Many people don’t know this, but most of a dog’s personality is formed in the first four months of life. While we can always help you address mood and behavioral disorders later on, if you’ve adopted a puppy your best course of action is to help them develop a happy, healthy personality early on in life. These 5 tips can help you raise your puppy into a secure and well-adjusted pet from the very start of your relationship.
Help your puppy socialize. A dog that is accustomed to all sorts of people is a well-adjusted dog. Keep some treats handy and encourage guests to offer one to your pet. Even if he’s a bit over-excited, allow your puppy to meet neighbors, friends, people at the park, your mail carrier, etc.
Expose your puppy to noise. You might feel reluctant to frighten your puppy with loud noises such as music and the vacuum. But puppies adjust quickly when you give them plenty of reassurance and exposing them to noise now will help to prevent phobias (which are more difficult to treat) when they’re adults.
Allow your puppy to experience new places. Once your puppy has been vaccinated then start taking him/her out on adventures. This will allow them exposure to different situations.
“Dress” your puppy. If your puppy becomes accustomed to items like a collar, bandana, or t-shirt now, he will be less likely to resist things like bandages or the “cone of shame” if they are needed in the future. We can never know what accidents or illnesses might befall our pets one day, but we can help to ensure that common medical procedures won’t upset them too much.
Touch your puppy a LOT. Handle your puppy several times per day and touch her all over. In the future, visits with your veterinarian will be much easier if she’s accustomed to being touched on her face, ears, tail, belly, etc. This is called desensitization. You can also go to the Fear Free Family Home website for additional information.
And of course, make an appointment for your first checkup right away after adopting a new puppy. We can get you started on preventive care and help you choose an appropriate food, plus answer all the questions you might have about raising a happy, healthy, and well-adjusted young dog.