Steps to a Happy and Balanced Puppy
- Never leave your pup unsupervised. If you cannot directly supervise, leave your pup in a crate or confined, puppy friendly area where he cannot hurt himself. This will also help prevent bad habits from developing.
- Utilize critical stages. Weeks 6-8 is a time of life when a small amount of exposure to other dogs will have a lasting effect on how he relates to other canines throughout his life. This is usually accomplished in the litter. Do not allow him to interact with unknown dogs until he is complete on all his vaccines. (Usually around 12 weeks)
- Weeks 8-12 is the critical stage for socialization to humans. I strongly recommend taking pup with you as much as possible. Get him exposed to all sorts of people, sounds, environments, etc.
- Touch conditioning is important. Touch all areas of you pup's body so he will become conditioned to your touch and feel comfortable.Get pup used to the car now! Take him for rides to pleasant and fun places. Take him to the vet for a visit without the need for an exam or shots, etc.
- Have a proper kennel/crate. It should not be too large, just enough space to stand up, turn around and lie down. Most pups will not soil where they sleep. I recommend purchasing a crate that will fit the pup when he's full grown. During the early stage, close off a portion of the crate with either a pre-made separator (available from crate manufacturers) or by placing a large cardboard box in the the back of the crate.
- First thing in the morning take youir pup form the kennel to the area you've decided will be the place for pup to eliminate. When he eliminates, give him lots of praise and love. Always use the same door to exit the home.
- Proper clean up is critical to proper housebreaking. A puppy will return to where he has eliminated before if it is not properly cleaned. The white vinegar method that is part of the 10 Minute Dog Program works 100%.
- Mix food with a little water before serving so it looks like a stew. Allow it to sit for a few minutes before feeding. Dry food can expand up to 30% in a dog's stomach, so let it expand in the bowl, thus avoiding possible indigestion and possible behavior problems.
- Schedule all feeding times at the same time each day. Generally, speaking, pups between the ages of 7 and 16 weeks can be fed 3X per day. I do not recommend feeding puppy food much past 6 months (especially large breed dogs). Puppy food is loaded with fat and protein and can lead to obesity and, in the case of large breed dogs, issues with joint growth and support.
- Establish yourself as the pack leader. Your pup is a social pack animal and needs the guidance of a fair, but firm pack leader. He recently had that with his mom. You're his new pack. By establishing yourself as the alpha-dog, your pup will grow up to respect you, respond to you, bond to you and want to please you. He will also become a much more happy and confident dog.
- Prevention and positive encouragement are the best ways to teach your pup. During pup's early weeks, all training is fun. There is no negative reinforcement while teaching behaviors such as sit, stay, and come. Remember we are teaching pup how to learn and to love to learn. Punishment won't help. Screaming, yelling, hitting will only create fear and confusion in your pup.