Giving a Puppy for Christmas? Here’s How to Prepare

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How to Bond After Giving a Puppy for Christmas

There are two types of new puppy owners: Those about to embark on dog ownership for the very first time and those with previous experience. For the latter “repeat” owners, what I am about to say may be old hat or, perhaps, it might help them to understand why they developed such a strong bond with their previous pets. For first time puppy owners, this account will inform them what they have to look forward to as their puppy matures and develops into a fully-fledged family member.

The bond that forms between a new puppy owner and their pet develops rapidly though it may take many months or years to mature. People who have owned a new puppy for a matter of days may find it difficult to return that puppy to the breeder even if they find out that the puppy is flawed in some way. A couple of weeks after the acquisition of a new puppy, most families would choose to keep their new charge despite veterinary predictions of trouble and expense down the road. As time goes by, the bond usually strengthens between the growing pup and family members as the youngster assumes a significant role in its human family. Affections develop for the pup’s cuteness both because of the way it looks and the way it behaves. Nature designed us to fall for this old trick. But later, experiences shared, both happy and sad, anneal the developing bond to virtually shatterproof strength.


Here’s What Not to Do When Giving a Puppy for Christmas

When you acquire a new puppy, things that you do, or don’t do, can make a big difference to the way the puppy turns out. Happy and confident adult dogs don’t just happen but are the product of good decisions and correct treatment of the puppy from birth right up until the juvenile period (around 6 months of age).

A pup’s genetic makeup may be out of your control once you have selected the right breed and individual for you, but you can sculpt or distort the raw clay of the pup’s genetic legacy by how you look after him and act toward him. If you do the right things – and, most importantly, don’t do the wrong things — the pup will turn out to be (as the US Army jingle goes) “all that he can be.”

The so-called sensitive period of development for puppies is between three and 12 weeks of age. The sensitive period has been defined as a time during development when the puppy is dependent upon (the correct) environmental influences for its development to continue normally.

This is a time when primary social relationships and emotional attachments develop between dogs and people and between dogs and other dogs. Note that only half of this sensitive period has elapsed at the usual time for adoption, which is why it is so important for owners to get a grasp of the essential features of proper puppy socialization and training.

How to raise a good puppy has been discussed almost ad nauseam by numerous authorities though the message has still not penetrated to all new puppy owners. In essence, for training a new puppy, new owners need to concentrate on being patient and considerate while using primarily positive reinforcement with, if necessary, negative punishment (withholding benefits) as a consequence for any deliberate, unacceptable behavior. But even informed owners sometimes fail to appreciate the absolute no-no’s of puppy raising. True, some of the biggest of them are simply the converse of what should be done, but it doesn’t hurt to include these items in the list for even greater clarity.

Resources for Giving a Puppy for Christmas

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