Share This Page

Life Unleashed: 8 tips for surviving 'puppyhood'

| Friday, April 11, 2014, 12:21 p.m.
Andrea Lamping

Getting through the developmental stages of puppyhood can be quite the challenge, but eight tips can help.

1. Patience is a virtue. Imagine a montage of muddy paw prints on the finest of upholstery, gnawing and chewing everything in sight; stealing food off of the counter, eating out of the trash, regurgitating the trash and on and on.

Is your Google search history an embarrassing display of “Help! My dog ate _____” inquiries? It happens to the best of us. The curious puppy mantra: If it smells, sniff it. If it tastes good, eat it. If it tastes bad, still eat it. This behavior should pass.

2. Canned pumpkin is great for upset tummies. No matter how closely you watch your pup, it is easy for them to gulp down something a little questionable, and a little of this orange squash can help.

3. Do not Google. Answers can be misleading. Contact a reputable veterinarian for instruction. In most cases, they will just give you directions to monitor the pup and reassure you that everything will be fine.

4. Avoid punishment. Incessantly scolding the pup will get you nothing but a frantic, insecure dog. He is going to make mistakes. How you prepare for that will determine his capacity for learning.

5. Bring your “A” game. The first year is full of growth spurts, hormone surges and emotions as your pup matures. Educating yourself about these stages will help you to understand what he is going through and how to be two steps ahead.

6. Don't just say “no.” There is little utility in telling a puppy no; you will say it so much that you will become white noise to your pup and he will quickly learn that your input is not useful to him. Redirect your pup instead to something you would like him to do. A positive reinforcement approach inspires learning and builds confidence.

7. Be consistent. This is the single biggest issue that people encounter when training their pets.

Don't worry. Your puppy is not bad, or aggressive. He is learning. If you are proactive, you can facilitate this process with proper training from a reputable professional.

8. Leadership begins with successful leash training. Fulfilling your dog's requirement for activity, mental stimulation and camaraderie means more to him than treats.

No bond is more powerful than that of a dog and his master, who share in the discipline of a structured, routine walk.

Andrea J. Lamping trains dogs in the greater airport area, including Sewickley, Moon, Robinson and Hopewell. She can be reached at 724-984-7829 or visit her website at www.moon-walkers.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.