Puppies are cute, adorable and full of boundless energy. However, with a puppy, comes a lot of responsibility. As puppies grow they develop certain behaviors that may seem appropriate to them, but not so much to us. Puppies need extensive training, socialization and almost constant activity. Educating puppies beginning around 9-12 weeks to have canine manners will help ensure a healthy and happy dog. Although puppies are cute, they are high maintenance.
- Housebreaking – this is a big test of patience for many puppy owners. How to housetrain their puppy? Should they use crate? How often does a puppy need to go out and when should a puppy be taken out for potty breaks?
- Teething – just like humans, puppies will lose their baby teeth as the adult teeth grow. When puppies are teething, they begin to chew, and chew everything! From your arms, ankles, pant legs to rugs, furniture and household woodwork, puppies try to put everything possible in their mouth.
- Education – puppies need be taught everything. From manners and basic obedience to socializing with humans and other animals.
- First time pet owners – puppies are HARD. They are a lot of work and need your patience and time. You need to be prepared to watch your puppy ALL THE TIME. If you can’t keep an eye on your puppy you need to have a safe place to manage your puppy’s behaviors.
Too often older dogs are abandoned in shelters, yet they still have a lot of love to give. While age 7 generally marks the start of the senior years, the actual age more often depends on the dog’s breed and/or size. For example, large breeds like the Great Dane are called senior starting at age 5, while small breeds such as the Chihuahua may be considered senior at age 9. Here are some advantages of adopting a more mature dog:
- Less destructive – Many adult pets are well past the digging and chewing phase.
- Have basic obedience training – Most adult dogs settle into a new home easily – they’ve already learned what it takes to get along with others and to be a part of the “pack”.
- Most adult dogs are housebroken.
- You can teach an old dog new tricks – They are generally more attentive and eager to please than their younger counterparts.
- You can adopt a purebred pet – You would be surprised how many pure breeds are looking for new homes.
- Ideal for seniors and families with young children – Many families with children and senior citizens benefit from the company of an adult dog, because they are calmer, and usually have had some training.
- There’s no guessing – Adult dogs have reached their maximum size, shape and personality – what you see is what you get.
- First time pet owners – If this is your first dog, or if you cannot devote the time necessary to train, socialize, and exercise a puppy properly, an adult dog could be a better option for you.
Just like people, dogs come in all shapes, sizes, and temperaments. A dog’s breed and temperament, combined with your lifestyle and personality all play an important role in determining what kind of dog is best for you. Do a bit of research first. The perfect dog for you and your family may just be out there.
Jeri Wagner is a canine behavioral therapist and master trainer. Jeri uses a natural training system leveraging the same communication methods – body language and voice control – that dogs follow as part of their instinctive pack mentality. Training takes place in the home where the problems generally occur. Jeri trains in western Montgomery County, northern Chester County and eastern Berks County. For more information, call 1-877-500 BARK (2275) or visit www.barkbusters.com.
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