What to Expect from Your 9-month-old Puppy

If you had a tiny puppy at one point, chances are the pooch grew quickly. He soon became a gangly adolescent, and you might wonder when he will start behaving like a grown-up. At nine months, many dogs look like adults but still exhibit puppy behaviors. However, they should have grown out of the more inconvenient habits, like having accidents in the house and teething. It is important to learn how to care for a puppy at this age so that you may encourage good behaviors that last a lifetime.

Your Teenage Dog

Until they’re about four months old, puppies are unpredictable. However, they also tend to be small, roly-poly, and easy to deal with. After four to six months, they may mellow out to the point where you can forecast certain behaviors and get a sense of their habits. Just when you think this puppy care thing is going smoothly, they turn into crazy beasts again.

Nine-month-old puppies have been described as rambunctious teenagers. Your dog’s hormones are shifting incredibly at this time, leaving him with some erratic and impulsive 9-month old puppy behaviors. Like human adolescents, teenage dogs are in a new phase of developing confidence and awareness. To solidify their learning during this stage, they tend to test boundaries and explore in ways that may not be appropriate.

You might wonder what happened to your sweet little snuggler. All of a sudden, Fido doesn’t listen to a word you say, can’t stay off of the kitchen counter, and inches his crate across the room when you’re not home. Everything seems like it has fallen apart. Some dog owners respond to this age by deciding that they need to rehome their puppies, but all hope is not lost. This is just a phase, and you can help your dog grow out of it successfully. On the other side is a mature, calm, obedient adult dog (with proper care and training of course).

Training An Adolescent Puppy

According to Dog Star Daily, adolescence is a crucial time to socialize your dog. The behaviors that are reinforced during this era may stick around for the rest of her life. Many owners who attended a puppy class or brought their dog out and about with them when she was younger have settled into a routine that involves seeing the same family members every day. Even if you go to the dog park or walk your dog, you probably follow the same route and interact with the same people and dogs.

If your dog doesn’t continue to experience unfamiliar environments, she can become progressively desocialized during adolescence. This can result in aggressive or anxious behavior when she is exposed to novelty. What can you do? Continue to bring your dog to new places, keep meeting new canines, and make each meeting especially fun by offering your dog her favorite treats when you do something new.

What else does training an adolescent puppy entail? Now, you have many more distractions to deal with. Your dog wouldn’t leave the yard when he was four months old. He stuck to your heels like glue. At nine months old, he lunges after bikers and chases squirrels even when you try to lure him back with a can of wet food. His manners have taken a nose dive, but you can reinforce good behavior. Instead of barking “No!” every time your pet does something wrong, use positive reinforcement training to teach him what you want him to do. Rewards are more powerful than punishment. Learn more about positive reinforcement training by watching this video.

The Physical Development Of A 9-Month-Old Puppy

By the time they reach nine months of age, small breeds will be fully grown, but they’ll fill out over the next four months. Medium breeds may reach about 80 percent of their adult size by nine months. Larger breeds may still have a ways to go. Trupanion says that large breeds like collies and Labrador retrievers won’t be fully grown until they’re closer to 18 or 24 months. Different breeds vary in their maturity rates.

What else is going on in your nine-month-old pooch’s body? At this age, pups have all of their 42 permanent teeth. When puppies are actively teething, they tend to chew on everything. Most puppies have all of their adult teeth by six months of age. If your dog is still chewing on inappropriate items, perhaps she’s testing her teenage boundaries. Give her plenty of appropriate chew toys. Remember, her teeth are much stronger than they used to be. Make sure that you monitor her while she chomps on a bone, and take it away from her if it starts to seem like a hazard or gets bitten down to a nub.

Is Pet Insurance Right for Your Puppy?

Is pet insurance right for your puppy? How do you know?

Consider this scenario which is also a pet owner’s worst nightmare: You finally get the puppy of your dreams and he gets sick and you’re faced with the agonizing choice of facing huge veterinary bills you can’t afford or putting your pet to sleep.Veterinarians see this happen frequently.

Fortunately, more pet owners are learning that reasonably priced pet health insurance is readily available in the United States. This is especially good news since so many treatments that were once confined just to humans are now readily available to pets.

Puppies commonly can get into toxins, eat things that they shouldn’t, or contact infectious diseases. Trauma is also common in puppies that are more likely to be curious and get into “things”. They also need vaccines and spaying and neutering to stay healthy. Treatment and preventative vaccines can be expensive and pet owners need to be prepared for such expenses and emergencies. Pet insurance can help you pay for emergency care and other unexpected health care expenses as well as pay for preventive health care such as vaccines and neutering.

