How to raise a healthy pup

You’ve brought your fluffy lit­tle bun­dle of joy home – now be­gins the im­por­tant job of mak­ing him a well-ad­justed, healthy pet

YOU (South Africa) - - CONTENTS - COMPILED BY SANDY COOK

TEACH­ING your pup how to be­have in pub­lic is an im­por­tant pil­lar of so­cial­i­sa­tion. So too is mak­ing sure he’s up to date with vac­ci­na­tions and teach­ing him to be obe­di­ent. Here’s ad­vice on how to en­sure your puppy has a firm foun­da­tion in life. Vac­ci­na­tions Young an­i­mals’ im­mune sys­tems are vul­ner­a­ble. Af­ter five to eight weeks your puppy re­quires a five-in-one vac­ci­na­tion. The sec­ond vac­ci­na­tion is given at 10 to 12 weeks. Once the puppy is 12 weeks old he can re­ceive his first ra­bies shot.

But it’s detri­men­tal to a puppy’s men­tal health to keep him to­tally iso­lated for the first three months of life, so you need to reach a com­pro­mise be­tween the need to pro­tect him from dis­ease and the need to en­sure a bal­anced dog.

It’s im­por­tant to let your pup ex­pe­ri­ence the world, so take him out as much as pos­si­ble but don’t al­low him to mix with dogs whose vac­ci­na­tion sta­tus you can’t be sure of. And avoid tak­ing him to parks or pub­lic ar­eas where he can come into con­tact with dog ex­cre­ment that could in­fect him with dis­eases such as par­vovirus. So­cial­i­sa­tion The more your puppy meets peo­ple and plays with other dogs, the more friendly and so­cia­ble he’ll be­come. Take your puppy to your friends’ homes and in­vite friends to your home. Make sure your puppy meets a se­lec­tion of chil­dren of var­i­ous ages. Young kids can be bois­ter­ous com­pared with adults, so if your puppy doesn’t meet kids when he’s young he may re­act badly when he comes across kids as an older dog.

Let your puppy ap­proach strangers in his own time. Don’t pass him to some­one else or pull him to­wards peo­ple.

Avoid us­ing food as an in­cen­tive when in­tro­duc­ing your puppy to strangers as this may teach him that all peo­ple carry food on them, which is not ideal. You’ll want your puppy to ap­proach peo­ple be­cause they are friendly not to re­ceive treats. Your puppy should be care­fully in­tro­duced to a va­ri­ety of vac­ci­nated adult dogs. En­sure these dogs are safe around pup­pies as a bad ex­pe­ri­ence can be more dam­ag­ing than none at all. Obe­di­ence Pup­pies have a short at­ten­tion span but you can ex­pect them to be­gin to learn sim­ple obe­di­ence com­mands, such as “sit,” “down” and “stay” at as young as seven to eight weeks of age.

A good puppy class can help with so­cial­i­sa­tion and get you started with your train­ing, but a weekly ses­sion won’t be enough and you’ll have to re­in­force most of the work away from the class.

Find­ing a good class is key as a bad one can do more harm than good – your vet may be able to rec­om­mend one. S SOURCES: PUPPYLEAKS.COM, BLUECROSS.ORG.UK, NYLABONE.COM

Don’t take pups jog­ging or run­ning un­til they’re more than a year old. Their growth plates are softer than other parts of their body so they're more prone to in­jury.

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