burden of copious amounts of homework, lure of puppy class was too much and we had a large contingent of enthusiastic young trainers attending our class last Tuesday evening
It is so satisfying to see the strong bonds of relationship being established between the gorgeous kids and puppies who come to class
Families learn to identify their puppy's body language - when they look happy or scared. Appropriate games and interaction is encouraged; games that teach mutual respect between puppy and children
And everyone was reminded that they are training their puppy not only to be good members of their immediate family, but to be social and happy to other friends and family within your own wider social circle


Last week all puppies and owners enjoyed the last session in their puppy training which culminated in demonstrations of all behaviours learned including watch, sit,  drop, shake, rollover, high 5, chill, exchange, fetch and introduction to stay.  We all had fun with the tunnels, jumps and see saw.  Everyone received their Graduation Vouchers together with information on recommended further training - because we like to think we help you at home with Puppy Classes, and further training is going to assist with the adolescent behaviours shortly to arise (if not already) when you get out and about.  Further training is like High School for teenagers and will keep our puppies mentally stimulated and give our owners assistance and knowledge to positively tackle unwanted behaviours


Puppy Classes at Seaforth Vet are in full swing with all puppies enjoying the play, socialization and training. Special mention must be made of one of our younger trainers; "Jimmy" is doing some amazing training with his beautiful Kelpie x, "Banjo" and it is so lovely to see the amazing relationship being established between them both
There was lots of discussion on feeding this week. Puppies only have a little tummy, and if we are giving food rewards for lots of training, then it is possible they may not be as ravenous for their meals. Balance is the key, and using their daily allocation of kibble for training can be an option. We don't encourage grazing (as in leaving the food down all day), or cooking their meals yourself. There are excellent nutritionally balanced diets available, and I think your puppy would much prefer you took them out on a walk rather than use that time cooking them dinner



This week saw another new group of gorgeous puppies and lovely owners commence training at Seaforth Veterinary Hospital. The damp, cool weather doesn't hinder our classes with our dry and comfortable puppy class room

Lots of discussion about house training, especially the need for everyone to venture out in the cold, especially at night, to get their puppies used to damp, cold surfaces as soon as possible -rather than developing a preference for paper, or, worst of all, carpet

Puppy play was plentiful. There was lots of exuberance exhibited by some. This was gently controlled with calm interruption and getting puppies to focus back on their owners. Play is an integral part of puppy learning and socialization, however we always ensure that one puppy doesn't get too enthusiastic with the other who could then find it not quite so much fun. After play we have calm sessions, where puppies get to relax on their mats and enjoy a chewie treat. Owners then get the opportunity to ask questions or discuss puppy behaviours that might be encountered by others in the room and then its onwards with more training, and owner relationship building and focus



I was a bit sad to say goodbye to another lovely class which graduated this week. All such beautiful, happy puppies and wonderful owners. We talked about the different options available for more training. Goodog Dog Training offers the next level of training in 'adolescent classes'. They offer enjoyable lessons, relevant to everyday living situations, using positive training methods
They also offer introduction to Agility classes, Dancing with Dogs, Rally-O and Noseworks. So there's plenty of opportunities to continue training whilst having a whole lot of fun with your k9 companion


So this week's discussion amongst our lovely groups centered around puppy exuberance

Young puppies come with little or no impulse control, and just like toddlers if they want something they want it immediately and will do anything to get it (usually enthusiastically).  The welcome home after being away that owners often receive from puppies can be both overwhelming and, on occasions, painful

Discussion continued on teaching and encouraging calm or asking for opposing behaviours, and always reinforcing for the behavior you actually want


Well its been a case of -do as I say, don't do as I do- Prior to Easter, all our puppy owners were warned of the potential problems of dietary misadventure for example too many sausages from the bbq, or consuming sultanas, or onions - and - chocolate
Beware the time when your puppy grows big, and if you leave succulent items on your kitchen benchtop many will soon learn that 'counter surfing' offers occasional very worthwhile rewards
My dog has long Elle Macpherson-length, legs. She is also very accomplished when opening Tupperware containers and last week helped herself to approximately 400gms of good quality dark chocolate. This resulted in a little visit to my place of work, where she was very capably looked after by Dr Rob Miller and our wonderful nurses 
She came home (hungry) that evening and fortunately suffering no ill effects. My kitchen benchtops are now completely clear and any chocolate is stored in the newly purchased safe


It was mass puppy graduation this week. All pups and owners (maybe especially their owners), enjoyed demonstrating tricks (rollover and shake and wave), and watching puppies sprinting through our hoop and over our see saw
A couple of owners mentioned their puppies being a little more settled this week during the night. As the temperature dropped this week and the cold can certainly unsettled puppies
Also, with the onset of the Easter Weekend, everyone was reminded that puppies and chocolate can be a diabolical mix - as can sausages from the BBQ given by a well meaning family member
Nobody wants their pet to experience dietary misadventure over a long public holiday break


