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«Early Training - Puppies 7 to 9 weeks (Infant) It is common to bring a puppy home between seven and nine weeks of age. This age is irresistible, and ...»

Early Training - Puppies 7 to 9 weeks (Infant)

It is common to bring a puppy home between seven and nine weeks of age. This age is irresistible, and you

need to remember what an infant that little puppy is. The first few decisions…


There are so many dog foods, it will be easy to be overwhelmed by all your choices. You may want to ask your breeder what your puppy is

used to eating. If that is not an option, buy a high quality dry food that is appropriate in its nutritional make-up and kibble size to the breed of your puppy. If you invest in a good quality food, it should not be necessary to supplement your puppy, but this is something you should discuss with your veterinarian.

A seven to nine week old puppy will be happy to eat three times a day. It will be easier to housebreak him if he eats on a schedule, so offer him some food, and when he loses interest and wanders away, pick it up and save it for the next meal. You may want to feed him some of his meals in his crate.

It is important for you to learn how to know if your puppy is the correct weight. A puppy caries extra weight over his ribs, so if you cannot easily feel his ribs, your puppy is probably overweight. However, if you can see the outline of his ribs, and especially his hip bones, he is underweight. Keep in mind that as he grows, the amount of food you feed him will be changing every few weeks, so measure your food, but make it a habit to look at him and feel his ribs so that you are ready to make changes as he grows.

Housebreaking It's important for your puppy to explore his new surroundings and it's fun to watch him do so. So, let him look around, but remember, he will have to go to the bathroom very frequently so you must keep an eye on him.

Puppies like to explore and require constant supervision. Let your new puppy look around when you first bring him home, but remember he will need to go to the bathroom frequently.

A dog is a den animal, and he instinctively does not want to go to the bathroom where he lives. Unfortunately, most of us live in homes that are so big, that the dog does not equate our entire house with his den. Therefore, it is important to keep any dog, and especially a puppy, that is not housebroken in the room you are in. If you let him leave the room, he will equate this with leaving the den, and think it is acceptable to go to the bathroom. So, as you let him explore, keep him in the room you are in. If you are in the bedroom, shut him in the bedroom with you.

If you go to the kitchen, take him with you. If it is not possible to shut a door, put up a gate, or put a 10-15 foot rope on him to constrain him in the room with you.

Puppies like to explore and require constant supervision. Let your new puppy look around when you first bring him home, but remember he will need to go to the bathroom frequently.

Your puppy is much too young to let you know when he needs to go out; try to watch for signals that he needs to go outside. The signals may be subtle like wandering a few feet from where he was playing, sniffing and walking in circles. Don't make the mistake of watching the clock to determine when your puppy needs to go outside; it is his activity that causes him to need to go to the bathroom, not the time that has elapsed. Every time your puppy changes activities, he should be taken outside. If he wakes up, take him out; stops playing, out he goes; stops eating, out again. Take him out before the accident occurs.

If you have a particular place in the yard that you would like your puppy to go to the bathroom, begin by carrying him to that location and then setting him down. Don't try to walk him there. At this age, there's a good chance it's too far for him to travel before he stops to relieve himself. As he gets older he'll be able to make the trip himself.

If your puppy does have a housebreaking accident right in front of you, make an exclamation of disgust and take him outside (no or bad dog is sufficient). It is not necessary to drag him to the mess or to rub his nose in it.

If your puppy goes to the bathroom in the house while you are not watching, there is absolutely nothing that you can do to correct him. Why?

Dogs do not remember and feel responsible for actions in the past. If you drag a dog to an old mess and make a fuss, he does not say to himself, "I went to the bathroom there 20 minutes ago; that is why my owner is upset." Instead, he records the situation in his mind, and makes sure the situation does not occur again. In this case, the dog records, "If my owner is present, and I am present, and a mess is present, I will get scolded." The next time there is a mess on the floor and he hears you coming, he will run. Our tendency is to give the dog human reasoning and emotions. Owners are often heard saying, "But I know my dog knew he was bad, he ran from me and he looked guilty." He is not running from you because he understands that he is responsible for the mess, but because he realizes that if he stays in the situation that includes himself, you, and the mess, he will be scolded.

Crate Training

–  –  –

If the crate is used correctly, your dog will regard it as a "room of his own." It is a clean, comfortable, safe place to leave your dog when he cannot be supervised. Most dogs will try not to urinate or defecate in the crate, which is why it is so invaluable for housebreaking.

There are lots of types of crates, some made of plastic, some of metal, as well as varied opinions about how to introduce your dog to his crate, where to put it, whether or not you should have bedding, food, or toys in it, etc. The bottom line is, what makes you comfortable?

