Raising a puppy is often a life-changing experience, but it can also be quite the challenge for both new and experienced dog owners. The goal is to provide your puppy with a safe environment, but there is a fine line between this and being overprotective.
To help your pup develop into a happy, healthy, well-adjusted adult dog, The American Kennel Club offers a few of the don'ts when it comes to puppy-rearing.
• Don't play too rough. Puppies love to play, but they also need to learn the appropriate level of rough play at a young age. Your puppy needs to learn his manners when it comes to playing with other people and other animals. If you let him play too rough when he is a puppy, it can become a bad habit in his adult years.
• Don't overdo the treats. As much as those puppy-dog eyes might make it hard to say no, you should limit the amount of treats you give him. Treats can alter your growing puppy's appetite for the better-balanced, nutritious meals. You also don't want to spoil him. Puppies learn quickly that by begging, crying and acting out, they can get their way.
• Consistency is key. Decide which furniture or parts of the house are off-limits, and be consistent with enforcement. Don't reprimand a dog one day for being on the couch and then let him up there the next.
• Eliminate household dangers. Make sure there aren't places in your home where your puppy can easily fall or become trapped. Also, don't keep substances that can sicken him (such as the garbage, medications, pesticides and so on) within his reach. Don't let him go untrained. The cute puppy misbehavior will become a lot less cute when he's older. Make sure you teach your pup good manners when he is young. Training and socializing him as a puppy will go a long way throughout his adult years.
For more tips on dog ownership, visit the AKC at www.akc.org.