Just about everybody loves a puppy. What’s not to love? Okay, maybe there are a few things — like accidents in the house, chewing your things, nipping…
Here are a few things that you should know about your new puppy:
1. When you bring your new puppy home he doesn’t know very much. He’s spent most of the first weeks of his life living with his mother and siblings, who are dogs. That means he knows some basic dog things, like how to whimper and bark to get attention. He knows how to poop on papers. His breeder may have taught him a few things but there wasn’t time to teach him very much. Your puppy is pretty much a blank slate. It’s up to you to teach him everything he needs to know.
2. Your puppy is a little animal, not a small person in a furry suit. He has animal instincts and will always react as an animal when he doesn’t know what to do. That means that your puppy can bite and scratch and hurt somebody if he’s not supervised and trained. He needs training while he’s young so that he doesn’t grow up to be a badly-behaved dog.
3. Puppies need socialization. Socialization is the process of introducing your puppy to the big, wide world and everything in it. Your puppy needs to go places, see new things and meet people. He should learn that new things and new people are good. Socialization teaches a puppy to be confident and helps him later in life. Puppies that are well-socialized tend not to develop behavior problems later on.
4. You should begin training your puppy early. You can train a dog throughout his life but it’s always easier and advisable to start training a puppy when he’s young. Teach your puppy good manners and some basic obedience skills like Sit and Come. You can take him to Puppy Preschool or Puppy Kindergarten classes where he can learn some simple obedience and enjoy some socialization at the same time.
5. Your puppy will most likely chew on things so you should try to “puppy proof” your house as much as possible. Put away your shoes and other things that he can reach. When your puppy chews on things take them away. If you catch your puppy in the act of chewing on something he’s not supposed to chew on, you can correct him (no physical punishments). Otherwise, if you don’t catch him, you should let it go. There is no point in correcting a puppy or dog for something that has already happened. Your puppy or dog won’t know why they’re being corrected.
6. Puppies may nip, bite too hard when playing or simply get too raucous. When they do, you should stop playing with them and ignore them. If they continue, you should call a time-out. Time-outs work with puppies just as they do with children. If your puppy nips you, you should yelp and let him know it hurts. If he even touches his teeth to your skin, yelp and don’t play with him. If you stop playing with him whenever he tries to nip he will stop nipping.
7. If you have children teach them that they can’t mistreat a puppy. Tell them not to stare at a puppy or otherwise make the puppy uncomfortable. They puppy may lunge at them. And, if they run away screaming from a puppy, the puppy will chase them. Not all kids are happy about that fact. Children under six should be supervised when they play with puppies.
8. Puppies may whine and bark and whimper for attention. Sometimes you will have to ignore them, especially if you want to get any sleep.
9. Do make sure that your puppy gets all of his vaccinations on schedule. See that he takes heartworm preventive and flea medication if he needs it in your area. Your puppy’s health and well-being depend on proper veterinary care. You should also make sure that you are feeding him a good dog food with meat protein sources.
10. Puppies are adorable and they will make you do whatever they want.
Those are a few things you should know about puppies. Have fun with your puppy and may he (or she) grow up to be a wonderful dog.
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