Saturday, April 10, 2010

Bringing Up Puppy

Below was an article sent to us on what we should and should not do when we have a dog and it can make a big difference in the way the dog turns out.

Happy and confident adult dogs don't just "happen". They are the product of good decisions and correct treatment of the puppy from birth right up until the juvenile period (around 6 months of age).
A pup's genetic makeup may be out of your control once you have selected the right breed and individual for you, but you can sculpt or distort the raw clay of the pup's genetic legacy by how you look after him and treat him.
The so-called "sensitive period" of development for puppies is between 3 and 12 weeks of age.
The sensitive period has been defined as a time during development when the puppy is dependant upon (the correct) environmental influences for its development to continue normally.

Dr. Nicholas Dodman, a wonderful behaviorist at Tufts University, United State of America shared what he believes are key in what to do and NOT to do with your dog.

What NOT To Do:

1. No Yelling, threatening, or physical punishment . Punishment teaches a dog nothing, except how to avoid the punishment. It is far better, and far more humane, to teach the pup what to do rather than punish it for something it is doing. Also note that punishment after the fact is not only inappropriate, it is pointless. The only type of positive (direct) punishment that might, on occasion, be acceptable is a punishment that is delivered remotely by some anonymous contraption (e.g. some kind of booby trap arrangement to discourage pups from "counter surfing").
2. Don't expect too much . Setting one's standards high is one thing but a puppy cannot do what it is physically incapable of or something it doesn't understand. For example, young pups cannot hold their urine for long periods of time. They are like children and need frequent opportunities to empty their bladder. The general rule is that pups can hold their urine for a number of hours ("N" hours) equal to their age in months ("A") plus 1 (up to about 9 months of age). According to that formula (N = A + 1), it is unfair to punish a pup of 3-months old for urinating on the floor when you have not taken it out for 5 hours. To instruct a pup to "come" from a distance, and get angry with him for not coming to you is unfair if you have not practiced and honed off-lead recalls at a distance. Temper your expectations. Think.
3. Do not keep your pup shut in a crate for anything other than the briefest time (20 minutes) . Some folks who acquire new puppies really don't have the time to take care of them properly. There's no getting around it, raising a puppy properly takes time. If you haven't got time, don't get a puppy. As a solution to their puppy's "puppy behavior", they lock it in a crate for hours on end. It is shut up while they are out, while they are busy and while they are asleep. Some pups are crated for almost 20 hours a day for this reason. Of course, when the pup is let out, it goes ballistic and the owner is horrified. The Catch-22 solution is to put the puppy back in the crate. This is all horribly wrong.
4. Don't keep your pup completely isolated from the outside world. For the very best of reasons, veterinarians often tell new puppy owners, "Keep your puppy in until his vaccinations are complete." But what they are not factoring in is the terrible price of failure to properly socialize puppies within the sensitive period of learning window.Half of the puppies born in the United States fail to see their second birthday and that (unacceptable) behavior is the primary reason for this continuing holocaust. Proper early socialization would go a long way toward addressing this problem and is as life-saving as vaccinations. It should not be a matter of vaccination or socialization: Both are equally important and can be dove-tailed.
Until next time,

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