Expectations for the New Puppy Owner

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I was recently told by a visitor that my dog is so well behaved, He must have been a very good puppy.
He said he hoped that his puppy was that good.
I could not control the laughter.
Being good is subjective.
When he is being quiet I get concerned.
I just know he is somewhere in the apartment doing something he does not want me to know about.
It has taken me about fifteen years to figure out when I think I know him, I really don't.
Its not to say that I do not know a couple of things about him.
I now know four basic ideals that have helped me understand when he does misbehave, chances are it could have been avoided.
1.
) Dogs will chew on anything.
2.
) Dogs are predators.
3.
) Dogs are egotistic and opportunists.
4.
) Dogs do not have a moral foundation.
When I first got my puppy, within the first day he chewed on my school math book, my comic book, my black dress mary janes, and my night stand lamp.
Thank goodness it had been unplugged for a while.
All of this could have been avoided if I had picked up my things and put them in their proper place.
No teenager I know does this.
Even though I know this and a few other things now, I am also glad that there were some things I did not know.
Working in the veterinary field, I have seen a couple of puppies and kittens brought in for emergency because they had been electrocuted.
Most of the time they were teething, but sometimes companion pets chew on things as a comfort habit, Like when a child sucks on a finger or thumb.
Dogs do not understand the value we place on our possessions.
So really to expect that they will only chew on the toy you bought them is silly.
Being from the awesome predator gene pool that they are, all dogs have in place the need to hunt, grab, chew, take apart objects.
My adult dog loves to chase squirrels.
He has not caught one yet and I am not to keen to find out what will happen if he does.
He is also very fast for sixteen years.
When he was a puppy, when we played in the yard at my mothers house he would chase and jump on me for hours.
At the time it was fun.
What I did not know was that I was reinforcing a bad jumping habit and encouraging his hunting behavior by playing a low version of hide and seek.
Eventually I taught him to control his behavior when not being goaded into playing.
He still gets quite rambunctious under the right circumstances.
If he does I know to calm him down and distract him with a toy or treat when he is calm.
I learned later that instead of trying to stop him from acting on his need to hunt, I could have incorporated his hunting skills into a form of play by having him "hunt" for a toy or a Kong with treats in it.
That way he had the fun of the hunt, instead of me trying to make him "behave".
Most canine companions are only into pleasing their human companions when they are being rewarded.
Although my companion pet is on top of my list of priorities, I can not say with certainty that I am at the top of his list.
Top five yes, number one, no.
A majority of companion canines are self centered and opportunistic.
That is to say that sharing the awesome find they found with you is not their objective.
And if they find something that could be a free buffet they will completely devour it.
It is unfortunate that the things that the Companion pet finds are usually not that good.
They find the Rodentacide behind the fridge, the moldy bread in the garbage from a week ago, the old moldy compost in the garden, the chewing gum in your purse.
Being opportunistic and not understanding the problems eating these will cause they take it.
The last thing is that our companion pets are amoral.
They do not consider our concepts of stealing when they take something that does not belong to them.
They dont see hunting, chasing, and killing a cat, mouse or squirrel as harassment or murder.
I have seen instances where It appears to me that a pet has been remorseful for an action, but that is just it, how it appears to me.
All of us want to believe that we share an intellectual plane with our pets, but in reality we do not.
We may some day, but as for right now we do not.
Understanding some of these behaviors of your new puppy, you can easily avoid the pitfalls of most new puppy problems.
These four ideas are just a starting point.
I suggest you talk to your local veterinarian about what all to expect with your new puppy.
And remember to have realistic expectations from your new family member.
They need your guidance just as a human child would.
Knowing this can strengthen your human-canine companion bond and help build a great relationship with your new puppy.
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