Dog’s name and age: Summit, 1 year
Adoption Story: We went to the local SPCA to inquire about puppies and found Summit, who had been abandoned along with his seven siblings. Upon meeting this 3-month-old puppy, we knew we had found our newest family member. Two days later, we brought him home!
I completed chemotherapy, and it felt like I had climbed the “summit” of a lifetime. This notion stuck with me until we looked at the small puppy, and I thought Summit would be the perfect name. He came when I needed a companion, and I knew he would love me in return without judgment. Summit is my first dog, and I feel absolutely spoiled.
One of the greatest joys in owning a puppy is the puppy training stage. Most puppies enter their new environments from eight to twelve weeks of age, leaving all their previous instincts, littermates, and life behind. By this time most puppies are fully-grown, imprinted with their master’s behaviors, and receptive to training. However, some dogs may still be in diapers or in training collars, so it is important to keep your eye out for these before bringing your puppy home.
Puppy breeds that need extra stimulation during the puppy stage include those that have a shorter neck, such as the English Cocker Spaniel, Miniature Schnauzer, or Shih Tzu, and they often need more physical exercise than their longer-nosed breeds, such as the Standard Schnauzer or Shih Tzuschuka. It is a good idea to begin potty training right after the puppy arrives at home, since it is much easier to keep a consistent schedule when your puppy is young and less confused. One method of potty training that has worked well for many Pugs and Labradors is to use a food-based treat, such as puppy chow or a puppy nutritionally balanced dog food, as the reward for a good behavior. These small bits of food can be hidden throughout the household, so the puppy is never sure just where to find his reward. As the puppy learns to hold on to his treat, the puppy will start to associate the good behavior with the smell of his reward, and will likely work harder to get it every time he picks up his treat.
In addition to giving your puppy a reward for a job well done, you should also introduce him to his new people, friends, and family members. Introducing new people to your puppy while still in puppy form, but with some training, can help your puppy learn how to behave around people and make friends easily. During the socialization period, your puppy may have some issues relating to unfamiliar people and situations, so you should try not to freak out and make things worse by reprimanding him or her immediately. After all, it’s the puppy’s transition into adulthood.