A Beginner’s Guide to Puppy Facts
Families often long to have a pet that will help to complete their family unit, and one of the most popular of pets is a puppy. Facts in general about raising a puppy and helping it to fit into your family circle are helpful in forging a long relationship.
Deciding to bring a puppy into your home is a big decision and an even bigger commitment. Puppies, while full of personality, are like a blank slate when it comes to learning the basic fundamentals of indoor family living. They must be trained, exercised, loved and maintained; a 24 hour per day process that will require a great deal of patience on the part of all family members.
Puppies are born totally dependent upon their mother. Unable to see, maintain body temperature, eliminate body waste or keep themselves clean, their only concern is to nurse from their mother. Although the birthing process is now complete, the development stage is not. Their eyes and ears will continue to develop and fine tune for approximately the next two weeks. Their noses work just fine, and they will use their sense of smell to find their food and also the warmth they crave. Their first days will be spent feeding and sleeping.
The first two weeks after birth are called the neonate period, a time during which they learn basic association skills that help them to survive. Food, warmth and companionship are the only elements needed at this time. After their first week, the puppies move around a bit more as they become more adept at sensing the presence of the others. During their second week, the development of the ear canals of the puppies will become more finalized, and they will begin to hear sounds. A few of the larger puppies may begin to open their eyes, and more movement although clumsy will be noted. During the third week, there will be more evidence of distinct personalities of each puppy. Facts show that it is through this “socialization” period that the most important development occurs. Play is becoming a large part of the puppies’ lives; curiosity, fighting and body contact teaches the pups many of the social skills that they will retain throughout their life. This is also the time to begin introducing the idea of paper training; providing access for the pups to reach clean newspaper when they need to eliminate. Between the 4th and 8th week, the puppies are weaned and their social skills honed to ready them for their adoptive homes.
Bringing your new pet home will be a big adjustment for the puppy. The first step should be to schedule a visit to a veterinarian to ensure the health of your pup. It is helpful if you have planned ahead and obtained a supply of puppy toys for the teething pup, a cage that will provide a safe haven and food for the nourishment of the pup. Be prepared for the pup to experience separation anxiety from its siblings and mother; a ticking clock or doll with a heartbeat will be helpful.
You and your puppy will benefit from enrollment in an obedience class. Experienced handlers can offer tips on training, positive and negative reinforcement that will help you both get through the initial stages of learning. Patience as your puppy begins this new phase will be one of the best tools you can have.
Understanding how these puppy facts fit into the development of your new pet can help all family members to adapt to this new and exciting addition to your family. Above all, patience and lots of love for your new pet will help you to form a strong and lasting bond with your puppy.