Thursday, September 24, 2020

Remembering the Basics for Feeding Your Dog is Important

October 6, 2014 by  
Filed under Puppy Care

When you own a dog, proper feeding habits should begin during the stage of puppyhood and last all throughout the life of your pet. The overall condition of your dog’s health is in your hands and it’s just one of the responsibilities of being a good pet owner. It is necessary for puppies and adult dogs alike to get an adequate amount of vitamins and nutrients from the food they are eating. This will help a great deal in making certain they stay healthy enough to fight off illnesses. A healthy diet will also keep their organs and immune system functioning as it should.
Once you start feeding a dog a certain type of food, it is important that you never change their food overnight, as this is a process that will take some time. Their digestive system is much different than that of a human, making it hard for them to tolerate changes in their diet. For this reason, it is best to stick to one certain type of food. If their body is receiving an adequate amount of vitamins and minerals needed for good health, they will continue to be happy when it is time for his feeding.
Common Types of Dog Food
Most every pet owner is familiar with the three basic kinds of dog food that exist. These are the traditional dry dog food varieties, semi-moist dog food, and dog food that come in a can. Allergies rarely become a problem for pet owners, and the digestive system of most all dogs can easily tolerate one of these three choices.
The first step to make when deciding on the right dog food for your pet is reading the ingredients label supplied on the packaging. One of the main ingredients that should be listed at the top is whole meat. You should also be able to find meal or meat by-products listed at the top as well. Those that list whole grains, vegetables, or both, are even better choices. The reason these ingredients will need to be listed at the top is because on all labels the highest percentage of ingredients contained are those that are listed first.
Most people will agree that the best choice in dog foods are those that are dry and of high-quality. One of the biggest reasons for this is because dry foods have the ability to keep your dog’s teeth much healthier and cleaner than semi-moist or moist foods.
Reading the feeding requirements on dog food labels is also important. This will list helpful information in regards to the amount of food certain breeds of dogs should have. If you have a puppy, it will need to eat as much as two or three times a day. After a dog has reached one year they are considered to be an adult and will generally only need about one or two feedings each day. If the feeding label does not provide enough information about how much your specific breed of dog should eat, you’ll find there’s a ton of helpful information on the Internet.

Things to Consider Before Traveling with Your Dog

October 6, 2014 by  
Filed under Puppy Care

Traveling with a pet is a decision that you will want to consider very carefully. While traveling is perfectly safe and tolerated well by some pets, there are others that it should not even be considered. A lot of dogs are calm natured and are not quick to become nervous. Certain dogs and breeds however are well known for their hyper attitudes and their tendency to become nervous at the slightest difference in their environment. Chihuahuas, for instance, are a breed that is well known for their barking and nervousness.
First Things First
It is important to make a checklist before you embark on an exciting vacation with a dog. This is to help ensure that once you arrive at your destination that nothing of vital importance has been left behind. If your pet takes any type of medication or vitamins on a regular basis, you will want to place these in an airtight container or Ziploc bag. This is just a safety measure in the event that a bottle of medicine becomes broken and starts leaking. Depending on how long your trip will be you may want to think about pet bathing and grooming items such as shampoo and a hair dryer. Other necessities include food, treats, and a dog leash.
Using a Dog Crate During Travel Ensures the Safety of Your Pet
There are a lot of people that travel with their pets, letting them roam freely around in the vehicle. While this may make it more enjoyable for your pet, it is also a situation that could prove to be disastrous in the event that an accident were to occur. A much safer idea would be to take advantage of a dog carrier.
There is a wide range of styles, designs, and sizes of dog carriers that make it simple to select the appropriate type for most any size and breed of dog. One of the most important parts of selecting the right carrier would be to make certain it is large enough for your dog to have extra space to move about. If the carrier you choose is not big enough, your pet can actually become injured during your travels.
If you’ll be traveling by airplane, you will want to contact the airlines to find out their rules on the specific types of carriers they allow onboard the plane. Depending on the size of your dog, he may or may not be required to be placed in a specific area by the cargo.
Most dogs do not find it very appealing to be stuck inside a carrier for the very first time. As this can be a frightening experience for your pet, it is a good idea to introduce him to his carrier prior to traveling. Make sure you give him ample opportunity to become used to the carrier.
You will also find that there are several different types of materials that are used in the manufacturing of dog carriers. For larger dogs, carriers made of sturdy wood, metal, or plastic are easily accessible. For dogs that are smaller, you will find a large choice of soft materials used in their making.