Some puppies grow up thinking are their names are No or Ah Ah

We talked this week about the use of ineffective words.  Owners only get so many credits up their sleeve when using "no" - and if they find they are using those specific words all the time, then its probably better to think about what they would prefer their canine companion to be doing.  The mantra we all chanted was "interrupt, redirect, and reward" - the perfect recipe for successful training

There's a real mix of larger breeds with a smaller tots in the current group of classes, and the socialization and abundance of off lead play is absolutely beautiful (and so entertaining) to watch

If you think you might like to come and watch a class, don't hesitate to give me a call to discuss



All our classes are brimming with puppies and enthusiastic owners.  Off leash play was a big discussion topic this week 

When puppies play on lead it is difficult to truly read proper canine body language, and when they meet on-lead, usually front on (as it nose-to-nose), it can be rather confronting for our dogs

In an off lead environment dogs can approach one another in a polite, circular fashion and there is usually a sociable bum-sniff (our version of shaking hands).  When dogs meet on lead and they try the circular approach often leads can get tangled and one or both dogs wind up feeling helpless and vulnerable when they can't get away

So its only ever the best kind of play here at Seaforth Vets' puppy classes, the good off leash kind


This week's classes were all about the weather - and house training!   There was a little lamenting that progress had taken a paw or two backwards.  It was agreed that most humans have some reluctance to going outside in bare feet when the ground is soaking wet, and believe it or not, puppies (and some dogs) experience the same discomfort and need extra encouragement to venture outside in the pouring rain.  Fortunately (??) there have been no shortage of opportunities for intensive house training in the rain


It was well and truly family time at puppy classes last weekend, and we had a extra large number of the smaller two-legged species.  So safety around our puppies was a topic extensively discussed

We want to ensure our puppies are not only good members of our own family, but also good members within the Community.  It is important to train for not only ourselves but also visitors and other small children coming to our home, as well as unfamiliar people interacting with our dogs when we are out and about

Strategies and training exercises were taken away at the end of the classes for everyone to practice during the week, with the aim of ensuring a confident, happy adult dog around not only its immediate family but everyone it will meet throughout its life



This week saw one happy group of puppies receive their graduation vouchers and gift packs.  Their 4 week course culminated in an enjoyable night including a series of fun activities designed to capitalize on all the training exercises learned over the past weeks
But education doesn't end with puppy class.  Owners were told of many more opportunities for further training, and everyone went away knowing they can always contact us for advice, information and help if needed



Well its been all systems go with puppy classes this year, and your correspondent has been a little tardy in her reporting, with apologies for that

All classes are full and all participants and their new furry charges have been especially enjoying the air conditioned surroundings - there were no cancellations due to extreme temperatures with us! We have introduced new lesson plans with even more relevance on training your new puppy to be a better member of your family and the community. Classes are fun and informative - and a unique experience in which the whole family can be involved.  We offer smaller classes but a big comfortable space and families of 5 are welcome to attend.  Give us a call to find out more



Two classes of clever puppies and their talented owners graduated this week

For the first time ever, one puppy was just too big to get through our tunnel!  Gracie the magnificent Briard wagged her tail consistently at one end and gave us a big doggie grin at the other.  Unfortunately those big hips just got stuck.  So I'll have to invest in a bigger tunnel.  She did however successfully conquer our see-saw and 'ring of fire'
All owners went home with goodie bags, graduation certificates and instructions to investigate further training with Barbara at Goodog.  And of course, they all know that we are here should anyone need any further assistance or advice



An enthusiastic, happy class took place on Saturday

  There was discussion about puppies waking in the middle of the night, not necessarily needing to go to the toilet, however it was thought they might be cold.  They may well have a warm bed, but if they are in a tiled area such as a laundry at night, this can get quite chilly around 2am and they will wake and wake everyone else up too.  Some breeds are actually quite 'nude' so to speak (like shorthaired pointers, staffies and vizslas).   A cheap dog coat option (while they are still growing) can be to put them in a Target small childs sloppy joe

Occasionally the sleeves need to be trimmed.  However if you are Paris Hilton-inclined,  you might like to look at the many designer-like creations available for canine fashionistas



It was week 2 for all classes currently running at Seaforth Veterinary Hospital

The curriculum included 'tricks' where Barbara from Goodog Dog Training demonstrated 'shake', 'high five' and spin.  We saw some very enthusiastic puppies (and young owners) practicing the techniques, and we are looking forward to see some entertaining results from the training that we know has taken place this past week

There was more discussion on 'safety' around puppies and dogs, and owners were asked to identify the many k9 body language signals that their puppies were demonstrating whilst playing with each other during the sessions



Last Saturday saw the results of much practice over the previous 7 days, resulting in some pretty impressive recalls from our young puppies

We saw some lovely play between puppies, and really good examples of happy canine body language - so all our owners will be well aware of what to look for when they go to the dog park

We worked on down and then rollover.  Everyone absolutely mastered the demonstrated methods to get those behaviours and lots of tricks will be on display for our last week



Puppy classes last week were left in the capable hands of Barbara from Goodog Dog Training while your roving puppy blogger was away competing in the NSW Interclub Obedience Trial

