Submitted By Jules Martins of Village Paws Pet Salon

The cold nose under the Christmas tree!

The bond you have with your new puppy begins the moment he comes into your life and never stops growing. You can nurture this bond through affection, training, grooming, playtime, general exercise and participation in various activities. Below are some tips on helping you create a relationship with your pup to last a lifetime.

1 Get a crate: The use of a crate is beneficial for several reasons. Your puppy’s crate is a place of security, comfort and quiet. The crate should never be used for time outs, rather it’s a place of solitude and safety. The crate will also help to keep your home safe from puppy-created mayhem. Puppies younger than six months old should not be crated for more than two or three hours, except at night. Crates help with house training. Even young puppies don’t like to soil their sleeping space. If it’s too big, your puppy will learn to relieve himself on one side of the crate and sleep on the other. Too small and he may feel cramped. A great way to introduce your pup to it’s crate is to toss in a few cookies. This will help your pup to associate the crate with rewards. Once your dog views the crate as his “special space”, leave the door open. Don’t be surprised if you see your pup sacked out in it.

2 Social skills 101: The first 16 weeks of your dog’s life is the most important learning period. This is the time to get your puppy used to people of all shapes and sizes as well as other animals, such as cats and dogs.

Carry treats around with you to give to people so they can give them to your puppy. This helps to associate good things with all kinds of individuals and avoids your dog from becoming aggressive.

Expose your pup to different situations. This not only gets him used to people and places, but will create a trusting bond between you. Many of the big pet supply stores welcome your dog through their doors. The staff will eagerly shower your pup with hugs and kind words. This will certainly create a positive experience for your pup.

3 A tired dog = a happy owner: The more exercise you give your pup the happier you will both be. Boredom breeds mischievous behavior in dogs of all ages. By spending quality time with your dog, you can avoid many of the pitfalls associated with lack of exercise: chewing, incessant barking, biting and acting out of control.

Taking your dog to doggie day care a few times a week is often a good idea if you work a lot. This is great for allowing your pup to play with other dogs, thus increasing his social skills while wearing him out. There is one local daycare that has a Sunday social event where owners can stay and play and watch their dog enjoy their canine crew. There is nothing like the company of other dog lovers while you watch your pup play with his pack.

4 Hands on: Spend time handling and touching your pup. While he is on your lap as you watch tv gently play with his paws and nails. Rub behind his ears & stroke his head. As a groomer, there is nothing better than working on a dog that has been handled early on. It is very important to introduce your pup to the vet and groomer as soon as you can. This will save both you and your dog lots of stress further down the road. Even if you just stop in for a quick nail trim, we promise to fuss all over him and make it a good experience.

5 They will love you unconditionally, with no questions or concerns, for their entire life.

Which is really the only thing that matters!