The puppy, tween, teen, and young adult years of a dog’s life are a magical time. Here are some vital experiences to share with your dog before they’re eligible to run for president (in dog years).
1. Get checked up.
First and foremost, make sure your young dog has had a thorough checkup at the vet. Your pup should have all vaccines and treatments to ensure a healthy start to a long and happy life!
2. Take LOTS of puppy pictures.
Because those before and afters are precious. Even if you adopted your dog after puppyhood, it’s still a nice memento for when your pup’s a greying senior.
3. Jump on the potty train!
It’s not necessarily true that you can’t teach an old(er) dog new tricks, but this is one habit you (and your carpets) will be grateful for instilling early.
As soon as your pup is “street legal” (appropriately vaccinated and weaned), start socializing them with other humans and canines. Your friends will thank you for the free puppy snuggles.
5. Tune ups.
Get your dog used to routine maintenance. Tooth brushing, ear cleaning, nail clipping, baths, visiting the groomer…all potentially stressful experiences for a dog who’s not accustomed to these important rituals.
6. Play, play, play.
Under-5s need a lot of playtime. Expend anxious energy and tire them out for bedtime by introducing a variety of toys and setting up playdates with other pups. Plus it helps their brains form!
Of course you’ll want to shower your dog in love and affection, and the feeling is mutual. Animals, like humans, need touch and contact to grow up healthily.
Not just for tricks and obedience, training helps keep your dog safe. It’s important that they know how to stay put and sit so they don’t go running off.
9. Get your pup into the system.
Speaking of running off…have your dog registered, licensed, and microchipped. If they should (dog forbid) become lost it will be easier to bring them home.
Get your dog accustomed to travel, whether it’s riding in the car, going into their carrier, flying, riding in a tour bus…it’ll be smoother and less stressful for you both.
11. Be in nature.
Even the prettiest lap dogs possess the instincts of their wild ancestors and lupine cousins. Introduce your dog to the woods, the beach, the desert, or any outdoor setting and watch them experience the beauty of nature.