Key Pet Insurance Issues to Consider

  • The age of your pet. Pet insurance premium costs are lower for puppies. Premium costs rise as pets grow older and enter the years when they are more likely to suffer serious illness or injury.
  • Consider pet insurance levels of coverage. Pet health insurers offer basic several types of pet insurance policies and upgrades. Many companies offer a variety of deductibles and different coverages to offer a variety of policies that are right for you and that will fit in to your budget.
  • What’s covered in the pet insurance policy?. Basic policies generally cover treatment for accidents, injuries and illnesses. Beyond that, there are variations. For example, coverage for basic medical care, vaccinations & wellness care. Some policies will include spaying and neutering along with dental and other routine care treatments, which is perfect for new puppies.

Pet insurance premiums vary with age, species, plan selected, and state of residence.

In summary – is pet insurance right for your puppy? If you can’t afford an unexpected big expense if your puppy were to get sick or injured – then please consider pet insurance. It can help you do the best for your puppy in the case of an emergency.

Is Pet Insurance Right For You?

Can you afford a $1,000 vet bill? Medical care for pets, including emergency care, diagnostic tests and treatment options, is becoming increasingly more sophisticated and more expensive.

Did You Know? 4 out of 5 pets will have a medical emergency in their lifetime, and every six seconds a pet owner will face a veterinary bill of $1,000 or more.

Many veterinarians recommend pet insurance. And most vets that recommend pet insurance will tell you that all pet insurance providers are not the same. As one of the first pet insurance providers in the U.S., Pets Best was founded by veterinarian Dr. Jack Stephens. Pets Best insures cats and dogs in every state and has paid over $150 million in claims since 2005. With coverage options on accident and illness plans, a routine care add-on, and accident-only plans, you have control over how much of your veterinary expenses you want to pay.

Pets Best can help you save up to 90% off your vet bills and is also rated 9.6 out of 10 on TrustPilot by pet owners just like you. Visit Pets Best and get a quote today to see if pet insurance is right for you.

What Your 6-month-old Puppy Needs

Your 6-month-old puppy has certain needs to stay healthy! The following is a list of recommended wellness care for a 6-month-old puppy including tips and advice on dewormers, heartworm prevention, flea and tick control, spay and neutering and nutrition.

  • Vaccines – 6-month-old puppies should have completed all of their puppy shots. This means he or she should have received 2 to 4 sets of shots spaced every 3 to 4 weeks from age 6 weeks to 16 weeks. If your puppy has not had any shots, he needs 2 sets of shots 3 to 4 weeks apart and one rabies vaccine. Additionally, Lyme disease vaccination may be recommended depending on your pet’s level of risk. Bordetella vaccine may be recommended for some dogs.
  • Dewormers – Most puppies at this age have already been dewormed and do not require additional deworming unless they are infested. Your veterinarian can check a fecal sample to determine if worms are present. Alternatively, a dewormer medication can be given and may be repeated in dogs that have an unknown history or have not been previously dewormed. Many heartworm preventative medications control worms which eliminates the need for routine deworming.
  • Heartworm Prevention –Heartworm prevention is important to puppies and should be started before they are 6 months of age. If your pet is older than 6 months of age, your veterinarian can perform a simple blood test and prescribe preventative medication.
  • Flea/tick Control – Depending on where you live and your current flea/tick situation, there are very good preventative medications to control flea and ticks. The best and safest products are prescribed by veterinarians.
  • Spay/Neuter – Most dogs should be spayed or neutered by now, if they have not been already. Check with your veterinarian to determine their recommendations.
  • Diet – Your puppy should be eating a good quality food formulated for puppies of his or her size twice daily. Consider your pup’s age, weight, and activity level when deciding how much to feed. Every brand of food has different nutrients, caloric densities and feeding recommendations. There is no set formula for how much to feed a puppy. Check the manufacturer’s recommendations on how much to feed. As your puppy ages and his size increases, he will need more food each day. Weigh your puppy each week. The approximate caloric requirement for a 6 month old puppy varies with breed size and activity level. Estimations include Toy breeds – 250 calories, small breeds 635 calories, medium breeds 975 calories, large breeds 1875 calories and giant breeds 2800 calories.

Is Pet Insurance Right For You?

The best pet insurance offers coverage that’s broad enough for whatever care your pet needs and with enough options to get the perfect coverage for you and your pet.

As one of the first pet insurance providers in the U.S., PetPartners has been offering affordable, comprehensive pet health insurance to dogs and cats in all 50 states since 2002. Trusted as the exclusive pet insurance provider for the American Kennel Club and the Cat Fanciers’ Association, PetPartners highly customizable options allow pet owners to create a plan that fits their individual needs and budget — so you’re not paying for added coverage you don’t necessarily need or want. Visit www.PetPartners.com today to see if pet insurance is right for you and your family.”)

