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13th July 2012, 2:25pm
Leading animal behaviour experts publish new Life Skills for Puppies book
A puppy playing Leading academics in clinical animal behaviour have released a new book detailing their innovative methods to ease the sometimes tempestuous relationship between man and his best friend.

Life Skills for Puppies, by Helen Zulch and Professor Daniel Mills from the School of Life Sciences at the University of Lincoln, is aimed at current and potential puppy owners. It focuses on teaching puppies how to live happily with their families, with lessons ranging from coping with surprises or frustration to confidence and good manners.

Renowned dog behaviour and training expert, Jean Donaldson, describes the book as "the best puppy book I have ever read".

The book outlines 10 life skills which puppies need to master and is designed to make the reader stop and think about things from their puppy’s perspective - what puppies need to learn, not what humans believe that they need to train them to do. With an emphasis on "well-behavedness" rather than "obedience", the idea is that learning largely revolves around normal interactions that take place in the home rather than in artificial training contexts.

The aim is to help owners reduce the risk of dogs coming into conflict with human values, reduce the development of problem behaviours and increase opportunities for the puppy and family to develop a strong and fulfilling bond which promotes the animal's wellbeing. Owners are encouraged to take the concepts and integrate them into their daily life to shape their dogs' behaviour on an ongoing basis, rather than train specific exercises at specific times and in specific places.

The Animal Behaviour Clinic at the University of Lincoln has also developed Life Skills for Puppies training classes and researchers are investigating measures for the prevention of problem behaviour in pets.

Life Skills for Puppies: Laying the Foundation for a Loving, Lasting Relationship (2012) by Helen Zulch and Daniel Mills is published by Hubble & Hattie.

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