Monday, March 30, 2015

Things about puppies we should all know!!; vaccines and normal puppy behavior/learning stages

Things about puppies we should all know!!


We all know that all puppies should start getting their core vaccines about 6 weeks of age. But why? Maternal antibodies, the protection that mom gives them at birth, will decrease at 6-8 weeks of age. Therefore, vaccines should be started at 6 weeks, and then they are given every 3 to 4 weeks till about 16 weeks of age to minimize interference with those potential maternal antibodies. If maternal antibodies are present, vaccine protective effect diminishes. If maternal antibodies are not present, vaccine induced protection begins. This vaccine series will then ensure immunity (protection) for dogs that may not have adequately responded to the first puppy vaccines. 

Core vaccines are those that are required by every dog in order to protect them from life-threatening infectious diseases that remain present throughout the world. These vaccines are given until 16 weeks of age. There are non-core vaccines that are administered based on geographical location and risks associated to the area where your dog live. Some examples are leptospirosis, kennel cough, canine influenza and lyme vaccine.

Normal behavioral things you should know:
Chloe first time visit, a 7 weeks old Shih Tzu female puppy
Did you know that from birth until about 2 weeks of age, factory and tactile sensory are developing.
By 2-3 weeks, the puppies' eyes should open and their social behaviors begin. This is when mild human interactions should begin like weighing them daily. It is around days 12-20th, when this becomes more clear. Puppies will startle to sound and become more coordinated.

By about 3 to 8 weeks of age, puppies learn how to interact with each other. Puppies should also be introduced to novel things and situations, and this should continue as they grow. This will help making your puppy more tolerant to noises, strangers other dogs and pets in the household, etc. Puppies will learn how to interact with people around 5-12 weeks of age. Therefore, around five weeks of age, interactions with people should slowly increase. This could involve walking them on leashes, massaging ears and paws, training them to sit and come, etc. Halters and leashes should be introduced at around 5-9 weeks of age. This is the time period when they are more responsive to halters and leashes. If during this time of interaction, aggression toward toys and food is noticed, you should inform your veterinarian. This can be used as an early indicator for future aggression and behavior should be work on to help decreasing unwanted behaviors in the future.

Do you know that early separation from the mom does not make the human-dog bond stronger? When dogs are separated and avoided of normal puppy-mom interactions, abnormal behaviors may be more common. At 6-7 weeks of age it is the most upsetting and destabilizing time if puppies are separated from home and companions. To relieve this effect, puppies of this age should be exposed to other places in the house as a group. Also, separation from litter mates at six weeks of age have nevative effects on physical condition and weight. Therefore, the best time to place a puppy in an new home is between 7 and 1/2 and 8 and 1/2 weeks of age. This will help with house training for two reasons: too much stress will impede learning and at 8 and 1/2 weeks of age is when puppies develop a preference to where they will urinate and defecate. 

Training starts as soon as possible at around 5 weeks of age. This should be done in short time intervals (1-5 min) throughout the day.

  • If chewing on things beside toys, simply take the item away and give it the proper toy.
  • If he is biting you, you should react and stop playing.
  • You should never yell or punish your puppy. Punishing your puppy can result in him/her associating the punishment with you and not with the action.
  • Pay attention to your puppy. It is more important to avoid bad behavior than pushing for it.
  • Begin massaging the feet and ears and looking in his/her mouth on a regular daily basis. You should also hold him/her by the collar and encourage him/her to stay still. This should be practiced daily. This is just a game as well as trying to teach some manners.You should never punish your puppy for not remaining still.
  • Crate training will take several weeks to achieve. It is important to remain patient during this time. Never force your puppy into a crate. The crate should always be associated with something pleasant. Place the crate in an area where the family spends a lot of time. At first, you should ensure that the door stays open so that it does not close and scares your puppy during this first learning exercises. You should encourage him/her to go into the crate by tossing treats into the crate. Continue this daily until your puppy enters the crate calmly. Always let the puppy come right back out at this state if he/she desires it. When the puppy is relaxed going in and out of the crate, you can start feeding the puppy in the crate. When the puppy can stand comfortably while eating meals in the crate, then you can close the door. At first, open the door as soon as he/she is done eating. With each successive meal, leave the door closed longer. If whining starts, wait tell it stops an then open the door. At the next feeding, shorten the time period.Then slowly practice calling the dog into the crate during other random times. At first it should be very short periods of time and rewards should be given. Over time, decrease the amount of treats and increase the time interval. If the dog begins whining, shorten the time period. Leaving random treats in the crate and giving enrichment toys while in the crate helps the dog to associate the crate with a pleasurable experience.
  • House training. Remember 8 and 1/2 weeks is when puppies learn a preference for urinating and defecting. It is helpful to have a flexible schedule, however, house training is still possible for working owners. Leave a small area for the puppy to make sure there is enough room for the puppy to move around and use the bathroom. Puppies will not defecate/urinate where they sleep or eat/drink. Set up a toilet area for the puppy to use with some potty pads, if needed. Don't punish him/her if accidents happen. It is the accident happens near the pad, you can smear some of the urine in the pad to encourage him/her to go back to the same spot. Try to come as soon as possible for lunch or dinner, so that he/she can be reminded where we will want him/her to eventually go and to clean pats appropriately. As  he/she gets older, it will become easier. Once the puppy becomes reliably house trained, the you can increase the confined area.
  • Attention walking should begin as a puppy. This will help him/her learn to focus on you later in adulthood. Once your puppy is comfortable to the leash, halter or harness, you can start walking around the house at first with encouraging treats throughout the process reinforcing when he/she walks close to you and pays attention to your commands.  
  • Adding treats randomly to a food bowl is a great way to prevent food aggression. If the bowl is taken away, make sure you give the puppy something extra yummy.
  • Periodically approach and reward a puppy for playing with its toys., Also it is a great idea to smear yummy treats on toys such as cheese and peanut butter. This will help prevent toy aggression.
  • Reward calmness and pay attention to them when they are also calm and laying down comfortably. We do not need to only pay attention when they are barking or jumping at us. 
  • Socialization begin as soon as possible. Interact with as many proper people, dog and children. You should also bring your puppy to new places as often as possible. After vaccines are finished, he/she should not be in dogs parks or areas where there may be dogs of unknown medical history. If your puppy's weight allows it, you can try taking him/her in your arms or in a carrier bag to places. You can have friends bring your friend's fully vaccinated low risk dogs to your house for play date. Puppy kidnergarten is a prefect option. 
  • Puppy classes and kindergarten. Things you should watch for are: how many puppyes are in the claass, age group, vaccination status and requirements and trainer knowledge. Ideally you want the class of puppies to be around the same age 9-16 weeks, all must have at least two rounds of vaccines given, fully dewormed and someone present to help with the training. Human interaction interaction is also very important.
  • As soon as an aggressive or fearful behavior occur, you should notify a veterinarian. There are not perfect dogs, but you should make sure the things you see in your pet are acceptable or not.

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