Welcome to the Family: How to Raise a Healthy Puppy

There’s nothing quite like bringing a new puppy home.

When first-time puppy owners pick up their 8-week-old pup, they usually glow with pride and affection. At this time, they set their hearts on doing everything possible to make the new pup welcome in their home and try to help him adjust to the considerable change in lifestyle that the pup inevitably faces.

Owners are often inundated with information on how to feed the puppy, take care of his medical needs, and so on, but other questions soon arise and the correct answers aren’t always easily available.

Opinions vary on these subjects, but this article provides some guidance to help the owner make reasonable and, most importantly, humane decisions. Raising a puppy is not easy. Half the new puppies born in this country do not live to see their second birthday largely because of supposedly unsolvable behavior problems. The fact is, many people don’t know how to communicate the right messages to their dogs as they go through highly sensitive periods of development and sow the seeds of disaster early.

Here’s what you need to know about the newest member of your family.

To Spoil or Not to Spoil?

There are two diametrically opposed theories on this subject. One is wrong and the other is right. The wrong theory tells people that the less attention they pay to a pup when he cries or acts out, the sooner he will learn independence.

Actually, the reverse is true. The more attention you pay a puppy when he is young the more independent he will become later in life (the same is true for children too). So, if the pup cries in the car on the way home, you should cradle him on your lap (unless you are the one driving), and if he cries at home for the first few nights, give him all the attention he needs. That doesn’t mean you have to pick him up, pet him, or feed him, but you should let him know you’re there and that you care. To make this easier on everyone, it is best to have the pup sleep in the bedroom so that he has company and doesn’t think he’s alone in his new home. Kind behavior of this sort will help forge a healthy bond between new owners and their pet and help build the pups’ confidence. The puppy’s independence will come later, once he has overcome the trauma of separation from his mom and littermates.

 

Socialization

The sensitive period of learning occurs between 3 and 12 weeks of age. It is critical for owners to expose a new puppy to as many different kinds of people as possible during this period. If your puppy enjoys these encounters with strangers, he will eventually accept strangers as potential friends. Other animals should be introduced at this early stage too, so that they can be familiarized and recognized as non-threatening. The animals the puppy meets (dogs especially) should be healthy and vaccinated. If you stage-manage these encounters in your home, you can follow the veterinarian’s recommendation to avoid public places until the pup is fully vaccinated while, at the same time, achieving a useful measure of socialization.

What Not to Do

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, which include yelling, threatening, or physical punishment, expecting too much, keeping your puppy in a crate as punishment, and keeping your puppy completely isolated from the outside world.

Common Puppy Behavior Problems

Typical puppy problems include unacceptable behaviors such as destructive chewing, biting or nipping, jumping up, and excessive barking. How should the hapless owner deal with such problems? The answer to this problem is universally applicable to all the behaviors described and, though simple, seems to be a hard one for some owners to grasp. It is that you should reward behaviors that you find acceptable or pleasing and ignore or redirect behaviors that you find unacceptable or annoying.

How to Talk To and Handle My New Puppy

One thing you have to remember in any dealings with puppies, especially very young ones in the two to four-month window of age, is that they are very impressionable.

In the first few months of their lives you can set them up for success or failure based on your interactions with them and your ability to guard them against psychological trauma. If you care for them when they need care, have reasonable expectations for them, and set limits of acceptable behavior and protect them from adversity, all should be well.

Raising puppies properly is an active process that requires you to understand how they might interpret your behavior toward them, including how you address them and how you handle them. If we largely ignore them, rarely speak to them, and hardly ever pet or touch them, they may grow up to be overly needy or withdrawn. On the other hand, if we burble at pups constantly, and pinch and prod them as if they were produce in a grocery store, that too can have negative consequences. Pups so treated become desensitized to human speech and averse to handling, and this can lead to problems down the road.

It is far better to meter speech and handle the pup in a way that it appreciates, so that it comes to enjoy human company, understands our utterances, and appreciates petting and physical contact.

The Spoken Word

Most people make the mistake of assuming that pups understand every word we say. This is certainly not the case and, for them, even when properly educated, English is a second language. Sure they will understand something from the tone in which a sentence or monologue is delivered, but the syntax, verbiage, and sentence structure are beyond their comprehension. A good analogy is to imagine finding yourself in downtown Shanghai without knowing a word of Chinese. That’s what it must be like for a new pup finding itself airlifted from its nest into a new owner’s home and being surrounded by a veritable babble of voices. Of course, a non-Chinese speaking person in downtown Shanghai understands the tone of address. The person would understand whether the person addressing him was angry or agitated, calm or perturbed, attempting to communicate or attempting to shun. But that’s about as far as the understanding would go. The same sort of understanding applies to new puppies in homes with new owners. With this in mind, it is important to keep the tone of your address to a new pup relatively consistent and soothing. Remember, you’re talking to a baby. Two reasonable deviations from “baby banter” that the pup will understand are sing-song praising tones and deeper, gruffer admonishment tones. Of course, most communications should be spoken in neutral tones, and most of the balance should be in the high sing-song praise category. Admonishments should be used sparingly, used when they are due, and should be brief but firm.

