Sunday, June 22, 2014

This is the time when a puppy’s body is still growing, and for many breeds the time of greatest physical development. But the process is ongoing, even past the pup’s first birthday. Do not think that a puppy’s social education stops at any point. There’s no stopwatch for when a puppy has grown up, or when he has learned all that he needs to know. As with children, there are differences in how individual puppies develop and mature, but you should not doubt that your input is making a positive difference.
During this period, puppies can learn basic commands if you teach them in a relaxed and cheery atmosphere. Think of this as “puppy kindergarten” and make it fun. Consider how important it is for children to enjoy and look forward to school when they first start—the same is true for teaching dogs. Make the process entertaining and satisfying and you will have an eager student for life.
For the whole first year of life, a puppy is being socialized and is maturing. If he is one of the giant breeds, he won’t mature until around eighteen months, so his juvenile stage may last a lot longer.
  Instinct to Run Off (Four to Eight Months)
At some point during this period, most puppies develop the urge to take off. Until this stage, most puppies happily come back to their owners when they are called. Now you may be shocked to discover that your obedient little pup suddenly has wanderlust and is deaf and blind to your calls. The puppy’s desire to hit the road and explore may last a few days or even as long as a month, but it is a natural part of growing up and an important part of canine development.

There is one problem, however. If your dog should get away and have a terrific time while she’s out and about, that memory will stay with her a long time—and that happy memory can influence her readiness to respond to your calls to her in the future. This natural inclination to take off is something you need to be on the lookout for at this age. When you’re walking her during this period, pay attention to whether she’s acting differently, whether she seems oblivious to you and ready to run off. If you have any suspicions about whether she is feeling newly emboldened, put her on a long line or retractable leash until she settles back down again, whether that’s in a couple of days or weeks. You do not want to let your dog take charge of the situation and run the risk of her having such a fun time being out and about in the world that she thinks twice about obeying your commands later on.
Copyright © Tracie Hotchner – Originally appeared in The Dog Bible: Everything Your Dog Wants You to Know by Tracie Hotchner

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful blog post. This is absolute magic from you! I have never seen a more wonderful post than this one. You've really made my day today with this. I hope you keep this up!

    Dog Lover