Is there a new puppy in your family?
Congratulations! There are usually a lot of new puppies delivered by Santa and his helpers so I thought I'd do a post about what you might expect from your new little family friend in the next couple of months.
Most puppies leave their mom for new homes at around 8 weeks. After getting use to their new family and starting the basics of house training, there are some big changes coming for these puppies between 12 and 16 weeks that you might notice.
Around 12 weeks, puppies tend to have better control of their bladder (YAY!) If you stick to a schedule most puppies can be fully house trained by the time they are 4 to 5 months old. Just keep taking your puppy out first thing when they wake up in the morning (and after each of the many naps they like to take), after every meal, and after playtime as well. As a general rule of thumb when leaving your puppy for work or errands, take the number of months your puppy is in age and add a one to it. This is the maximum number of hours that a puppy should be expected to hold it. (Can you picture them crossing those chubby little legs?!)
By 12 weeks, puppies start teething. You might notice more biting and chewing, redder gums, and you might even find a baby tooth laying around. Be sure your puppy has safe things to chew on during this time and make sure that there is nothing that they can get into that could hurt them like electrical cords, house plants, shoes that they can tear up, or socks that they can swallow (trust me, this happens all the time).
Puppies grow fast between 4 and 6 months and tend to look like miniature versions of their adult self. Small breeds will be nearly finished growing at 6 months where larger breeds will be about half their adult size.
Puppies are adorable, but between 3 and 6 months your puppy might start testing the boundaries (or pushing your buttons, ehem). They might not respond to the training that you have previously accomplished or they might start chewing on things they aren't suppose to chew on (simply because they can). You can lessen these tendencies by making sure your puppy has plenty of exercise and working on basic training. The exercise will tire them physically and the training will tire them mentally. The combination can do wonders for your pup.
At around 4 months old, your puppy might show signs of being afraid. This is normal as they experience new things. Loud noises, for instance might frighten them. Try not to overwhelm your puppy. If you notice that they are afraid, like maybe when you bring out the vacuum, do not "reward" them by cuddling or you will be reinforcing their fear. Simply ignore the behavior and calmly remove them from the situation.
Training and socialization are the best things that you can do for your puppy. From about 8 weeks until 6 months is the time that your puppy is prime for learning to be the best dog that they can be. Enrolling in a quality puppy class is a win-win for everyone, both human and canine. They will learn socialization skills, along with basic commands, walking on a leash, and manners. You want to let them be a dog because that's what they are, but you also want to make sure that they know how to treat you, your guests (both human and canine), and your home. Classes with a qualified trainer will not only show you how to work with and train your dog, but they will help you understand your dog better.
Now... after writing this I think I need to go find a refresher course in doggie manners for this dog mom. Hermes is a great dog and I don't want him to fall short because I didn't keep up my part of the bargain. ;O)
By the way, this little guy is named Scuttle and he will be looking for his permanent home in 3 weeks!
*Although I do not post things that I don't agree with (without saying so that is), I need to stress that I am not a dog trainer. Information that I give to you in posts like this one are a compilation of information from others in dog related industries as well as research from books I've read and the internet. My blog posts are designed to give you information so that you can research on your own when you think the subject might be something that you and your dog can benefit from.