"He won't stop whining."
"She chews everything in sight."
"He won't come when he's called."
"She scares the kids when she jumps and nips."
"He doesn't want to be cuddled."
"She's the cutest puppy, but ..."
There are visions of a furry, kissing, fun and frolicy, playing puppy in our heads when we decide to bring a puppy into the family, but those visions can deteriorate into frustration for those who are unprepared for the potential difficulties of puppy training and adjustment to family life.
Relax. First of all, these days do pass, often with lightning quickness. Second, puppies really are pretty easy to deal with - a couple of square meals, several trips outside, and lots of playtime balanced with lots of sleeping are the general rule for the first few weeks at home.
Socialization is important, but it needn't be a chore.
There's no doubt that the first few weeks with a new puppy can be exasperating. Much like having a newborn human baby. That tiny bundle of fur that was soooo friendly at the breeder's home, the kennel, the pet store, or the animal shelter has some behaviors that drive people crazy.
There's chewing, biting, jumping, and oh yeah, the whining and barking! While all normal for dogs, what matters is that the housetraining go smoothly and relatively quickly, that the nipping of children be held to a minimum, and that chewing on furniture and clothing be stopped or prevented.
It's important to remember that puppies are always learning about their environment and their people. Most puppies are housetrained by four months of age, but it may take supreme diligence on the part of owners to prevent accidents until that time.
The first 16 weeks of a puppy's life are critical in determining how he/she will fit into the family. Early socialization is important from the day you get the puppy home. Your puppy needs to experience the world to be sure they become the dog you dream of. All socialization experiences should be fun, positive and a memorable experience for your young dog. This is best done with treats. For example, when your pup meets new people, have the pup sit and then you give a treat for good manners. Food is a great memory maker for dogs.
Fun is the key
Puppies and holidays …
• be sure to provide him/her with a crate to serve as a safe place. It should be away from any hustle and bustle and food temptations.
• stick to puppy food for the newcomer; table food, especially rich table food, is likely to upset his/her stomach.
• keep him away from the Christmas tree or other holiday items so he/she can't break or steal ornaments, burn his nose on the lights, nibble on garlands, or tear through gift packages.
• make sure he/she gets outside to relieve himself in a timely fashion. Set an alarm if you need a reminder. Remember a puppy can hold their bladder for 1 hour for each month of age. (i.e. 8 weeks old (2 months) can hold it for 2 hours)
• keep house plants out of reach
• don't leave perishables on the coffee table.
• don't let him/her get over-excited.
• don't let over-excited children give him grief.