Things to Consider When Selecting Dog Beds

October 6, 2014 by  
Filed under Puppy Care

While it may seem like an obvious requirement to some people, there are actually many occasions where dog owners do not think of dog beds as being a necessity. Just like food, warmth, water, and love are essentials that all dogs need, so is a place he can lay his head to rest. As all dog breeds are much different from one dog to the next, the same is also true for the specific type of dog bed that each dog breed will need.
Dog Beds for Small Sized Dogs
When you are selecting a dog bed for a small dog, such as a Chihuahua, Terrier, or other such breed, choosing the right type of bed is essential to his well-being. A bed that is made out of a hard surface would not be sufficient for these types of dogs. This is simply because smaller dogs are not able to retain their own body heat nearly as well as many of the larger breeds. A better choice would be a bed that will make it easier for them to stay warm and comfortable. There are quite a few different styles, designs, sizes, and even shapes of dog beds that are made of soft plush material that is just right for small dogs. Some of the more popular choices are the beanbag styles, the donut shaped beds, and the traditional pillow type dog bed.
Dog Beds for Medium to Large Sized Dogs
Common sense will tell you that soft plush dog beds will certainly not be an appropriate choice for dog breeds that are medium to large in size. One of the biggest reasons for this is larger sized dogs tend to make a trail with their drool just about anywhere that they go. Keeping your dog’s bed clean would be a continuous job if plush fabrics were used. A much more sensible choice would be to select a dog bed that is constructed of a high quality durable plastic. A small pillow or dog blanket can be placed in these beds to make them a little cozier and require a lot less effort in cleaning.
Just as available selections of small dog beds, you will also find a wide range of varying styles in large sized dog beds. There are many sizes that range all the way up to about 50kg. The different color choices on the market today make it a cinch to blend these beds right in with the existing décor and furniture in your home.
Other Beneficial Uses of Dog Beds
While a dog bed is the perfect spot for your pooch to call his own and rest when he is tired, there are also other uses for these beds. There are many dog owners that also use them as a helpful training tool and as an area for ‘time out’ when a dog is being punished.
Keeping each of these factors in mind when selecting the right dog bed for your pets will help a great deal in making sure you select the right materials, size, and type.

What’s the Best Toys for Your Puppy?

October 6, 2014 by  
Filed under Featured, Puppy Care

Picking out a safe toy for your dog to play with actually requires more than grabbing the first brightly colored dog toy you see. There are actually several different factors that you’ll want to take into consideration as you are browsing through dog toys that will be most appropriate for your pet. A few of the most important factors are as follows:

  • The response factor that your dog may have to specific types of sounds
  • The breed and size of your dog
  • The style and type of toy that your dog prefers playing with the most
  • The age of your dog

Squeaky toys are a very popular type of dog toys that can be a great treat that most dogs enjoy. However, before buying this type of item you will want to pay special attention to how your dog responds to the noises that these toys make. The general response to squeaky noises that come from a wide assortment of dog toys will generally arouse a dog’s curiosity and provide hours of fun playtime. There are some dogs however that show nothing but fear of toys like this.

The size and particular breed of your dog is also an important factor. It can be very hazardous to offer larger sized dogs small toys because they are often too easy for these dogs to swallow. When smaller breeds are offered toys that are much too large for them they will typically become frustrated and bored very quickly. To ensure your pet is able to get a lot of playtime, excitement, and exercise from the toys you provide, make sure they are appropriate to his size.

Just as every dog is different, so are the specific preferences that many of them have. While it may be easy to grab one dog’s attention with a simple rubber ball, other dogs prefer to play with soft plush colorful toys. Pay attention to the habits of your pet and select dog toys that fit his individual likes and personality.

The age of a dog is another important factor that should be considered when dog toys are purchased. It is common knowledge that many varieties of chew toys are usually a great toy for a puppy or young dog. However, older dogs do not have the strong need to constantly chew like a puppy does. Toys that add a little more complexity into the mix are often a good idea for older dogs. This will help to promote exercise that is so important for older dogs and they are not nearly as likely to be sniffed and forgotten as a simple chew toy might be.

As you offer a new toy to your dog, you might want to think about putting one or two of his old toys up for a while and then rotating them every now and again. This will keep them from becoming old and boring to your pet. When you give it back to him, he will feel as if he’s getting a brand new toy all over again.

