Four week course - £30.00

Based: Barnstaple Practice (outside no matter what the weather!)

Understanding about good pet care can make you a more confident pet owner and your pet a happier healthier one.

We invite all puppies between 9 and 14 weeks to come along to our 4 week course of Puppy Confidence Classes, which are held by our Ruth Lovell.

You and your puppy can attend these classes a week after your puppy has had their 1st vaccination. Aim of class:

  • Improve your puppy's socialisation through meeting other puppies.
  • Help owners recognise canine communication and body language.
  • Puppy Habituation - Familiarising your puppy with household objects.
  • Puppy Bonding with their owner.
  • Basic commands.


To find out more or to book your four week course, please call South Molton on 01769 572176 or Barnstaple on 01271 344262.

(Reservation is essential and payment is required before the first class)



Socialising Your Puppy

Socialisation is absolutely vital to ensure a balanced and well behaved adult dog. The more you expose your puppy to at a young age, the happier and more relaxed they will be in adulthood. Consequently dog ownership will be a pleasure rather than a strain. 

If during puppy training your puppy appears frightened, try to avoid talking to them or touching them as they will perceive this as a reward for being frightened. Simply ignore the anxious behaviour and remove the puppy from the situation and try again another day.

Whenever your puppy reacts in an appropriate way to a new situation ensure you reward them with plenty of praise so they understand they are acting correctly. If you are having any problems at all, they can be resolved very quickly and easily at a young age, so please do not hesitate to contact us so that we can offer you advice or put you in touch with a behavioural expert.

The Following Steps Outline How Best To Socialise Your Puppy


Puppy will still be with mother and siblings but should experience human scent, both male and female at a very early stage.

3 weeks

All environmental stimuli should be interesting and non threatening to the puppy. The breeder should expose the puppy to household noises e.g. washing machine, vacuum and television. Plenty of handling should be instigated to include grooming and mock veterinary examinations.

6 weeks

Puppy is normally transferred to its new owner around this age. They should meet all the family e.g. men, woman, children, other pets and babies. Puppy should also get use to car journeys, visitors e.g. postman and also start to come accustomed to being left alone for short periods.

9 weeks

Start to introduce stronger stimuli e.g. street noises, crowds, children's play areas and leash training.

This is an ideal time for puppy socialisation classes under veterinary supervision. Avoid dogs that are aggressive or badly behaved in parks as this may encourage fear and teach bad behaviour.

12 weeks

Ensure a broadening range of experiences.

15 weeks

Lessons learnt can be forgotten unless you reinforce them. This should continue right up until social maturity.

House Rules

These basic rules will provide you with some useful tips on how to get the best from your puppy.

Praise good behaviour use verbal praise as well as touch and treats. Dogs do not understand the English language or tone of voice so if you tell your dog off by shouting they’ll assume they are being praised and are likely to repeat the bad behaviour again.

Ignore unwanted behaviour if chewing your best shoes gets no response from you they will be unlikely to bother with it again, however if you shriek and chase your puppy around trying to retrieve your shoe they are likely to see it as a game and will pinch your shoe at every given opportunity.

Ignore your puppy for five minutes before leaving the house, you leaving should never be a big deal.

Ignore your puppy for the first five minutes when you return as again coming home should not be a big deal.

Do not enter the house after being away if your puppy is barking. Doing this just once will teach your puppy that if they bark you will return home. Wait for them to become quiet for a few seconds and then go in.

If you come home to a destroyed item don’t clear it up in front of your puppy. They will see this as attention for the mess they have made.

Remember everything on the floor is a dog toy! Put precious items away and teach children to do the same.

Make sure your puppy is always left with safe appropriate chew toys. Use stuffed Kong's, puppies have to chew in order to learn about their environment.

If your puppy bites you, say ‘ouch’ in a gruff voice and walk away. They will soon learn that this is unacceptable behaviour and will not bite.

Ignore accidents in the house. Clean them up with the puppy out of sight. Use biological washing powder as this contains enzymes that break down anything left behind, so removing the smell. Praise your puppy for going to the toilet outside and they will soon learn that this behaviour makes you happy and will gladly wait for you to take them out.

Consider using an indoor kennel. Dogs are naturally denning animals and enjoy a dark kennel they can retreat too. They are highly beneficial giving puppies a ‘chill out’ zone to encourage rest, provide a safe environment where they can be left and also aids in toilet training as they will have been taught by their mum not to mess in their bed.

Children should not be left unsupervised with a puppy and should never be allowed to annoy or tease them. Remember the only defence a dog has are its teeth and it only takes seconds to cause serious harm. 90% of all dogs in rehoming centres are from households with children and sadly quite often the children were the problem, not the dog.