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Get Ready For Puppy
by Karen Koch
TheSyndicatedNews columnist

Karen Koch is former writer and editor for the Los Angeles Times. Currently, she is a freelance writer who specializes in stories related to family, education and lifestyle.

Thinking of getting a puppy? It’s a bit more complicated acclimating a pup to a new home than an older dog. Janet Hicks, co-founder of the Bumper Foundation rescue organization in Los Angeles; Suzanne Mackay, trainer and co-owner of Doggie Land in Harbor City, Calif.; and Randee Goldman, founder of Lhasa Happy Homes Rescue Inc. in Santa Monica, Calif., provided the following tips:
• Puppy-proof your home, unplugging, removing or covering up any electrical cords in your dog’s confinement area. Also, be sure not to leave such tempting items as shoes lying around.
• Puppy-proof your yard. Put a lock on your gate and make sure the fence isn’t too low and doesn’t have holes that a pup can wiggle through. Make sure that there aren’t any poisonous plants and remove anything a puppy might tear up, such as lawn furniture.
• Have the puppy sleep in a box or crate next to your bed for the first few nights. Put something that smells like you (but doesn’t have buttons on it) in with the puppy to provide comfort. Another idea is to put a ticking clock in the crate since it might sound similar to the beating heart of one of the pup’s littermates.
• If you have an older dog or other pet, keep an eye on its interactions with the pup. Puppies are prone to doing such annoying things as chewing on tails and aren’t good at reading other animals’ signals. Separate the two when you sense the older animal has reached its limit.
• Start out putting your puppy in a small area, such as a breakfast nook or kitchen and then slowly expand the territory. You might even consider getting a playpen. “If a puppy thinks it has to guard the whole house…then it’s intimidating,” Hicks said.
• Don’t give the puppy toys with squeakers because they can rip them out and choke on them.
• Begin your housebreaking and leash training regimen immediately.
• Remember that a puppy is a baby so it needs nap time.
• Don’t introduce a puppy to other dogs unless you know they have had all their shots.
• Don’t leave a puppy alone all day—they require a lot more attention than older dogs. “An older dog will sleep a lot” but with a younger dog, “you [might] come home and your couch is foam and not leather,” said Goldman.

Published: Jul 29,2008 18:13
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