Aug 08

What should I do after I get my new puppy?

PuppyCountless dogs end up in shelters because of behavioral issues. I believe many of these issues arise from events that happen very early in their lives. I also believe that many of these problems can be prevented early in a dog’s life through puppy classes and obedience training. There are a number of things we, as pet parents, can do to help them grow up to be responsible adults, just as we do with our children. Here are some suggestions: Never bring a puppy home before the age of eight weeks. Most breeders will not allow pups to leave before this age, but there are some that insist they can leave the litter at six weeks. A puppy that leaves the litter before eight weeks misses a very critical learning period in their life. Not only do they learn from siblings during play, they also learn from their mother.

One of the first and most important steps you should take with your new puppy is to bring them to the Vet for a check up. Because your pup is no longer receiving immunities from mom and they haven’t yet started their shots, the Vet will advise you on what shots your pup needs. I would suggest they spend the first week or two at home socializing, as this time is very important for them to meet as many new people as possible. I usually suggest that they meet the mailman, the UPS or FedEx driver, men with beards, people with hats, coats and gloves, people wearing sunglasses, and people of all sizes, ages, and nationality. In this case, I believe the more the better. The more situations you can involve your pup in, the more comfortable they will be when the situation arises again.

During these first weeks, I suggest researching puppy classes. Puppy classes are not only important for socialization with other puppies, they set your pup up for success in basic obedience classes. The best way to research puppy classes is to talk with the trainer and ask if you can observe one of their classes. Ask about the trainer’s philosophy or what training method they use. When observing, watch how the trainer interacts with the class and deals with questions. Do the puppy’s just play or are they taught certain commands? In my opinion, puppy classes should teach more than socialization. Puppies should learn to come when called and learn that it’s okay for someone to touch and hold their collar. Basic obedience commands such as Sit, Down and Stay should be taught, as well.

Once you have chosen a trainer and a class, it’s important to enroll your pup. Training helps build a bond with you and your dog; and what better time to start than when they are still puppies? A good puppy class can start you on your way to one of the greatest friendships a person can have! There is no bond more loyal than that of a dog and his guardian.

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