Having Realistic Expectations for Puppies

Puppies are great, but Bark Busters offers this advice about what to expect and not expect out of your puppy.
Tips & Advice → Having Realistic Expectations for Puppies


Who doesn’t love puppies? They’re cute, funny and lovable, except when they are annoying, frustrating and aggravating. They are all these things. Puppies grow up to be dogs and unfortunately, many are removed from their homes. There are some simple things to understand about puppies, which when taken to heart, can help keep these wonderful animals with their families.

Puppies are dogs, the way infants are people. They are not fully developed either physically or mentally. It’s important that puppies spend at least eight to ten weeks with their parents and siblings. This is an important time for them as they learn important lessons. These lessons, taught primarily by their siblings and their Mom in particular, teach them how to live with other dogs. They learn how to communicate with dogs, how to play with dogs, and how to learn from dogs.

Their Mom teaches them how to behave using a tone of voice or body language. She doesn’t use treats, shock collars or prong collars to get them to behave.

However, the invaluable time they spend with their mother does not teach them how to live with people.  This is very important to understand. Their first eight to ten weeks teaches puppies how to live with dogs, not people. They may learn a few things about people, especially if they are with a reputable breeder, but many are not, especially if they come from a shelter or pet store. But even those from a reputable breeder will have much more knowledge about living with dogs than with people.

When puppies come into our homes, they think we are dogs. This is because being a dog is their only frame of reference they have and they can’t change their point of view. This means it’s up to us to teach our puppies how to live with people. Initially puppies think we are like them, so they play with us like they played with their siblings and parents. How do they play? By jumping on and biting on their siblings and chasing them and getting chased. It is normal and natural for puppies to chase, jump and bite the people they live with. How we respond will determine whether they continue this or start to learn that people don’t play the same way.

Puppies are impressionable and early impressions can last a lifetime. It's important not to overwhelm them or let them get overwhelmed by people, dogs or situations. Let them get to know you and your family first and start learning how to live with you before exposing them to many people and places outside your home.

Toilet training, often a big concern for first time puppy parents, takes patience and understanding. It's not that difficult if you understand some basic guidelines. What goes in will come out. If you free feed, then the process is harder because you'll never know when nature will take its course. A regular schedule of feeding will help. Too much freedom too early will result in accidents. Crate training makes toilet training easier.

What you do teaches your puppy. If you get home and immediately fuss over your pup, expect your pup to make a big fuss when you get home. If you get home and wait until your pup is calm and quiet before interacting with your pup, it will learn to be calmer.

Be realistic about what you expect from your puppy. Mentally, he will make great strides in the first one to two years. Puppies can only learn so much at one time. Your first step should be housebreaking and teaching the basic commands like “sit”, “stay” and “come”.

Bark Busters Home Dog Training has been helping people understand and communicate clearly with their puppies and dogs for over twenty-nine years. We have helped train over one million dogs worldwide. We love helping people with their puppies. If you have a pup or are going to be getting one, call us. It's easier to get off on the right foot than trying to “fix” things later. Just as human children need an education, so do puppies. The right education, based on dogs’ inherent tendencies and communication will help you create a strong lasting relationship based on mutual love, trust and respect and isn't that what we all want?





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