Bringing a new puppy home is a joyous occasion. You have a young life to mold that will become a valuable member of your family. Dogs are able to adapt to the busiest or most laid back households. They find a way to fit in, but you can ensure a much better life for your young puppy if you watch for and take steps to intervene at various stages in their development.
Most Important Stages in Your Young Puppy’s Life
Each breed of dog has specific nutritional requirements. It is easy to believe the myth that a dog is a dog so they all can eat the same things. It is also easy to believe the myth that dogs are like wolves so must eat all meat. Domesticated dogs have been selectively bred by human beings. Dogs have slightly adapted intestinal tracts that give them the ability to digest starches that their wolf relatives lack. Puppies typically require more protein than adult dogs. However, there are dietary concerns for every breed. For example, large breed dogs need to have controlled development of their bones to prevent chronic problems from developing later on. It is critical to get information for your dog from a veterinarian trained in nutrition for canines.
Socialization of Young Puppies
You need to expose your dog to all of the social situations you expect him to encounter in life. Puppies should learn how to act around babies, toddlers, teens, grandparents, neighbors and even people in uniforms such as the mailman or meter reader. They should also know how to treat strangers. Though critical for larger breeds, chihuahuas are known for aggression to strangers if not socialized correctly. Golden retrievers from Red Fern Companions are known for being friendly, but even they can be fearful and antisocial if not properly socialized. You should begin to socialize him regularly and in all kinds of environments he will be exposed to. Do it gently and over time. Be consistent and insistent, but never teach using fear tactics. Fear can induce aversion and aggression.
Potty Training Young Puppies
Do not rub a puppy’s nose in urine or excrement. A firm “No” when you catch him in the act followed by gently leading him to the proper spot for relieving himself is appropriate. Hitting, yelling at, or otherwise punishing your puppy for doing a natural act will only make him afraid. It does not teach him where you want him to go. This takes repetition over time. As your puppy develops stronger cognitive skills, he will learn where the appropriate place is to relieve himself. It will not happen overnight. Also, expect a few relapses, but be aware that accidents after being fully trained may mean a medical condition from diabetes to a urinary tract infection may be happening.
All of the other training you want to add should be done using positive reinforcement methods to get the best and most long lasting results. It is your consistency that matters the most. Your puppy wants to be a part of your family and find his place within it. Do not leave him to guess how to do it. Instead, show him. Be observant, do your research, and raise your puppy right.