 

Up to now, all we’ve talked about is communication tones, which are extremely important both for puppies and adult dogs. However, words will also come to mean things to puppies as they grow up. It’s a good idea right from the get go to use certain words to cue key behaviors. In general, the words should be spoken in splendid isolation so as not to become confused in sentence structure. You wouldn’t ask a puppy to sit, for example, by positioning the word sit in the middle of a full sentence. This is a sure way to cause confusion. Rather, the word sit should be said on its own in a matter of fact neutral tone and then the pup should be assisted into a sitting position using a lure or manual positioning technique. Likewise the word down and come can be added to the pup’s repertoire as useful commands that, in the future, can be used to help the pup avoid trouble. The pup’s vocabulary can be built upon as it advances in age until the spoken word can be a useful means of communication. Dogs can learn hundreds of words, perhaps five hundred to a thousand, but what they never really understand is language, so don’t expect too much of them in this respect. With youngsters for sure, and into adulthood too, when the spoken word is followed by the requisite behavior, whether you have to assist the pup in this respect or not, a reward of some sort should follow – always.

Hands on Approach to Handling

Touching and handling young pups, if performed correctly, is certainly a pleasure for the pup and for the owner. But actually it’s even more important for the pup, because our handling them, like their mother’s grooming, leads to better bonding and accelerated development. Proper handling then is a must if pups are to develop optimally and strike up the best possible relationships with people. But how should handling be conducted? Looking at the two extremes, no handling is bad news for the pup while rough or excessive handling can be equally detrimental. The goal is to find something in between, to be able to handle and pet the pup in a way that it appreciates, and not to short change it of this valued tactile attention while not smothering it in overly indulgent, perhaps unwanted petting sessions.

What to Expect from Your 6 month old Puppy

At about 5 to 6 months, if you have more than one pup, you may find that play becomes more aggressive and exhibits some nipping, growling, and other general displays of dominance. Many males, and some females, will begin humping each other at this stage as they rehearse for their adult roles. Such behavior is acceptable as long as it is not directed towards you.

Puppies can be taught to sit, lie down, wait, stay, leave it, and other such useful commands that will stay with them for the rest of their lives. Once these behaviors have been learned they should be reinforced periodically throughout life. This is the usual time for formal puppy training classes outside the home. Such classes are extremely helpful as long as they are conducted in a non-confrontational way.

The following list will help you know what to expect from your puppy as he develops.

  • How Big? – Most 6-month-old puppies are approximately 75 % of their adult body weight. Most puppies will gain or grow each week until they attain their adult size which occurs between 9 and 16 months of age. However, there is a range of maturity between the different breeds. Small dogs mature faster and reach their adult size and body weight faster than large and giant breeds of dog.
  • Teething – By 6 months, the permanent canines erupt. Permanent premolars erupt at 4 to 6 months and the molars erupt at 5 to 7 months of age. Most breeds will show all their permanent teeth between the ages of 6 to 7 months of age. Although dogs this age have all their adult teeth and are not actively “teething”, chewing may peak at this stage. Make sure they have safe and approved chew toys. This is a great age to be on a regular tooth brushing schedule as these are the teeth they will have for the rest of their life so it is important to care for them properly.
  • Senses – By 6 months of age, most dogs have a very keen sense of hearing, vision, taste and smell. At this age, dogs are learning to differentiate one dog (and human) smell from another.

 

 

  • Ability to Hold Urine – 6-month-old puppies can generally hold their urine for about 7 hours. This means you will need to take them out at least every 7 hours if you expect them to not have an accident. They should be able to sleep through the night without having to go out.
  • Intelligence – 6-month-old puppies are in the beginning of their adolescence. They are smart, curious, strong, willful, and very playful. They also may take more risks by eating things that younger puppies may not. It is important to ensure that your puppy does not have exposure to trash cans, dirty clothes, and other objects he may want to eat.
  • Agility – Most puppies that are 6 months old are becoming very strong and coordinated. They can generally romp, play, fetch, jump, and run with very good accuracy. This is a time they have lots of energy and some of the fetch type toys can be a good release.
  • Sleep – Puppies that are 6 months old sleep approximately 16 to 18 hours per day.
  • Puberty – Be aware that by the time most puppies are 6 to 8 months of age, puberty has set in and unplanned pregnancies are possible, so be ready to take precautions or consider spaying or neutering as soon as possible.
  • Physical Appearance & Hair Coat – Your puppy will begin some changes from a puppy to an adult haircoat. Most puppies begin to shed some of their puppy coat. Get your dog used to being brushed as the shedding will get worse as they full loose their puppy coat. Your puppy will appear much more like an adult at this stage, starting to grow in height and length and fill out with developing muscle.

