Puppyhood: Do’s and Don’ts

I met the cutest Chow/Husky mix named Maple. When I met her, she was this reddish/orangish puff ball excited about life and her humans wanted the best for her. Better than what their respective dogs had growing up. They looked for a different approach in training all things puppies. They chose a positive reinforcement/reward based trainer and they were open minded and ready to implement Maple’s training plan. YES!

Meet Maple

In considering all the aspects of raising a puppy, there are more do’s than don’ts. Yes, consideration needs to be paid for ensuring a puppy doesn’t contract any diseases such as PARVO and Distemper since they are not fully vaccinated by the ideal time of going to their furever home at 8 weeks of age. On the other hand, this can be mitigated by keeping a careful and structured socialization plan. The humans taking in a puppy for the first time may need a little guidance and education for effective puppy upbringing.

Here’s our approach.

The Do’s of Puppy Training

  • Do find a reliable positive reinforcement/reward based trainer-if this is not in your budget look for reputable sites like Dunbar Academy. They offer well developed content which some is free!
  • Do prioritize getting your puppy around 100 different places, people (of all ages and sizes), environments, experiences (sounds, ground textures) within the first 100 days of bringing your puppy home. *8-14 weeks of age is the ideal time to do this! This will make your puppy grow into a well adjusted adult dog.
  • Do have puppy parties at your home. Invite others to come by (leaving shoes at the door) and allow for everyone to touch on and all over your puppy. Most dog bites happen because dogs weren’t socialized to have their collars grabbed, their paws played with, their tailed touched. Most dogs hate hugs, but a puppy who learns this is ok at an early age will have a better chance of accepting this from people, in particular from children.
  • Do get your puppy vaccinated at the earliest intervals recommended by your veterinarian.
  • Do include basic obedience training early-especially integrating real life rewards quickly after your puppy learned what words like “sit, stay, down, leave it, take it, focus” means. Food is a tool like a collar and leash are and integrating other things like doors opening and pets from you will become the things your puppy desires from you.
  • Do set up a success station(s), especially if you have children. The success station will be an area where you puppy can have down time in a confined space near you that is not a kennel or closed off room or backyard. Think of it like a Pack ‘N Play for a dog.

  • Do kennel train your dog. If nothing else, kennels may be needed in an emergency situation. Remember the reports of the fires in Australia? There were countless pictures of dogs both muzzled and kenneled while they were evacuated with their families. Emergencies like wildfires are unpredictable and raises the stress level of any person or animal for that matter. Also, for those who are part of a military family, having a kennel trained dog will serve you and your puppy well during frequent moves, temporary lodging and travel.

The Don’ts of Puppy Training

  • Don’t be afraid of getting your puppy out there even if getting out there means bringing people into your home. Vaccinations are necessary, but not having them doesn’t mean your puppy has to forgo necessary and early socialization.
  • Don’t miss out on early socialization. Waiting too long will only make possible problems like reactivity, biting, fearfulness to be the mainstay of your dog’s behavior repertoire. Let me tell you, an ounce in prevention in early socialization will save you a pound of behavior modification later in life. The latter is more challenging, time consuming and sometimes frustrating. Why put yourself and your puppy through this when early puppy socialization is fun and enjoyable!
  • Don’t use harsh training methods on a puppy or ever! There are other means of helping a dog learn which is least invasive and minimally aversive. Rubbing your dog’s nose in its urine or poop only teaches your dog to be afraid of you. Why would you want a dog who is afraid of you when your goal was having a companion animal brought into your family?
  • Don’t forget to take pictures and videos! Puppies grow very quickly, having those pictures and videos may be good reminders of how cute and cuddly your puppy is when they chew on something they should not have when they were accidentally left unsupervised.

If you’re looking for guidance with any of this, reach out for Four Paws and You Dog Training-we can set up a virtual training appointment.

Published by houndbiz

Katherine Porter is a force free, reward based dog behavior advisor and consultant serving clients and their companion dogs worldwide. Her calm and gentle approach in coaching clients in effectively communicating what they want to their dog blends her MSW background into her dog training and behavior practice. Katherine was a behavior consultant for Heeling Hounds after graduation. She opened Four Paws and You Dog Training LLC when the military relocated her family to Fort Sill, OK in 2015. During this time, she volunteered with Rainbow Bridge Can Wait where she provided post adoption consultations to new pet parents. She also developed and implemented tailored behavior modification plans for highly reactive dogs residing at the shelter. She also provided educational programs to military children through interactive workshops at the Fort Sill School Age Center. In 2017, Katherine relocated Four Paws and You Dog Training LLC to Germany. She served the Armed Forces communities in Bavaria. She continued coaching and advising her clients in addressing their companion dog’s fearful and reactive behavioral issues. Katherine takes a Do No Harm approach first and foremost in providing behavioral plans. She is committed in serving clients with gentle and modern science approaches in modifying behavioral concerns such as reactivity, aggression, separation anxiety and fear based responses. Katherine is a member of the Pet Professional Guild. She is focused on integrating a holistic and modern approach in addressing her client’s pet companion reactive behavior issues.

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