10 Thoughts You Have After Adopting A Puppy

Adopting a puppy is a thrilling experience, but it is also a time that is filled with a variety of questions. Especially if it’s your first puppy. Before you bring home a puppy, there’s a number of things you’ll want to do to ensure you have everything you need when you bring the puppy home. Once you do bring home your puppy and are enjoying playing with her, you might observe some behaviors that make you curious.

This article features some of the common thoughts new puppy owners experience in the first few days of owning a puppy.

This Puppy is SOOOO Cute!

Bringing home a puppy is an absolute joy. The first few hours you have with your new puppy at home will feel like they’re moving in slow motion. The adorable little pup will do basic things like run across the room or fall asleep in your lap, but these things will tug at your heartstrings and seem like the cutest acts you’ve ever scene. Enjoy these puppy moments.

 I Thought Cats Were the Curious Ones?

Your new puppy is going to be curious to check out your her new home. They’ll range throughout your home smelling and exploring all the rooms, objects, and potential napping locations you have to offer.

Is She Supposed to Sleep This Much?

You’ll likely be surprised how much your little puppy is sleeping. While you’ll want to cuddle and play with your new puppy as much as possible, your puppy does require plenty of shut eye. A puppy needs to get about 18-19 hours of sleep a day, so you’re going to notice her taking plenty of naps.

Ouch! His Little Teeth Hurt!

Biting is common for little puppies. When they were still living with their mothers, puppies will often play-bite with their littermates. Because of this positive playing with their littermates, many puppies will play-bite with their pet owners thinking it’s fun for each of you. Here’s a guide for training your puppy to stop biting.

Why Doesn’t She Want to Go in Her Crate at Night?

When it’s time for bed and you go to place your new pup in her crate, you might face some pushback. If so, no worries it’s normal. Here are some tips on crate training your puppy.

How Often Should I Be Taking Her Outside?

Typically you should be taking your puppy outside to use the bathroom shortly after she eats. If she’s alone during the days when you’re at work, taking her out for a long walk once you get home is a great way for her to get some energy out.

How Long Until She Starts Listening To Me?

Puppies are cute to look at, fun to play with, and great to cuddle with. But, they do lack the skills to listen to commands. At least at first. Here’s a guide to start teaching your puppy basic commands.

Can I introduce My Puppy To My Friends? And Their Pets?

You’re going to be excited to show off your new puppy. Snapping adorable pics on your social media accounts will only get you so far. Conditioning your puppy to get use to being around other humans and pets is called socialization.

Some puppies will adapt to the company of others rather quickly and seamlessly. Others will take a while. It largely depends on the type of environment your puppy grew up in. Regardless of how prepared your puppy has been for socializing with humans and other pets, there are good and bad puppy socialization methods that owners should be aware of.

That’s Not the Bathroom!

It’s inevitable that your puppy is going to have some accidents early on. The tremendous sense of smell, and preference towards habits, will make cleaning up after these accidents essential for you as a pet owner. If your puppy can identify the stench of their urine, they’re likely to repeat the accident in a similar spot. Here’s some tips for getting rid of puppy urine smell.

She Seems Perfectly Healthy, But How Can I Be Sure?

You’ll want to set up an appointment with a nearby vet shortly after you bring home your puppy. You’ll want a vet to give your puppy a full examination to make sure she is in good health and to set up a schedule for the necessary vaccinations your puppy will need.

Training Your Puppy

Puppies; they’re cute adorable bundles of fluff that love to follow you at your heels and sleep in your lap. In fact, they’re so sweet that you’ve probably become convinced that they’re perfect after only having your new puppy home for a few hours. Sure he has had a couple of accidents, but he’s so well behaved! He never barks, chews, or does anything bad! Well, we hate to burst your bubble, but this period isn’t going to last. Right now, your baby puppy is almost too young to be bad. Now don’t get us wrong, they can get into a lot of mischief while 8-9 weeks old, but mostly they just eat, sleep, and go potty. But soon, they’re going to get bigger, have more energy, and more teeth and start being rambunctious little whirlwinds.

 

Now is the time to start training your puppy. You don’t want to wait until their six months old to suddenly realize that your puppy has grown up with no rules and free reign of your home. Starting healthy and safe habits early in life will help you and your puppy to have a long-lasting and positive relationship.

