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After You Get Your Puppy

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Now you have your puppy the clock is ticking and you need to meet three development deadlines before your puppy is five-and-a-half months old: socialising your puppy, teaching bite inhibition, continuing socialisation. Well-socialised puppies grow up to be wonderful companions, whereas anti-social dogs are difficult, time-consuming and potentially dangerous.

After You Get Your Puppy

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After You Get Your Puppy

by Dr. Ian Dunbar

Your puppy needs to meet at least one hundred people before it is three months old, preferably during the first month. Since your puppy is still too young to venture out to dog parks and pavements, you will need to start inviting people to your home right away. Your most important priority is that your puppy learns to inhibit the force of its bites and develops a 'soft mouth' before it is eighteen weeks old.

Whenever a dog bites a person or fights with another dog, the single most important prognostic factor is the degree of bite inhibition and, hence, the likelihood and seriousness of injury. Accidents happen. Someone may tread on the dog's paw, or a child may trip over the dog while it's gnawing a bone. A dog may snap and lunge at a person when hurt or frightened, but if the dog has well-established bite inhibition it is unlikely the dog's teeth will puncture or even touch the skin.

The most enjoyable priority of dog ownership is to introduce your well-socialised puppy to the world at large. Your dog will only remain sociable and confident if it continues to meet and greet at least three unfamiliar people and three unfamiliar dogs every day. Meeting the same people and dogs over and over again is not sufficient. Your dog needs to practise meeting, greeting and getting along with strangers, not simply getting along with old friends. Regular walks with your dog are as essential as they are enjoyable.

Paperback with photographs

About the Author:

The world's leading authority on puppy training and dog behaviour, Dr. Ian Dunbar is a veterinarian, animal behaviourist and writer. The original creator and populariser of off-leash puppy classes, he has led a doggy revolution in fun, reward-based dog-friendly dog training.

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