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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Raising a Happy, Friendly, and Confident Puppy

     Who doesn't love a puppy?  And if you have a new one, you have a great opportunity to start him off right, and raise a happy dog, who is friendly and respectful.
     One thing to ALWAYS remember, is that you puppy is a dog, not a human.  Lots of people like to say, "Oh, they are like my own children to me."  And I know they believe that.  The thing is, puppy is NOT human.  Puppy doesn't THINK like human, doesn't respond to things in the same way.  On the other hand, there are some similarities in the ways we CAN treat Puppy as you would a child.  One thing is to be consistent.  Physical punishment does not work with puppies; it only makes them a scared puppy whenever you raise your hand.  What you CAN do, is lightly "poke" the puppy with a finger and make that sound mothers do to kids, like Ah! Ah!. That takes his attention away from the bad behaviour and you can then direct him to a better choice to occupy his time.  Also--and, this is big; DO NOT rub your puppy's nose in his poop if he has an accident.  Yes, YOU would hate it if someone did that to YOU.  But Puppy will not understand you intention.  Did you know that dogs EAT their own poop sometimes.  So you are not accomplishing your goal, which is to have Puppy go poop in the correct location.  When you see him sniffing the floor, turning around in circles, or pacing back and forth, grab him and take him to the pee pad, or outside in the grass wherever you designate for him to go.  After he has done it in the right place tell him how good he is, and play with him for a bit.  If Puppy is very young and still in training, he should not be unsupervised in areas where he could have accidents and perhaps damage carpet or flooring.  Crate training is great for this purpose.  Dogs actually learn to love the crate, as they are den animals and feel safe and secure in their "den".  Don't get one too large, though, because he will make his bed in the back, and poop in the front.  It needs to be large enough that he can stand up without his head touching the ceiling, and plenty of room for him to turn around.
     Puppy should be introduced to new people slowly.  Especially if they are children.  Children should be shown how to approach the puppy slowly from the front or side of the dog, and offer a hand near or under the puppy's mouth to be sniffed.  This certainly applies to older dogs as well.
     Your puppy should be introduced to people and situations in order to become confident around all kinds of people, things, and situations.  But I will caution you:  I don't recommend you take your dog or puppy to public places, especially dog parks, until all preventative vaccinations have been completed, with the last one being given at least two weeks past.
     Abnormal behaviors include being fearful or easily startled, constant crying or yelping, biting to guard food or toys, and extreme nervousness or destructive behavior.  These can be quite serious problems and may require professional help or formal training.
     Remember that with a puppy, "out of sight" usually means "Into trouble".  So pay attention to what Puppy is doing, and how he interacts with his environment.  Keep appropriate toys to keep him interested and stimulated, and provide safe "down" time, especially for young puppies as they do require frequent naps.  Also, remember, waking up from a nap is one of the times you always should expect him to go potty; after he finishes eating is another time you always want to give him a chance to go potty.
     Hopefully, you've found something here that might help with your dog or new puppy.  We, here at Dogwood Dachshunds (shameless plug) are always here to help if we can.  We actually have a litter of Cream puppies, of which there are still three available--a male and two females.  You may contact me by the email here if you're interested in them.

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                           Happy Tails, Everyone!!!!!!