Puppy Care And Development Tips to Help Care for Your Puppy For the first 72 hours, get acquainted with your new puppy; you and your new puppy need time,so keep him at home. Limit taking him around strange dogs until his vaccinations are complete. Your puppy has been on a vaccination and worming program. You will be given a record of this and instructions on further health needs. Remember that your puppy is a baby. They potty when they wake up, after they eat, after they play and before they go to sleep. Take them out often to prevent accidents. Make sure your puppy has lots of toys. Don’t make the mistake of allowing your puppy to chew on socks, because they don’t know the difference between your socks and their own play socks. It is very important that your puppy get fresh water often and food 2-3 times a day. It is crucial that if your puppy doesn’t eat and drink enough that you consult your veterinarian. Don’t housebreak your puppy in too big of an area. We recommend that you use a puppy crate. Your house training will progress quickly if the puppy is confined to a small area whenever you are busy and not watching him carefully. When using a crate, always make sure that your puppy is near you and the family. If he whines, tell him “quiet” and he will catch on. Never remove the puppy while he is whimpering; wait until he has stopped, and then remove him. When you take your puppy out, put him on a leash and take him to the area where he should go. Do not change this routine or you will confuse your puppy. Be sure to tell him to “go potty,” or whatever word or phrase you want to use to teach him to go potty on command. If he does not relieve himself, bring him back in and place him in his crate and then take him again in 20 minutes. As soon as he goes, praise him. You can train your puppy to use a bell to let you know when he needs to go out. Hang the bell on the door that you plan to take your puppy through and every time you take your puppy outside, ring the bell and say, “outside” or “potty.” Then immediately open the door and take him out. Do this every time you let your dog out, and he WILL catch on! Basic Training Does your dog get on the furniture and refuse to get off? Nudge your hand and insist on being petted or played with? Refuse to come when called? Defend his food bowl or toys from you? If so, a training technique called “Nothing In Life Is Free” may be just the solution you’re looking for. “Nothing In Life Is Free” is not a magic pill that will solve a specific behavior problem. Instead, it’s a way of living with your dog that will help him behave better because he trusts and accepts you as his leader and is confident knowing his place in the family. How to Practice “Nothing In Life Is Free.” Use positive reinforcement methods to teach your dog a few commands and/or tricks. “Sit,” “Down,” and “Stay” are useful commands. “Shake,” “Speak,” and “Roll over” are fun tricks to teach your dog. Once your dog has mastered a few commands, you can begin to practice “Nothing In Life Is Free.” Before you give your dog anything (food, a treat, a walk, a pat on the head) he must first perform one of the commands he has learned. For example: YOU… YOUR DOG… Put your dog’s leash on to go for a walk Must sit until you’ve put the leash on Feed your dog Must lie down and stay until you’ve put the bowl down Play a game of fetch after work Must sit and “shake hands” each time you throw the toy Rub your dog’s belly while watching TV Must lie down and roll over before being petted Once you’ve given the command, don’t give your dog what he wants until he does what you want. If he refuses to perform the command, walk away, come back a few minutes later, and start again. If your dog refuses to obey the command, be patient and remember that eventually he will have to obey your command to get what he wants. Make sure your dog knows the command well and understands what you want before you begin practicing “Nothing In Life Is Free.” The Benefits of this Technique. Most dogs assume a neutral or submissive role toward people, but some dogs will challenge their owners for dominance. Requiring a dominant dog to work for everything he wants is a safe, non-confrontational way to establish control. Dogs who may never display aggressive behavior such as growling, snarling, or snapping may still manage to manipulate you. These dogs may display affectionate behavior that borders on being “pushy,” such as nudging your hand to be petted or “worming” their way onto the furniture to be close to you. This technique gently reminds the dog that he must abide by your rules. Fearful dogs may become more confident by obeying commands. Having a strong leader and knowing his place in the hierarchy helps to make the submissive dog feel more secure. Why This Technique Works. Animals who live in groups, like dogs, establish a social structure within the group called a dominance hierarchy. This dominance hierarchy serves to maintain order, reduce conflict, and promote cooperation among pack members. To ensure that your home is a safe and happy place for pets and people, it’s best that the humans in the