A small puppy does not need a large crate, so you don't need to have a permanent place for the crate. Just as most of us loathe laying down a new infant and listening to it scream, you probably won't want to listen to your new puppy howl in his crate. There are few noises more pitiful than a mourning puppy that has been shut in his crate before he was ready for a nap. To introduce your dog to the crate, place the crate in a "people" area such as the kitchen or family room. What looks comfortable to you? If your puppy seems hot natured, and the metal crate pan is cool, you may not want to put anything in the crate. If you think an old towel or blanket makes it look more appealing, then put one in there for bedding. Put your puppy's toys and a few treats in the open crate and allow him to come and go as he wishes. At mealtimes, feed your puppy in the crate. Young puppies are sometimes slow to eat, so the first few meals you may keep the crate door open and let him wander in and out.

When your puppy's appetite improves, feed him with the door closed, and let him out when he's finished. (Clean up any spills promptly-it's very important for the crate to stay clean!) Your puppy doesn't need to stay in his crate long, but he will become comfortable eating his meal there.

Keep the crate door open for the first few meals and let him wander in and out.

Note that this crate fits the puppy's size.

The real trick is to put your puppy in the crate when he is tired and ready for a nap. The first few nights always produce a bit anxiety, so after taking your puppy out, and playing with him until he seems ready for bed, slip him in his crate and turn out the lights. If you had planned to put the crate in a room other than your bedroom, he may cry, and you'll have to decide if you can stand it. However, there is nothing wrong with slipping him in his crate next to your bed, turning out the light, and dangling your fingers through the side or door of the crate to comfort him as the two of you drift off to sleep.

If your puppy wakes you up at any time in the night, you must get up and take him out. It's important that he learns that you will help him keep his crate clean. There is no need to play with him or feed him, simply let him go to the bathroom, and then return him to his crate.

When you put him back in the crate, he may fuss, and you are faced with a decision. If you take him to bed with you, he will quickly learn that waking you up gets him a reward, namely the rest of the night in your bed. You should probably try to ignore him, but again, if you are soft hearted and can't stand the whining, having the crate next to your bed where you can comfort him may be the best decision for you.

Can you ever sleep with your puppy, or allow him to nap with you? Sure. However, balance that with having him sleep in his crate.

Remember your overall goal is to teach him to be confined when necessary. As he gets older, you may not use the crate to confine him. You may just want to shut him in a bedroom or out in the yard while you entertain. This is the age to begin teaching him to be confined without complaining about it.

Years ago, my husband and I raised a Doberman puppy who was horrible about crying and whining in her crate. We slept with the crate near our bed, and she would whine continually. We tried the crate in another room, no luck. It didn't seem to matter how tired she was when we put her in the crate, the whining began as soon as the door was shut. Finally, in desperation, we put the crate in the car in the garage and went to bed. We're not sure how long she whined the first night, fortunately we couldn't hear her, nor could the neighbors. By the third night, she had given up her tantrums and we were able to bring the crate back in the house. She was finally convinced that sometimes she would have to sleep quietly when confined.

–  –  –

An inquisitive puppy gets into trouble when left alone.

Once a young puppy is sleeping through the night, he will more than likely stay clean during the same amount of time during the day. The self control of puppies varies, but almost all puppies are sleeping through the night by the age of three months. The older puppy's self-control is usually great enough that he can be left for eight to nine hours in the crate. But keep in mind that long confinements are likely to present other mental and physical difficulties. Crate or no crate, any dog consistently denied the companionship he needs is going to be a lonely pet and may still find ways-destructive ways-to express anxiety, boredom, and stress.

Chewing A small puppy comes to your home having learned to play with his littermate by chewing on them.

These two littermates are learning early puppy socialization by play-fighting.

Your puppy is going to chew on you. It is inevitable and it does not mean that he is a bad or aggressive puppy. He is simply trying to play with you the same way he played with his littermates. Unfortunately, his needle sharp teeth hurt, so you will want to stop him from biting you as quickly as possible.

When your puppy bites you, make an exclamation of pain and give him a shake. You are mimicking what his littermates did to him when he bit them too hard, you are biting him back, but you don't need to use your mouth to do so. It doesn't matter where you grab him. Young puppies have a lot of loose skin and you can grab him anywhere as you let him know that he hurt you. He should back away and look startled at your response. Your correction should be quick, and then it's over and you can continue playing with him as you were before he bit you. If you have a young child that you fear your puppy will hurt, encourage your child to play with the puppy with a toy so that the puppy has something to focus on besides the child's clothes or hands. It is also inevitable that your young puppy will want to chew on your shoes, the table legs, and anything else that is at his eye level. When he does, simply remove the object, or move your puppy, and give him a toy of his own. At this age you are wasting your time by scolding him, he is simply too young to care or to understand what your displeasure is about.

–  –  –

Introduce the new puppy to your older dog by using a babygate. a seven- to nine-week-old puppy of any breed is so small that it can be hurt by an older dog, even in play.

Vaccinations and Vet Visits Your puppy needs a series of "puppy shots" that start when he is six weeks old and end when he is four months old and able to have his first Rabies vaccine. Even if your puppy has already had his first vaccine, call your veterinarian as soon as you get him home and find out when he wants you to bring him in for his first visit. Then, be sure to follow his guidelines for his needed boosters.

Remember, the above guidelines are for the first two weeks that you have your new puppy. The next article will give you information about the next stage of his development, nine to twelve weeks.

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