Raising a puppy can be a life-changing experience, but it can also be a big challenge for both new and experienced dog owners. The goal is to provide your puppy with a safe environment, but you can run the risk of becoming overprotective.
To help your pup develop into a happy, healthy, well-adjusted adult dog, The American Kennel Club offers a few ways to keep your new puppy on the right track.
Don’t play too rough. Puppies love to play, but they also need to learn the appropriate level of rough play at a young age. Your puppy needs to learn good manners when it comes to playing with other people and other animals. If you let him play too rough when he is a puppy, it can become a bad habit in his adult years.
Don’t overdo the treats. As much as those puppy-dog eyes may make it hard to say no, you should limit the amount of treats you give him. Treats can alter your growing puppy’s appetite for nutritious, better-balanced meals. You also don’t want to spoil him. Don’t let your puppy get the idea that by begging, crying and acting out, he can get his way.
Provide plenty of exercise. New experiences are important for puppy development. Help stimulate your puppy’s mind with puzzles, toys and appropriate playthings, and give your puppy plenty of outdoor exercise. Bored dogs are more likely to engage in aggressive or inappropriate behaviors.
Consistency is key. Decide which furniture or parts of the house are off-limits and be consistent with enforcement. Don’t reprimand your dog one day for being on the couch and then let him up there the next.
Eliminate household dangers. Make sure there aren’t places in your home where your puppy can easily fall or become trapped. Also, don’t keep substances that can sicken him such as the garbage, medications and pesticides within his reach.
Don’t let him go untrained. That puppy misbehavior will become a lot less cute when he’s older. Make sure you teach your pup good manners when he is young. Training and socializing him as a puppy will go a long way throughout his adult years.