* SOCIALIZATION: Socialization in those early formative months plays a critical role in the training of a confident puppy who will repspond positively to humans. Healthy puppies are naturally playful and curious about the world they live in. The more experiences they are exposed to, the more "educated" they become. A socialized puppy is a confident pupy who feels good about herself. She trusts her human and enjoys learning new things. A well socialized puppy will be more likely to learn what is accepted and normal and be able to learn good from bad and right from wrong.
Puppies that live in isolation or hunger feel a sense of hopelessness and grow up to be unresponsive and shy. Sheltered puppies that see only the backyard or the inside of a garage will have very few learning experiences by which to measure the world. Any new thing becomes frightening to them.
Positive training methods produce a more responsive puppy. Puppies who are pushed into frightening situations or terrorized and corrected harshly by a misguided owner learn fear. They cope with their fear in the only way they know - by running away or fighting back. Fearful puppies grow up to be shy dogs and/or biting dogs. Of course breed and heredity play a part and some puppies are just naturally shyer than others depending on their individual personality as well. Gentle socialization can help even those dogs develop to their fullest potential.
*A puppies needs are minimal at a young age but their learning capability is great. Their mental needs are smaller because their rest needs are much higher in comparison to the lessons learned through observation and environmental response to their exploration.
All your time with your puppy should be viewed as learning sessions. They need to be positive and well guided in order to be successful. If they are only “half supervised” their chances of getting into trouble are much greater. Also, keep learning sessions short, it can be exhausting for your puppy. They are trying to learn how to live and interact in our human world.
* Walking your Puppy Your puppy’s physical needs come in short bursts. A shorter walk up and down the block is plenty for a young puppy. If you do a walk that is too long, your puppy may sit and refuse to go any further. Build them up and pace slowly.
* Keep Plenty of Chew Treats Around! When raising puppies, you will soon realize that they are little chewing machines. They will chew anything in site if you let them. In order to keep the chewing under control, make sure you give your little munchers something to chew on that will keep them out of trouble. Try carrots, toys, ice cubes, or even tennis balls, but make sure you keep them away from your furniture.
* Biting When pups play together, one may become too rough with his playmate and let out a "Yipe!" and decline to continue the game. Pups learn to inhibit their bite to keep the fun happening. Try giving a high-pitched "Yipe!" or "Ouch!" to mimic their littermates. Also, try to put up with those needle-like teeth. Puppies learn lifelong "bite inhibition" from consistent consequesnces for too-hard and just-right chewing and mouthing. If it is forbidden altogether, they may never develop a "soft" mouth.
*Puppy Puberty (6 to 9 months) Puppies at this stage go through a major transformation called growing up. It brings on all its hormones, rebellion, confusion, and curiosity. It's never a pretty sight. On top of the typical growing pains is the awakening of telling them of their instincts of herding and guarding. It can be utter canine chaos! So here you have this puppy that’s full of hormones, high spirits, and anxiety. It's no wonder she may give you the puppy equivalent of a teenage eye roll when you give her a command. Hang in there - It's temporary. And remember - If you don't train your puppy, she'll train you! * Always walk out the door ahead of your dog - it shows him/her who is the leader.
* 13 to 16 wks of Age Your puppy begins testing who is going to be pack leader. From 13 weeks on, if puppy attempts to bite, even in play, it is an attempt to dominate. You must discourage any and all biting because such biting is a sign of dominance! Your puppy is attempting to clarify and resolve the question of leadership. (Establishing rules for your puppy is extremely important at this time.) It is important that you are a strong and consistent leader.
* Crate Training!Please don’t think that crating your dog is cruel – they love their crates. They mimic the close quarters of a wolf’s den. Crate training gives your puppy a special space of his own and they think of it as their “safe haven”, also a place they do not need to worry about defending their territory.
Crating your dog is a great way to housebreak him. Dogs will try not to soil their “den” or sleeping quarters. It is his own private bedroom which he will absolutely not soil if he can help it. Remember every time you take your puppy out of the crate; take him outside for a potty break. Never use your crate as punishment. It should be your puppy’s safe haven – not a jail cell.
Crates can be used for naps too! Dogs are carnivores and do not need to be constantly active during the daytime. If you leave the door open they will use them as quiet breaks to “unwind” from family chaos.
Where should you place your crate? It should be around people. Ideally, set it up in the bedroom near you. Have your puppy sleep in it at night. Dogs are social and like to be around their people.
What size? The crate should be large enough for the dog to lie down, stand up and turn around in comfortably, but not large enough for the dog to relieve itself at one end and sleep at the other.
Another advantage of a crate is that it minimizes damage done by a dog (especially a puppy) to the house, furniture, footwear etc. This reduces costs and aggravation and makes it easier for the dog and master to get along. It also protects the dog from harm by its destruction: ingestion of splinters or toy parts, shock from chewing through wires, etc. If a dog is trained during puppyhood with a crate, he will not always require crating. After a year of crating your puppy, he will know what to do and what not to, and will have good habits. At this time crating might only be used when he needs to be out of the way or when traveling. A crate trained dog is always more easily handled in the car, at the vets, when traveling, etc. * Always feed and water your puppy at the same time every day. If she eats at regular intervals, she will relive herself at regular intervals, too.
* Socialize! - Your puppy goes through a socialization period from 5 wks of age to 4 months of age that permanently shapes his future personality and how he will react to things in his environmnet as an adult. Exposing him to a wide variety of people, places, and situations now makes a huge, permanent difference. Socializing your puppy can prevent a dog from being always fearful and it will help him develop into a very well-mannered, happy companion!