Puppy Training: Signs of Potential Health Problems

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When you bring a new puppy home it's an exciting time and both you as your puppy goes through a period of adjustment. All puppies need to be trained to behave in an acceptable manner both at home and when out and about in public places, and the sooner you start socialising your puppy and taking them to a behaviour training class the better.

 If training your puppy isn't going as well as you had anticipated, there may be an underlying health issue that's making it difficult for your puppy to respond to training cues. Here are a few signs of potential health problems to be on the lookout for.

1. Inconsistent Toilet Training Results

If your puppy keeps having accidents around the house despite already learning to let you know when they want to be let out, they may have an infection. This can make it difficult for them to hold in their urine and control when and where they urinate. Your puppy will feel as frustrated about accidents in the house as you do, so help them out by taking them to the vet. They can take a urine sample and have it analysed for the presence of bacteria or protein, which are both indicative of an infection.

2. Trouble Following Verbal Instructions

If your puppy is having trouble getting to grips with verbal commands and if they don't generally respond when you call their name, they may not simply be misunderstanding what you are trying to teach them or showing a defiant streak. Trouble following verbal instructions could indicate your puppy has a hearing problem, and they should have their ears examined by your vet.

3. Lack of Interest or Engagement In Training Activities

Puppies are known for being rambunctious and tend to love attention and want to please you. If your puppy doesn't seem interested in fun training games and would rather be resting than bounding around, there could be an underlying health condition leaving them too lethargic to indulge in their natural curiosity and desire to learn new things.  

For example, they could have worms, a food allergy, poor nutrient absorption or anaemia. Puppies lacking energy and engagement should be assessed by a vet as soon as possible to establish the cause. Your vet will likely take blood, faeces and urine samples to check for the presence of bacteria, parasites or inflammation.

If training your puppy is causing you concern, or if you'd like information about safe, gentle training methods, contact a vet clinic.  

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