 

Even the youngest new puppy can learn to “sit,” “lie down,” “stay” and “come” when asked. But looking at your innocent new puppy, it’s hard to imagine that training would be necessary at all. Of course, it always is. During training, we should view our pets as companions who both understand and respond to us. Training should be considered as a means of teaching pets good manners so that, as our puppies mature into adult dogs, they’ll be welcome both in our homes and outdoors in public. For practical purposes, training should be initiated as early as possible, and all members of your household should participate.

 

It’s most likely that your puppy will view only one or two members of your household as alphas, but he or she should be trained to listen to anyone in the house, both for safety reasons and for ease of living. You don’t want to teach your puppy that it only needs to listen to you. This may make them act out with others like other family members or loved ones. Raising a puppy is a team sport, and everyone needs to play.

 

Puppy Training Reward System

Puppies learn best when they receive exciting rewards for their efforts. Even the youngest and tiniest puppy will be enthusiastic about food treats and will be eager to work with you. Experiment to find your puppy’s favorite reward, whether it’s food, a tossed toy or a warm word of praise. Only positive, gentle methods should be used – punishment is likely to harm your puppy’s confidence and has no place in good training. Puppies, like children and even adult humans, learn best when they enjoy the learning process and receive something in return. In the home or in the park, differences are usually very obvious between reward-trained dogs and those trained by force.

 

Keep in mind that one treat will not work for all puppies. Some may like dry treats while others need juicer temptations. For breeds that have strong noses, like hounds, you may need to put in a lot of work to find the treat that gets you puppy’s nose off the ground and pointed at you. But don’t lose patience. This process may take a few tries, but it will be worth it in the end.

 

Puppy Training Command System

Training should utilize word cues – “commands” – that will be of practical use to you as your pup’s human companion. The most helpful tools are “sit,” “lay down,” “stay” and “come.” It’s also important to teach your puppy to walk on a leash without tugging. If you have intentions of enrolling your dog in obedience competition, you will need to train a formal “heel, ” but this can wait until your puppy is older. For future obedience competition candidates, enrolling your pup in a puppy training class is highly advisable.

 

Puppies can also benefit from nonverbal commands, such as hand signals. This way, if you’re ever in a loud environment, you’ll be able to signal to your puppy the behavior that you’re looking for, and he will be able to respond. Pair each verbal command with a gesture and utilize that gesture every time you employ your command. When your puppy is older you can start switching between vocal only, gesture only, or dual commands.

 

Puppy Training Lure System

The most effective teaching method, using “sit” as an example, is to allow your puppy to engage in the behavior on her own rather than pushing her into position. Small bits of food (even your puppy’s regular kibble) can be used as a “lure” after offering a few “free” pieces first. With food in hand, present your hand to the puppy’s nose and then slowly raise it toward the top of her head, so that her mouth and head are directed upward. In most cases, when the nose points up, the tail end goes down and your puppy’s sitting! The food should then immediately be relinquished and the exercise repeated.

 

Lures can be used effectively to train “down” by having your puppy sit facing you, then drawing the lure from her nose to the floor and then back toward you. When your puppy’s sitting or lying down reliably each time you offer the lure, you can introduce the words – sit or down – along with the lure. Finally, when she’s responding like a pro, the rewards should be cut back and given only every other time, then every third time and, finally, only randomly.

 

Puppy Obedience Classes

Lures, rewards, timing and other aspects of positive training are best demonstrated, and then guided, by experienced trainers. If you have resources in your city or town, consider enrolling your young (and vaccinated) puppy in a “kindergarten” training class designed specifically for the young pet. Puppy kindergartens usually include basic, reward-based training, along with plenty of playtime and discussions about care and behavior. Obedience centers also offer puppy or pre-novice training sessions designed to teach on a slightly more serious level. Many dog owners will proceed from one level to the next – first with a puppy, then with an adolescent and later with their young adult dog – who by now is proficient at basic obedience commands. Training should be fun for you and your dog.

A lifetime of good manners can start with training the youngest of puppies. If she’s old enough to be away from her mother and littermates, she’s old enough to learn simple commands. The result isn’t only a well-behaved and welcome canine companion, but one whose quality of life is enhanced in the long run. She’ll be more likely to accompany you on trips, on visits to friends’ houses and, because she’ll have learned to come when called, she’ll be ready for that great day when she first runs free on a sandy beach.

