EXPECTATIONS FOR PUPPYHOOD

1. Life is all about ME! Me, me, me! Expect nothing less than that from your puppy!
Basically we are their servants in this stage. Their needs mimic the immediate needs of an infant or young toddler. Keep in mind that it has nothing to do with your puppy being bratty—it’s just his immediate needs that need tending. Do tend to them right away.

2. Love, love, love. Yes, since this is the stage of adoration, you will easily fall in love with your puppy. Take lots of pictures, but be careful not to overindulge and spoil your puppy. This will be the most difficult part of raising your puppy, but is essential in creating a cooperative, good dog!

3. While there are fundamental skills you can begin to generate in puppyhood, you are really in a “holding pattern” of sorts. Your puppy is just too young for formal obedience training in this life stage. Your job now is to prevent errors, teach concepts, and keep puppy safe until she can learn her obedience skills at five months of age.

4. Puppies act on instincts. Puppies come equipped with only their canine instincts
and are acting strictly on what they know genetically. They are not in control of their emotions, nor do they preplan actions. They just act on their instincts until we teach them to resist urges. Do not punish, but redirect them and remain patient!

5. Limitations: Puppies literally have no self-control at this stage. They tend to do whatever pops into their little minds. This is part instinct and part lack of self-control. Don’t expect your puppy to make good choices or to always be well behaved.  Trying to “break” your puppy of instinctual behaviors (like mouthing) will not work. You can teach your puppy to stop using her mouth to communicate when you teach her an alternate method of communicating. Until then, attempting to use “quick fixes” to curb these behaviors will only serve to diminish your puppy’s confidence in you as a leader. Techniques for dealing with teething, nipping, and mouthing are described later in this chapter.

7. Puppies have a limited attention span and can only “behave,” or rather, be kept out of trouble, for a limited amount of time. As they grow and as we teach them, they do develop an attention span. It’s important to know now that they can only concentrate for short periods of time.

8. Once your puppy’s mental battery has worn down and repetitive, improper behaviors begin, any attempt to redirect will be futile. Take your puppy to the crate for rest.

9. Your puppy can learn the housebreaking routine, but his body cannot “hold” all of his bodily functions no matter how much he may want to do this. At roughly four and a half to five months of age, your puppy’s body will catch up in development and be able to control his flow of urine from the body. Very frequent potty breaks will help this routine.

10.Get Real! Keep your expectations realistic. Puppyhood is the stage where we must be completely responsible for our puppies. Do not expect your puppy to behave like an adult dog. Know her limitations and work with them into the next stage of learning

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