Puppies can usually be separated from their mother and siblings when they are about 7 to 8 weeks old. They are similar to babies in that they need a lot of care, which includes veterinary healthcare, feeding, socialization, and training.
There is a certain amount of natural maternal immunity that dogs receive from their mothers at birth, and through her milk. Until this maternal immunity dissipates, vaccinations are ineffective in stimulating a puppy’s immune system. Maternal immunity tends to reduce as time passes, therefore necessitating vaccinations after every 2 to 3 weeks until the puppies are around 4 months of age. This helps the puppy get a valuable vaccine dose after its maternal resistance is finished. It is also important to keep vaccinated and unvaccinated dogs away from each other until the complete vaccination cycle has been administered, in order to prevent disease spread.
Puppies are very susceptible to intestinal parasitic infection. The larvae of these parasites usually come from the mother’s milk or via the placenta. In fact, worms are such a big problem for puppies that they are routinely given a universal de-wormer to prevent infestation. There are also fecal exams that are performed every 2 to 4 weeks and combined with extra treatments, until two consecutive fecal examinations give negative results for worms.
It is important to ensure that a dog has good nutrition all through its life, but this is especially vital for puppies. With their fast growth and development rate, it is hard for puppies to get enough calories, proteins, fat, minerals and vitamins to cater for their special needs. It is important to provide puppies with several feedings throughout the day, using specially created puppy food. As the animal grows older, the number of daily feedings can be reduced at a gradual rate, although you should maintain the use of a name-brand into maturity. This is usually up to about 9 months to a year in most dogs, but could go all the way to two years in larger breeds.
Social Life and Training
The primary training for all puppies must be housetraining, which typically takes only a few weeks to learn. This process requires tolerance, determination, and consistency. An effective way of achieving this is to remove the puppy outside during the times when dogs naturally pass waste, and to commend them excitedly when they do so. Creating a specific area where elimination will always be done can be very useful. In case of any accidental elimination indoors, take the puppy outside to the designated area and commend it if it eliminates there. Obscene punishments such as pushing the dog’s face into the faeces or urine are totally unwarranted, and may have harmful repercussions on training. Try to minimise the number of indoor accidents, as every accident is a step back in the training process.
Every dog should be taught how to pay attention and react to all members of the family. Training young dogs the fundamental obedience instructions, such as sit, stay, down, come, and heel, boosts your ability to control your dog. This is critical especially when it comes to preventing possible perilous situations such as running away from home or running into the street. There is a period, roughly between two to four months of age, when a dog socializes very easily. During this early period, the dog finds it easy to accept new faces, places, animals, and other experiences. It will serve you well if your puppy associates positive experiences with these new events, as this can prevent or minimize the chances of frightened behavior and other trouble in the future.
There are a lot of written resources available out there that give instructions and advice on raising and training puppies. Additionally, there are numerous local trainers and kennels that offer socialization and obedience courses. At 8 weeks old, a puppy can start socialization training, with obedience lessons normally beginning at 4 to 6 months of age. Remember, obedience classes are an activity that you and your dog attend and get taught together. The trainer teaches the dog owner, and the dog owner consequently teaches their dog. The duration isn’t that long (only a few hours every week) and is usually enjoyable for the both of you. It can also help to set up good behavior and a strong family relationship throughout the life of your dog.