Puppies need socialization, or exposure to new things, in the first four months of their lives to help them grow into happy, confident adult dogs. At this stage, their curiosity about new things outweighs their fear of the unknown. After four months of age, the window of opportunity starts to close, and new things may cause stress instead. Puppies could develop behavioral issues like fear aggression, separation anxiety or dog-to-dog reactivity if they aren’t properly socialized as puppies.
Start by slowly introducing your puppy to your family and friends; no big parties that may overwhelm him! He can meet respectful dogs one by one, but stay away from dog parks because there may be unvaccinated dogs playing there.
Practice handling for future visits to the vet or groomer by slowly massaging all parts of the body, including paws so nail trimming won’t be scary. Expose your puppy to new sounds like the vacuum cleaner or the doorbell. Sing, read or simply talk to your baby, and reward generously if he responds to his name. Never yell at your puppy, no matter how frustrated you may be. He’ll learn to fear you and you won’t develop the bond that you both want and need.
Just like people, each dog is an individual. Any dog is capable of being friendly, social, fearful or aggressive. Get to know your puppy’s specific personality and traits. Respect him for who he is and he’ll be your best friend for life!
This small transmitter is your pet’s ticket home if he becomes lost. Insertion usually causes very little pain; however, many pet parents opt to have this done while their pet is anesthetized for spay/neuter surgery.
The microchip is contained in a capsule smaller than a grain of rice and is non-toxic, hypoallergenic and completely safe. A simple procedure places the chip just under the skin. These microchips never need to be removed or recharged during your pet’s lifetime.
Pro-tip- If you activate and keep up with annual membership you will have access to pet poison control which can be useful if your puppy ingests a toxic substance.
Dogs need adequate exercise because regular workouts support skeletomuscular and cardiovascular health. After he has completed his vaccinations, you can take your puppy on short walks.
Let him get to know his new neighborhood by walking around the block and then slow increasing distance in concentric circles as he becomes more confident.
Follow your pup’s lead; don’t go too far too fast and be sure to let him stop and sniff. Teach him to walk nicely on a loose leash and always take plenty of treats with you on walks to reward good behavior. You can exercise at home too, by playing ball and teaching him to fetch. Get him used to stairs, and they can become part of his workout, too, especially on rainy days.
Children and Your New Puppy
Remember, safety first. Any dog or cat will bite if provoked. Children are fast-moving, loud and unaware of an animal’s body language. They are tempted to hug and kiss dogs or disturb a sleeping animal, which can lead to bites and scratches. Never allow your child to climb on a dog, pull his ears or tease him. Unfortunately, social media is full of photos and videos depicting children in unsafe situations with pets because parents unknowingly think it looks “cute.”
Learn and teach children about animal body language. Make sure your puppy has some quiet time when he can decompress if you have a rowdy, active family. And never leave young children unsupervised with any pet no matter how well you think you know the animal.