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Raising a Puppy

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					Raising a Puppy
These guidelines are not a complete guide to raising a puppy (there are entire books
devoted to that topic!) but will get you off to a good start. They are arranged along a
timeline, starting at the age of 8 weeks, the earliest age at which most people would be
bringing a puppy into their home. If your puppy is slightly older, but missed out on the
earlier stages (or you don't know if they did), as long as they are under five months old,
these steps can still be followed



Prepare for puppy's arrival

Being prepared can mean the difference between getting a good start, or getting started
off on the wrong paw. A puppy needs a safe, warm environment. Being raised indoors
with as much human contact as possible is critical at this stage

   Puppy-proof a play area. Puppies will chew everything, from electrical wires to socks
   and shoes. You need a secure, puppy-proof, enclosed area or crate for those times you
   cannot directly supervise your puppy. Puppies typically are not housebroken, and
   should be kept in an area when it is ok to have accidents.

   Establish a daily routine from day one. A puppy feels secure having dinner, playtime,
   lessons and walks at the same time each day. Also, spending all weekend with it
   when you first bring it home, then leaving Monday all day can cause lots of anxiety!
   If you do bring it home on a weekend, leave it alone for progressively longer periods
   of time. Schedule your puppy feedings so that all are done by about 5-6 pm if you go
   to bed at 11, and very little water after that. Be regular about your (and your puppy's)
   bedtime and time getting up in the morning, to help your puppy learn to hold it
   through the night.

   Establish your house rules. If you do not want your adult dog on the furniture or
   jumping up, do not allow the puppy on the furniture or to jump up. Ask all visitors
   (and family members!) to follow your house rules. No matter how cute it is when he's
   tiny, most people do not want their full grown dog jumping on everyone.

   Crying, whining and barking - depends your puppy's age, temperament and
   experiences. The WORST thing to do is to let the puppy holler for a long time, and
   THEN go let it out or give it attention. When you do that, you teach the puppy to
   PERSISTENTLY make noise in the crate, because you have shown the puppy that
   persistence pays! You don't want to respond quickly to a puppy making noise in the
   crate, provided you are sure the puppy's needs have been met. A cuddly stuffed
   animal can be a best buddy for your puppy to cuddle up to.
Basic commands at any age

At the minimum, your dog should learn to come when called, walk on a leash and
sit/stay.

   Never repeat a command. Repetition is dulling, and the puppy ignoring you when you
   say "come, come, come" is training him NOT to come when called.

   Try saying "come" in a fun, high tone of voice every time the puppy starts running
   towards you, and give the puppy lots of rewards/tummy rubs/verbal and food treats
   whenever he comes running to you. Say "good sit!" every time the puppy sits.

   If the puppy does something undesirable, be firm but avoid a harsh tone and never
   yell and NEVER use physical punishment. Punishment and yelling serve only to
   make your puppy act afraid of you. Cowering does not mean your puppy 'knows' he
   did something wrong, he is just reacting to your voice right at the moment. It will not
   help it learn what the right thing to do is. If your puppy is cowering when you are
   verbally correcting him, use a softer tone of voice.

   Be consistent. Always use the same command to elicit the same result. Don't use the
   same word to mean two different things. When you say "down" do you mean lie
   down or get off the counter?

2 to 4 months old

   Socialization at this age is critical. Time spent with the family means the puppy will
   become comfortable with the sights, smells and sounds that people make, and grow
   up accustomed to them, rather than afraid of them. Puppies can usually be left alone
   1-2 hour for every month of age (ie, a 2 month old puppy can be alone for 2 -4 hours).
   Leaving young puppies alone for too long means they are not being properly
   socialized. Try to plan your absences during naptime, or play with your puppy to tire
   it out before leaving. Using toys to entertain while you are gone, such as Kongs
   stuffed with goodies, make time alone easier. Crates can make being alone less
   frightening as well. See Puppy Socialization for a detailed method on socializing
   you puppy.

   Housebreaking begins as soon as you get your puppy home. See Puppy Housing
   Training for a detailed method to use when housebreaking your puppy.

   Bite Inhibition teaching starts immediately. See Puppy Bite Inhibition instructions
   for a detailed method of this training.

4 1/2 months old

      Enroll your dog in a good obedience class so it can benefit from the experience of
       the instructor, as well as socialize with other dogs. There is no substitute for a
       good obedience class.

				
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