household assume the highest positions in the dominance hierarchy. Practicing “Nothing In Life Is Free” gently and effectively communicates to your dog that his position in the hierarchy is subordinate to yours. From your dog’s point of view, children also have a place in this hierarchy. Because children are small and can get down on the dog’s level to play, dogs often consider them to be playmates rather than superiors. With the supervision of an adult, it’s a good idea to encourage children in the household who are eight years or older to also practice “Nothing In Life Is Free” with the family dog. Crate Training Your Puppy If you like nothing better than coming home from a hard day’s work and finding that your dog decided to “go” on the couch or use your favorite slippers as a new chew toy, then crate training isn’t for you. But, if you’re like most people, then using a crate to properly train your dog will be time well spent. Crate training takes some time and effort, but it is a proven way to help train dogs who act inappropriately without knowing any better. If you have a new dog or puppy, you can use the crate to limit his access to the house until he learns all the house rules – like what he can and can’t chew on and where he can and can’t eliminate. A crate is also a safe way of transporting your dog in the car or taking him places where he may not be welcome to run freely. If you properly train your dog to use the crate, he’ll think of it as his safe place and will be happy to spend time there when needed. Selecting a Crate. Crates may be plastic (often called “flight kennels”) or collapsible, metal pens. They come in different sizes and can be purchased at most pet supply stores. Your dog’s crate should be just large enough for him to stand up and turn around in. If your dog is still growing, choose a crate size that will accommodate his adult size. Block off the excess crate space so your dog can’t eliminate at one end and retreat to the other. The Crate Training Process. Crate training can take days or weeks, depending on your dog’s age, temperament, and past experiences. It’s important to keep two things in mind while crate training: The crate should always be associated with something pleasant, and training should take place in a series of small steps. Don’t go too fast. Step 1: Introducing Your Dog to the Crate. Place the crate in an area of your house where the family spends a lot of time, such as the family room. Put a soft blanket or towel in the crate. Bring your dog over to the crate and talk to him in a happy tone of voice. Make sure the crate door is open and secured so that it won’t hit your dog and frighten him. To encourage your dog to enter the crate, drop some small food treats nearby, then just inside the door, and finally, all the way inside the crate. If he refuses to go all the way in at first, that’s okay; don’t force him to enter. Continue tossing treats into the crate until your dog will walk calmly all the way into the crate to get the food. If he isn’t interested in treats, try tossing a favorite toy in the crate. This step may take a few minutes or as long as several days. Step 2: Feeding Your Dog His Meals in the Crate. After introducing your dog to the crate, begin feeding him his regular meals near the crate. This will create a pleasant association with the crate. If your dog is readily entering the crate when you begin Step 2, place the food dish all the way at the back of the crate. If instead your dog remains reluctant to enter the crate, put the dish only as far inside as he will readily go without becoming fearful or anxious. Each time you feed him, place the dish a little further back in the crate. Once your dog is standing comfortably in the crate to eat his meal, you can close the door while he’s eating. The first time you do this, open the door as soon as he finishes his meal. With each successive feeding, leave the door closed a few minutes longer, until he’s staying in the crate for ten minutes or so after eating. If he begins to whine to be let out, you may have increased the length of time too quickly. Next time, try leaving him in the crate for a shorter time period. If he does whine or cry in the crate, it’s imperative that you not let him out until he stops. Otherwise, he’ll learn that the way to get out of the crate is to whine, so he’ll keep doing it. Step 3: Conditioning Your Dog to the Crate for Longer Time Periods. After your dog is eating his regular meals in the crate with no sign of fear or anxiety, you can confine him there for short time periods while you’re home. Call him over to the crate and give him a treat. Give him a command to enter, such as “kennel.” Encourage him by pointing to the inside of the crate with a treat in your hand. After your dog enters the crate, praise him, give him the treat, and close the door. Sit quietly near the crate for five to ten minutes and then go into another room for a few minutes. Return, sit quietly again for a short time, then let him out of the crate. Repeat this process several times a day. With each repetition, gradually increase the length of time you leave him