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Dog Tip: Do's & Don'ts For Puppy Adopters and Caregivers

By Robin Tierney

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Following are tips from trainer/author Kathy Diamond Davis from her article, "Do's & Don'ts For New Puppy Owners."

* Sign up for puppy obedience classes -- they're fun and an excellent way to aid socialization.

* Remember that puppies can't "hold it" for too many hours. Make sure that someone can let out the puppy to potty every 4 hours or so.

* You can help your puppy learn not to develop the habit of jumping up on people. Don't let anyone pet the puppy when he is standing on hind legs. Put the puppy back on the ground for petting every single time.

* When you start walking the puppy on leash, keep the leash loose. If the leash goes tight, stop, or turn off quickly in another direction.

* Crate training is a great tool for housetraining -- and helps the pup through the destructive chewing stage that follows.

* Spaying and neutering can be safely done as early as two or three months now.

* Provide a variety of safe chewtoys.

* Taking a pup outside without a leash often teaches the pup that he/she does not have to come when you call.

* Try not to chase a pup; instead, encourage the pup to follow you.

* When the pup mouths you, make a "yip" sound to let the pup know "stop it - that hurts!" Don't play when the pup nips; play can reinforce unwanted behavior. Dogs who aren't encouraged to stop teething on and nipping people will likely continue that behavior.

* Take and make opportunities to praise your dog.