The moment you bring home that adorable ball of fluff, you are committed to a lifetime of supervision and “parenting” this new family member. Puppies are like human toddlers in many ways. They get into everything, explore the world around them, and are full of boundless energy. Training is an ongoing process, and it is best to start early and quickly before bad habits take hold.
The sweet, gentle gnawing at your finger and on your belongings may not be as appealing when the puppy grows up. A tiny puppy jumping up on you may feel like nothing, but when that little dog becomes big and is jumping on visitors or knocking things out of your hand in his exuberance, it is not so pleasant.
In the early weeks, a puppy will spend a lot of time sleeping. They play hard and fall asleep quickly, often on the spot. As they grow, they need less sleep and have plenty of energy that needs to be vented in acceptable ways.
Puppies can be very oral and destructive with their incessant need to chew. They are exploring the world around them. By the process of elimination and training, they learn what is edible and what isn’t acceptable for chewing. It is a constant learning process that takes supervision from their human companions and behavior modification training to keep them from chewing and destroying things that are valuable to you or dangerous for them.
“Puppy Proof” Your Home
The easiest way to help keep your pup from chewing things you don’t want destroyed is to puppy proof your home. Look around the house, think like your puppy and move anything that might look tempting to them. Put it out of their reach. That way there is no issue to begin with instead of getting frustrated or angry when they damage something within their reach that looks intriguing to chew.
Not only are valuables important to move in order to prevent your puppy from destroying them, breakable things or potentially poisonous items can be a health hazard for your puppy. Puppies have no idea what is dangerous for them to chew. As a responsible pet owner, it is one of your responsibilities to make their environment safe for them.
I had never had a package delivered just for me, but suddenly there were two with my name on them! I did a few leaps of joy and a zoomie or two. I couldn’t wait to try out the new puppy food that I wouldn’t have to share.
The next morning I was fed outside so the adult dogs wouldn’t drool into my breakfast while my human, Jan, took pictures. But it took her so long to open the bag! She couldn’t pull the top apart and had to hunt for scissors. Then she droned on and on about the merits of the food I was about to eat and I ended up drooling into my own breakfast.
The kibble in my bowl was the new CANIDAE Grain Free Pure Foundations for Puppies formula, made with only 9 key ingredients and none of the stuff growing pups DON’T need, like fillers and artificial flavors. The food has fresh chicken, menhaden fish meal, lentils, peas, potatoes, dried whole egg, chicken fat, suncured alfalfa and flaxseed, plus natural flavor, vitamins, minerals and fermented probiotic mix, which is good for the gut. I have no idea why Jan smiles when she stresses the word “fermented,” but that’s evidently a very good thing.
When a new puppy comes home with you it’s all smiles, kisses and puppy breath. But once that little bundle of fur eliminates in your house, it’s easy to get upset. Many people, especially first-time puppy owners, stress over the housebreaking process. Luckily, you have Mother Nature and mother dog on your side. If you understand a few basics and remain consistent, house training your new puppy should be an easy task.
Do: Create a Den
Dogs love small spaces; they are natural den animals. Before you bring your puppy home, use a crate, a baby gate or a corral pen to create a den for him. This will be his safe place, and as the pup gets older he will likely go to the space as a way to self-sooth when he feels stress or discomfort. Introduce him to the area in a positive manner. Once the puppy fully grasps that this area is his den, he will naturally endeavor to keep his den clean.
A puppy learns to keep his den clean at an early age. Sure, when puppies are newborns they soil indiscriminately but the mother dog always cleans her pups so there is never a trace of elimination in their special space. They also observe their mother, and since she never eliminates in the den, the puppies learn the concept of keeping the den clean by imitating mom.
In their charm and soft innocence, puppies tug at every heartstring. It is a good thing they are so cute when their antics and exploring the world test our patience. With a puppy comes heartfelt love and moments of sheer exasperation, constant challenges and times of laughter, pride and amazement. Puppies are unfettered in their consumption and absorption of life. Once they worm their way into your heart with unerring love, they are there for good, a constant lifelong shadow to their loved human. Here is a poem I wrote in celebration of puppyhood.
Into your life they wiggle in
Cute as cherubs and naughty as jinns
Soft as down, and rough and tumble
Antics laughable, but small and humble
“Aw, she’s so cute!” onlookers say,
“Watch how she rolls and tumbles and plays.”
Loving licks that wet your face
Eyes like saucers when caught in disgrace
Time demanding and all insistent
Feed me now, and non-resistant
Mournful whimpers and pleading eyes
Soft warm cuddles and contented sighs
Like any baby, puppies are curious about the new world around them. They are very oral and want to test everything out that seems like it might be tasty. Chewing also feels good to a puppy and keeps them entertained. You can prevent some of the negative issues by starting off right and puppy proofing your home.
Puppies are drawn to everything that isn’t nailed down, and even to some things that are immovable, like edges of furniture for example. They learn what is edible (or not) by the process of elimination and by you training them. Not all dogs are as oral or prone to getting into trouble as others, but it is better to avoid the issues by removing or adjusting items that might tempt them. Puppies do outgrow the extreme oral stage eventually.
Besides the possible damage they can cause in your home, a puppy can also get hurt ingesting poisonous or dangerous things. They don’t know what is safe and what isn’t. They can chew everything apart with their razor sharp little teeth. The last thing you want is an emergency vet trip for illness, choking or injury caused by something that could have been prevented.
Look around each room to determine what needs to be moved, removed or protected. To really get an idea of what a dog sees, get down on your hands and knees in each room. From a human standing position, you may not see things that are in their visual field. It is sometimes surprising to view the world from the puppy point of view. Remember, they can also easily see under things and behind objects that we can’t. They get under and into everything.
Remove any plants that are poisonous for a dog. Even if a particular house plant is considered pet safe, a puppy might be tempted to go after it if it’s at floor level, because it moves with drafts, has dirt and looks enticing.
The personal opinions and/or use of trade, firm, corporation or brand names, in this blog is for the information and convenience of the reader. Such use does not constitute an official endorsement or approval by CANIDAE® Natural Pet Food Company of any product or service to the exclusion of others that may be suitable. All opinions in this blog are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® Natural Pet Food Company.