Don’t treat a puppy as young as 6 to 12-weeks old like an adult dog. Treat him the same way you would your own infant: with patience, constant supervision and a gentle touch. The way you interact with your puppy at this age is critical to her/his socialization.
Use these tips:
- Don’t bring home a puppy while you’re on vacation so you can spend a lot of time with him. Instead, acclimate him to your normal, daily routine.
- Supervise your puppy at all times and interact with him regularly.
- Be alert for signs (sniffing and circling) that he has to go to the bathroom, then take him outside immediately.
A young puppy has no bladder control and will need to urinate immediately after eating, drinking, sleeping or playing. At night, he will need to relieve himself at least every three hours.
- Don’t punish an accident. Never push her/his nose in the waste or scold him. S/he won’t understand, and may learn to go to the bathroom when you’re out of sight.
- Praise your puppy every time s/he goes to the bathroom outside.
- Feed your puppy a formula designed for puppies. Like a baby, s/he needs nutritious, highly digestible food.
Meeting Resident Pets
Keep resident pets separated from your new puppy for a few days. After your new puppy is used to his new den area, put an expandable pet gate in the doorway or put your puppy in his crate.
Give your resident pet access to the area. Let pets smell and touch each other through the crate or pet gate. Do this several times over the next few days. After that, give the resident pet access to the den area with your new puppy out of her/his crate.
Supervise their meeting and go back to through-the-gate/crate meetings if trouble arises.
Children and Pets
Young children may be tempted to shout at a puppy if they think he’s doing something wrong. Be sure they understand that puppies and dogs can be easily upset and startled by loud noises.
No teasing. Keeping a toy just out of reach will reinforce bad habits such as jumping up and excessive barking.
Wagging tails and play biting can be too rough for some young children. Supervise interaction and separate them if the play is too rough.
Teach kids to care for a dog by showing them how to feed and groom him.
Best to keep puppy off furniture for the first year so that they know they are not alpha over the children. This is very important because your puppy may think your children are also siblings to dominate.
Also, no playing chase and tug o war. This encourages the wrong kind of play. Fetch is much better.
Keeping your puppy safe in your yard requires good fencing. There are several options to choose from, and the one you should pick will depend on your puppy’s personality, your property and your budget. Here are some of the options you should consider:
- Privacy fencing. Privacy fences have no openings and provide excellent containment for both dogs and kids.
- Chain link. Inexpensive chain link works well and is durable.
- Underground fencing. These electronic systems cannot be seen, jumped over or dug under. Wire is buried, configured and connected to a transmitter. The dog wears a special collar that emits warning tones and issues a mild shock as he nears the buried wire. The problem with this is dogs can come onto your property and leave. Your dog may be so motivated to go and play on the other side of the fence the “shock” is worth the play time!
- Kennels. A covered kennel run, especially one with a concrete floor, will keep your puppy from digging, climbing or jumping out. Ask your veterinarian or breeder to recommend an appropriate size.