A puppy is exuberance on four legs: everyone’s a potential playmate, and anything’s a potential toy. Puppies of all types are wonderful pets who grow up to be loyal and devoted animals. Of course, that’s not to say that getting them trained as they grown doesn’t have its challenges! Rare is the puppy owner who hasn’t sacrificed one pair of shoes to Fido Junior’s insatiable need to chew. And house-training a puppy takes time, patience, and a fair bit of humor.
Still, the effort you put into training your dog is more than repaid by her friendship and love. Other pets, no matter how devoted, just don’t wear their hearts on their collars the way dogs do. Besides, when was the last time you tried playing fetch with a hamster?
Choosing Puppies: Dog Breeds and Canine Health
Before you run out and buy your new pooch, do a little research into different dog breeds. Some dogs are very family oriented, while others tend to give their loyalty to only one person. Certain breeds are more tolerant of children than others. Then there’s the size issue. That Dalmatian pup may be cute now, but how well will he fit into your two-bedroom apartment when he’s full-grown? Is your house so busy that a very small breed runs the risk of being stepped on? Think carefully before you choose a breed.
Canine health is an important consideration when picking out a pup. Certain breeds have genetic problems that can affect their health. (Labrador retrievers, for instance, often have serve hip problems in later life. Ask your breeder about breed-specific health problems).
A good puppy choice is active, but not overly aggressive and nippy. The pup should have clear eyes, and clean ears. The nose should be free of discharge. While you want to avoid overly nippy pups, don’t pick the one that flinches or cowers when you approach either: puppies should be active but not aggressive. If one pup in a litter seems sick, you’d be well advised to avoid choosing a pet from any of its littermates.
Pup-Proof Your House
Before Rover comes bounding through your door, you need to make sure your house and garden are dog-friendly and safe. One excellent (if slightly silly) approach is the “all-fours” check. Get down on your hands and knees and examine your surroundings. If you can reach something as you scoot along on all fours, chances are so can your new pup.
Remember these pointers as you check your house and garden:
Move any household cleaners, antifreeze, rat poison or other toxic
substances out of reach of your new pet.
Remove any loose electric cords: puppies love to chew on them.
Keep breakables and houseplants out of Fido’s reach. Keep chewing
temptations, such as shoes, away from the dog.
Cover your trash, inside and out: dogs love to go treasure hunting in the garbage!
Baby gates make good temporary barriers for most dog breeds. While larger dog breeds can hop over gates, and many smaller canines can take them at a run, a baby gate will stop most puppies. Or at least slow them down! (You can also purchase puppy-gates from specialty pet stores, which are four feet tall: a real barrier for most canines).
Choosing Dog Houses
Dog houses provide shelter, warmth and protection from the elements: any dog that spends time outside should be provided with one. Houses come in many different sizes and shapes, but in all cases, the house should be large enough for the dog to turn around in and lie down comfortably. Dog houses shouldn’t be too big: a dog’s body heat warms the air inside the house.
Choose a house that has an air vent in the roof: this prevents the air inside from getting too stuffy. Avoid locating it in direct sunlight, and position the door so wind doesn’t blow in. Many owners use old blankets as bedding: it has their scent on it, and makes the dog feel more comfortable.
You new puppy will be very excited when you bring him home: excited, and a little scared, too. This is unfamiliar territory for him. He needs some time to get to know his surroundings. While he does so, you might want to confine him to one part of the house, and gradually increase his range.
To make his adjustment to his new home easier, provide him with easy access to food, water, and a comfortable place to sleep. Give him plenty of playtime and cuddles, but avoid exuberant play at first. Ideally, arrange to be home for the first few days, so Rover knows you’re around. Keep loud noises to a minimum, and limit interaction between puppy and other pets and children until he feels at home.
Puppy Training Basics
Effective puppy training requires persistence. You new pet wants very hard to please you, but you have to send her clear messages. Praise her whenever she does something right and she’ll soon get the idea that you want her to pee on the newspaper and come when she’s called.
When she behaves inappropriately, a firm “no” is one of your best options, coupled with removing her from the surrounding area (or returning her to the paper if your house-training). Hitting and yelling are not effective puppy training techniques: in fact, a puppy can grow into a nervous and aggressive dog if force is used as a disciplinary technique.
Pet Friendly Hotels
Pet-friendly hotels are a blessing if you’re planning a holiday with Rover. You can find pet-friendly hotels across North America by using Internet Explorer. Even if a hotel permits dogs, it’s wise to call ahead and check details. Some hotels may be hesitant to allow the larger dog breeds to stay in their rooms, and others add a “pet charge” onto the bill.