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A Guide to Understanding Puppies

Learning puppy behaviors and understanding your pup’s body language will help you become their advocate and teach them appropriate house manners. For example, if your dog is licking their lips, it could mean hunger, or it might be that they are nervous.

If you notice a change in their behavior, try to observe them at a safe distance, talk in a soothing voice, and gradually approach them until they are comfortable.

Basic Training

Puppies like an Australian Shepherd for sale are naturally curious and eager to please, so using positive reinforcement training methods is the best way to learn. Positive reinforcement encourages puppies to repeat behaviors that lead to a reward, such as getting to play or being petted. In contrast, scolding or punishing undesirable behaviors can make the puppy fearful and less likely to try that behavior again.

Puppies can be easily distracted, so training in a quiet environment with few distractions at first is essential. Start with sessions of about 5 minutes a day and slowly build up to about an hour per week of training. The younger the puppy is, the shorter their attention span, so it’s best to keep training sessions short and supplement them with lots of playtime in between.

Begin with basic obedience commands such as “Sit” and “Come.” Capture your pup’s interest in these behaviors by showing them how it works. One method is luring, where you place food on the floor to lure them into a sitting position, then say their name and give them the treat.

Another method is known as shaping, where you wait for the puppy to move toward you without calling them. During this time, you can use a clicker or verbal marker (such as “yes”) to mark when the puppy is moving toward you and then offer them a treat once they are in front of you.


Puppies go through a critical socialization period between 3 weeks and 16 weeks. What they learn during this time will imprint in their brains and profoundly affect their behavior later in life. If a puppy is not properly socialized, he may become fearful of people, animals, or new situations and exhibit challenging behaviors, such as territorial aggression.

To help your dog become successful, slowly and carefully introduce him to new situations, people, places, and objects. Be sure to supervise him closely and give him the space he needs. A puppy who is not feeling well or is overstimulated will often express his discomfort through body language, including a tucked tail, head down, ears back, and wide eyes. If you notice any of these signs, remove him from the situation, put him in his crate or on a blanket with a treat toy, and let him calm down.

Look for opportunities to observe your puppy’s behavior and reward him when he makes good choices. This will teach him that he gets praise when he shows self-control and obeys you. This will help him learn to associate obedience with positive things rather than being afraid of things he may or may not understand.

Health Care

A healthy puppy is more likely to become a successful adult dog. Good health care includes routine veterinary exams with diagnostic testing. The adage, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” is especially true in dogs. Dogs age much more rapidly than humans, so early disease detection is critical for success.

A wise owner can spot many signs of illness, including a lack of appetite, decreased activity, vomiting, diarrhea, urinating more or less frequently than usual, and abnormal discharges from the ears or eyes. Puppies are particularly prone to intestinal parasites, so fecal samples must be tested yearly or on your veterinarian’s recommended schedule.

The company of a pet, especially a dog, can improve your mental and emotional health. Spending time with your animal causes a drop in cortisol, the stress hormone, and an increase in serotonin, a feel-good chemical. A person with a pet also tends to have lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels than those without pets.

Every day, people around the country receive the terrible news that their beloved dog has a severe or life-threatening medical condition. To help these families, numerous funds are designed to assist with the cost of pet healthcare. Often, these funds are available through veterinary teaching hospitals or nonprofit hospitals. To qualify, you must often prove financial need or a poor prognosis, although some funds need to consider forecasts.

Training Tips

If you want to train your dog, it’s essential to understand the messages their body language is sending. For example, if your puppy’s tail is wagging and they are wiggling, it’s a positive signal that they want to play! However, if their ears are flattened and back, and they move slinkily with quick, short wags, it’s a sign of fear.

Puppies can be confused by the difference between playful and fearful behavior, so it’s essential to recognize what they are trying to tell you! Some behaviors, such as mouthiness and chewing, are a natural part of puppy development and should not be reprimanded. Instead, offer a chew toy. Others, such as circling before they lay down or hiccuping, are a way to help them settle and are not a reason to be punished.

To teach recall, get your puppy’s attention by saying their name in an upbeat voice. When they run towards you, tell them their word again and give them a treat to reinforce the behavior! This can also teach “sit” and “down.” As your puppy learns their commands, practice in different environments. This will help them become successful in a variety of situations! This will give them the confidence to tackle new challenges throughout their life. You can also try some of the fun training games that are available online to help your pup grow into a well-behaved adult dog!


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