 

 

Tips on Best Ways to Raise Your 6-month-old Old Puppy

 

  • Consider that crate training is for life
  • Take him out at least every 7 hours
  • Make sure he gets plenty of exercise!
  • Brush and comb daily
  • Brush teeth daily
  • Train!
  • Feed twice a day
  • Switch out safe chew toys
  • Don’t let your puppy chew on anything he can swallow
  • If he is at risk for heartworm disease, make sure he is on preventative!
  • Get your puppy spayed or neutered
  • Give positive reinforcement for work well doneRead about What your 6-month-old Puppy Needs to Stay Healthy!

 

What Your 16-Week-old Puppy Needs

Your 16-week-old puppy has certain needs to stay healthy! The following is a list of recommended wellness care for an 16-week-old puppy including tips and advise on dewormers, heartworm prevention, flea and tick control, spay and neutering and nutrition.

  • Vaccines – 16-week-old puppies should have at least their second set of shots, and ideally it is their third set. If your puppy has not had any shots, get a first set as soon as possible and repeat them again in 3 to 4 weeks. Rabies is required by law between 12 and 20 weeks of age in most states. If it is not given now, it should be given by 20 weeks. Some breeds may need an additional set of vaccines at 20 weeks of age, especially if your puppy is at risk for certain diseases such as parvovirus.
  • Dewormers – Most puppies are born with worms and therefore should be dewormed by your veterinarian. The first deworming generally occurs at 6 to 8 weeks of age and another deworming is generally given at this time. If your puppy has not already been dewormed, he may be dewormed now.
  • Heartworm Prevention – Heartworm prevention is important to puppies and should be started before they are 6 months of age. Heartworms are present in most parts of the United States. Ask your veterinarian if your dog is at risk.
  • Flea/tick Control – Depending on where you live and your current flea/tick situation, there are very good preventative medications to control flea and ticks. The best and safest products are prescribed by veterinarians.
  • Spay/Neuter – Puppies may be spayed and neutered at an early age or later, closer to 6 months of age. If your puppy is not “fixed”, discuss when the best time is with your veterinarian. Pet overpopulation is a serious issue and by allowing your dog to have litters, you are adding to the problem. Finding homes for puppies is not as easy as you may think. Even if you choose to keep the puppies, you now have the additional cost of vaccines, parasite control, toys and food for several pets.
    • Diet – Your 4 month old puppy should be eating a good quality food formulated for puppies of his or her size 3 to 4 times per day. Consider your pups age, weight, and activity level when deciding how much to feed. Every brand of food has different nutrients, caloric densities and feeding recommendations. There is no set formula for how much to feed a puppy. Check the manufacturer’s recommendations on how much to feed. As your puppy ages and his size increases, he will need more food each day. Weigh your puppy each week. Approximate caloric requirement for a 4 month old puppy varies with breed size and activity level. Estimations include Toy breeds – 250 calories, small breeds 535 calories, medium breeds 825 calories, large breeds 1600 calories and giant breeds 2250 calories.

    Puppy Care Recommendations

    That cute little puppy stole your heart and now he’s part of your family. You love him to death, but remember: He’s your responsibility and you need to take care of him.

    Of course, taking care of your dog is a year round responsibility. You should keep a detailed medical file on each pet to remind you when vaccines are due, when the last fecal sample was checked and what special seasonal events are required, such as a trip to the groomer.

    To keep him healthy and happy, there are several things you should do as part of his care.

    Parasites

    Parasites are a common problem as your puppy ages. Ticks, fleas, heartworms and intestinal worms are the primary culprits. However, with a little planning and some medical help, your puppy can be kept parasite free. Your veterinarian has medications available to prevent these parasites from infesting your puppy and to eliminate the parasites if already present.

    For more information, see the article Parasite Control.

    Ticks

    There are topical and oral medications available to prevent and treat tick infestations. If a tick is found, careful manual removal with a tweezers or tick removal instrument is recommended.

    For more information, see the article How to Remove and Prevent Ticks.

    Fleas

    Preventing fleas is much easier than treating an already established flea infestation. Topical and oral medications are quite effective in keeping your puppy’s flea problem to a minimum and are safe in puppies. Monthly products now make flea treatment much easier than ever before. If fleas are allowed to proliferate, your pet and your entire environment – home and yard – must be treated.

