In the excitement of bringing home a new puppy, it's easy to lose sight of the overwhelming change your new friend is experiencing. Leaving behind his mother and litter mates is scary for a puppy. He may cry, appear sad or search for his mother as he gets used to his new home. You can make his transition easier, however, by keeping him busy, loved and secure.
Help your puppy feel happy and secure in his new home by spending as much bonding time as possible during the first few months. Sit on the floor with your pup and cuddle, wrestle and play. Talk to him as you go about your day and use his name frequently. Don't let your new friend get away with breaking the rules, however. Be kind but firm from the start so the puppy knows you are the master, not him. Dogs feel reassured when they know their position in the family.
Puppies have a lot of energy, and most love to play. Enjoy several short, vigorous play sessions with your pup each day. Not only will this make him happy, but also a tired puppy is less likely to display undesirable behaviors such as destructive chewing, barking or whining. Your puppy might like a game of chase, tug-of-war, fetch or gentle wrestling. If the pup becomes overly stimulated, however, or shows signs of aggression, immediately stop the game. Give your puppy a selection of toys safe for his size and age. Most puppies like plastic teething bones, balls and squeaky plush or rubber toys.
If used properly, a crate helps your puppy feel secure. Resting in his crate at night or when you are away from home reminds the puppy of a cozy den and keeps him out of mischief. Position his crate where he can hear and see the family, not alone in a back room. Soften the crate with a small pad or blanket, and provide a couple of favorite toys for him to enjoy while inside. Never leave your puppy locked in his crate for more than a few hours at a time, however. Bring him out to socialize, play, cuddle and potty on a regular schedule.
Once your puppy has his vaccinations and the vet gives her the OK, provide plenty of socialization opportunities for your new family member. New experiences help puppies learn to be outgoing and friendly. Take your puppy on walks or to the local dog park. Many large pet stores offer puppy socialization classes, where pups learn basic dog manners and have fun playing with other puppies. When your puppy is 6 months old, enroll in an obedience class or teach him at home. Puppy will be happy to have the attention and to win your praise.
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