You and Your Puppy

October 6, 2014 by  
Filed under Featured, Training Your Puppy

Getting a new puppy is a fun and interesting time. You probably went to a breeder or pet store or maybe just saw an ad on the Internet or the newspaper, for puppies, and decided just to check it out. Before you knew it those little eyes and fluffy puppy fur had your heart melting and you were headed home with him or her in your arms. If you are like most new pet owners you had visions of playing fetch with your dog, of watching him frolic at the lake, and of cuddling up on cold nights.

However, you probably failed to realize that the behaviors you dream of in a dog do not come naturally. In fact, the more natural behaviors for most puppies include lovely little things like chewing up your favorite shoes, barking every second of the day, and peeing wherever they are when the mood strikes them. These behaviors might seem cute at first, or even manageable but, if left unchecked they can lead to a very bad adult dog.

The problem with puppies that are not trained is that they grow into untrained dogs. An untrained dog can be a nuisance. All of that cute little yipping can quickly become loud barking that keeps you and your neighbors up for nights on end. The little teeth marks in your shoes can turn into destroyed furniture and a destroyed home before you know it. Likewise, those cute little puppy poops are not so cute when the dog is 75 pounds and has the excrement to match.

Untrained dogs can also be very dangerous. All dogs can bite. It is in their nature to defend with everything they have, including their teeth. You have to teach your dog not to use their teeth so that no one winds up hurt, at least not when they are playing with them. While we all expect our dog to protect us in a worst-case scenario situation, you should train your dog to be non-confrontational. Dogs that pose a danger to the community are at risk of being put down.

In addition dogs that are problematic for any of the reasons listed above often wind up homeless. People grow tired of dogs that never grow up, and then they take those dogs to the shelter. We all know how sad life can be for a shelter dog and the end that many of those dogs meet. If you really love your new puppy and intent to have a long and happy life with it, train her. By training your dog you teach her how to live in your world and increase the likelihood that your life together will be long and happy for the both of you.

Dogs have been domesticated around the world for more the 15,000 years. Because of this long term of human companionship the puppy that you adopt today needs you. Dogs are not truly able to live by themselves in the wild. They are not adapted to living outside and foraging for food. Indeed the dog you adopt today needs you and years to please you. That desire to please their master is the reason that dogs are so easily trainable.

The dogs that we have as pets have what is called social intelligence. This enables them to read your visual and verbal cues and adapt their behavior to it. While each dog will train at a different pace and through different ways, nearly all domestic dogs are trainable.

Just like humans, dogs go through a series of cognitive development. Puppies, like babies, learn to interact with the world around them at around eight weeks of age. They will also mimic behaviors early in life, so if you have one well behaved dog your puppy can learn from it.

If this is your only canine do not worry, they will also learn by watching you. Just like parenting, dog training is something that often happens while you are paying attention to other things. So, those first few months that you have a puppy are an incredibly important time to really focus on training your dog. It can be a lot of work but in the end both you and your dog will be happier.

 

 

 

The Hyperactive Puppy

October 5, 2014 by  
Filed under Puppy Care

Puppies are like children. They can get into unimaginable difficulties when their environment is not structured.

Here is a basic checklist of environmental hazards:

Puppies can open loose cupboard doors. Buy cupboard door protectors or get out the good old duct tape and make sure that the cupboards that are low either can not be broken into or do not contain hazardous elements!

Puppies can chew light cords. Arrange your home so that light cords, TV cables, computer cords, and so on, are hidden behind heavy immovable furniture or are enclosed behind barriers.

Large Breed puppies can put their front feet onto ALL the counters. Push back items that they can get into, take them off the counters, or be prepared to have your most valuable items (such as your TV remote control) dragged off and chewed!

Clothing articles can be DEADLY. I personally have known several puppies around the age of five to six months that have died from ingesting socks or chewing on scatter rugs…. fabric often balls up and creates an intestinal blockage. By the time the vet discovers it, it is too late. Don’t allow your puppy to drag around socks or old towels, take them away and substitute with a dog toy.

Common houseplants can be poisonous. Make sure you know which ones are, and keep them out of the environment where your puppy will be. You can find the poisonous ones through a quick check on the internet.

Household poisons used for insect or rodent control should be absolutely out of the question in the puppies’ environment. Simply do not apply poisons in areas that your puppy has access to, under any circumstance!

Toys should be dog toys. Left over trucks from the kids’ toy box are NOT GOOD. Items which have small parts which can be chewed off or swallowed are NOT GOOD. Likewise, most bones are NOT GOOD. Vets will tell you of the numbers of surgeries they have performed to remove bone shards from the intestines of dogs. If you must provide bones, the bigger “knucklebone” is a good choice because it will not shred off into sharp shards.

