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Raising Your New Puppy

Puppy-parenting tips to help your new pup thrive


There’s no magic recipe for a happy, well-behaved dog. Behind every mannered pooch are the pet parents who took the time to teach them manners and social skills. Here are a few things you’ll want to start working on right away with your new puppy:

1. “Here’s how to get along with us.”

Your first job as a parent is to help your puppy develop social skills. Teaching a young dog how to properly interact with people and other pets is one of the greatest gifts you can give. Dogs are social creatures, so it’s important that the rest of the family enjoys and seeks out their company.

During the first few weeks, help your new puppy get used to people by making sure you interact with him or her a lot. (Not the hardest job in the world; who doesn’t love puppy time?) This is also a good time to start teaching simple commands like “come” or “sit.”

2. “Patience is a virtue.”

Teach your pup self-discipline by establishing simple, clear rules and enforcing them consistently. If you want puppies to stay off the furniture, for example, don’t scold them one moment then invite them up for a snuggle the next.

3. “Only certain things are for chewing.”

Chewing is a natural, healthy puppy behavior. It’s up to you to provide appropriate toys or treats for your puppy to chew, or they’ll chew whatever is within reach otherwise.

If you catch your puppy gnawing on something they shouldn’t be, say “Ehh!” or “Hey!” take it away, and replace it with an appropriate chew. Your puppy will soon learn what is and is not a chew toy.

4. “I will never, ever hurt you.”

Never punish your dog physically or in any other harsh ways. Physical or emotional abuse will only make your dog scared and untrusting. Fearfulness in dogs may even turn to defensive behaviors, such as biting.

Dogs, just like people, respond much better to positive reinforcement. Instead of trying to deter bad behavior with punishment, reward good behavior with praise, toys and treats. This will make your puppy look forward to more chances to please you, ensuring a strong bond between the two of you throughout your lives.

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