Raising Puppies - Dos and Don'ts

Puppies, like human children, are vulnerable. Their development and growth depends on how they are treated early on and human behaviors can influence their responses into adulthood. Knowing how our actions affect puppies can help support them as they grow and provide them with a nurturing and safe environment. Here are some ways you can help your puppy grow up happy and healthy.

Don't remove puppies from their mothers too early

While it is common knowledge that puppies should stay with their mothers until seven weeks, prospective pet owners may not know that negative consequences can result from removing puppies from their mothers too soon. Research suggests that this deprives puppies of important social interactions that take place within their litter and with their mothers. Common behavioral problems when puppies are separated too early are destructiveness, excessive barking, fearfulness, nipping, reactivity to noise, and resource guarding.

One story of a young puppy, Bella, who had been taken away from her mother too soon experienced extreme hypogly-cemia that took away her ability to walk. Hypoglycemia can also lead to seizures and even death in puppies and dogs alike.

Another study done in Naples, Italy declares "it’s an important issue because pets’ behavioral problems affect their relationships with owners and the risk of later abandonment." Waiting to adopt your puppy until they are seven weeks of age will give them a great start at life and allow you to develop a healthy relationship with them.

Socialize your puppy the right way

Socialization is an important part of raising a well rounded and happy puppy, especially between four and 14 weeks which is an important time of learning and discovery. However, for the puppy to benefit, the experience itself must be positive, such as allowing them interaction with well-trained, friendly dogs and having people give them treats. Good socialization spots are pet stores and training classes where puppies are often pampered with petting and treats. Make sure the puppy is vaccinated and de-wormed before allowing interaction with other dogs. Research suggests that when it comes to socialization, the more the merrier. What they learn during this time will stick with them long into their dog years.