    For more information, see Flea Control and Prevention.

    Heartworms

    Heartworms are a preventable parasite in your dog. For dogs at risk of infection, monthly oral preventative is strongly recommended, based on geographical location and lifestyle. This medication is typically started around 4-6 months of age. Since mosquitoes transmit heartworms, the risk of heartworm infection is increased in the warmer months.

    For more information, see the article Heartworm Prevention in Dogs.

    Intestinal Parasites

    Roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, coccidia and giardia are common intestinal parasites. Most veterinarians recommend deworming all puppies since many can be born with roundworms. Even so, a fecal sample should be evaluated. After an initial deworming, your pup may need additional deworming. After reaching adulthood, an annual fecal exam is recommended. If parasites are found, early treatment can reduce the chance of serious illness. Currently, there are monthly medications available that help prevent some of these parasites from developing. Even if your dog is on medication to prevent parasites, annual fecal evaluation is still recommended.

     

    Vaccination

    In addition to parasite control, preventing contagious disease is also recommended. There are vaccines available to help reduce your puppy’s risk of acquiring diseases such as distemper, parvovirus, hepatitis, kennel cough and rabies, just to name a few. Vaccines are started in puppies at 6-8 weeks of age and given every 3-4 weeks until the pup reaches 16-20 weeks of age. After that, boosters are given the following year.

    For more information, see Vaccine Recommendations for Dogs.

    Nutrition

    Proper nutrition is essential in maintaining health and providing adequate nutrition for growing puppies. Supplements are not recommended. Giant breed puppies require some extra nutrition due to their rapid growth. Special diets are now available for these pups. By feeding high quality puppy food, you will be helping your puppy down the path of good health.

    For more information, see Picking the Right Food for Your Puppy.

    Grooming

    Grooming is an important part of caring for your puppy. By grooming your puppy early in life, you can get him used to being brushed, combed and bathed. Longhaired dogs should be brushed daily. Short haired puppies benefit from weekly grooming. Without proper grooming, accumulation of hair and mats and tangles can occur. Start bathing and brushing your puppy as soon as you bring your new pup home.

    For more information, see the article Grooming Your Dog.

    Exercise and Training

    Puppies are quite clumsy but very active. Provide plenty of opportunity for your pup to run off that pent up energy. If it is hot and humid outside, try to limit the amount of time outdoors and don’t allow your pup to over exert himself. Exercise and play are very important not only to keep your pet fit but to provide socialization and teach your puppy what is acceptable play and what is not. Any misbehavior or aggressive play should be stopped immediately. Even though dog parks are popular and fun, they are not good ideas for puppies under 6 months of age. Puppies are very susceptible to contagious disease and dog parks can result in the spread of disease. Wait until your pup has received all his puppy shots before going to the park.

     

    Training

    Obdience training is very important in puppies. It teaches them their place in the family and gives them an opportunity to show you how smart they are. Following your commands can keep your pet safe, especially when around other pets. Puppies learn very quickly and training while young is recommended. Remember, an obedient puppy makes a happy healthy dog.

    Ten Things You Should Know About Your Puppy

    It’s always a happy moment for parents and children when they first acquire a new puppy. Most people receive a few elementary instructions on how to proceed from the breeder and all except the most foolhardy will have made preparations at home for the youngster’s arrival at their home.

    Food bowls and dog beds, collars and leads, toys, and an ample supply of puppy rations, should await the pup on homecoming. With luck, the breeder will also point out the necessity of vaccination and deworming, recommending a timely veterinary visit so that health matters are in hand.

    What else then do new puppy owners need to know during the early weeks and months of ownership if they are to give their pup the best chance of becoming a well-balanced, well-behaved, and loving family dog? Below is a list of 10 important things that new puppy owners should know or realize if they are to stand the best chance of success:

