A lot of the responsibility for ensuring that a puppy gets a god start lies with the breeder; and this responsibility begins before the birth of the pup. Ensuring the right selection of a dam and sire whose genetic make up is best suited to produce puppies of good temperament, is imperative.
The process then continues the moment a puppy is boring, when it starts to get used to the breeder's scent and to being handled.
If you are about to purchase a puppy, or if, as a breeder you intend to keep the puppy until it is older to see how it develops, there is a lot you will have to consider, such as puppy potty training, preventing chewing and how to get a good night's sleep.
Time must also be put aside to consider the best locations for sociliasing and habituating your puppy.
Here are a few guidelines that may help you:
Accustom your puppy to lots of visitors, of both sexes and all ages. This will develop his or her social experience and help to keep territorial behaviour to manageable levels later in life.
Getting them used to visitors early on can also greatly reduce anxiety in dogs that comes from having friends or family around your house later on.
Accustom your puppy to being handled by your children can also help. Always make sure you are in a position of supervision and don’t let them pester it or treat it as a toy or with disrespect. If the dog feels they are getting bullied, than this can be counterintuitive in their training.
Groom your puppy every day, even if it is of a smooth haired or wire hair breed and they may not seem to need it.
Grooming will get your puppy used to being thoroughly handled and, incidentally it will help prevent the development of dominant behaviour.
In order to get your puppy used to being examined later in life, you can start from his or her early days. You can examine your puppy’s ears, eyes, teeth and feel regularly, even daily. You can also check under its tail and each paw individually. When your puppy is happy with you doing it, get others to do it as well.
The purpose of this is to get your new puppy used to the veterinary examination. This is very important, especially if first aid has to be administered in a hurry.
Domestic sights and sounds
Expose your puppy to as many domestic stimuli as possible. This includes the door bell, vacuum cleaner, tumble dryer, TV and radio.
But don’t make an issue of them. Treat them as being the routine.
The puppy should get used to them gradually without getting stressed.
The postman, milkman, delivery van
Take your puppy outside to meet these people as often as you can.
If your puppy gets to know and like them, it will be less likely to show territorial aggression towards them when it grows up. In my years of being a dog behaviour expert, I have come across dog owners who can never have parcels delivered to their house.
They have to go to the post office to collect every time as they are on the blacklist for deliveries. This can happen as a result of the dog’s behaviour if they are overly aggressive or threatening.
You can also encourage them to feed your puppy tidbits, or even give them the treats yourself when meeting them. This can ensure that a pleasant association develops.
If you have a cat, introduce your puppy to it. Keep the puppy under control and reward it for not pestering. Be careful not to also worry or get the cat stressed as it may scratch your puppy.
Placing the cat in a cat carrying basket just out of the puppy’s reach, or putting the puppy in an indoor kennel can be useful methods of introduction with little chance of an unpleasant incident occurring.
This can be repeated at intervals for a few days so that both puppy and cat learn to become settled one act other’s company.
Other dogs at home
If you already have a dog, introduce your puppy to it in the garden. Keep the older dog on a lead if you think extra care is necessary. This can depend on their own temperament and dog bred too.
Once the initial acceptance has been made by the older dog, the two should work out their relationship and settle down without too much intervention from you.
Prevent play biting
In a pack, as soon as puppies become active they play physical games with each other, and they can pester the adults by pulling their ears, tails, etc. In their early days, puppies have license to do what they like, but as they grow, the older dogs will become increasingly intolerant to this kind of behaviour. Especially as their teeth get sharper!
When a puppy is introduced into the family, this learning process is normally incomplete and the family must take over where the puppy’s mother and litter mates left off. How is this done?
The simple way is for the person concerned to respond with an authoritative “No!” As if they have been hurt whenever the puppy uses its tee tin in play or mouths them.
They should then walk off and ignore the puppy for a few minutes. In this way, the puppy should learn to limit the strength of its bit tin play and that, if it bites someone who upsets them, it does not have to bite hard to get an effect.
Sometimes, if a puppy has not learned not to play bite, it can still do this as an adult. If this is the case, other tactics may need to be employed.
Prepare your puppy for walking on the lead by getting it used to its collar and lead inside your flat or garden.
Socialisation is very important, but so is learning to remain relaxed when left alone. A puppy which is not accustomed to being left unattended on a regular basis is much more likely to suffer from separation anxiety in adulthood.
The help prevent your puppy from suffering from this common syndrome, you need to leave it unattended on its own. This should be done win the area when it usually sleeps at night. It should not be your bedroom, as sleeping there can contribute to separation anxiety and other problems.
For brand new puppies just separate from their mother, you can wrap a hot water bottle together and a standard analogue alarm clock together. The clock will make regular vibrations, as the second arm moves, similar to a dog’s heart beat. As it ticks, it will comfort the puppy as it simulates its mother’s heartbeat.
This can be removed as the puppy gets older, more independent and more confident.
Hopefully these few tips will help your puppy get settled in well at home. If you do find that your dog is still displaying signs of stress or separation anxiety, you can then try natural supplements such as our dog calming food topper.
This is a completely natural and science backed gentle way of easing your dog’s separation anxiety.