Your New Puppy: Starting off on the Right Paw by Dr Elaine Cebuliak

Beds and personal space

Your puppy should have a bed of their own. Providing a mat or a crate that is your dog’s personal space is important as it provides a safe haven for the puppy. Crate training can:

· Prevent damage if the puppy is destructive when they are investigating their environment.

· Help with the house training.

· Creates a safe area for the puppy when you are unable to supervise them.

· Enable the puppy to be part of the family when they may otherwise have been put outside and been excluded.

· Help with future hospital stays and boarding.

Feeding times

Most puppies need to be fed around three times a day. And it’s best not to leave them alone when eating, so they learn that having people around food is a good thing. Putting tasty treats into your puppy’s bowl as they are eating, will help them look forward to people being around at meal times and help them become less protective of food.

Your puppy needs to socialise

Puppies have a sensitive period of development called the socialisation period. It occurs from about 3-12 weeks of age and any experiences the puppy has during this time can affect later behaviour. A well-socialised dog, is a dog that accepts other dogs and people without becoming frightened or aggressive. It may not necessarily want to interact with all other dogs or people but copes well with these situations. It’s also important to expose your puppy to many experiences and things during this time in a non-threatening way so they know these experiences are just a part of normal life. Your puppy needs to learn to interact with other dogs and have contact with people other than your family, so take them with you when you visit friends. However, your puppy should be fully vaccinated before you take them out into public places to prevent disease such as distemper, hepatitis and parvovirus. Puppy Preschools@ are a safe way of helping to socialise your puppy and teaching them good manners.

My puppy keeps crying at night

Your new puppy might cry at night when you first bring them home. You can help them settle in by providing them a comfortable warm bed of their own. Teach them to sleep in crate. Place a synthetic pheromone analogue diffuser near their bed to help them settle.

My puppy chews everything!

One of the most common complaints new puppy owners have is that their puppy bites and chews everything including hands, shoes and furniture! Puppies explore the environment with their mouth, so it is important to provide lots of safe, size appropriate chew toys. Change the toy daily to maintain interest.

How can I stop my puppy biting me?

If a puppy wants to interact with us, they must learn not to bite. Puppies do not “grow out” of biting habits, so what may seem cute and bearable in an 8-week-old puppy is definitely not when they have developed a full size set of teeth and powerful jaws. One way puppies learn to inhibit their biting is by playing with other puppies. When one puppy bites the other too hard, play stops. No-one likes a bully! So the puppy learns if they want to continue to play, they must control their bite. We can teach puppies the same thing.

· Encourage puppy to chew safe toys that can’t be swallowed and cause damage internally.

· Fresh raw bones can help exercise their jaws and also keep teeth clean.

· Never allow your puppy to bite, chew or mouth you, even it seems to be in play.

· If your puppy does bite, walk away and ignore them, DO NOT PUNISH them.

· Using your hands and waving them around may excite your puppy, so if they are biting, it’s best not to use your hands to correct the behaviour. Slapping your puppy may actually make things worse. It makes some puppies hand shy while others it actually encourages aggression.

For more information contact holistic vet practice, Animal Wellness: www.animalwellness.com.au

Dr Elaine Cebuliak

Dr Elaine is a highly experienced holistic vet and pioneer of Animal Wellness in Brisbane. She also assists with many charitable projects in Australia and in Bali.

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