“They were so cute at the shelter, rescue, or pet shop, but when you got home they started acting like puppies,” John Van Zante of the RCHS said. “Like human babies, they’re learning every day. It’s never too soon to teach them the rules. Start with a routine, and stick to it.”
Van Zante said it’s best to keep a puppy with its mother until it is about eight weeks old, but some breeders and pet stores sell them as early as five weeks from birth.
Tips include developing a regular schedule for feeding, naps, outings and playtime; teaching children how to handle puppies in advance and maintaining parental supervision when youngsters interact with the pets; and carefully exposing the young canines to household noises and floor surfaces.
Van Zante said dog breeds should also be matched to an owner’s lifestyle.
“Some smaller breeds bark a lot because that’s what they were bred to do,” Van Zante said. “Dachshunds generally don’t make good running companions, while Dalmatians need lots of exercise.”
He also said it’s fine to hug your puppy, but keep it away from your face; you should never drag the pet, feed it from the table or spank it.