in the crate and the length of time you’re out of his sight. Once your dog will stay quietly in the crate for about 30 minutes with you out of sight the majority of the time, you can begin leaving him crated when you’re gone for short time periods and/or letting him sleep there at night. This may take several days or several weeks. Step 4, Part A: Crating Your Dog When Left Alone. After your dog can spend about 30 minutes in the crate without becoming anxious or afraid, you can begin leaving him crated for short periods when you leave the house. Put him in the crate using your regular command and a treat. You might also want to leave him with a few safe toys in the crate. You’ll want to vary at what point in your “getting ready to leave” routine you put your dog in the crate. Although he shouldn’t be crated for a long time before you leave, you can crate him anywhere from five to 20 minutes prior to leaving. Don’t make your departures emotional and prolonged, but matter-of-fact. Praise your dog briefly, give him a treat for entering the crate, and then leave quietly. When you return home, don’t reward your dog for excited behavior by responding to him in an excited, enthusiastic way. Keep arrivals low key to avoid increasing his anxiety over when you will return. Continue to crate your dog for short periods from time to time when you’re home so he doesn’t associate crating with being left alone. Step 4, Part B: Crating Your Dog at Night. Put your dog in the crate using your regular command and a treat. Initially, it may be a good idea to put the crate in your bedroom or nearby in a hallway, especially if you have a puppy. Puppies often need to go outside to eliminate during the night, and you’ll want to be able to hear your puppy when he whines to be let outside. Older dogs, too, should initially be kept nearby so that they don’t associate the crate with social isolation. Once your dog is sleeping comfortably through the night with his crate near you, you can begin to gradually move it to the location you prefer, although time spent with your dog-even sleep time-is a chance to strengthen the bond between you and your pet. Potential Problems Too Much Time In The Crate. A crate isn’t a magical solution. If not used correctly, a dog can feel trapped and frustrated. For example, if your dog is crated all day while you’re at work and then crated again all night, he’s spending too much time in too small a space. Other arrangements should be made to meet his physical and emotional needs. Also remember that puppies under six months of age shouldn’t stay in a crate for more than three or four hours at a time. They can’t control their bladders and bowels for longer periods. Whining. If your dog whines or cries while in the crate at night, it may be difficult to decide whether he’s whining to be let out of the crate, or whether he needs to be let outside to eliminate. If you’ve followed the training procedures outlined above, then your dog hasn’t been rewarded for whining in the past by being released from his crate. If that is the case, try to ignore the whining. If your dog is just testing you, he’ll probably stop whining soon. Yelling at him or pounding on the crate will only make things worse. If the whining continues after you’ve ignored him for several minutes, use the phrase he associates with going outside to eliminate. If he responds and becomes excited, take him outside. This should be a trip with a purpose, not play time. If you’re convinced that your dog doesn’t need to eliminate, the best response is to ignore him until he stops whining. Don’t give in; if you do, you’ll teach your dog to whine loud and long to get what he wants. If you’ve progressed gradually through the training steps and haven’t done too much too fast, you’ll be less likely to encounter this problem. If the problem becomes unmanageable, you may need to start the crate training process over again. Separation Anxiety. Attempting to use the crate as a remedy for separation anxiety won’t solve the problem. A crate may prevent your dog from being destructive, but he may injure himself in an attempt to escape from the crate. Separation anxiety problems can only be resolved with counter-conditioning and desensitization procedures. You may want to consult a professional animal-behavior specialist for help. House Training Your Puppy Contrary to popular belief, house training a puppy requires far more than a few stacks of old newspapers; it calls for vigilance, patience, and plenty of commitment. By following the procedures outlined below, you can minimize house soiling incidents, but virtually every puppy will have an accident in the house, and more likely, several. Expect this – it’s part of raising a puppy. The more consistent you are in following the basic house training procedures, however, the faster your puppy will learn acceptable behavior. It may take several weeks to house train your puppy, and with some of the smaller breeds, it might take longer. Like babies, puppies do best on a regular schedule. Take your puppy outside frequently – at least every two hours – and immediately after he wakes up