A new puppy brings a lot of love and fun into your home, but it's also a lot of work to make sure your puppy is properly trained and socialised. You'll work quite intensively with your puppy both in a puppy training class and at home, and training can take several months. While training your puppy, you'll also be getting to know them, and the training period can highlight potential health problems that may need to be investigated by a vet. Here are some health problems to be on the lookout for when training your puppy:
If your puppy doesn't react when you call their name and seems to be really struggling to learn the commands you are teaching them, it may be tempting to write their behaviour off as boisterousness. However, it could be a sign that there's a problem with their hearing, such as an inner ear infection, damaged ear drum or damaged cochlear nerve. Have your puppy's ears examined by your vet if they are struggling to follow verbal commands.
If your puppy has a problem with their eyesight, they may seem distracted or uninterested during training sessions. This may be because they are unable to find the rewards you are using during training or because they are overwhelmed or frightened in a class due to not being able to properly identify what's around them. They may also seem clumsy and bump into nearby objects when you ask them to sit or lie down. Your vet can check your puppy's eyesight using an otoscope, which is like a powerful handheld magnifier that allows your vet to see all the way to the retina at the back of your puppy's eye.
Urinary Tract Infection
If toilet training doesn't seem to be going well and your puppy is leaving puddles around your home, it may not be that they haven't grasped the idea of relieving themselves outside. They may actually have a urinary tract infection impairing their bladder control. Your vet can determine if your puppy has a urinary tract infection by analysing a sample of their urine for bacteria. A urinary tract infection can spread and cause kidney damage if left untreated, but this type of infection is easy to treat with antibiotics.
If you're running into problems when training your puppy, consult with your vet. There may be an underlying health problem at play, or your vet may be able to give you some training advice.
Contact a professional to learn more about puppy training.