This is a competition between all Dog Training Clubs throughout the State.  Every club fields 2 teams, each comprising 5 dogs and their handlers.  Each handler and dog undertakes a series of formal obedience challenges depending on their level of experience.  My dog, Quinn, and I achieved the highest scoring dog of the trial winning our "ring" to great applause.  Our team came outright 11th in a field of 32 - not a bad achievement.  I was a very proud dog owner last Saturday and Quinn enjoyed all her BBQ chicken as a reward

We have a new group of puppies kicking off their training and socialization this Saturday, and it is racing recalls for the later class fronting up for Week 3



Week 2 gave all puppy class participants an opportunity to talk about the previous weeks progress, with everyone demonstrating a trick such as 'shake' or 'spin'.   There were some owners experiencing unsettled puppies in the middle of the night, and after some discussion this was attributed to the colder weather
During off-leash puppy play participants were asked to observe canine body language, which can be helpful in identifying happy (and less-so) interaction when older puppies eventually visit the many off leash parks in the area

Another group of excited puppies and owners will commence their training with us this Saturday (nd with the (arctic-like) temperatures outside, all will enjoy our large and warm training facility


A new group of puppies and enthusiastic owners commenced this week.  Lots of discussion on house training, mouthing, canine body language and interaction between puppies and children.  All owners departed at the end of the lesson with tired four legged family members and instructions to tackle some specific behaviours and tricks.  We are looking forward to lots of demonstrations next Saturday



It was graduation for our Tuesday night puppies.  All enjoyed the challenge of the tunnel, hoop and see saw.  All have gone off with lots of information about more training, as well as the knowledge that they can always contact me if they need any further assistance or advice

Each puppy in our busy Saturday group raced to their owners in the racing recalls.  There may have been one or two deviations in the process, but that was only because of strategically placed distractions designed to sabotage victory by the opposition - with much good humour 

Another fully booked out class is set to commence this week with all puppies and owners sure to enjoy the training and puppy play - as well as the spacious and warm room in view of the arctic temperatures outside



So this past week saw 2 groups of happy puppies graduate.  All successfully negotiated our challenging 'ring of fire' (well, it would have been, if the matches hadn't been forgotten :)) and our "tunnel of mystery" (where puppies have entered and never been seen again ... :))   If this has sparked any curiosity, then give us a call to come along and watch.  There is always much laughter and even more enjoyment at graduation

Our third class has recall practice for homework this week.  We also covered safety aspects of puppy/dog ownership; reading canine body language and encouraging calm behavior



With the amazing wet and windy weather, all puppies and especially their families were very grateful for the warm dry environment provided at last Saturday's classes. The general consensus was that house training had fallen apart a little bit.  Which is understandable - asking young puppies to go out in that weather to toilet is as about attractive to them as us going out there in shorts and in bare feet.  So positive methods to get them used to wet paws comprised a lot of discussion

One class successfully graduated last Saturday, armed with lots of ideas for further training, and the new class commencing this week is fully booked with owners and puppies eagerly anticipating a fun filled 4 week program



It's all go with puppy training at Seaforth Veterinary Hospital.  There's currently 3 busy classes of families and puppies with everyone enjoying the socializing and training experiences.  Puppies have travelled from all over Australia to join their new families; one apparently came from the fast-food chain "Mcdonalds" - Mum later clarified that Mcdonalds was the meeting point for collection of their new family member from the breeder
There is always education about safety around dogs and the importance of understanding canine body language
And last Monday night saw the first Puppy Playgroup.  All pups aged 9-16wks attending Seaforth Vet, Goodog, Canine Kindergarten and Pittwater Animal Hospital classes are welcome to attend and its free.


for session times and bookings



Five happy families and their clever puppies graduated in our first class last Saturday.  All puppies enjoyed running  through our obstacle course with baby tunnel and jump, and consolidated all they've learned over the past 4 weeks

There are six puppies in our second class and in week 2 they started the process of learning one of the hardest behaviours "reliable recalls".  We are looking forward to seeing who is going to win our Racing Recall competition next week



The class kicked off with the first of many controlled off leash play sessions.  With only ever 2 playing at any time, initially shy puppies were matched with a gentle buddy and it wasn't long before they were well and truly off their mats and 'play bows' were happening in abundance.  Lots of fun was experienced by both puppies and their families
We talked about getting your dog to come back to you, canine body language and safety around dogs as well as behaviours such as mouthing and barking
Next week I will report on the results of our "Racing Recalls" see you then



Week one puppy class kicked of with a brand new group of excited family members and their delightful new furry additions.  We have a kelpie, staffies and a couple of oodle-combos.  All puppies enjoyed some controlled but energetic play, and everyone appreciated the comfortable air conditioned environment with the temp hitting a toasty 31 degrees outside 

Training commenced from the moment their paws' hit the floor

Tired but happy puppies left at the end of the class with lots to practice - and show off - next week



New classes will begin on Tues 29th March at 6pm and Saturday 2nd April, 2pm please call and book your place now. Places are limited


If you would like to enrol your puppy in our classes please call


to check when the next group commences. Looking forward to seeing you and your lovely new pup at Seaforth Vets