Tips for Raising a Puppy in Rutland, VT

There are few things more exciting than adding a new member to your family and you want to make the transition as seamless as possible. Puppies can be cute, cuddly, mischievous, fearful and sometimes downright naughty. Here are a few helpful tips for raising a puppy in Rutland, VT.

tips for raising a puppy in rutland, vt

Puppy Proof Your Home

It is impossible to have eyes on your puppy all the time, and you might be surprised how much damage can be done in the time it takes for you to use the restroom. Before bringing him home, it’s important to be sure there is nothing dangerous that he can get into.

From securing trash can lids to putting plants out of reach, puppy proofing your home doesn’t just prevent messes – it can also save your puppy’s life.

Get a Dog Crate

Crate training is a great way to be sure your puppy won’t get into any mischief while you’re sleeping or out of the house. Because your dog’s ancestors dwell in dens, crates also provide a safe place for your puppy to go if she’s feeling nervous or scared. Crates should never be used as a punishment.

To encourage your puppy to associate her crate with positive things, it’s helpful to put treats or toys inside. You can also encourage positive associations by feeding them in their crate. Puppies under six months of age should only be crated for two to three hours at a time, except for at night. When you are not asking them to stay in their crate, you should keep it open so they can go in it when they want – you want the crate to be a safe, comfy place for your pet.

When purchasing a crate, it makes more sense fiscally to get one big enough for your puppy’s adult size. Unfortunately, getting a crate that’s too big might give your puppy the wrong idea and give her a spot to relieve herself so it’s best to have your crates grow as your puppy grows.

Welcome Your Puppy Home

New places can be intimidating for a puppy. When you get your new best friend home, it’s important to provide a calm, positive atmosphere for him. Give him time to explore and sniff out his new environment.

Even if your yard is fenced, take him outside on a leash so that if he gets spooked, he can’t run from you when it’s time to go back inside. Keep any other pets away from him at first and slowly introduce them to one another.

Potty Training

Accidents will happen. Consistency and attentiveness are key when it comes to potty training your new puppy. Be super encouraging and even give her a treat whenever she goes potty outside.

Scolding, spanking or rubbing her nose in it will only serve to make your puppy afraid of you. Keep a close eye on her behavior and if you see her squat to urinate or defecate, pick her up and immediately rush her outside.

In the case of a very young puppy, be prepared to take her outside as many as twelve times a day.


A puppy’s first sixteen weeks is the easiest time for him to learn how to make new friends and to learn how to interact with his environment. Lack of socialization can lead to behavioral issues such as fear reactivity and aggression. This can be tricky, because we want your pet to be fully vaccinated before playing with other animals, to avoid risk of disease transmission. The good news is, not all socialization requires other animals!

It’s most important to expose your new pet to novel sights, sounds, and smells. The more positive experiences your pet has while young, the easier they will adjust to change when they are older.

You can take them for walks in busy areas where he can meet and greet people of all kinds and get acclimated to sounds and smells he doesn’t experience at home. You can bring treats along and ask people you encounter to give your puppy one so that he learns new people equals good things.

Dog parks are a great way to socialize your puppy with other dogs once your pet has been fully vaccinated, but it’s important to go at a time when it isn’t too busy. If you have a friend or family member who also has a dog, you can arrange a puppy play date at the dog park, as this is a neutral ground and less likely to inspire any sort of territorial aggression.

Make sure that you start with appropriately matched dogs to avoid risk of injury!

Resource Guarding

Sometimes puppies and dogs can be possessive over things like toys, treats, food, beds or even water. A puppy that is resource guarding will growl or try to grab and run away with whatever he believes you wish to take.

If not properly addressed, this could lead to you, a family member, or even another pet getting bit.

Give your puppy treats while gently taking away whatever his most cherished item is. If he lets you do this without snarling or growling, give the favorite thing back to him so he knows you don’t intend to keep it from him forever.

Play Biting

Since they don’t have hands, puppies explore with their mouths. They also tend to bite when excited or feeling particularly playful. This behavior begins as soon as she and her littermates can play with one another.

Puppies teach each other how to be gentle by yelping or crying out if their brother or sister chomps down a little too hard. They will often stop playing for a few moments. You can use this technique to teach her that biting is inappropriate. Be sure to praise your puppy if they respond appropriately.

One of the best things you can do is teach your pet that people aren’t chew-toys. When your pet starts gnawing on your fingers or toes, offer them a toy instead. This form of redirection can be very helpful with puppies. Just remember to be patient!


Most healthy puppies are the embodiment of energy. If not given the proper outlet to express that energy, he will expend it in destructive or inappropriate ways. Daily walks are a great way to tire your puppy out and expose him to new sights, sounds and smells.

When he’s fully grown, these walks should be no less than thirty minutes a day. Just remember that if he’s still very little, he will tire faster, and you just might end up carrying him home.


Puppyhood is the best time to get your furry friend used to all the things that come with grooming. When she’s sleeping or resting near you, run your hands over her body, legs, feet and ears to show that she’s safe no matter where you touch her.

Provide treats and praise while trimming her nails or bathing and brushing her so she associates grooming with good things.

Remember These Tips When Raising Your Puppy in Rutland, VT

A new puppy can be a lot of work, but following these tips will help ensure you and your new addition will have a great start. If you have further questions contact your vet at Rutland Veterinary Clinic in Rutland, VT at (802) 773-2779.

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About Rutland Veterinary Clinic and Surgical Center

Rutland Veterinary Clinic and Surgical Center provides top-quality veterinary care to the Rutland, VT pet community.