How to Be a Good Puppy Owner

Even if the breeder or shelter has done everything right and you adopt a near perfect puppy, it doesn’t take long – if you are not careful – to undo all the good work and create problems that will trouble you and perhaps your pup for the rest of its life.

The first month or two after adoption is the most critical, although the juvenile period that follows is also important. Let’s suppose you adopt your new puppy at 8-weeks of age and let’s suppose you’re heading home with your new dependent to a household that you have carefully prepared to accommodate the youngster’s needs. You have purchased a dog bowl, puppy food, various chew toys, a doggy blanket, an X pen, a crate, a dog bed, and a collar and lead. “Now what?” you may think to yourself as you pull into the drive and carry your new pup across the threshold.

Unless you have been through this before, unanswered questions will pour through your mind, starting at that time and continuing for weeks as you approach one hurdle after the other. Should you introduce him to the whole family at once and allow them to pet him and get to know him? How long will he need to go between naps? Where should he sleep? How often do you feed him? How do you feed him? What do you feed him? What do you do if he cries for attention at night? What do you do if he becomes mouthy? When do you start training him to eliminate outside? When should you begin training him and when and where should you take him to puppy training classes? These and many more questions will need to be addressed if the puppy’s physical health, behavior, and psychological well-being are to be optimized.

The First Day At You Bring Your Puppy Home

As you step across the threshold, your first thought should be for the wee mite. He has just finished a mysterious journey in a jolting jalopy and now finds himself in an unfamiliar den, full of unfamiliar sights, sounds, and smells. It must be a disturbing time. For that reason, some quiet time, downtime, should be first on the agenda. Perhaps you could bring the pup through to a quiet room and introduce him to his blanket or dog bed, to his water bowl and food bowl, and stay with him for awhile until he becomes curious and starts to investigate. Then other individuals in the household can come along and introduce themselves peacefully and slowly, bearing in mind all the time the pup’s best interest.

Since you can’t spend every waking moment of the first day entertaining your pup, and bearing in mind that he will need to sleep fairly frequently, it is a good idea to set up an X pen in a reasonably well-populated area of the house. Put the pup’s blanket, food, and water at one end and – just in case – some newspapers or a “Wee-Wee” pad at the other end. This can be his sanctuary, a place to rest and get away from it all when things get too hectic or when the owners are otherwise occupied.

What about toileting in the first 24-hours? While some pups can be reasonably well house trained by 9-weeks of age, such success can only be achieved by constant diligence and realistic expectations. A 2-month old pup can only go for about 3 hours between bathroom breaks and will need to be taken out on a regular schedule and encouraged to eliminate outside. Accidents will happen at the beginning and should go unpunished. Proper cleanup with an odor neutralizer should be conducted in the event of an accident, and then the whole issue should be forgotten.

The first night, the puppy should be allowed to sleep in the owner’s bedroom, preferably confined in a crate or X pen. If the pup cries, it should be attended to. You should get out of bed and spend time with it, reassure it that you’re there, speak kindly and then go back to bed. If the crying continues, you can visit the pup again 5 or 10 minutes later and reassure it again. Gradually increase the time between your visits until the pup learns that you are there for it but that it has to stay in its own sleeping area. Eventually, he will go to sleep and, incidentally, the next night the whole procedure will be much quicker as he gets the message that the enclosure is his sleeping area.

The First Week After You Bring Your Puppy Home

On awakening each day, the first thing to do is to pick the young pup from its pen and bring it outside to a well-chosen spot where it can eliminate. A successful “mission” should be a joyous occasion. The pup should know, in no uncertain terms, that you are delighted with what has transpired, and he should be rewarded immediately with praise and, perhaps, a food treat. If the mission is unsuccessful, the pup should be brought back into the house, confined in a relatively small area such as a crate or behind a kiddy gate and taken out again 15 minutes later. Each day, after breakfast, the pup should be taken out again as the process of eating will stimulate its gastro-colic reflex, thus necessitating a “bathroom” run. Regular visits outside should be made during the day at say mid-morning, lunchtime, mid-afternoon, late afternoon, early evening, and last thing at night. Also, the pup should be taken outside when it transitions from one behavior to another, for example, after sleeping, after chewing, after playing, etc.

