By Rachel Bird, PAWS Animal Behavior Lead
Who doesn’t love puppies?! They are adorable, fun to play with, and of course there’s puppy breath! Raising a puppy isn’t all tummy rubs and playtime though, there is some actual work involved. After all, you will be shaping and teaching your puppy to grow into the best dog she can be. But how do you start?
Puppy proofing before bringing home your new pup is always a good idea. Make sure all valuable items are out of reach, but also be aware of any items that could be dangerous for your puppy to chew on. Puppies love to chew as it’s natural, but they don’t always know what is a dog toy and what isn’t. If you do catch your puppy chewing on an inappropriate item, gently remove it and give them an acceptable chew toy. Make sure your puppy has plenty of fun toys to keep her occupied, and praise her when she is chewing on them.
It’s also a good idea to closely supervise your new puppy in your home. That way you can make sure she is staying safe, plus you learn their ‘cues’ for when they need to relieve themselves. It’s important to remember a puppy under 6 months can only ‘hold it’ for a couple hours, and will need to go out for frequent potty breaks, especially after play sessions or when waking up. Sticking to a regular schedule will help your puppy to learn. Accidents are normal, and you should never punish your puppy for having one.
Puppy classes are a fun way to start socializing your puppy with other dogs and new people too. Socialization is key to raising a well-adjusted puppy. All puppies under 6 months should experience new things every day. Not only should they interact with people and dogs, but new experiences and places too. Make sure to always have plenty of treats on hand. If your pup seems afraid, go slow and pair the new ‘thing’ with plenty of yummy treats to make it a good experience.
Remember that you are in charge of shaping your puppy’s behavior, and what you do now will impact your puppy for the rest of her life. Visit our resource library for additional hints on helping your puppy to become a great dog. Start training early, be consistent, and have fun!
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