  • Appropriate psychological support is required. It is extremely important that young puppies, of say 8 to 12 weeks of age, do not suffer any psychological trauma. They should be nurtured at this stage and allowed to develop confidence, which will remain with them as a positive aspect of their personalities for the remainder of their lives. In this respect, there should be no physical punishment, no yelling, no hitting, and no intimidating of the pup for apparent misdeeds. Negative punishment, i.e. withdrawal of a valued resource [such as your attention] can be employed later as a corrective measure to address any emerging problem behaviors. It is particularly important to ‘be there’ for puppies at times of need and not to leave them alone for long hours. This is especially important at night when the new pup cries for attention. While some folk say, “Leave the pup alone or you’ll make a rod for your own back,” or “Just let them cry themselves to sleep,” this is totally the wrong approach. Rather, the pup should be allowed to sleep in the owner’s bedroom and should be attended to and spoken to gently if it shows signs of distress. It is not necessary to allow the pup to come into the owner’s bed, simply for it to know that someone is there for it and is attentive.
  • Socialization is imperative. While a lot of people pay lip service to the word “socialization” as it relates to puppy training, very few people realize that this should be a carefully thought out, active and ongoing process if it is to achieve the requisite goals. The concept of “puppy parties” is a useful one which entails the introduction of young pups to an assortment of benign individuals of different ages and genders, wearing different types of apparel, whilst arranging for the circumstances to be pleasurable for the pup. This ensures that the pup comes to regard all people, familiar and unfamiliar, as potential friends and benefactors and staves off future fearfulness and even fear aggression. Socialization is an extremely important measure and one to understand and practice. Desensitization to various things that the pup is likely to encounter in its present and future environment is also important. Vacuum cleaners, ironing boards, various sounds, sights, and even smells can be introduced in a graded way for the puppy’s controlled acceptance.
  • Expectations for house training. There is a formula for the amount of time for which a puppy can go without having an accident on the floor. The formula is N + 1 hour, where N is the age of the puppy in months. So a two-month old puppy might be able to hold its urine for 3 hours and a three-month old puppy might make it as long as 4 hours. The point is that if you leave the puppy alone for greater than the time that it can contain itself, an accident is inevitable. Obviously, punishing a puppy for having an accident under these circumstances is totally inappropriate and will lead to great confusion on the puppy’s part. Instead, owners should realize that housebreaking is a time consuming business that requires their close supervision and attention. They must chaperone the puppy out into the yard and reward it for eliminating in the right place while they prevent accidents indoors by giving the pup proper attention and somewhat restricting its access to all areas of the house. 
  • How and what to feed the puppy. Hopefully most people now realize that puppies require somewhat specialized rations because they are growing. The safest thing to do is for the puppy owner to buy AAFCO-approved puppy food, either dry or wet or a mixture of the two and meal feed the pup an appropriate number of times a day. Initially, this may be 4 times a day, at three months it could be down to 3 times a day and later it can be reduced to twice a day. It is probably a bad idea to feed pups table scraps partly because human food will unbalance an otherwise properly balanced ration but also because it will encourage begging behavior at the table later on which is something that most owners do not want to experience with an adult dog.
  • No two puppies are the same. We’ve all heard about puppy temperament testing and, while the scientific jury is still out on this equivocal procedure, the fact is that different puppies do have different temperaments. There are different strokes for different pups. Owners need to appreciate this and adjust their interactions accordingly. Some pups, for example, may be very forward and do a lot of yapping, mouthing, and jumping up. These pups need to be gently reigned in to discourage their rowdy behavior. At the other end of the spectrum are the timid shy pups that need to be coaxed out of their shell. In the latter case, it is helpful to play games that the pup is allowed to win to build its confidence and self-esteem. ‘Tug of War’ is an excellent example of a game that can be used to the benefit of these timid dogs. 
  • The territorial dog and the need for owner leadership. Dogs are a territorial species. With no proper guidance, some will take residence in your home and, as they mature, may gradually assume territorial responsibility for the home, deciding who is and who is not welcome at your door. At this stage, they may simply allow you to be there because you feed them. This is an untenable situation so it is important that from early age you display your leadership and control within your home. The way for owners to demonstrate their leadership is simple and, for some pups, essential. It is simply to insist, right from the getgo, that pups earn their food and treats from their owner. Young pups should be instructed, using a single-word command, to “Sit”, followed by appropriate positioning, before their food is served. Meal feeding is, of course, essential with this technique. Similarly, pups should be required to ear all treats: First a command, then a response, then the treat. It has been shown that these two simple measures, requiring a pup to sit for food and obey a command in order to receive treats, will prevent the development of dominance toward owners and will also likely help prevent untoward dominance-related territoriality.
  • Communication and proper training are key to successful puppy raising. Owners should understand that some kind of training is essential for their pup and the earlier this is started the better. While taking a puppy to puppy-training class at 4 months of age is better than no training at all, the general rule is that the earlier training is started the better – even if it simply involves pairing certain words with certain actions to build the pups vocabulary. It has been shown recently that pups can learn up to 200 words and some can learn many more than that, possibly as many as 500-1000 words. There’s no reason to stop teaching your dog once it has mastered Sit and Down. Proper communication between owner and pup, later young dog, is a sure way to minimize stress and ensure proper behavior. Training should not be about forcing the pup to obey under threat of punishment but rather should entail encouraging the dog to obey because of the positive consequences of its actions. Positive training using a clicker, for example [see clicker training elsewhere on this website] and early acclimation to a head halter control system are really all that is required, if used properly. Choke collars, prong collars, and electric shock collars should not be used to train puppies or adult dogs. Other techniques that are inappropriate (and perhaps even harmful) when training a puppy are jowl grabbing, chin chapping, and alpha-rolling (flipping the puppy on its back and pinning it until it stops struggling).
  • Desensitization to being touched is important. There are lots of things that people need to do with dogs once they grow up and it is as well to get puppies used to any many of these interventions as soon as possible. Handle the pup’s muzzle, pry open its mouth, play with its ears, gently grab folds of skin on its back, chest, abdomen and legs, handle its feet, and get it used to having its tail and nether regions touched and manipulated (your vet will thank you one day). Practice these things every day. 
  • Crates are forever. Many owners think that crates are just used as a tool to assist in housebreaking a pup. Once proper house training has been accomplished, they then pass the crate on to a friend or neighbor or store it indefinitely in the cellar. This should not be so. Dogs are den dwellers and appreciate having a crate around for life. There is no need to shut the door on the crate – simply provide it as a retreat for the pup from the madding crowd of life. A crate should be available at all times for the dog to ‘get away from it all’ or to use if it simply wants to rest. Preferably the crate should be solid-sided to make it den-like and preferably it should have a comfortable pad and bumpers making it a comfortable place for the dog to be. Food treats can be hidden in the crate for enticement and chew toys should be available inside. If you make your pup comfortable in its crate, make the crate a safe asylum from a busy world, it will appreciate it and would thank you if it could. If a dog is comfortable inside its crate, its not unacceptable to shut the door from time to time, if necessary, but not if this induces attempts to escape and not for too long (1-2 hours should be the maximum time and even so, only if the dog has food or toys to occupy it while sequestered). 
  • Health matters. Every owner should make it his or her business to learn something about their pet’s health. They should be cognizant of their dog’s disposition. They should watch out for changes in appetite and body weight and should be wary of other indicators of illness, such as coughing, breathlessness, exercise intolerance, alimentary disturbances and various discharges. If there is any doubt as to the state of a dog’s health it should be taken to a veterinarian immediately for a physical examination, diagnosis of the problem, and treatment, if necessary. Vaccination and de-worming are necessary for young pups. They should be undertaken at a veterinarian’s direction at the appropriate times, usually between 10 – 14 weeks of age. The vet should also be asked about neutering. Dogs that are not intended for breeding should be neutered for health reasons, for behavioral reasons, and for birth control.
  • What Your 9-month-old Puppy Needs