Mealtimes should probably be four times a day at this age, and it is not unreasonable to start training a routine at this time. The food, puppy food, of course, should be put into a bowl and the pup should be instructed and signaled to sit before being fed. Initially, gentle placement may be necessary to ensure that the pup understands the signaling. Be generous in your expectations, reward half-hearted attempts, or even transitory success in sitting. The pup should be given 15 minutes to eat [it probably won’t need all this time] and then the food bowl should be picked up. There should be no running buffet. Water, though, should be available at all times of the day and night. Requiring a pup to sit or lie down to receive its food demonstrates to it that you are in charge of this valued resource. This helps to elevate your leadership status and helps head off problems of owner-directed pushiness or aggression, should they be slated to appear later in the pup’s life. It’s also a good idea to have the pup earn all treats by responding to a one-word command.

During the first week, it is possible to introduce a pup to a flat collar and lightweight lead, which initially it should just be allowed to drag around on the ground. Later, a person can append themselves to the other end of the lead, although initially, they will simply follow the puppy around and not attempt to control it.

The First Month After You Bring Your Puppy Home

During the first month, housetraining should have been accomplished, although a 3-month old puppy will still need to be taken outside every 4 hours if accidents are to be avoided. By the end of the first month, the frequency of feeding should be reduced to 3 times a day though puppy food will be needed right up to the end of the growing phase, possibly until the pup is 9-months of age. The pup’s mealtime manners should be improving over the first month as he gets the hang of the sit and/or down in order to solicit food from you.

Somewhere in the middle of the first month, the first veterinary visit should be scheduled at, say, 10-weeks of age and your veterinarian will advise you about deworming and vaccination schedules. He or she will also perform a thorough physical examination of your pup, checking for obvious physical abnormalities and health issues. Your veterinarian may advise you to keep your puppy inside and away from people and other dogs until vaccination is complete but this advice should not be taken too literally. Bad behavior causes almost half of all newborn puppies to be relinquished before they are 2-years of age and many times their surrender amounts to a death sentence. Preventing behavior problems is as important as vaccination and requires active socialization and desensitization to anything the pup may encounter in later life if it is to grow up confident, accepting, and fearless.

Socialization can be accomplished by arranging ‘puppy parties’ in which strangers [to the dog] are invited around to the house to play with the pup and entertain it in a pleasant way [remember not to overwhelm the youngster]. Likewise, the pup can be introduced to other dogs in its home or on its property as long as the dogs are in good health and properly vaccinated. Another prerequisite is that the visiting dogs are calm and composed and are not allowed to intimidate or threaten the pup.

All areas of the pup’s body should be handled on a daily basis: eyes, ears, mouth, feet, tail, and “undercarriage.” The pup should be made used to being handled and should grow up to be accepting of these physical interventions. You will thank yourself later, and your vet will thank you, too.

In addition, the pup should be desensitized to various sights, sounds, and even smells that it may encounter later in life. Sometimes it helps to make a tape recording of potentially frightening sounds like thunder, fire alarms, vacuum cleaners so that they can be played at low but increasing volumes while the puppy is entertained. Also, the pup can be desensitized to the car by introducing it to car travel by introducing it to car travel in stages. The pup can be brought to the reception area of the veterinarian’s office for petting and food treats and can be fed next to the vacuum cleaner so that it is not later perceived as a fire-breathing dragon. Desensitization need only be limited by your imagination.

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.

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.

Have you noticed that your puppy has started shedding like crazy? That’s because his coat changes at this age. He may lose his fluffy puppy down and start developing a more mature coat. Brush him regularly, and get ready to pull out the vacuum frequently to keep pet hair at bay in your home.

What about puberty? Your dog is sexually mature by nine months. If the canine hasn’t been spayed or neutered, he can be responsible for fathering a litter, or she can get pregnant. If your dog is neutered or spayed, you may have heard that he or she won’t exhibit hormonal behavior. However, “fixed” dogs can still use urine to mark their territory or attract mates. Dogs tend to become more aggressive during this time even if they have been neutered.

