It’s March 7th, 2020 already! Thankfully, we’re headed to spring and some really nice weather. This is the beginning of “puppy season.” So I figured I would offer some important advice for those of you who either have already purchased/adopted a puppy or you’re in the process of deciding whether you want a puppy or an adult rescue.

If you’ve never had a puppy before, make sure to research the breeds and consider which breed to choose that would be a good match for your energy level. Some breeds come with a huge amount of energy, kind of like the “energizer bunny” that just wants to go and go and go. If you are not an energized person, stick with breeds that like a more quiet life. Also very important to determine is how much time you can devote to a new puppy. If you don’t have that much time because you work long hours, and you either can’t afford a pet sitter or dog walker to come to your home 3 times/day to let puppy out and to play and help with socialization, please do NOT get a puppy. Puppies need to be socialized with both humans and other puppies and well-socialized adult dogs. They also need to be socialized with the outside world. The best time to enroll a puppy in a puppy class is right after they’ve had their first set of shots. If you find a puppy that you fall in love with at a shelter, make sure that puppy is 100% healthy before taking any group class. Good puppy classes offer short play-periods during classes. However, some veterinarians offer socialization classes, so ask your own vet if that is offered at their clinic. The window of socialization closes at 12 weeks. Socialization must happen within a day or two after you bring your “bundle of joy” home. Socialization means getting puppy used to your family, getting puppy out for short walks to meet the neighbors, having friends and family visit the house a little at a time so puppy becomes used to people. If you are a light skinned person, make sure to introduce your puppy to dark-skinned people. If you are a dark-skinned person, introduce your puppy to light-skinned people.

Most of the fearful dogs that I meet in my business are fearful due to lack of sufficient socialization. I’ve met puppies who are 11 weeks old and they are already showing signs of fearfulness because they didn’t meet enough people or any dogs. By the way, puppies do NOT belong at a dog park!!!

Has it been awhile since you’ve housetrained a puppy? If you enroll in a puppy class, your instructor should give you instructions on how to effectively do that in order to prevent accidents from occuring. Crating is helpful during housetraining, but puppy must get out of the crate for potty breaks, play breaks and short walks (might be best to walk puppy in the street rather than on the curb where other dogs are peeing and pooping). If your puppy is confined to 6-8 hours in the crate, you may NOT wind up with a “normal adult dog.”

There is one facility that I always recommend for puppy classes. That is: Wonderdogs in West Berlin, NJ. Their puppy classes are for pups 8 weeks to 16 weeks. Here is their contact information: https://wonderdogs.com/store/scripts/puppy-hs.asp

Many times people will call me about puppy training. I always suggest a good puppy class, and as long as that potential client is actively socializing their pup, I will go to the home and train the puppy. But when they can go to Wonderdogs, I will do a 2-hour puppy consult prior to the start of their classes. I teach people proper housetraining methods and I also teach people how to deal with the puppy play-biting. Those two topics can take as long as 2 hours.

Puppies are a lot of work! But it IS worth it if you have the time, the energy and the patience to raise a puppy. Take your time making that decision. If you have any questions about puppies, don’t hesitate to either message me on Facebook, or email me at jerseydogtrainer@gmail.com or call me at (609) 280-9338.

Good luck 🙂

Renee Premaza