The first year of your puppy's life is the most important. With the proper diet, the right training and regular veterinary visits, you will insure that your puppy will grow into a dog that you will be proud to have as your companion.Everything you put into training that first year, you will reap the benefits of it for years to come. A trained dog is a pleasure to have around, whereas a dog with no obedience training is considered a nuisance and generally does not stay a member of the family for its lifetime.
Coming into your home is a new and sometimes frightening experience for the puppy. Your new puppy will adjust quickly if you are patient and show him what you expect of him. If there are small children in the picture, be sure that they do not play too roughly with the puppy. Rough treatment as a puppy can lead to a poorly adjusted adult who may not trust children. Play biting should never be allowed. Any behavior you do not want your dog to continue as an adult, should be addressed when he is a puppy.
Be consistent. For example, jumping on people: if this is OK when you have jeans on, do not reprimand the puppy for doing it when you are in your good clothes. They understand rules that are consistent. This is why following through is very important. Never leave a command disregarded. If you have asked him to come (and he knows what this means), do not ignore it if he doesn't come. Otherwise you are telling him it's OK to do what he wants when he wants.
The best food dishes for your puppy are ones that can be cleaned easily and are made of a durable material. The collar you choose should fit your puppy but should be adjustable. Be sure to check it often as your puppy grows to be sure it is not too tight.
When you decide where you want your puppy to sleep, take into consideration what areas of the house or yard are off limits to him. To make housetraining easier, it's best to restrict the freedom of a new puppy in both the house and the yard. Crate training is the most commonly used method. A crate is a good place for your puppy to rest and sleep. A crate helps by keeping your puppy confined (out of trouble) while you are busy or away. It also provides a haven for the puppy when he is tired or wants a sense of security. Every dog likes to have a place that is his alone. Some pet owners think a crate is cruel and confining, but given a choice, a dog instinctively selects a secure place in which to rest or sleep. Once he regards his crate as a safe place to stay, you will be able to leave him alone in the house. A crate also helps with house training. A puppy does not want to dirty his bed, but he does need to be taught where he should go. Crates and training literature are available at the Humane Society.
House training tips: Puppies have a natural instinct to keep their beds clean, so a "den" should be provided. Crate training is highly recommended. You should designate an area outside that you will want your puppy to use. They do not like to go close to their living quarters. The puppy's first error should be wiped up and the rag placed in the spot where you want him to go. The odor will stimulate the puppy to use that spot. The puppy must be taken out often to prevent accidents. Accidents start a pattern and therefore should be avoided. First thing in the morning he should be taken outside to his spot. When he goes, he should be praised and petted, then brought inside. Many people give treats after coming inside from a successful trip to the potty spot. Other times a puppy will need to go are before play, after play, after meals and naps, and the last thing before bedtime. If you hear the puppy crying in the night, take him outside to encourage him to ask to go outside. Remember any type of excitement will stimulate urination. Always use the same door when taking him out so that he will learn to go to the door when he has to go. The puppy should not be allowed run of the house until he has control of his bladder, which begins 4 - 5 months of age. Accidents may happen up to 6 - 7 months of age. Clean error spots with a pet deodorizer so he won't be attracted to that spot again. Do not rub your pet's nose in it if he has an accident. The only time you can draw attention to it is if you catch him in the process of going. Then you should use a very low voice and say "no". Immediately take the puppy outside and if he goes, praise him in a cheery voice. Do not just let your puppy out and assume he will do his job. Never leave him for long without knowing he has emptied himself. A tip for leaving a pet alone while you are away is to not leave food out, because that may stimulate a bowel movement. And if you always give a small treat before you leave, your puppy will soon look forward to you leaving versus getting depressed when he notices you are getting ready to leave.
Establish a daily routine for your dog. A dog feels secure having dinner, playtime, lessons and walks at the same time every day.
Socialize your puppy: Unsocialized dogs have a hard time adjusting later in life. If not exposed to children at a young age, they may be fearful and therefore aggressive toward children during their adult life. When they are exposed to a variety of environments, they tend to feel comfortable and welcome wherever they go. Take him to training class to socialize with other dogs and to learn the basic commands. Whenever you can, take your dog with you to meet new people and expose him to new environments.
