I could write a book about raising and training a puppy-there are already numerous books out there on just that topic. But what are some of the most important things your puppy needs to know that are commonly overlooked?
**Your puppy needs to be comfortable with people grabbing their collar. This seems obvious-everytime you attach the leash you hold the puppies collar. But can a stranger grab your puppy’s collar? If your puppy (or adult dog) was loose, what is the first thing someone will likely do-grab the collar to catch your puppy and check for an ID tag. So make sure your puppy is ok with unfamiliar people reaching to hold their collar. Reward your puppy with yummy treats for allowing you and others to reach for the collar, and hold onto the collar.
**Your puppy needs to be comfortable being handled, but especially their face, ears, and feet. When your puppy is no longer a puppy, you don’t want to have to struggle to trim their nails, clean their ears, apply medications, etc. So start when they are young, again using yummy treats, rewarding them when they allow you to handle their face, feet, ears, etc. This will pay off later in life!
**Your puppy needs to be comfortable in a crate. Not only is crate training helpful for house training, it becomes very important when your puppy decides to start chewing. Not only can chewing behavior be destructive to your house and valuable items, it is very dangerous for your puppy. If they ingest objects, they can end needing major surgery and this can be life threatening. Also if your puppy ever injures themselves, it is helpful to have a dog that is happy and comfortable in a crate. Again we want to teach the puppy to be happy in the crate, so do not use it as a punishment to go into the crate.
**Make certain you teach your puppy how to use the bathroom on leash. If you have a fenced yard, it is tempting to just let them go out in the yard, off leash. But if you ever travel with your dog, need to collect a sample for the vet, or for many other reasons, it is nice to have your dog trained to use the bathroom on leash. And it’s really nice, for them to go on command!
And of course there is a lot more, your puppy needs to learn!
So what are some books and resources? We like these books:
Perfect Puppy in 7 Days: How to Start Your Puppy Off Right Sophia Yin, DVM
The Puppy Primer Patricia McConnell, PhD
Before and After Getting your Puppy Ian Dunbar
Enjoy your puppy-they grow up too fast!
Boo Donoho, DVM
Southern Animal Hospital