Anyone who has adopted a puppy knows that the first year can be rough. Like babies, puppies need lots of attention, need to eat often, have lots of potty breaks and will keep you up all night long. Dealing with unwanted puppy behavior in the proper manner is crucial, as this is a very impressionable time for a young dog and you do not want to encourage or instill bad behavior.
When a puppy jumps up and paws at his owner, he is seeking attention. If this behavior is allowed when the dog is young and small, he will grow up thinking this is acceptable as an adult. If he is pushed down or scolded, he is still getting the attention he is seeking, even if it is negative attention. The best response is to turn and walk away without saying anything. The next time he approaches, make him sit before he has the opportunity to jump up, then reward and praise him for sitting.
Puppy teeth are sharp! Puppies must be taught to be gentle with their mouths and teeth. Gentle “biting” is acceptable early on, but as he gets older, around 12-16 weeks of age, discourage him from placing his mouth on hands. Be sure to provide him with plenty of items he is allowed to chew on.
Chewing is a very natural behavior for a puppy, so it is important to direct him to chew on his chew toys. Buy several different items, and rotate them to keep him interested in his chew toys. If he is caught chewing something he should not be, a stern “NO CHEW” is adequate punishment. Then make him sit, praise the sit and then give him something that he is allowed to chew on. If the evidence is there but he was not caught in the act, disciplining the dog after the fact will do no good, as he will have no clue as to why he is being disciplined.
Barking is normal for all dogs. When outdoors, puppies will bark at all sorts of things: other dogs, strangers, kids, a cat, birds, etc. As a good neighbor, never leave a dog outdoors unattended if he is a barker. As dogs get older, they will bark out of boredom. Dogs should never be “forgotten” in the yard. Keep them indoors and part of the family so that their time spent outdoors will be stimulating and enjoyable.
Puppies need to go out for frequent potty breaks. It is a good rule of thumb, when a puppy is very young, that he can go the number of hours he is months old before he needs a potty break. For example, a 2-month-old should be taken out every two hours, a 4-month-old every four hours. Crate training is essential to potty training, as dogs do not like to potty in their place and they will learn to wait for potty breaks to relieve themselves.
The puppy year can be challenging, but the rewards of having a great lifelong friend are worth it!
BARK AFTER DARK: Riverlands Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals will hold a Bark after Dark fundraiser from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday at Petra, 1036 W. Airline Highway, LaPlace. The cost is $50 for an event featuring a silent auction, Balloon Blast, and live music by Secondhand Alibi. For information, leave a message at (985) 652-SPCA or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
ADOPTION EVENT: The Louisiana SPCA will hold an adoption event from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Friday at the New Orleans Metropolitan Association of Realtors, 3645 N. I-10 Service Road West, Metairie. For information, call (504) 368-5191 or visit www.la-spca.org.
ADOPTION EVENT: The Jefferson SPCA will hold an adoption event from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Cat Hospital of Metairie, 1500 Veterans Memorial Blvd. For information, email email@example.com.
ADOPTION EVENT: The Louisiana SPCA will hold an adoption event from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at Whole Foods, 3420 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie. For information, call (504) 368-5191 or visit www.la-spca.org.
BOUNTIFUL BOOTY FUNDRAISER: The Louisiana SPCA will be the beneficiary of a Bountiful Booty Fundraiser from noon to 7 p.m. Saturday at Treasure Tattoo, 2350 St. Claude Ave., New Orleans. A raffle will feature bang and beard trims by Jo Starnes of Savage Beauty and tattoos by Jamie Ruth and Walt Clark. Donations can be made at the event or at treasuretattoo.brownpapertickets.com. Those who donate $20 or more will receive food provided by chef Heathcliff Hailey and drinks by the Voodoo Lounge & Martinis. For information, call (504) 344-7989.
LOST OR FOUND PETS: In Orleans Parish, you can send a photo, description of your pet, date lost/found and your contact information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Traci D. Howerton is social media editor of Animal Rescue New Orleans, a nonprofit, volunteer-based, no-kill shelter. Contact ARNO at email@example.com, www.animalrescueneworleans.org or call its recorded information line at (504) 571-1900.