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The optimum time to start a puppy’s education is as early as possible: about eight weeks of age. With food treats and clickers as the primary tools in our training arsenal, we can help owners start educating their youngsters at an optimum training age, before pups have had several months of reinforcement for unwelcome and inappropriate behaviors. Paradoxically, some veterinarians still counsel owners to wait until their new puppies are six months old and “fully vaccinated” to take them to training class. Unfortunately, this advice is just as outdated as the use of choke chains in puppy classes! It’s true that you shouldn’t wantonly expose your pup to high-risk dog populations; you should never take him to a dog park, or let him play with stray dogs on the street. But the risk of contracting an infectious disease in a controlled setting, with other healthy puppies, is quite low.
As the proud owner of a new puppy, you are faced with some big decisions in the first few months. Are ALL of those vaccinations necessary? Can my puppy start socializing by mingling at the dog park or on the street? When should I begin training, or hire a dog trainer? What may seem like obvious answers are actually quite complicated and critically important to your puppy's well being.
Responsible, holistic puppy care begins long before the puppy arrives at the homestead. In fact, the first step to creating a healthy puppy is the selection of the puppy’s parents! The best predictors of long-term health of puppies are the health history and personality of the parents. Breeding stock should be proven to be sound in body, mind, and socialization.
Cute is not the first word you reach for when describing newborn puppies. Born unable to hear or see, with smushed-in faces and twitchy little bodies, they look for all the world like diminutive aliens. Detached and distant visitors from another planet, they are in their own orbit, seeking only warmth, milk, and the rough caress of their mother’s tongue. Nothing, of course, could be further from the truth.
You've got a new puppy and are about to start puppy classes (or are planning ahead for your new pup even better!). You know good puppy classes are an integral part of helping you and your dog invest in a long and harmonious future. Puppy classes aren't magic. Just signing up, paying, and attending aren't enough. You have to train and practice and build your relationship with your puppy. It will last a lifetime and the effort you put in now will pay off multifold. But keep in mind that the bad habits that you and your puppy develop now will also give you payback many times over! So let's assume you have really committed yourself to rearing a puppy well, and talk about how to get the most out of your puppy classes
Puppy vaccine schedules can be daunting to new dog owners. Why do puppies need so many shots? Are all those puppy vaccinations really necessary? Most veterinarians recommend that puppies are vaccinated for distemper, parvovirus, and adenovirus (hepatitis) a number of times, starting when they are about four to six weeks old, and again every three or four weeks, with their last puppy vaccination" given after they are about 16 to 20 weeks old. "
There's no denying it: a new puppy is one of the world's most wonderful things. It's a cold, hard heart that doesn't get all mushy over puppy breath, soft pink puppy pads, and the fun of helping a baby dog discover his new world. So, if one puppy is wonderful, two puppies must be twice as wonderful, right? Well, not usually. Most training professionals strongly recommend against adopting two pups at the same time. The biggest challenge of adopting puppy pairs is their tendency to bond very closely with each other, often to the exclusion of a meaningful relationship with their humans. They can become inseparable. Also, owners often underestimate the time commitment required to properly care for and train two puppies; as a result the pups often end up untrained and undersocialized.
When dog lovers switch their pets from commercial food to a well-balanced, raw diet, they typically report improved health, brighter eyes, a shinier coat, calmer behavior, and easier yard cleanup chores. A puppy's first eight weeks set the stage for a lifetime of health or illness, so it isn't surprising that puppies weaned on raw food grow up to out-perform dogs weaned on kibble or canned food, even if both are fed raw food as adults. Raw-weaned puppies nearly exhaust their breeders' vocabularies, for these are the healthiest / strongest / liveliest / calmest / smartest / most wonderful pups that ever lived.
It's one of the best feelings in the whole world -- those first few hours with your new puppy when everything is perfect and anything is possible. It doesn't take long, however, for that bubble to burst. It could be the very first day, when you step in that pile of puppy poo on your Persian carpet, or find deep puppy tooth gouges in your treasured pair of Jimmy Choo shoes.
Contained in every puppy’s mouth is a set of amazingly sharp little daggers known as “teeth.” Puppies explore the world with those mouths. Since you are part of your pup’s world, it is inevitable that those sharp little teeth will at some point come in contact with your tender skin during a behavior known as “puppy biting.” It hurts. So what should you do when your puppy bites you, or other family members (including children)?
The intent of puppy socialization is to convince the part of the puppy’s brain that reacts emotionally to his world (the amygdala) that, in general, the best/most appropriate emotional responses are calm, relaxed, and happy. These days, the importance of puppy socialization is well-known and widely accepted. Interesting, then, that some behavior professionals (myself included) report seeing an increasing number of canine clients with fear-related behaviors.
A pandemic has upended the globe, but here’s a little bright spot: puppy fostering is experiencing a golden era. Record numbers of people are offering...