Sticks are the favorite as far as retrieving, but sticks in the mouth of running puppies are dangerous. They can jam that stick into their throat if they run into an immovable object, OR they can take out the eye of another dog or even a child. Use good dog toys for retrieving…and be sure the toys are not too small for the dog’s mouth and can not be swallowed!

Nothing “settles down” a hyperactive puppy like a good exercise session. Do not over do, and be careful that you do not demand too much of your puppy before its young bones are ready….but go on walks, by all means. And make these walks a time to teach your puppy the basics of polite manners…sitting when you come to street corners, not barking at strangers that you meet. So that means these walks must be ON LEASH. (It’s better exercise for you, that way, too!) After the “controlled” walk, a good run in a dog park, off leash, or a good swim in a nearby pond are excellent ways to burn off excess energy. The rule of thumb for walking distance for a pup is “no longer than 20 minutes” before six months of age.

Nothing is as important in the care of a puppy as regular vet checks. Be sure that your puppy is immunized at the right times, fed well, exercised well, and spends the majority of its time in a “puppy-safe” environment….and have fun bringing up your puppy!

Happiness is a Well Trained Puppy

October 5, 2014 by  
Filed under Housebreaking, Training Your Puppy

If you are reading this article you might be thinking about buying a puppy; or already bought on. Congratulations on the new addition to your home! You now have a friend who is always ready to play, never too tired to go for a walk and one of the most loyal companions you will ever have. There are some things you are going to need to know about training your puppy. A puppy is only as well-behaved as his training allows.

During the first few weeks your puppy needs constant supervision to prevent accidents in the house. But it’s easier to teach good habits now than it is to correct bad behavior later in life. Your puppy needs to start understanding what is and isn’t acceptable in your home right away. You are the leader of the pack in the home and your puppy looks to you to work out what is allowed and what isn’t.

It’s important that your puppy starts to understand their boundaries. You will need to decide soon what the limits are – what furniture they may or may not climb on – what areas of the house they are allowed. Decide where your puppy will sleep and what they may or may not chew on.

Getting your puppy housetrained is not difficult and can be quick if you follow some of these tips. Make housetraining a painless and quick procedure by using the crate method.

The Crate method

The crate method is well known because it is one of the most humane ways to train a puppy. Your puppy will need to relieve himself after eating, drinking, running, playing. The frequency will depend on the size of your dog and also on the breed. Be careful – it can happen as soon as 15 minutes after any of these activities. One of the easiest ways to keep your home pee free is to keep a record of when he needs to go. Try to learn the natural schedule and take your puppy outside at the times when you know they are going to need to go. Plan your walks around this schedule. Take the puppy out when you expect they will need to urinate.

When your puppy is 10 weeks old until they are six months they will need to be walked between 5 and 10 times a day. Quite a task if you are not used to including a puppy in your daily schedule. Take turns walking the puppy. One of the most important things about housetraining you pup is that you do not return from your walks until he/she has urinated and done all his business.
If for some reason you need to go inside before he has gone you will need to take your puppy out every 15 minutes. Give lots of praise and affection when your puppy has done what you wanted. You might feel silly praising your puppy for going “wee wee” (or other!) but it is very important to the housetraining process.

Some tips for using the crate:

The crate method works and is one of the most humane ways to train your puppy. It works because dogs are naturally neat and don’t like to eliminate in their sleeping area. If your puppy sleeps in the crate they will not want to mess in it. It’s an instinctive desire to keep their sleeping area clean.

The crate should become a sanctuary for your puppy. A crate is your dogs’ den in the house; their very own ‘safe space’. Your puppy needs to associate the crate with positive feelings. Put your puppy’s favorite blanket, toys and treats inside.

Help your puppy get used to the crate by leaving the door open until the dog seems comfortable. It’s important that your puppy is comfortable in the crate – the more comfortable they are – the less likely they are to soil inside.

Never use the crate as punishment. The crate must be associated with positive feelings. If your puppy does start whining, barking or scratching don’t let them out. Establish a regular schedule. After feeding take you puppy outside until they have done their business.

Put your puppy in the crate at night – but make sure to take him outside before bedtime and first thing in the morning. Let your puppy play for a while after they have done their business. Don’t give your puppy free reign of the house until they are housetrained.

Make a chart of when your puppy needs to go. Take the puppy outside within 15 minutes of eating, or any other time you know they will need to go.

