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. It might be that first night, when you pop your pup into his crate for the first time and crawl into your bed, only to be treated to a few pitiful whimpers, then a chorus of cries, and finally a non-stop serenade of screaming as your pup broadcasts to the world how lost and lonely he is.
While curiosity and the ability to learn don't have expiration dates, young puppies have an important behavioral sweet spot" between the ages of 8 and 16 weeks. During this critical period
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.
Naturally, we regard shock collars as absolutely unnecessary and inappropriate in any training program, but particularly so in training puppies and young dogs. Given the potential for an exceptionally strong fear response during the early fear period – as well as during the secondary fear period – it pains us greatly to see trainers who market their shock collar training even for very young puppies. Of course they mask the aversive nature of shock collars by calling them “electronic” or “e” collars and “electronic fences.”
A veterinarian's first priority is the physical health of her clients. As a result, sadly, some veterinarians still issue the out-of-date edict to their puppy owners to not take their baby dog anywhere until he is fully vaccinated age 4 to 6 months. This, of course, totally overlooks the very real concern for a pup's mental health, and the vital need for proper socialization to occur well before the pup is fully vaccinated. As mentioned in the accompanying article, the primary socialization period is early and short when the pup is 3 to 14 weeks of age.
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.
Squid almost didn’t make it to the dog adoption option at the Humane Society of Washington County (HSWC), Maryland. Whole Dog Journal readers who have been with us for a year or more already know part of his story: the eight-week-old Jack Russell Terrier mix was surrendered to our full-service shelter by his owners because they “didn’t have time for him.” What that really meant was that the small white-and-tan pup was a heckuva handful: they couldn’t deal with his incredibly high energy level, fierce puppy play-biting, low tolerance for frustration, lack of impulse control, resource guarding, and sudden, intense aggression when restrained. He easily failed his canine behavior assessment. It’s a good thing he was impossibly cute! We started by identifying all Squid’s inappropriate behaviors and creating a modification plan for each. Some of the pieces overlapped, so it wasn’t quite as daunting as it might appear – but it was still plenty to work on!
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)?
Making a fresh look at the things we take for granted can be wonderfully enlightening. Sometimes, the little light bulb overhead begins to sizzle and sparkle, illuminating a new and better way of doing things. Consider this example: When some savvy veterinarians took a fresh look at performing spays, a surgery we've been doing the exact same way for decades, they came up with a revised technique that accomplishes all of the objectives of the spay surgery with fewer complications. How cool is that?
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
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.
There was once a time when you rarely encountered the word socialization" in dog circles. Today it's the new training buzzword; if you haven't heard it at least three dozen times by the time your dog is a dozen weeks old