    Your 9-month-old puppy has certain needs to stay healthy! The following is a list of recommended wellness care for an 9-month-old puppy including tips and advise on dewormers, heartworm prevention, flea and tick control, spay and neutering and nutrition.

  • Vaccines – 9-month-old puppies should have completed all of their puppy shots. This means he or she should have received 2 to 4 sets of shots spaced every 3 to 4 weeks from age 6 weeks to 16 weeks. If your puppy has not had any shots, he needs 2 sets of shots 3 to 4 weeks apart and one rabies vaccine.
  • Dewormers – Most puppies at this age have already been dewormed and do not require additional deworming unless they are infested. Your veterinarian can check a fecal sample to determine if worms are present. Many heartworm preventative medications control worms which eliminates the need for routine deworming.
  • Heartworm Prevention – Canine heartworm disease is a serious parasitic disease caused by a long, thin worm that lives in the blood vessels and heart of infected dogs. The disease is spread by mosquitoes. Heartworm prevention is important to puppies. Before beginning heartworm prevention, any dog over seven months of age should first have a heartworm test. Heartworms are present in most parts of the United States. Ask your veterinarian if your dog is at risk.
  • Flea/tick Control – Depending on where you live and your current flea/tick situation, there are very good preventative medications to control flea and ticks. The best and safest products are prescribed by veterinarians.
  • Spay/Neuter – Most dogs should be spayed or neutered now, if they have not been already. Check with your veterinarian to determine their recommendations.
    • Diet – Your 9 month old puppy should be eating a good quality food formulated for puppies of his or her size twice daily. Some veterinarians recommend weaning to an adult food somewhere between 9 and 12 months, depending on the breed and size of your dog. Consider your pups age, weight, and activity level when deciding how much to feed. Every brand of food has different nutrients, caloric densities and feeding recommendations. There is no set formula for how much to feed a puppy. Check the manufacturer’s recommendations on how much to feed. As your puppy ages and his size increases, he will need more food each day. Weigh your puppy each week. Approximate caloric requirement for a 6 month old puppy varies with breed size and activity level. Estimations include Toy breeds – 230 calories, small breeds 600 calories, medium breeds 925 calories, large breeds 1700 calories and giant breeds 2800 calories.