After they have done their business; play with them for a while and then put your puppy in the crate for a nap. Repeat this throughout the day. After your puppy is fully housetrained you can leave the crate open during the day.
Some do’s and don’ts when housetraining:

DO

– If you are going to be away for long periods of time put your puppy in an area of the house where you are prepared for accidents. Put newspaper in this area.

– Limit the food and water supply if you are going to be gone for long periods of time. If it’s hot make sure your puppy has enough to drink (but remember what goes in must come out!).

– Praise your puppy when they are good.

– Be consistent. You don’t want to confuse your puppy.

– Involve the whole family in the training process. Even small children can participate in the housetraining.

– Be realistic, you can’t get mad with a puppy for not being completely housetrained. Accidents happen despite your most careful schedule.

Don’ts

– Don’t ever use the crate as punishment.

– Don’t let your puppy outside of your designated area until they are housetrained.

– Don’t reprimand your puppy for accidents.

If this all sounds like a lot of work – don’t worry. Your puppy should be completely housetrained after about 6 months. Even sooner if you use the crate method. As your puppy gets older it will get easier. A well trained puppy will bring much more happiness into the home then an untrained puppy. Owner and puppy will be more happy and in tune with each other for years to come.

Five Mistakes New Puppy Owners Make

October 5, 2014 by  
Filed under Puppy Care

You’ve researched the different dog breeds to find the best one for you and your family, you’ve taken the time to find out whether the breeder you chose is ethical, and now you’re finally bringing that precious new bundle of joy home. The hard part is over, right? Actually, there are several mistakes that many new puppy owners make that can really turn this joyful time into a frustrating and worrying experience. Avoid these new dog owner mistakes to be sure you and your puppy are off to a great start:

1. Potty training your puppy indoors and then expecting him to automatically go outdoors when he is older. Those nifty potty training pads look an awful lot like nice, plushy rugs to your puppy and he may opt to use your rugs as a toilet spot after you do away with the pads.
2. Giving in to his sad whimpers and tucking him in your bed for the first few nights and then expecting him to sleep on his own in a few days without crying. He’ll just cry louder and longer once he knows what he is missing.
3. Letting your guilty feelings overwhelm you so that you don’t crate train him. Crate training helps keep your puppy safe, since he can’t get into dangerous things when you aren’t watching him if he’s crated. Also, he actually feels more secure when he is crated while no one else is home.
4. Taking your puppy with you when you go out, especially if you are going to a park or pet store. Puppies should be finished with immunizations before they go on outings. Their immune systems are often not fully developed when they are young and they are more susceptible to some of the deadliest dog diseases.
5. Letting your puppy do things that are cute in puppies and not at all cute in full size dogs, such as jumping up on guests. It is easier to curb these behaviors right away than it is to break your adult dog of bad habits.

Puppy House-Training – It’s Easier Than You Think

October 5, 2014 by  
Filed under Featured, Housebreaking

House training is something that is vital if you want to have a good experience of being a dog owner. It is a training that should stay with your dog for his whole life so it’s worth getting it right from the start. A lot of people think that this is a difficult task, that it will take months of work, but in reality it is one of the simplest things to achieve. It took me just four days to house train my puppy, to give him a command for going to the toilet that he always responds to, and with the following methods, you can be just as successful. It may take a few weeks, depending on you, your attitude, your living arrangements and many other factors, but with patience and lots of time and effort, you can have a perfectly house-trained dog for life.

This method does not entail using a crate, just regularly keep your dog in one particular area of the house, especially when unsupervised. It’s best if it’s an easily cleaned floor, such as a linoleum in the bathroom, as there will be a few accidents to start with. You cannot allow your puppy to wander around the whole house unsupervised as she will just go to the toilet whenever she feels like it without being trained to do otherwise. Make sure your puppy has a nice comfortable bed in her chosen area and that she is happy to use it. Once she establishes the bed as her own, she is less likely to mess near it. You should also ensure that she is happy in this area – fresh water should always be available, and play with her and pet her there so she feels happy, safe and secure.

The key to this method of house training is observing your puppy’s behaviour, so you must spend lots of time with her. The other important factor is to have a regular routine for feeding. Puppies usually need to go to the toilet after eating, so a routine will help you both. Check also that her food and water and the quantities are suiting her digestive system. You can’t house train a dog who has diarrhoea, so this must be sorted out right at the beginning. Speak to your vet if you can’t resolve this yourself or if there are urinary problems – it could be an infection.