from a nap, after playing, and after eating or drinking. Praise your puppy lavishly every time he eliminates outdoors – you can even give him a treat, but remember to do so immediately after he’s finished eliminating, not after he comes back inside the house. This step is vital, because rewarding your dog for eliminating outdoors is the only way he’ll know what’s expected of him. Pick a bathroom spot outside near the door, and always take your puppy to that spot using a leash. Take him out for a longer walk or some playtime only after he has eliminated. If you clean up an accident in the house, take the soiled rags or paper towels and leave them in the bathroom spot. The smell will help your puppy recognize the area as the place he is supposed to eliminate. While your puppy is eliminating, use a word or phrase, like “go potty,” that you can eventually use before he eliminates to remind him what to do. Put your puppy on a regular feeding schedule and feed a high-quality diet to make house training easier. Depending on their age, puppies usually need to be fed three or four times a day. Feeding your puppy at the same times each day will make it more likely that he’ll eliminate at consistent times as well, and that makes house training easier for both of you. Keep Your Eyes Peeled. Don’t give your puppy an opportunity to soil in the house; keep an eye on him whenever he’s indoors. You can tether him to you with a six-foot leash, or use baby gates to keep him in the room where you are. Watch for signs that he needs to eliminate, like sniffing around or circling. When you see these signs, immediately grab the leash and take him outside to his bathroom spot. If he eliminates, praise him lavishly and reward him with a treat. Confinement. When you’re unable to watch your puppy at all times, he should be confined to an area small enough that he won’t want to eliminate there. The space should be just big enough for him to comfortably stand, lie down, and turn around in. You can use a portion of a bathroom or laundry room blocked off with baby gates. Or you may want to crate train your puppy and use the crate to confine him. (Be sure to learn how to use a crate humanely as a method of confinement.) If your puppy has spent several hours in confinement, you’ll need to take him directly to his bathroom spot as soon as you let him out, and praise him when he eliminates. When your puppy must be left alone for long periods of time, confine him to an area with enough room for a sleeping space, a playing space, and a separate place to eliminate. In the area designated as the elimination area, use either newspapers or a sod box. To make a sod box, place sod in a container such as a child’s small, plastic swimming pool. You can also find dog litter products at a pet supply store. Oops! Expect your puppy to have a few accidents in the house – it’s a normal part of house training. Here’s what to do when that happens: When you catch him in the act of eliminating in the house, do something to interrupt him, like make a startling noise (be careful not to scare him). Immediately take him to his bathroom spot, praise him, and give him a treat if he finishes eliminating there. Don’t punish your puppy for eliminating in the house. If you find a soiled area, it’s too late to administer a correction. Just clean it up. Rubbing your puppy’s nose in it, taking him to the spot and scolding him, or any other punishment will only make him afraid of you or afraid to eliminate in your presence. In fact, punishment will often do more harm than good. Cleaning the soiled area is very important because puppies are highly motivated to continue soiling in areas that smell like urine or feces. It’s extremely important that you use the supervision and confinement procedures outlined above to prevent the number of accidents. If you allow your puppy to eliminate frequently in the house, he’ll get confused about where he’s supposed to eliminate, which will prolong the house training process. Paper Training. A puppy under six months of age cannot be expected to control his bladder for more than a few hours at a time. If you have to be away from home more than four or five hours a day, this may not be the best time for you to get a puppy; instead, you may want to consider an older dog, who can wait for your return. But if you’re already committed to having a puppy and must be away for long periods of time, you’ll need to make arrangements for someone, such as a responsible neighbor or a professional pet sitter, to take him outside to eliminate. Or you’ll need to train him to eliminate in a specific place indoors. Be aware, however, that doing so can prolong the process of house training. Teaching your puppy to eliminate on newspaper may create a life-long surface preference, meaning that even as an adult he may eliminate on any newspaper lying around the living room. If you clean up an accident in the house, put the soiled rags or paper towels in the designated elimination area. The smell will help your puppy recognize the area as the place where he is supposed to eliminate. Other Types of House-Soiling Problems. If you’ve