Bringing a new puppy into your home is always exciting!
At Royal York Animal Hospital we see proud new puppy parents everyday. Whether this is your very first puppy or you have shared your life with many dogs we all hope for a healthy, happy and well behaved pet.
It is important to have your puppy examined by a Veterinarian as soon as possible to make sure the puppy is healthy, to ensure a proper vaccination and deworming plan is followed and to discuss nutritional requirements including the importance of a good quality puppy food.
It also very important to talk about behaviour and training to make sure you raise a a well behaved confident dog.
Here are some Important considerations:
Socialization is the period when a puppy learns to accept people, other pets and new environments. This period is during the first 3 to 12 weeks of age. During this period puppies will startle easy but will recover quickly learning that these new people, pets, environments or situations are safe. As the puppy gets older, he/she will become increasingly wary of strangers and unfamiliar situations. This is a prime time for teaching your puppy to accept being handled in many different ways.
During the socialization period make sure you introduce your puppy to as many different pets, people and situations as possible and in a way that is pleasant and not threatening.
Invite friends to meet your puppy.!
Allow your puppy to interact with friendly, healthy, well vaccinated dogs and cats of all ages.
Take your puppy for car rides, and introduce him to as many new environments as possible.
Accustom your puppy to being brushed, bathed, handled, having ears touched and cleaned, getting nails trimmed, having teeth brushed.
Puppy school and training is very important in raising a well behaved and confident dog. This will teach the puppy what is appropriate behaviour and what is not. Your puppy will learn how to react in a calm and positive way and how to socialize with other puppies and people. It is also a great opportunity to increase your bond and relationship.
Check this website out for some excellent tips:
Some people still think crate training is a form of punishment.. However, free roaming dogs seek shelter in small enclosed spaces. Dogs can easily be trained to perceive a crate as a cozy cave. Most dogs can be crate trained quickly and there are so many benefits for both dogs and owners if their crate is a happy place. An important consideration, often overlooked, is that the anxiety level of sick or injured dogs in a veterinary hospital is greatly reduced for dogs that are completely at ease in a kennel. It is all about teaching your dog great things happen when they are in their crate.
Depending on your puppy’s personality and experiences, failure to socialize and train properly can result in many behavioural problems. The most common problems are aggression, separation anxiety & compulsive behaviour.
Consider this: Behavioural problems are the Number One reason dogs are abandoned or euthanized.
Aggression is a normal dog behaviour when used in the proper context. It is a tool for a variety of purposes like defence, obtaining food, etc. When faced with an overwhelming threat the dog may also react in a submissive way, but when these signals are not recognized the dog may be forced to rely on aggression.
Aggression is the most common behavioural problem and one that can have devastating consequences. Aggression is not a static problem, it is determined by the constant interaction between genetics and environment at any point.
Types of dog aggression are:
- Fear motivated (by far the most common one): is a defensive reaction that occurs when the dog believes it is in danger of being harmed.
- Protective/ Territorial: involve the defence of a valuable resource (home, family, toys, food)
- Redirected: when a dog is provoked by an animal/person but instead redirects the aggression to another animal/person. In these circumstances punishment WILL NOT HELP, in fact it will often make the problem worse.
- Punishment fails to show puppies the appropriate behaviour which is your ultimate goal.
Some steps that can be taken to improve aggression problems are:
1. Avoidance: if you can identify situations that trigger the problem you should avoid them. This will increase safety, reduce anxiety in the dog and owner and will prevent learning unwanted behaviours
2. Relationship building: work on reward base training. This will provide a common language between your and your puppy and will build a predictable relationship. Consistency is fundamental in establishing a predictable relationship.
3. Consider consultation with a Veterinary Behaviour specialist, they can provide you with tools for behaviour modification base on conditioning and desensitization.
4. In some cases pharmaceuticals and adjunctive therapy can be use always base in proper diagnosis.
There are as many dog personalities as there a size and style. Some dogs are easy going, others need constant work. Typical breed behaviours vs looks are extremely important considerations. These are important to think about before you bring a new dog into your family. Sadly, not doing the research first can be the difference between a long-lasting happy relationship and many dogs being relinquished to shelters.
A word about ADOPTING ADULT DOGS:
Adopting an Adult dog can be a incredibly rewarding for so many reasons….but….adoption of an adult dog, especially those that have been relinquished for possible unknown reasons need to be given extra special consideration.
First it is very important that you ask yourself what kind of time and effort are you really willing to invest and what are your expectations? There are as many dog personalities as there is size and type. Some dogs will be easy going and others will need constant work.
It is important that you adopt an Adult Dog with your eyes wide open to give the dog the best chance he deserves for a forever home!
LISTEN to what the caregivers/foster home/rescue/humane society folk have to say about this particular dog as they know his personality best! For the best chance for success you need to truly make a decision about whether this is a good match for both your family and the dog and take into consideration as much information as possible. Never consider looks over behaviours that you (or another family member) may not be able to accommodate later.
Regardless of what age your dog is when adopted into your family, a well behaved and confident dog is a wonderful companion and beloved family member and worth every bit of effort you put into the relationship.
Royal York Animal Hospital
4222 Dundas Street West, Etobicoke, Ontario M8X 1Y6 416-231-9293