Adjusting to puppyhood again

An older dog sniffing a puppy

Transitioning from life with a senior dog to owning a puppy again can take special patience. Follow these tips to make this change as smooth as possible.

  • Sign up for Puppy Kindergarten. A well-structured puppy class can help you with the basics (socialization, housetraining, and bite inhibition) and provide behavioral help as your puppy ages.  
  • Socialize, socialize, socialize! Take your puppy somewhere new every day and ask strangers to feed him treats. Refer to "Before and After Getting Your Puppy" by Ian Dunbar for tips on throwing “puppy parties” and more socialization ideas. 
  • Avoid comparison. Keep in mind that you had many years to train your previous dog. Give yourself and your puppy a break!
  • Supervise or confine. When you can’t supervise your puppy directly, keep her in her kennel. Leaving her loose and unattended will result in accidents and will slow the housetraining process. By 12 weeks old, most puppies can hold it during the night but will still need to go out every hour during the day.
  • Provide adequate exercise. Insufficient exercise can lead to behavior problems like chewing, barking, and mouthing. If you can't exercise your dog as much as he needs, consider hiring a dog walker, attending puppy playgroups or asking a friend to help. Avoid long walks (over a mile) and runs until your dog is 1 year old. The growth plates at the ends of his bones are still developing, and hard exercise can cause swelling or even stunted growth.

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