Ah, the enchantment of puppies! With their tiny noses, adorable paws, and that irresistible puppy breath, it's no wonder we find ourselves captivated by their cuteness. Puppyhood seems like a dream, a perfect fit for your family... until reality sets in and you find yourself exclaiming, "What were we thinking?!"
From Dreamy to Naughty: Understanding the Journey
It's not uncommon for new puppy owners to believe their furry bundle of joy is so perfect that they don't need any help or guidance. However, as puppies reach around three months of age, a significant shift often occurs. They enter their teenage stage, complete with their own opinions and newfound free will. Suddenly, that once-perfect puppy turns unruly and challenges our patience.
During this phase, it becomes crucial to establish boundaries, provide structure, and teach both you and your puppy the importance of consistency. It's normal for this teenage stage to be tough, and it's essential to remember that you're not doing anything wrong. It's a challenging period for both of you.
Support and Teach from Day One
Imagine if we started supporting and teaching our puppies right from the beginning. That's where our Surviving & Thriving in Puppyhood course comes in. It goes beyond addressing the teenage stage and prepares our adorable dogs for a lifetime of understanding expectations, structure, and boundaries. By enrolling in the course, you can make the teenage stage more manageable.
Puppy or Piranha? Tackling Mouthing Behaviors
One of the most common challenges puppy owners face is puppy mouthing. Puppies often don't know that biting people is unacceptable behavior. Even if your breeder did an excellent job teaching your puppy not to bite, it's crucial to follow through and reinforce the expectation that your puppy never puts their teeth on anyone. This is a non-negotiable behavior in my book, as it ensures the safety and well-being of both you, your dog, and others throughout their entire life.
Mouthing behaviors can be particularly challenging during certain times of the day, which I refer to as the "witching hour." Instead of engaging in a power struggle, it's beneficial to plan a puppy nap or downtime just before those times. By avoiding the peak moments of heightened mouthiness, we increase our chances of success. We still address the mouthing and provide corrections, but managing the puppy with boundaries and structure helps mitigate the issue.
Tiny Puppy, Big Dog: Avoiding Unwanted Habits
Remember, cute puppies grow up, and many become big dogs. It's essential to consider whether a behavior will remain cute when your dog weighs over 100 pounds. For instance, if you constantly pick up your mastiff to get them moving, ask yourself if that's something you'll be able or willing to do as they grow larger. Setting and enforcing boundaries from the start is easier than trying to establish new ones later in life.
As puppies develop behaviors, it's crucial to teach them what is desired and what is not. This includes their eating, sleeping, and relaxation areas, their behavior with guests at the door, potty training, structured socialization, and more. By laying the groundwork early on, you create habits that will lead to a well-behaved and enjoyable adult dog.
The Journey of Puppyhood
Puppyhood is a whirlwind of adorable moments, temper tantrums, giggles, kisses, sharp teeth, redirection, and maybe a few swear words here and there. There will be potty accidents, shenanigans, and bonding experiences. Raising a puppy can be time-consuming and challenging at times, but with time, consistency, and structure, you provide a foundation for your puppy's growth into a healthy and happy dog.
Remember, puppies grow up to become our beloved dogs, our best friends, and cherished members of our families. By investing in their well-being and setting them up for success early on, you pave the way for a happier and healthier future for both of you.