Ch 1: Before You Get Your Puppy

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Congratulations on beginning your search for a puppy. Please take your time making your decision. Your puppy’s quality of life as an adult dog pretty much depends on his socialization and training during his first few weeks in your home.

Puppies grow up fast. One day you have a bumbling ball of fur and the next you have a raging adolescent. It is essential that you know how to raise and train a puppy before you get one. The first three months of their lives are a critical period for socialization and training, during which time they will develop the foundation of their lifelong behavior and temperament. You need to be aware of their developmental priorities as well as the basics of raising a puppy and teaching manners and obedience.

Additionally, you should put a lot of thought into which puppy to choose. When and where you get your puppy, the type or breed to choose and the specific puppy you pick, then check our shopping list and buy the necessary puppy training tools so your house is ready to welcome your pup.

Most of all, please take your decision to get a puppy seriously. Each year, several million dogs are abandoned, given to shelters and euthanized, almost entirely because easily preventable and utterly predictable puppy problems were allowed to develope into much more difficult to resolve adult behavior, training and temperament problems.

Please remember that every unwanted adult shelter dog began his life as a perfectly normal puppy. The time to rescue unwanted adult dogs is right now, when you are searching for, choosing, and deciding how to raise and train your puppy. Please, DO NOT CREATE YET ANOTHER UNWANTED SHELTER DOG!

Basically, dogs are abandoned or surrendered to shelters because they misbehave. Dogs misbehave (act like dogs), simply because no one taught them how to behave appropriately when living with people.

The sequence of events is predictable and much too common. A new puppy is given too much freedom and too little supervision. Not surprisingly, the puppy makes housesoiling and chewing mistakes. The puppy is confined to the yard, where he eliminates and chews indiscriminately and also learns other bad habits — digging, escaping, and excessive barking. Neighbors complain of the barking and the adolescent dog is confined to the garage or basement, which the dog destroys. In solitary confinement, the dog quickly desocializes and becomes fearful of people in particular and life in general. By six to eight months of age, the dog is surrendered to a shelter where the dog is confined to a cage. Shelter workers try to rehabilitate and rehome unwanted dogs. Some get a second chance, some don’t.

Please take the time to learn how easy and how enjoyable it is to train your puppy to be a sociable and mannerly canine companion, who will enjoy his entire life in his original home — yours.

Whether you choose a Chihuahua or a German Shepherd, a Dachshund or an English Bulldog, a Rottweiler or a Shih Tzu, a Boxer or a Golden Retriever, a Beagle, a Yorkshire Terrier, or a poodle, your puppy will still need to be socialized and trained. By the time you chose you puppy at eight weeks of age, the Critical Period of Socialization is nearly two-thirds over! And so, by the time your new puppy comes home, the urgency for socialization will be extreme.

Behavioral developmental may vary hugely from puppy to puppy at eight weeks of age. Some puppies are well socialized and confident, housetrained and chewtoy trained, and will happily come when called and sit, lie down and rollover. Other puppies are shy and fearful and have been taught no manners whatsoever. In the absence of basic kennel husbandry, puppies have learned to eliminate anywhere and everywhere, to chew anything and everything and to vocalize excessively, and this, of course, is how your puppy will behave when you take him home. You will be playing behavioral catch-up from the getgo.

Eight-week-old puppies should be well socialized, housetrained, chewtoy trained and have a good understanding of basic manners.

You have a choice and so, choose wisely. And when you chose your puppy, please give him the education that he deserves. Please review the hundreds of free dog training videos on dogSTAR daily before making your choice. You must learn how to raise and train a puppy BEFORE you get one.

Before you look for your perfect puppy, you need to know what sort of dog to look for, where to get it, and when to get it. An educated choice is generally far better than an impulsive puppy purchase. Additionally, you need to thoroughly familiarize yourself with canine developmental deadlines; they become urgent and crucial the day you select your puppy. Take your time to review dogSTAR, read books, watch DVDs, observe a number of puppy classes. Talk to owners at puppy class and discover what types of problems they are experiencing. New puppy owners are ruthlessly honest when describing their puppy's problems. But above all, test-drive as many adult dogs as possible. Then, make a thoughtful choice.

When choosing a puppy, you need to know how to determine whether his behavioral development and education are up to par. Assessing a pup's developmental and educational status depends on your education about puppy education.

Your pup's first month in your home is the most crucial developmental period of his life. This short, make-or-break period pretty much determines whether your puppy will develop into a well-mannered and good-natured companion that will bring joy to your life for many years to come, or whether your puppy will develop numerous, predictable behavior problems and grow up to be fearful and unfriendly. You prospective puppy stands at the crossroads and the course of your puppy's development and future quality of life is entirely in your hands.

Familiarize yourself with the common and predictable puppy problems, be aware of the timetable for their development, and make sure you are familiar with dog-friendly preventative measures and solutions, including the overwhelming importance of early socialization, confinement, and lure/reward training techniques.

It is vital that you know what and how to teach your puppy, before you get him. Your dog's future depends on it.

Adapted from BEFORE You Get Your Puppy by Dr. Ian Dunbar

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