consistently followed the house training procedures and your puppy continues to eliminate in the house, there may be another reason for his behavior, such as: Medical Problems: House soiling can often be caused by physical problems such as a urinary tract infection or a parasite infection. Check with your veterinarian to rule out any possibility of disease or illness. Submissive/Excitement Urination: Some dogs, especially young ones, temporarily lose control of their bladders when they become excited or feel threatened. This usually occurs during greetings or periods of intense play, or when they’re about to be punished. Territorial Urine-Marking: Dogs sometimes deposit small amounts of urine or feces to scent-mark their territory. Both male and female dogs do this, and it most often occurs when they believe their territory has been invaded. Separation Anxiety: Dogs who become anxious when they’re left alone may house soil as a result. Usually, there are other symptoms as well, such as destructive behavior or vocalization. Fears or Phobias: When animals become frightened, they may lose control of their bladder and/or bowels. If your puppy is afraid of loud noises, such as thunderstorms or fireworks, he may house soil when he’s exposed to these sounds. Puppy Stages The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, especially for dogs. The fact is, well-socialized dogs are more likely to have well-socialized puppies. Pups often mirror their mothers’ calm or fearful attitude toward people; this is a normal part of their socialization. But you can play a vital role, too, by petting, talking, and playing with puppy to help him develop good “people skills.” Puppies are usually weaned at six to seven weeks, but are still learning important skills as their mother gradually leaves them for longer periods of time. Ideally, puppies should stay with their litter mates (or other “role-model” dogs) for seven to eight weeks. Puppies separated from their litter mates too early often fail to develop appropriate “social skills,” such as learning how to send and receive signals, what an “inhibited bite” (acceptable mouthing pressure) means, how far to go in play-wrestling, and so forth. Play is important for puppies because it increases their physical coordination, social skills, and learning limits. By interacting with their mother and litter mates, puppies explore the ranking process (“who’s in charge”) and also learn “how to be a dog.” Skills not acquired during the first eight weeks may be lost forever. While these stages are important and fairly consistent, a dog’s mind remains receptive to new experiences and lessons well beyond puppyhood. Most dogs are still puppies, in mind and body, through the first two years of life. General guidelines for puppies’ stages of development: Birth to Two Weeks: Neonatal Period. Puppy is most influenced by his mother. Senses of touch and taste are present at birth. Two to Four Weeks: Transitional Period. Puppy is most influenced by his mother and littermates. Eyes open, teeth begin to come in, and senses of hearing and smell develop. Puppy begins to stand, walk a little, wag tail, and bark. By the fourth or fifth week, eyesight is well-developed. Three to Twelve Weeks: Socialization Period. During this period, puppy needs opportunities to meet other dogs and people. By 3 to 5 weeks, puppy becomes aware of his surroundings, companions, and relationships, including play. By 4 to 6 weeks, puppy is most influenced by litter mates and is learning about being a dog. From 4 to 12 weeks, puppy remains influenced by litter mates and is also influenced by people. Puppy learns to play, develops social skills, learns the inhibited bite, explores social structure/ranking, and improves physical coordination. By 5 to 7 weeks, puppy develops curiosity and explores new experiences. Puppy needs positive “people” experiences during this time. By 7 to 9 weeks, puppy is refining his physical skills and coordination, and can begin to be housetrained. Puppy has full use of senses. By 8 to 10 weeks, puppy experiences real fear involving normal objects and experiences; puppy needs positive training during this time. By 9 to 12 weeks, puppy is refining reactions, developing social skills with littermates (appropriate interactions), and exploring the environment and objects. Puppy begins to focus on people; this is a good time to begin training. Three to Six Months: Ranking Period. Puppy is most influenced by “playmates,” which may now include those of other species. Puppy begins to see and use ranking (dominance and submission) within the household (the puppy’s “pack”), including humans. Puppy begins teething (and associated chewing). At four months of age, puppy experiences another fear stage. Six to Eighteen Months: Adolescence. Puppy is most influenced by human and dog “pack” members. Puppy goes through a second chewing phase when he is about 8 months old – part of exploring territory. During the 7-9 months stage, puppy increases exploration of dominance, including challenging humans. If not spayed or neutered, puppy experiences beginnings of sexual behavior.