Start training as soon as the puppy is old enough to learn: To be an acceptable member of the family, a dog should obey a minimum of three commands: come when called, walk on a leash, and sit/stay. As early as 7-8 weeks of age you can start training (keep in mind that he's a puppy with a very short attention span). Short and frequent training sessions are recommended. Never reprimand a dog for not understanding you. Training sessions should be positive, quality time with you and your dog. Always end training on a positive note, a command they know well, so you can shower them with praise. BE CONSISTENT! Don't talk in sentences, use short commands and be sure the entire family uses the same commands.
Feeding guide: Meal feeding is generally best for puppies, feeding them 2-3 times a day. This puppy has been on a 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. feeding schedule. Choose a premium pet food. Basically, you get what you pay for. Inexpensive foods use inexpensive ingredients. Don't go by protein percentage. Hair and hoofs can be considered protein, but are not digestible. Start by following the suggested quantities on the bag. Clean fresh water should be available at all times. If you are changing food, gradually introduce it over a 3-5 day period. Mix the new diet with the former food, gradually increasing its proportion.
Bathing: Bathe only as necessary with a shampoo specifically for pets. Bathing too often will dry out the oils in his coat. Be sure he is thoroughly dry before allowing him out in the cold. If you bathe in a tub, placing a towel on the bottom will make your pet feel more secure than if his feet were slipping around.
Spaying and neutering: The advantages are many. First and foremost, it prevents adding more animals to our already overpopulated situation. There are not enough homes for them all. Neutered males have less of a tendency to roam, mark territory, and are less aggressive to other dogs. Neutered males have fewer prostate problems and tumors. Spayed females do not have reproductive tract disease problems and significantly fewer cases of mammary cancer. There are no benefits to allowing her to have a litter or go through a heat period. Generally, dogs can be altered any time after five months of age.
Training your dog not to jump on people: As he jumps to greet you, put your knee up so he collides with it (don't strike out with your knee, but use it as a barrier). Say "off" every time you do this. "Off" can be used for other situations meaning the same, like if he is jumping up to the table. Using "down" will confuse him if you say this to have him lay down.
Training your dog not to bark: The first step to solving this is to find out what is making your dog bark. If it is traffic in the alley, you could put a tarp up on that side of the kennel. Another method of correcting needless barking is to use a squirt gun filled with water and at the same time say "that's enough". Many times, a dog will bark to get attention - even if the attention he receives is negative. If barking is OK sometimes, don't use "no" when you want him to hush. A good command for this and other behavior which is OK sometimes but not other times is "that's enough". "That's enough" can also be the command to end play. "No" should be used only for behavior you never want him to do.
Learn to read canine body language: For example, after a correction does the dog cower? If so, you have been too harsh. Does the dog stand tall, ears and tail up with an expression of confidence? The dog may be challenging you. You need to express your authority. Reading about dog behavior is an excellent way to learn to communicate with your dog. Obedience schools not only train dogs, they train owners too!
Pets and toys: It's important for your puppy to have toys and for you to choose them carefully. Chew toys maintain the health and integrity of the jaw muscles and help prevent periodontal disease. Toys that promote good dental health include hard chew items made of rubber, nylon and rawhide. Toys help correct and prevent behavior problems. With a well-chosen toy, you can help train your pet to stop destructive chewing or other negative behavior by giving the animal an appropriate outlet. You can calm a rambunctious dog by having it chase a ball or frisbee repeatedly. Select a toy as you would for a child. Choose something your pet can't chew up or swallow. Make sure the toy is nontoxic and large enough. If your dog has chewed your wooden rocker, get it a hard toy like a nylabone, but not a wooden toy. If he chews paper, try a softer squeak toy. Don't give him old sneakers or socks. Animals can't tell the difference between your beat up shoes and your good ones. Once you have chosen the right toy, teach your pet to have fun with it. Don't place a new ball on the floor and expect him to know what to do. Bounce the ball or roll it to get his attention. Some dogs more than others need to be taught how to play.
HAVE THE FOLLOWING INGREDIENTS AVAILABLE AT ALL TIMES: PATIENCE * CONSISTENCY * LOVE * PRAISE