Many “to-be-dog-owners” ask temperament questions and how early can they take the puppy home. We say and believe that puppies should not be separated from their mother before 8 weeks of age.
Here are just a few facts that you may not know:
• At birth puppies are deaf, blind, and have almost no sense of smell. They stay near their mother and siblings because of the warmth.
• Puppy’s eyes do not open until they are 10 to 15 days old. Their vision is usually not complete until they are about 4 weeks old.
• Puppies should remain with their mother until they are at least eight weeks old. During this time, she will teach them not to bite, and how to get along with other dogs.
• Dogs are submissive to those they feel have higher pack status.
• The most confident puppy in a litter often makes the worst pet because he sees himself as the pack leader.
• Dogs that are not around people before they reach the age of three months seldom turn out to be good pets.
The last point answers a common misbelief: “Dogs older than 3 months will not be able to adjust to the new family.” This is NOT true.
You may adopt your new dog at any age as long as it was around people before. In other words a 4 months old dog or even a year old dog will adjust to your family and make a great companion if he was a loved and cared for dog in his past home or since his birth. Early age socialization with humans and other animals (dogs) are equally very important!
If you’re a dog owner with multiple dogs in the house, you know that they will inevitably fight. This doesn’t have to imply any deep enmity. Animals are after all animals and there will be outbursts of temper. Of course, there may be deep enmity between two dogs and then it’s always dangerous to let them into the same room together.
The situation is much more complex if you have multiple dogs. I once stayed in a house with 10 dogs and when they started to fight, it required many people to break it up. Most of the time, the fight is so fast and furious that you can’t get close enough without being accidentally bitten.
However, if there are just two dogs, then what you can do is to pounce on the stronger one and with a heavy heave, pull them off the weaker one. If you do this early in the fight, there is a chance that the stronger dog wouldn’t have got his teeth into the weaker one. Don’t lift the dog off the ground, as this will tempt the other dog to bite the lifted dog where he or she can’t defend themselves – or you lift them up so high that they can’t be reached.
Sometimes, you can bring out something that your dogs are afraid of like a stick (provided they are afraid of it) and this breaks up the fight. Generally anything that can distract their attention.
I’ve had this issue several times before. Looking your dog in the eye always means that it’s a slightly tense time between the two of you. Staring each other down is a means of determining domination. We all know this at some level. We see children trying this game out on each other regularly (I’m sure we’ve done it ourselves with other humans). We instinctively know that whoever looks away first lost somehow lost in some way.
If your dog looks at you in the eye and doesn’t back down, it can often mean that your dog doesn’t view you as the alpha person in the house. This isn’t okay, since it can mean that your dog might not obey you and might act in violation of your wishes.
Ideally, a dog can look at you for a while and then drop his or her eyes after a while. Remember however, that you’re not doing this to prove to yourself how powerful you are. You’re just trying to reinforce the message to your dog that you retain the dominant post in your household pack.
If your dog stares at you, you must stare back. Chances are they will take the hint and back off or come and lick you.
Remember though to judge the mood. If you have something in your hand and your dog is just sitting happily, wagging her tail and looking at you, it doesn’t mean that it’s a game of dominance!
Dogs love to be touched, and there are several sweet spots that you can tickle and rub to make your dog happy. You will know you’re succeeding by certain signs like a deep grunt at the back of his or her throat, or constant licking of the lips. They will also come and rub their head against you for more.
Hold the head in your hands gently, and using your thumb and forefinger, caress the ears, and stretch them out gently. Or you can use your left hand to hold the snout, and with your right palm, run it over the length of the nose.
You can also gently scratch their throat right where their collar sits. You will know you’re hitting the right place by the fact that their head will rise up to give you better access.
Each dog is different, and like different things. As you spend time with them, you will get to know more and more about what they enjoy. Remember, your dog may not like strangers touching or caressing him/her. It is normal, as a matter of fact most people prefer other people not touching him.
Dogs are seen as beloved family members worldwide. Yet research shows that young children are at a greater risk from injury resulting from dog bites, than any other age group. Young children are known to treat dogs as playmates and this frequent and close contact can be dangerous at times. Majority of dog bites occur in the home environment while children play with (- cuddling, hitting, kicking, squeezing, massaging, riding, sitting on, tickling, hugging and pulling ears and tails of) their beloved pet dog. Research also shows that young children are not good at understanding the body language of dogs. Children more often than not look at the face of their pet dog and have difficulty in distinguishing between fear and friendliness.
These days there are many dog bite prevention programmes aimed at teaching children how to behave around dogs, and how to understand them better. Prevention starts at home…and the first step is to educate the parents to create a safe environment for cohabitation between children and dogs. It is important to focus first and foremost on teaching not only children but their parents as well on how to recognize and understand those situations which can be potentially dangerous in a household.
If you have young children as well as dogs in your home, it is highly advisable for you to look up organisations which can help you teach your children about their canine playmates. Because this is more complex than one would think, a team of behavioral veterinarians, Pediatricians, child psychologists and teachers form the Netherlands have united to tackle this seemingly innocent, yet very grave problem. There are now organizations in Australia and the UK as well. Look up these organisations in your country and make an effort. After all it is about the development of you child and the safe handling of your dogs as well.
However, it is also important to note that rules are meant to be broken, as children would like to believe and therefore increased knowledge does not necessarily increase behavioral intelligence. Ultimately efficient parental supervision is what is needed as a basis and this –together with correct and ongoing education- can lead to long term results. Good luck! Euro Puppy supports the safe interaction between children and dogs!