Raising a well-balanced puppy
Before bringing your puppy home
- Research breeds and consider your lifestyle. Find a breed with a compatible size, temperament, energy level, and hair coat for your lifestyle.
- Research breeders – the best breeders will do appropriate health testing of the parents and start socializing, crate training, and grooming the puppies.
- Puppy-proof your home. Puppies explore the world with their mouths and will be teething for the first several months.
The first few months
- Socialize your puppy! The greatest window of socialization in a puppy’s life closes between 12 and 16 weeks of age, but they will need socialization throughout puppyhood and adolescence. Socialization includes exposure to new surfaces, experiences, sounds, people, and animals. These experiences must be positive for the puppy to be effective socialization. Socialization is crucial to have a happy, confident, well-balanced adult dog.
- Provide physical and mental stimulation for your dog. Walks are a great source of both gentle physical activity for growing bones, and mental stimulation in the form of new sights and sounds. Other forms of mental stimulation include games and puzzle toys. This will help keep your dog from getting bored and frustrated.
- Feed your dog a well-balanced puppy food to ensure the proper rate of growth. Please speak with your veterinarian for a specific recommendation based on your puppy’s size, breed, and lifestyle. For example, a giant breed will need a large breed puppy food to ensure proper bone growth, while a tiny breed may need a smaller kibble size that they are able to chew.
At the vet
We are committed to helping you raise a well-balanced, happy puppy. During each puppy visit, we provide age-appropriate information on a variety of topics, including behavior and socialization for your puppy’s current developmental stage. We also will discuss the information in this packet with you at each visit to provide you an extra opportunity to ask questions about your puppy’s behavior, and provide you with personalized tips based on your puppy’s personality and lifestyle.
What if my puppy needs additional help?
In order for us to partner with you to help achieve a well-balanced puppy, we offer options for more in-depth behavioral concerns. Call us and speak to Kayla or Nurse Elizabeth to learn more about first steps to help your puppy with manners or certain behavior issues such as biting, barking, jumping, shyness, etc. These options range from single 30 minute consultations to a full 4-week behavioral program, based on our assessment of your puppy and your goals.
Need an appointment for your puppy? Make one here.