Good info on raising a happy puppy
November 26, 2021 12:32 PM   Subscribe

I'm having a hard time sifting through all the info online about raising a puppy. Can you all point me to some reliable, up to date advice on best puppy practices? Details inside.

Spooky, or Besito. Or Ziggy. We're not decided on the name yet.

She is incredibly sweet and everything we expected, and we expected a lot of work. But I've never lived with a dog before and I need some solid advice so I don't needlessly worry. My partner has raised pits before and is confident, its just me that needs reassurance we aren't making huge mistakes.

She is 11 weeks old, a pit mix. We have a 7 year old deaf cat, Alligator, who has a history of being very curious and playful with dogs that are visiting. So far their introduction is going well, they are able to both relax in the same room and able to eat meals at the same time without conflict. But it has only been a few days.
posted by kittensofthenight to Pets & Animals (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I love Zak George's book and YouTube videos. We found all positive reinforcement and clicker training to be of great help when training our pup. Congrats; your pup is adorable!
posted by bookworm4125 at 1:17 PM on November 26, 2021 [2 favorites]

People often like to play with their puppy and give it treats and attention. This is a mistake, as it trains the dog to expect these things all the time and it can become annoyed or even aggressive if these expectations are frustrated. Better is to set aside time to just sit with the dog. Not petting it or playing with it, just sitting. In this way, the dog comes to associate you with safety and comfort and will mature into a calm and willing companion.
posted by SPrintF at 1:18 PM on November 26, 2021 [3 favorites]

Here's an article on playing tug-of-war with your dog. Some people say never do this (and with a pit mix, I'd think twice). But dogs love it and if you can teach the dog to play nice, then it should do no harm.
posted by SPrintF at 2:49 PM on November 26, 2021

I enjoyed Patricia McConnell's dog books a lot, though I haven't read her puppy book.
posted by sepviva at 3:35 PM on November 26, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I'd prioritize puppy socialization to acclimate them to interacting with other dogs and people. The first several months of their lives are crucial and can heavily influence their behavior as adult dogs.

Puppies are typically high energy. In addition to physically walking and playing with them, you can work out their minds via enrichment games. Especially important if you have a very intelligent and/or anxious dog.

Let your puppy sniff outside or take them on specific "sniffari" walks so they can take in their surroundings and do what is natural for them. Again, it's a good way to work out their brains.
posted by joeyjoejoejr at 8:44 AM on November 27, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: If you're looking for books, I liked Perfect Puppy in 7 Days by Sophia Lin (Goodreads) (though obviously puppies don't ever become some notion of perfect). Although pretty old (and you asked for up-to-date), Dunbar's Before and After Getting Your Puppy are free and good places to start (this can feel a bit if you don't follow the instructions perfectly, you'll have a terrible dog, which is untrue -- definitely triggered a bit of anxiety for me, but was helpful information).

If you're looking for videos, I also enjoy kikopup's videos.

I generally got information from r/puppy101, in preparation and the first few weeks with our new pup, but mind that it's full of people who are pretty focused on their puppy, so you're getting a sliver of population that are very invested in their pup, get puppy blues, etc.

All the information was super overwhelming for me, so we invested in training and puppy school that we loved. It was nice to have one source to go to instead of searching around the internet, but ymmv. It might be a good solution for feeling confident together, depending on your resources.

Congrats on the new family member!
posted by sincerely yours at 12:21 PM on November 27, 2021

Best answer: I found The Art of Raising a Puppy really helpful. My eventual dog turned out to be generally well-liked by most people.

One thing I did right away was puppy socialization class. It's actually a lot of fun. Check any vet's office, you'll find a flyer for one on the board. A few evenings with a dozen or so new puppy owners and an instructor can prevent a lifetime of panic and freaking out around other dogs. Can't recommend highly enough. Tiny investment, massive payoff.
posted by trevor_case at 8:13 PM on November 27, 2021 [3 favorites]

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