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Dr. Rosie DVM

Puppy Prep School


Ensuring puppies receive appropriate exposure and handling during their initial months is crucial for preventing behavior issues.

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Crate Training

Crate training offers several advantages for a puppy's development. It provides a secure environment to deter indoor accidents, offers a retreat from excessive handling by young children, and helps prevent destructive or hazardous behaviors when the owner is absent. Moreover, crate training can promote independence by teaching the puppy to remain calm when left alone, which is crucial for preventing separation anxiety.

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House Training

To expedite and simplify the housetraining process for your dog, remember two key principles: Principle #1: Reward your dog each time she eliminates in the designated area, and Principle #2: Take steps to prevent her from having accidents.

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Getting to Know My Veterinarian

Regular veterinary check-ups are essential for every dog. Puppies require frequent visits during their early months, transitioning to at least annual check-ups as adults. In the event of illness or injury, the veterinary clinic is the first place to seek help. Therefore, it is crucial to ensure that visits to the veterinarian are stress-free for your dog. This not only benefits your pet by reducing stress but also enables the veterinary staff to provide optimal care. Each visit shapes your dog's perception of the clinic, making it important to create positive experiences. A single negative encounter, particularly during the sensitive socialization period, can lead to a lifelong fear of veterinary clinics.

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Basic Manners

Training your puppy begins as soon as you bring him home. Despite their short attention spans, young puppies can start learning simple obedience commands like 'sit', 'down', and 'stay' as early as 7 to 8 weeks old. Building trust and fostering desirable behaviors revolves around creating predictability and clarity in all interactions with your puppy. Inconsistency can lead to fearfulness and strain the relationship. Whether you're working on housetraining, discouraging inappropriate chewing, or promoting calm interactions with visitors, it's vital to establish a learning environment that sets your puppy up for success. Avoid situations that tempt your puppy to engage in undesired behaviors, as these can lead to failure and the learning of habits that may be challenging to change later on

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Managing Mouthy Behaviors

Mouthiness in puppies, while natural, is an undesirable behavior. Puppies primarily use their mouths to explore their environment, as the sense of taste and touch in and around the mouth is among the first to develop. A mother dog typically teaches her puppies about biting - what is considered "too hard" and what is excessive. However, when we acquire puppies, we often do not have the benefit of this maternal guidance, so it becomes our responsibility to teach them appropriate behavior. While some level of mouthing for exploration is acceptable in puppies under 4 months old, repetitive or painful biting should be discouraged. Here are some tips for discouraging mouthy behavior.

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Puppy Classes

One safe and effective method of socializing your puppy is to enroll them in a puppy socialization class, often referred to as puppy kindergarten.

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Warning Signs that Your Pup has a Behavior Problem

Many undesirable behaviors in puppies are typical, age-related issues that often resolve with maturity. However, some behaviors are not typical and can worsen with age if not appropriately managed. Aggressive and fearful behavior, such as growling, snapping, biting, stiffening, and cowering, are not normal in puppies. A psychologically sound puppy should be naive and somewhat eager to interact with people and animals. Mild hesitation in approaching unfamiliar environments, noise, people, or objects is appropriate, but profound fear is a serious problem. Signs of fear include taking more than 1-2 seconds to recover from mild hesitation, making repeated escape attempts, or refusing food or treats in certain situations. Monitoring these "red flags" during your puppy's first few months of life is important. If you notice any of these behaviors, consult your veterinarian immediately for appropriate behavioral help. Failure to address these issues early can lead to significant worsening of problems as the dog reaches social maturity, potentially progressing to aggression, and may be challenging to change.

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