Choosing and Raising a PuppyChoosing the right puppy

New puppy owners are barraged with conflicting information from friends, neighbours, breeders, veterinarians and even books! It’s overwhelming to try to make sense of it all.

Finding a dog breed that is suitable to your lifestyle, age, family situation and demographics are of vital importance and the first step in becoming a dog owner. The difference between an active working dog that requires hours of exercise everyday and a small adoring lap dog is significant. Each dog breed requires different demands so researching characteristics of breeds is essential prior to selecting your puppy. After all it is your responsibility as a new dog owner to give your puppy the attention it requires. If you choose a puppy that is right for you and your situation, this will not be as frustrating!

Puppies grow into dogs quickly and although they are all adoring, cuddly little creatures as puppies, many will grow into small ponies within months. Consider your living environment, do you have sufficient space for a puppy. Is there ample room for exercise? A Wolfhound for instance will not be comfortable in the confinements of a small apartment. And a small dog may not adapt well to being left alone, outdoors in a kennel for hours at a time. How much time do you have to devote to your puppy? The attention puppies require is considerable and you must be willing to make this commitment.

Consider the characteristics of the breed, coat shedding, temperament and cost are all factors to look at prior to making a final decision. Also consider the life expectancy of the dog breed as this too may play a part in your decision. We owned Irish Wolfhounds and they were fabulous dogs, but the life span is relatively short.

Choosing a puppy (usually at eight weeks of age) is a very important decision, and everyone who lives in the household should agree before any puppy is brought into the home. If the puppy is to truly become a member of the family, then all family members will need to be involved in training. You must keep in mind that there are no perfect puppies so any puppy you pick will need to be trained if you want to live with a well-behaved, friendly and mannerly dog.

Puppies should be well socialisedIf a dog is expected to live in a household with people, obviously he/she needs to have been raised in a household with people. Your puppy needs to be prepared for everyday domestic living: the noise of the vacuum cleaner, pots and pans dropping in the kitchen, telephone ringing, football games screaming on the television, children crying, and adults arguing. Puppies that have been breed and raised in a household with these experiences will be much better adapted to family life than those bred in some secluded backyard or kennel where there is precious  little opportunity for interaction with people. A further downside is the puppy will have become accustomed to soiling in her living area and barking a lot. If raised in kennel-isolation, your prospective puppy’s social and mental development is already likely to be severely impeded and sadly you will be playing catch-up for the rest of his/her life. Look for litters born and raised indoors — in a kitchen or living room or your puppy will require remedial socialisation and training for a long time to come.

Eight weeks of age

  • Your puppy should already have been handled by many people, especially men, children, and strangers
  • Your puppy must have become thoroughly accustomed to a home physical environment, especially to all sorts of potentially scary noises
  • Your puppy’s housetraining and chew toy-training should be underway
  • Your puppy should already have a rudimentary understanding of basic manners. At the very least, your puppy should come, sit, lie down, and roll over when requested.

Make absolutely certain the puppies have been raised indoors in close contact with people who have devoted lots of time to their education

It is so important that dogs enjoy interacting with people and being stroked, brushed, hugged and handled, especially by children, men, and strangers. Early socialisation easily prevents serious adult problems, see article: early_neurological_stimulation_en By Dr. Carmen L. Battaglia .

If you really want to set yourself a housetraining challenge, buy a three-month-old puppy from a kennel or pet store window littered with shredded paper and straw with no specific toilet area. This puppy has been trained to eliminate anywhere, anytime. And that’s exactly what she will do when you get her home. You’ll be cleaning up urine and faeces for a very long time!

Don’t have your puppy yet and need help? Just call Stephen to arrange an appointment. If you already have your puppy sign up for puppy training school at Crosskeys Dog Training now and receive our education pack, click here for more information……..

Stephen can provide advice on choosing a puppy and then training your puppy to become a well socialised and well mannered canine companion. As an experienced dog trainer I can teach you positive, reward based methods which focus on effective ways of communicating with your dog.

Please contact Stephen at Crosskeys Training & Behaviour Centre for a Home Visit which would last up to two hours or to register for the next available PUPPY COURSE. 020 8590 3604 or via our contact page for more details.

APDT

Association of Pet Dog Trainers

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