So here’s the procedure, once you have everything in place. Think of a command word that you will use every time you see your puppy about to go to the toilet or when you want to encourage her to do so. When she wakes in the morning, within half an hour after eating and before she goes to sleep, you should take her to her toilet area (this will either be some newspaper on the floor or a convenient area just outside the back door in the garden) and give her the command. The likelihood is that, if you are patient enough, she will go to the toilet and you can praise her for doing so in the right place. When a puppy is young, they have little control and a small capacity for urine and faeces in their system, so you should take her out every two hours so she has the opportunity to go if she wants to.

When you are spending time with your puppy (and you should spend a lot time with her at this point in her life) you must observe her and become familiar with her behaviour when she’s about to go to the toilet – mine looks agitated and walks around with his knees slightly bent just before he goes, sniffing the ground in circles. Once you know this, you can pre-empt your own puppy’s need, and either pick her up or call her quickly to her toilet area. Once your puppy is in the toilet area, give your toilet command in a friendly encouraging tone. If she walks away from the toilet area, lead her gently back there and give the command. If your puppy is really averse to going in that area, look for a reason why – there could be a good reason that needs addressing.

When your dog successfully goes to the toilet in the correct area, praise her and maybe give her a favourite treat. Each and every time she does as you’ve asked, in the toilet area, praise her enthusiastically. This is positive reinforcement and is the most important aspect of this training method. Soon, your puppy will look at you or whine when she wants to go to the toilet. You must be there, ready to respond quickly otherwise she will have an accident. If you are using newspaper in the house, this can be gradually moved outdoors, so that she understands that that is the new toilet area.

DO NOT chastise your dog when she gets it wrong. She will not understand why you’re telling her off and it will only confuse her. You should also be careful to clean up any accidents with a detergent that removes the smell – dogs like to mess again where they have left their scent and you need to discourage this through thorough cleaning practices.

So, to re-cap, spend lots of time with your puppy, learn her pre-toilet behaviour and pre-empt it. Lead her to her toilet area and give the toilet command. Praise her abundantly when she goes on command in the right place. Keep her living area clean, comfortable and fun to be in for both of you. Above all, be patient – house training does take time and your dog has a lot to learn at this stage of her life. She need lots of love, lots of fun and games and lots of encouragement.

Importance of Early Puppy Training

October 5, 2014 by  
Filed under Housebreaking

That sweet little bundle of fur you brought home for the kids is getting bigger now, and needs to learn some manners. At what point does its nibbling on your fingers stop being cute? When do its “accidents” start being on purpose? How do you know when it’s a good time to start training your puppy?

Some experts have recently begun to suggest that the training process starts before the puppy is born. In the past, the prenatal period wasn’t considered in the social development of dogs because the unborn puppies couldn’t be observed. The availability of the ultrasound machine shed new light on what happens in the womb as early as the fourth week of gestation.

Scientist theorize that since puppies’ are responsive to touch at birth, their conditioning to touch begins before they’re born, possibly by nudges from the pregnant mother. Studies show that the offspring of pregnant animals are calmer and easier socialized when the mother is regularly petted.

In roughly the first 14 days of a puppy’s life it may be able to learn some associations, such as recognizing a human caregiver, but it is still so mentally undeveloped that anything he learns isn’t likely to carry over to progressive stages of development.

During the three to 12-week period the puppy begins to pick up on social behaviors. Playful wrestling, curiosity and even mimicking sexual behavior is an important part of teaching the puppy its place in the family. It’s also important that the puppy has plenty of time with its mother and littermates, where the mother will teach it to play well with others. Puppies can learn tricks and basic commands, such as sit and stay as early as eight weeks of age. At this point, it’s only limited by its still-developing coordination, concentration and physical stamina.

Obedience classes are a good place for pet owners to learn how to communicate with their animals. Some trainers offer socialization classes as soon as the puppy is established in its permanent home, but obedience classes typically want the animal to have at least started getting its initial vaccinations first, usually around three to six months of age. The longer training is put off, the more difficult it will be for both dog and handler, especially if the dog has already begun to pick up bad habits. It’s easier to instill good behavior than to try to deprogram bad behavior.

The emotional maturity and stability of the dog is equally important as the age factor in deciding when to start the training process. Often the handler focuses too heavily on making sure the dog understands the commands being issued and doesn’t pay enough attention to the information the dog is sending. This is counterproductive, because an animal that is stress, scared, confused or distracted will not learn efficiently.