Things To Keep In Mind

If you’re having trouble controlling your nine-month-old puppy, remember that a tired dog is usually a well-behaved dog. You don’t have to walk for hours or run your pet around the dog park every day, even just engaging his mind with training, play, and puzzles can tire him out. Take the role of the pack leader and provide clear consistent commands. Maintaining an appropriate puppy routine can help your pet have good manners. Soon, you’ll be wondering what to expect from your 12-month old dog.

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.

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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.

The name of the game, when it comes to training puppies or dogs, is reinforcement; reinforcement of behaviors that you want. The opposite of reinforcement (reward if you will) is not punishment, it is no reward.

Simply stated, you reward behaviors you want while you ignore behaviors that you do not appreciate. If you do this, you will not encourage problem behaviors that you subsequently have to deal with. Puppies need to know the limits of acceptable behavior from the earliest possible time.

It is too late to wait until a pup is 6 or 8 months old and then start training. Training should begin at the get go, at home, under your benign supervision and should be consistent between family members. There is nothing confusing about this strategy but, for some reason, it is one that many find difficult to grasp or, at least, to stick to. For puppies that grow up to have problems related to destructive chewing, biting, nipping, jumping, and excessive barking, the main mistakes that owners have made, with respect to training, are too little too late. That, and using the wrong approach. It’s time to reverse this tide of misunderstanding and to start creating well-behaved and well-mannered dogs. And it’s perfectly possible for anybody who wishes to try.

 

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Communicating With a 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, 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.

Resources for Raising a Healthy Puppy

Want more useful advice on how to raise a healthy and happy puppy? Check out our featured articles:

 

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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.

There are two different approaches to petting and handling. One I refer to as in situ where the owner reduces themselves to the pup’s level and pets them where they lie. The other, Harry Potter’s Wingardium Leviosa approach, is to lift the pup up and cradle it in your arms while petting it. Both approaches work well, but if the pup is lifted up it should be lifted up properly. This means scooping it up from beneath and holding it securely, but not tightly, in such a way that it knows there is no chance of it falling. Whether using the in situ or Leviosa approach, petting should be performed in a way that the pup will appreciate, not like our grannies did to us when we were young, roughing up our hair and pinching our cheeks. Rather the pup should be petted along the side of its face and chest, petting in the same direction the hair grows and speaking in soothing tones. Whenever handling or petting a pup, pay close attention to its body language and affect. It is not hard to tell whether a pup is appreciating your attentions or whether it is trying to resist. Appreciation is good, resistance is not, and it indicates that its time to stop. If you start handling or petting a pup when it requests you will not be engaging in over-petting or over-handling. Read the dog is the message here. Human adults are not too bad at understanding puppy cues, but children are often unaware what the puppy is trying to tell them. It is important for adults to properly supervise the interaction of children and puppies if supposedly enjoyable handling and petting sessions are to be viewed as positive experiences by the pup.

As a final note, when it comes to communicating with or handling puppies, patience, consistency, and kindness are key to providing positive experiences for the pup. To be engaged in the family fun is a positive experience for the pup that contributes to bonding. Fairness in all respects and protection of the pup from unwelcome intrusions or assaults are also imperative. At the same time though, the kindness and protection has to be tempered with certain expectations and limit setting. For example, it is not reasonable to start to train a pup to sit to receive food or receive treats. The pup should have proper mealtimes and rest times and scheduled exercise sessions. Like children, puppies benefit from clear communication, proper attention, rewards for jobs well done, and timely correction of inappropriate behaviors. Note, however, that “correction” does not mean physical punishment, e.g. rolling the pup on its back and staring into its eyes, chapping it under the chin, or flicking it on the nose. Instead, correction should be accomplished by what is referred to as negative punishment – the withholding of a privilege that was otherwise being offered. For example, if a puppy starts to nip too hard it should be told no or ouch, spoken in staccato fashion, and following that utterance all attention should be withheld for a period. Using this approach the puppy will soon learn that certain behavior causes withdrawal of its owner’s attention and it will therefore temper the behavior. With proper direction like this there is no reason that the pup will not grow up to be a confident but respectful dog that enjoys his human family and has fun with them yet respects them. This is the basis for the development of a bond between an owner and their dog.

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.