The Pets Doc

Dr. Kevin Watkins, DVM

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The Puppy Diaries Part 1 – With Our New Puppy, It’s Time To Practice What We Preach

For five years now, I have been advising folks on what to do about their canine behavior challenges, but more importantly, how to raise a well-behaved puppy instead.

Each dog always presents unique personality challenges, but puppies are, by and large, pretty much the same worldwide. They all chew on things they shouldn’t, they all go poop on the kitchen floor, and they all howl the first time they are put in a kennel. Those of you with a new puppy will relate.

So now it is time for me to put all of my education, experience and good advice to the test. The Watkins family has a new puppy.

Jovie came to us by Providence, I am sure. My husband, Kevin, and I had been talking for some time about getting another dog, but with such a busy household, I wasn’t sure if, or when, I was up to the task of having a baby canine. We had decided to wait until spring so that toilet training didn’t have to be done in eight inches of snow (think Dec. 22).

But as fate would have it, a couple of weeks ago, Jovie arrived at the animal hospital in need of a loving, kid-filled home. He found one. We named him Jovie, which is short for Jehovah, which is God, of course, and God is D-o-g spelled backwards. And like I said, I think Jovie came to us by Providence.

Anyway, I like to know how people come up with their pet’s names, so I thought I’d share ours with you.

The first night home, he spent time tethered to each of his new pack members for a period of time. At first, like all puppies, he resisted the leash and hit the “brakes” several times. But we enticed him with bits of turkey and taught him “Come,” “Good Come!” that first night. He also had a couple of pee pee accidents on the kitchen floor, but we scooped him up each time and immediately took him outside to the “designated toilet area.”

I have to admit, we’re still on the upswing of the learning curve with regard to going to the door to “go outside.” Diligence is the key, and that is where tethering has come in handy.

Tether time is also an excellent opportunity to teach commands like “Come,” “Sit,” “Down,” “Stay” and teach what is OK to chew on. If puppy is tethered to you, she’s not off getting into trouble I let the tethering slide some over a busy weekend. But I found that we all were saying, “Jovie! No chew! No cat! No bark! No pee pee inside!” more often. So I’m taking my own advice on the tethering.

I’ll let you know later how things are going.

Margo Watkins, Pet Behavior Counselor

Pawsitive Pet Behavior Blog