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  • Writer's pictureNichole Petrie

Puppy Rearing

Puppy Rearing: The Essentials

Attention, Exercise, and Mental Stimulation

Puppies need social interaction, physical exercise, and mental stimulation – just like children do – in order to grow up to be healthy and well balanced. When these needs are not met, many behavior problems can develop.


How much daily social time does a puppy need? A good rule of thumb is that a puppy should spend at least half his waking hours each day interacting with other dogs and people. Like humans, most dogs enjoy a mix of old friends and new encounters – so make sure your pup meets at least

one new dog or person each day. While puppies do need to learn to spend time alone, too much isolation will make them antisocial, anxious or depressed. Allowing your puppy regular access to their familiar doggie buddies as well as the chance to meet new dogs will increase the chances of him being socially content and well adjusted. Places to go for exposure: PetsMart, Petco, Dog Park, friends homes, camping and daily walks.

*Before taking your pup out, all shots should be up to date.

House/ Potty Training

Puppies will want to pee and poop wherever they have done so before. Your job is to make sure your puppy learns to eliminate outdoors and not indoors. Puppies will need to relieve themselves every 2 hours until 14 weeks. Then you can stretch the time to 3-4 hours every month they get older.

Example Potty Schedule:(For puppies that eat twice a day age)

5-8am – Out to Potty

9-11am – Feed & Water, Out to Potty and Play (Walking, Dog Park, Play Date)

12-2pm – Nap time or Relax time *NO WATER* (Preferably in crate or in designated spot)

3-5pm – Out to Potty, Feed & Water, Play (Walking, Dog Park, Play Date)

6-8pm – Out to Potty, Water (NO WATER after 730pm), Play

9-11pm – Last Out to Potty, Bed Time

Post the “Potty Log” near the main door for your pup to go outside to “go potty”. Keep up with the “Potty Log” so that everyone in the home can see when and what your pup has done and when the next time they need to go.

Whenever you are unable to supervise your puppy with 100% attention, you need to place her in either a short-term or long-term confinement area. You can also hire a Dog Walker/ Puppy Nanny.

Your puppy can be placed in a short-term confinement area such as a crate if she will be there for less than 2 hours. The purpose of the crate is to keep them out of trouble while you are unable to

supervise them, and to help you house/potty training. The crate should be just big enough to lie down on their side with outstretched limbs, stand up, and turn around easily. It should not be so big that they thinks there is enough space for a bedroom and for a toilet area. When you let them out of the crate take them straight outdoors and reward them for doing their business in the right place.

For longer confinement periods a bigger area, with non-absorbent flooring, such as a bathroom, kitchen, or utility room, is needed. The long-term confinement area should have a bed or open crate at one end, and puppy pads at the opposite. Your puppy will naturally want to eliminate as far as possible from their bed. If the space you use for long-term confinement happens to have a door that leads to the outdoors, then place the pads near that door. This way, your puppies toilet area is as close as possible to where they should ultimately be heading to do her business. Fresh water (1/2 cup) and stuffed chew toys should also be plentiful, and should be placed near the bed. Puppies will naturally have the urge to eliminate after a nap, a meal, a drink, exercise, excitement, or time spent in confinement. Give your puppy the opportunity to do her business outdoors at these times.

Dealing with House accidents:

First and foremost DO NOT rub your dogs nose in the spot they had the accident. DO NOT spank or be physical with your pup. This will only teach them to find somewhere else in the home to eliminate where they cannot get CAUGHT. This is usually our first reaction. As a human you express your disgust with your pup over the accident. Keep in mind they are in TRAINING and are still learning. Simply pick up the feces with a paper towel or wipe up the urine with a paper towel lead your pup outside. Place the feces and urine on the grass and say "Potty outside." Have you pup sniff the grass and the feces and urine. This will help them understand that the grass is where they are to eliminate.

Separation Anxiety

Be sure to have your puppy spend some time alone each day, both when people are home and when the house is empty. Use the crate, baby gates, or utility rooms to restrict their access to people. Make alone time fun and relaxing by leaving them with a stuffed chew toy to keep busy with. Dogs that gradually learn to spend time alone as puppies are at much less risk of becoming anxious when left alone later on in life.

Chew toy Training

Dogs need jobs, so making them work for their food keeps their jaws exercised and their mind engaged – which helps keep them safe, happy and out of trouble. Chew toys should be safe, appealing, and virtually indestructible. Many chew toys can be stuffed with dog food or healthy treats to increase their appeal. It’s also great to feed your pup out of food toys.

Handling and Socializing

We want our pet dogs to be comfortable around dogs and people, and to be relaxed about handling and grooming, so that these things are not scary or unpleasant. Scared dogs bite, and scared dogs live a very stressful life, so please do not let your puppy grow up to be a scared dog.

The time to get your puppy used to all of these things is now – after they are 3 months old it will be much harder to get him to relax about things he might find scary. Do the handling activities listed below, making sure they are introduced to new experiences gradually, and that they get lots of praise and treats.

• Gently clean inside ears with ear cleaner and gauze, tissue or cotton balls.

• Brush coat – at first just a few strokes at a time. If they try to chew the brush then keep their mouth busy with a stuffed chew toy while you brush.

• Tooth-brushing - first rub the gums with just your finger dipped in salt water (dogs like the taste), then using a finger toothbrush, and finally with a real toothbrush and doggie toothpaste.

• Get him used to having their mouth opened and examined. Lift the sides of their lips and praise when they remain calm. Fiddle with his paws and nails, and then gradually introduce them to nail trims – at first clipping just one or two nails at a time. Make sure you know how to avoid cutting nails too short – it will hurt quite a bit if you cut the vein.

• Baths - Put them in the tub for treats: first with no water at all, then with a little puddle to play in. Eventually get him used to running water, being wet, and finally being shampooed and rinsed.

• Have lots of strangers pet and handle your puppy while you give him treats. Keep it a positive

experience for your pup. If they are tired, or feeling shy, limit the amount of petting but keep giving treats while in the presence of the strangers. When he is happy to see someone, allow more handling.

• Make sure your puppy meets men and women of all ages and children.

• Expose your pup to whatever you want him to be comfortable with as an adult: car rides, busy sidewalks, noisy schoolyards, rowdy crowds, parties, other animals, sport games, traffic, elevator rides, stairwells, noisy appliances, etc.

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