Puppyhood 101

Puppyhood 101: Unleashing the Adventure (and Avoiding the Mayhem) with your New Furry Friend

A puppy sitting upright

Brace yourself, new dog owner, you've just embarked on an exhibition into the wild and wondrous world of puppyhood! Forget pristine living spaces, and welcome a whirlwind of wagging tails, sloppy kisses, and enough fur tumbleweeds to rival a blizzard. But fear not, for this comprehensive guide will your compass, leading you through the joys of raising a furry best friend. 

Preparing for Paw-vasion: Securing your home base

Before your pup's grand entrance, imagine yourself a canine commando infiltrating enemy territory... your living room. Every tempting chew toy, dangling cord, and towering bookshelf becomes an obstacle course. Secure your base camp with these strategic maneuvers:

Cord Control:Tuck away electrical wires like ninja stars or invest in sturdy cord covers. Remember, chewing cords isn't just a bad habit: it could endanger your pup by exposing them to electricity or a choking hazard.

Plant Patrol: Identify and relocate any toxic or temping plants. Curiosity may be a puppy's superpower, but their stomachs are still rookies. Here are the most common plants that are poisonous to dogs:

  • Lilies: Avoid having any plant belonging to the lily family around your household. They can be fatal to cats and make dogs very stick.  
  • Sago Palms: All parts of the plant are highly toxic to the pets. They are common in tropical gardens. 
  • Philodendrons: All of the Philodendron family are poisonous to dogs. This includes the Swiss cheese plant. The toxicity is mild to moderate to dogs.
  • Aloe Vera: Is considered a medicinal for humans but is toxic for our furry friends. 
  • Tulips: Tulips are also poisonous to dogs.

Common symptoms of plant poisoning in dogs includes Vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, depression, tremors, and change in urine color. It can also lead to liver failure and death. 

Treasure trove defense: Put away valuables like shoes, glasses, and remotes or risk them becoming a chew toy.

Area Denial: Block off forbidden zones with baby gates or crates. Think of them as your moat and drawbridge against puppy mischief. Remember, prevention is the paw-sitive way to go.

Teething Tribulations: Taming the Gnawing Menace.

Puppies are nature's chew machines, and your furniture is their training ground. But fear not, for you can outsmart the gnawing menace with these tactics.

Toy Arsenal: Assemble an army of chew toys in various shapes, textures, and materials. Think squeaky squiggles, knotted ropes, and frozen Kongs filled with delicious treats. Variety is the key to keeping those tiny teeth occupied.

Frozen Fortress: Fill Kongs with frozen fruit or broth. The icy chill soothes their aching gums while providing a delightful distraction. Remember a happy pup is a less destructive one.

Redirection is Key:
When your pup targets your prized possession, don't yell, "No! Instead, be a ninja of distraction Offer a tempting toy and when they switch targets, shower them with praise like confetti. Positive reinforcement is your magic wand, transforming gnawing into playful chewing. Studies have shown that negative reinforcement: Yelling, smacking etc lead to an increased state of anxiousness in dog behavior and lead to increased problematic behavior. 

Potty Patrol: Transforming Accidents into Triumphs House training may feel like an endless quest, but victory awaits the persistent warrior.
Here's your secret weapon: Schedule is Your Shield. Establish a regular feeding and potty schedule and stick to it like clockwork. After meals, naps, and playtime, whisk your pup outside like a knight charging into battle. Consistency is your magic potion.
Praise Patrol: Treat every successful potty break like a parade. Shower your pup with enthusiastic pats, verbal praise, and maybe even a delicious treat Remember, positive reinforcement is your magic carpet, transporting accidents to triumphs.

Accidents are Inevitable: Don't despair if mistakes happen Accidents are a natural part of the learning process. Clean up calmly and without scolding. Instead, redouble your efforts and remember persistence is your shield against discouragement.

Building Bridges: Forging a Bond Through Positive Reinforcement Forget the drill sergeant approach; positive reinforcement is the key to unlocking your pup's heart. Here's how to build a bridge of trust: Reward desired behaviors with tasty morsels. Think of them as bribes for good citizenship, A well-placed treat can turn any command into a game.

Clicker of Camaraderie: Invest in a clicker to mark the exact moment your pup does something right.

Ditch the boring drills and turn training into a treasure hunt
! Hide treats, play fetch, and make learning an adventure. Remember, a happy pup is a learning pup and a learning pup is a well-behaved pup.

Social Butterfly Bootcamp

 Launching Your Pup into the World Early socialization is like a superpower against fear and anxiety. Expose your pup to a diverse world, but always in a safe and controlled environment.

Puppy Playdates: Enroll in puppy socialization classes. It's like kindergarten for canine adventurers, where your pup can mingle with fellow furballs under the watchful eye of a trainer. Playful interactions build confidence and social skills, making them well-rounded canine citizens.

Neighborhood Explorations: Take your pup on controlled walks in different settings. Introduce them to friendly strangers, bustling streets, and the occasional animal is the perfect way to introduce them to the outside world.


1. MDPI and ACS Style Siroka, Z. Toxicity of House Plants to Pet Animals. Toxins 2023, 15, 346. https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins15050346

2. AMA Style Siroka Z. Toxicity of House Plants to Pet Animals. Toxins. 2023; 15(5):346. https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins15050346

3.Chicago/Turabian StyleSiroka, Zuzana. 2023. "Toxicity of House Plants to Pet Animals" Toxins 15, no. 5: 346. https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins15050346
4. Hiby EF, Rooney NJ, Bradshaw JWS. Dog training methods: their use, effectiveness and interaction with behaviour and welfare. Animal Welfare. 2004;13(1):63-69. doi:10.1017/S0962728600026683