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Create bonds with puppies

Nadine Lober

The first couple of things a puppy does that require correction are biting fingers and jumping or scratching owners’ legs. These are important issues that should be corrected immediately.When your puppy is small, it is easier to deal with biting because you are bigger and stronger and not afraid of your little pet. If you let this behavior get out of hand, then as your puppy grows older, you may have a problem with a large, aggressive, biting dog.When a puppy starts gnawing on your fingers and you think that it is cute or that it misses its mommy’s teats to suck on, the best thing is to place your hand over its muzzle to stop it from biting and say, “No,” very firmly. Do not release its muzzle till it stops struggling. And then it is very important to give him something it is allowed to chew on, such as a toy.Potty training is crucial, in my opinion. When acquiring a puppy, one should always get a adequately sized kennel, which is an invaluable training tool. I do not recommend leaving your new puppy for a full day in this kennel, but if you must go to work, then I would advise coming home at lunch to let it out for a while.Even when you are home, if your puppy is going to be unsupervised for even five minutes because you have to go do laundry, then put it in the kennel. This way your puppy can’t do anything inappropriate without you seeing it.When your puppy is out of the kennel, he should be supervised at all times, so that if your puppy urinates in the house or gets a hold of something forbidden, you will spot it and correct it immediately.This instant correction is the fastest and most efficient way of training any puppy. Of course, you can also start teaching commands: sit, stay and come. But be patient and reward your puppy each time it obeys.Initially, you will have to push on your puppy’s rear end to get it to sit, and then praise it. To make him come, you give the command when you are just a short distance away and have a treat or you can hold its leash and tug gently on it, while saying “come.”Your dog will learn your commands, and its vocabulary can be rather large. But use one-word syllables, articulate well and use the same tone of voice.I will discuss more training issues next time. But for now, have fun with your new puppy and start that important bond between the two of you that will be very rewarding.You are getting a new best friend.Dr. Nadine Lober can be reached at Vail Valley Vet at 949-7972. Vail, Colorado


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