Although many people do not notice it, the mental health of our pets is just as important as their physiological health. Above all, we must be careful when they are young, since, like humans, it is when we develop fears or behaviors that are later difficult to correct.
It is not easy for owners to understand their pets and that is why on many occasions it is necessary to go to a veterinarian specialized in ethology and TomVets offers the Ethology at home service.
Below we detail moments and situations in which you should be attentive, and we try to guide you on how to help your pet.
The socialization period runs from birth to 8-10 weeks of age. It is during this period that it is important to expose the puppy to stimuli so that it is not afraid of them as an adult.
Once this period is closed, it will be increasingly difficult to “desensitize” the dog with respect to a stimulus that causes fear.
That is why it is recommended that breeders begin this process by gradually socializing puppies in front of people, children, other dogs, cats or even noises such as fireworks or thunder.
In case of acquiring a puppy, we must also progressively and respectfully accustom them to this type of stimuli as well as noise from the street (always carrying them in our arms until the vet gives us permission to carry them on the ground according to their vaccination schedule).
Whether we take a puppy or adopt an adult dog, it will go through a period of adaptation in which we are likely to observe the following behaviors.
- Destructions: they occur because the dog does not know which objects are his toys and which are not. Initially limiting the area of exploration and always having toys for him will help to redirect him towards something that he can chew freely.
- Adolescent period: It lasts from 6 to 18 months approximately, depending on the dog. During this period it is possible that well-behaved puppies begin to try new behaviors. This has to do not only with age but also with a hormonal component.
- Beginning of marking or aggressive behavior with certain dogs or people: this has a very important hormonal component but it can be aggravated by poor socialization or because we are not knowing how to apply adequate training guidelines.
How to correct behaviors
- Decide specific rules: As a family nucleus, the rules of the house should be chosen and applied from the beginning. Everything that he is allowed to do now he will also do when he is an adult. Sending a consistent message to the dog is an important part of training.
- Establish a routine: Dogs respond well to routines, so while they adjust to their new home, it’s a good idea to keep mealtimes, walks, and bedtimes the more consistent the better.
- Be Positive: Training based on positive reinforcement is a great way to teach a dog the rules while building a strong bond. You have to be patient, it is not easy to adapt to a new home.
In addition, it is possible that the dog still does not have assimilated knowledge of behavior in specific situations that will be important for your coexistence in the future.
Training your dog to go to the bathroom
If you have adopted a puppy, it is likely that it has not yet been taught where to relieve itself. The same can happen with an adult dog.
For this, it is important to work on it, always ignoring accidents and effusively rewarding it with prizes and “parties” when it is done in the right place. It can be initially with a point in the house designated for it (with soakers or newspaper) to which you should take it regularly. Later we will change to an area of the garden or taking it out into the street.
As soon as he understands that doing it on these sites rewards him, he will prefer to do it there and will easily strengthen the behavior.
It is one of the most difficult learning processes, especially in very anxious animals that want to go quickly or greet people and dogs passionately.
Your puppy’s leash
It is important to start with a long leash with which we can:
- Give him a little more freedom if we are in spacious areas without running the risk of losing him
- Carry it close to us around risk areas
At the same time it is necessary to equip him with a harness according to his size and age. It’s not as important how pretty this one is as that the shape and size are just right to teach him. Above all, make sure that it does not slip or come off. To begin with, wide belt harnesses are recommended so that they do not get stuck with a ring in the chest in order to teach him not to pull the leash without hurting him.
Adjusting to being home alone
Often when we adopt a dog we almost never leave him alone and when we want to do so, he presents separation anxiety problems.
It is important to make this transition from a very young age and slowly, starting with short periods. We must try to make it a positive experience for him by helping us with interactive toys such as Sniffing Carpets, Kongs stuffed with food…
Living with other animals
In the event that we already have other pets at home, it is important to introduce them slowly and progressively, making sure at all times to keep the two individuals that we are presenting safe to avoid injuries.
It is common for an animal that already lives in a house not to accept the new member during the first days, but with good presentation guidelines it should be solved in a few days or weeks.
It is important to respect the animal that we already have at home and allow it to hide or move away from the new one by providing areas that it recognizes as safe to which the new one does not have access (high areas for cats, safe area in a separate room for dogs) since the Puppies or new dogs can be very pushy and adults may lose patience (especially since they can sometimes be seen as a threat to their resources).
It is recommended to be careful especially in moments of “risk” such as mealtime, access to bed, toys, etc. at least until the relationship between them is positive.
Remember that any abnormal or unwanted behavior must be dealt with as soon as possible. For these problems, you can consult our Ethology at home service.