All this time it is a good idea to begin associating words with actions and objects so that the pup is building a vocabulary. You don’t need to wait until puppy training classes until you begin training a new pup. Take advantage of the sponge-like capacity of the new pup’s brain by assisting it to sit, to lie down, encouraging it to wait for stay and rewarding success. No punishment should be used, and there should be no yelling, no hitting, and certainly no lead jerking. The opposite of reward is not punishment; it is no reward.
The pup should be getting used to wearing a collar and trailing a lead around, perhaps with a person attached to the other end. Now the owner can try calling the pup to them and taking a few steps away as the pup is obliged to follow. It helps to get pups to come if you crouch down on one knee, act happy, call them to you by name and praise them before they’ve even started to come. If necessary, gentle tension can be used to reel in a hesitant pup, but there must always be a ‘pot of gold’ at the end of that rainbow.
The Second and Third Months After You Bring Your Puppy Home
By this time, the pup should be 3 to 4-months of age. Early in this period, vaccinations should have taken effect, and the pup should be worm-free and healthy. It should also be capable of going for quite reasonable lengths of time before pit stops. By the end of this period, at 5-months of age, the pup should probably be able to hold its urine for 6 hours at a time. This aspect of training should be now in your rearview mirror.
At-home training should be continued throughout this period, though it is highly recommended to enlist the services of a trainer and to take your pup to training class early in this window of time. Puppy classes provide entertainment for the pup as well as education and also permit further socialization with members of its own species. Good trainers will ensure that nothing bad happens to the pup during classes, as negative experiences at this time will have long-lasting effects. Useful exercises, like walking on a loose leash, sit/stay, down/stay, come [from a distance], and leave it, can be practiced and honed.
I believe that all puppies should be introduced to a head halter at this stage because it is such a valuable tool for controlling a dog later in life. At this stage, pups can learn that head halters are part of life which they should be to give the owner control of their dog and facilitate the dog’s understanding of the owner’s wishes and directions. During this entire period and beyond the puppy should be exercised regularly, fed regularly, and played with regularly. They should be acclimated to their crates [which should always be available to them] and should not be left alone unattended for long hours. Toward the end of this two-month period, the frequency of meal feeding can be dropped to twice a day.
Month Five and Beyond
At this stage, pups are beginning to ‘feel their oats’ and can become quite rambunctious and perhaps mouthy. They may also start to engage in destructive behavior as teething begins. Surplus energy should be channeled properly through regular play and exercise. Rough play is not appropriate as it will make pups more aggressive. Nipping should be ‘nipped in the bud’ by loudly exclaiming a word such as ‘ouch’ and freezing once the pup lays its needle teeth on you with too much pressure. This will teach the pup “bite inhibition,” an invaluable lesson in life. Chewing is inevitable and should be properly directed, not corrected. An assortment of chew toys should be available to the pup and should be substituted for any inappropriate chewing that is witnessed.
Neutering of dogs not intended for breeding is normally carried out after the 5th month of life. While some folk (especially men) may feel a bit squeamish about this practice, it is for the pet’s good. Unneutered pets exhibit a number of behaviors that owners may find undesirable. They are also prone to certain health problems that neutered pets cannot get. Finally, neutering is necessary as a birth control measure to prevent unwanted pups. As the Nike motto proclaims, Just Do It!
Walks in the park will be a joy for the pup and the owner at this time, and pleasant exchanges with strangers and unfamiliar dogs can be organized to complete the education process. The only problem is that you can’t control the whole wide world, and unpredictable things will happen, but with a head halter and your strong leadership, direction, and protection, the (now) young dog can learn that all is well when you’re there – and that’s a very important lesson. Dogs need you to be their friends, and they love to have fun, but you also need to be a strong dog parent. Dogs need strong leaders, or they run amok, and that’s bad news for you and bad news for the dog. In the fifth month of life and beyond, it’s good to remember that you, the dog’s owner, should always be perceived as fun, fair, but firm [the three F’s]. With such a concept in mind, the future should be bright for you and your dog and you should be ready to spend many happy years together. Beginnings are important and your early efforts, though time-consuming and patience-testing, will be amply rewarded. We wish you all the best with your new puppy.