The ideal age for adopting a puppy is around 2 months. At this age, his mother has already inculcated certain foundations of education. His adoption family will then have to continue this education so that a harmonious relationship is established between the dog and his new "pack". The knowledge of some data concerning the development of the puppy will make it possible to avoid certain errors, The origin of a misunderstanding between the puppy and its masters and to limit the risk of appearance of certain behavioral disorders in the animal.
These elements are all the more important to know if you have adopted a very young puppy (mother deceased or who left her pups, puppy of a shelter ...) because her mother will not necessarily be able to deliver a basic education .
1. The attachment of the puppy to the family
At birth, the puppy attaches strongly to his mother. This attachment will allow the puppy to explore his environment without apprehension and to learn how to communicate with the other dogs of the pack. On arrival in his new home, the puppy will naturally recreate this particular bond with one of the family members, link that will allow him to apprehend his new environment without fear.
When the puppy reaches the age of 4 to 8 months, the dog "detaches" from it so that it binds with all the members of the group and not only its mother. This step is essential for the dog to be able to live without the constant presence of his mother.
The same is true in the home: the setting up of a "detachment" will allow the dog to be able to stay alone at home without anxiety and to explore various situations without the need for permanent visual contact with the " One of its owners.
This detachment is done by leaving the puppy alone at home over progressively longer periods and by teaching him not to follow the owner to whom he has attached himself throughout the dwelling (for example, to teach the puppy to To remain alone in his basket, the time of a film, without he can observe what his masters do in the living room ...)
2. The discovery of the outside world
The exploration of the outside environment and the encounter with a large number of species is essential to the development of the puppy.
A puppy will present anxiety and fear in the face of anything he has not encountered during his first 3 months of life. It is therefore very important to make it discover a very rich environment, as soon as it is adopted, so that it is able to adapt to a maximum of new situations afterwards. To do this, it is necessary to leave it very frequently, in environments as varied as possible so that it becomes accustomed to all sorts of external noises, to all kinds of objects, that it is confronted to a maximum of beings As well as to a maximum number of animal species (dogs, cats, rodents, cows, etc.)
This step will be especially important if the puppy comes from an environment that is poor in stimuli (puppy from a kennel, high isolated in the countryside ...)
This adaptation to the outside world is essential to the correct development of your puppy. Dogs that have not been accustomed to their future environment become very fearful and can develop several kinds of disorders:
- A delay in the acquisition of cleanliness can occur because the puppy anxiously watches all that happens outside and dares to make his needs once he has returned home, where he feels safe.
- Aggressive behavior can also be observed in these puppies: they attack, by fear, the objects or people that inspire him with great fear.
3. Games and contacts with the puppy
From the age of 1 month, the dog, during the games, teaches her puppies, when they exceed a certain threshold of excitement, to calm down. It also teaches them not to hurt others during the fun sessions.
To do this, it immobilizes the puppy on the back in front of any behavior that it considers excessive.
At the age of 2 months, the puppy must quite be able to calm down after a phase of excitement and not bite and hurt when he plays:
It is not "normal" for a puppy to nibble without restraining its bite and leaving marks on your arms or legs when playing with you.
It is therefore necessary, at the adoption of the dog, to continue to teach him to "control" himself:
- If the puppy bites during the game, give him a brief order: "no" and immediately stop the game
- Avoid nipping games
- Avoid the traction games that teach him to "hold the bite"
It is not always easy to communicate with his dog as his mother might do. It can then be very interesting to put your puppy regularly in contact with a well balanced adult dog. The latter will then teach him the rules of community life and will be able to set limits for him not to cross (in the game for example).
4. The place of the puppy in his new family
Just as in a pack of dogs, a "hierarchy" must be established in the new family of the puppy so that it feels at ease.
In a pack, adults learn certain rituals from the puppy to make him respect his hierarchical status. These rituals concern access to food, sleeping places and contacts between the different individuals of the "pack". The way in which the dog will perceive himself within the family will therefore depend on prerogatives to which he will be entitled.
Respecting a few simple rules may limit the risk of the dog becoming "dominant".
- access to food: the puppy's meal should be in a quiet place after the master's and the bowl should be removed 15 minutes after the start of each meal. The animal must not, moreover, obtain anything "at the table".
- Space management: a specific place must be attributed to the puppy to sleep. This sleeping place must be located in a quiet place, outside the places of passage (the dog must not be able to constantly "monitor" what the family members do) and no one should disturb it.
- Management of contacts: The owners should, as far as possible, initiate the interactions between them and the dog. They have to decide on the time of games, moments of "pause caresses", hours of exits (except when the young puppy is being taught of cleanliness and that it manifests the desire to make its needs to the " outside).
- Managing sexuality: Overlaps (whether on the legs of the masters or on objects) should be prohibited.
5. Learning about cleanliness
The acquisition of cleanliness in the puppy requires an apprenticeship.
Here are some tips that will help you teach her how to do her needs outdoors:
- Learning to clean up must be done in a quiet environment
- The puppy usually needs his waking up after a meal or after a moment of strong excitement. These three periods are therefore moments to privilege to release your puppy
- The puppy is very receptive to the rewards: it is therefore absolutely necessary to accompany him during his exits to congratulate him warmly when he made his needs outside. It will thus be incited to make out rather than inside.
- The puppy must not return until he has made his needs, so it is advisable not to return immediately afterwards, otherwise the dog will not be able to come back as long as possible to prolong the walk ...
Behaviors to avoid:
- Punishing the dog a posteriori or "putting his nose in" has no interest (the dog does not understand what is being blamed). On the contrary, this behavior can cause the puppy to conceal his needs and make him anxious (for example, seeing that you scold him every morning, he could then urinate by fear just when he hears you rise)
You can tell him "no" and get him out quickly if you see him preparing to urinate.
- Learning "newspaper" is not recommended. It is very difficult for the puppy to understand that when the newspaper is withdrawn he suddenly no longer has the right to go to a specific place in the dwelling where it was possible for him to be hung up until then.
Cleanliness must be attained by the age of 5 months at the latest. If this is not the case, it may reveal a small behavioral disorder that delays learning. Do not hesitate to talk to your veterinarian who can diagnose the disorder and offer you solutions.
The lack of acquisition of certain educational bases could be at the origin of the appearance of various disorders in the puppy: animal "abnormally nervous", hyperactive, dog fearful, aggressive, that can not stand alone or Dog that fails to become clean ...
During the first vaccination consultation of your puppy, the veterinarian will carry out some simple tests which will allow him to ensure the correct development of your animal or, on the contrary, to highlight any anomalies. In this case, it will offer you targeted advice aimed at removing these abnormal behaviors or even treatment if the abnormalities detected are more pronounced.