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.

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.

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.