When I was a child, I had a tiny Pekingese. He was a good little puppy; the most he ever destroyed was a kleenex box. He was quickly housetrained, and was a content little creature happy to just sit on a cushion and look outside, pondering deep doggy thoughts.
So imagine my shock when I adopted a young American Eskimo puppy - one complete with a set of sharp puppy teeth and a little snout to help him get those teeth into practically anything.
This deceptively angelic-looking pup was a complete terror. He tore up the carpet. He chewed the only set of chairs we owned. He munched up our table. He gnawed the walls. He peed riverfuls onto our carpet, our bed, wherever he felt the urge to let loose. He dug up plants and scattered their mangled carcasses all over the house.
The only things he never chewed were shoes and dog toys, even though we bought him plenty of toys of all types to try to pique his interest. Go figure.
He managed to cause this massive destruction after he was let out of his kennel. We watched him 99% of the time, but when we turned our backs to him - for just a second! - he would somehow transform into a miniature chewing machine. He was always good as gold while he was in his kennel: he'd happily snooze the time away, paws twitching with his puppy dreams.
Take it from someone who's been there, done that: if you're thinking of bringing a puppy into your family, be prepared for:
- Mass destruction. Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating just a little (but not much!). Be prepared for your puppy to chew and chew and chew... including chewing up the occasional treasured belonging. They're puppies: they chew.
- Kennel training. This will do a few things: first, it will keep your pup from destroying the house while you're away. Second, it will teach him bladder control (puppies need to be relieved every few hours, so make sure you take him straight from the kennel to the spot outdoors where you want him to go). And finally, if you do it right, it will teach him not to be afraid of the kennel - it can be warm, safe place for him.
- Teaching them the meaning of "No!" Be consistent. Don't hit your pup, but firmly tell him no when you catch him in the act of doing something wrong. Praise him when he does what you want him to do.
- Enforcing rules. Set limits while your puppy is young. Dogs are pack animals and YOU should be the pack leader. Remember, no hitting! Slowly counting to ten (or one hundred, as the case may be...) is perfectly acceptable. Taking your pup to a socialization and/or obedience school is a great way to bond with your new pup while setting rules.
- Accidents. Hey, they're going to happen, no matter how vigilant you are. Good commercial cleaners made expressly for this purpose are available from pet stores everywhere.
- Lots of love.
If raising a puppy doesn't exactly sound like your idea of fun, consider adopting an adult. They bond just as well to their new people and have plenty of love to offer!
Regardless of whether you choose to adopt a young puppy or an older dog, please consider going to your local animal shelter. Shelters often have puppies and adults both, of all types and sizes ... all waiting for a loving home. Adopt from a shelter and save a life!
Article reproduced with thanks to PawsperousPets.com. PawsperousPets.com is a pet lovers community featuring pet care tips, columns, humor, stories and tributes. Their focus is on celebrating the bond between pets and their people through responsible pet ownership. Please visit their website at http://www.pawsperouspets.com/.