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Raising a puppy brings with it a whole spectrum of joy, fun, adventure, moments spent cuddling and some moments of frustration. Our Pet of the Month for April is Charley, a 7mo old Labradoodle. As a young puppy she was relatively easy to train and learned her routines quickly. As she got a little older, she started testing the waters and developed several common puppy behaviors. Then one day, Charley did what many puppies and dogs do, she pulled the stuffing out of one of her toys and consumed the evidence.

Puppies explore their world through their mouth and nose. Mouthing, biting and eating items is common, yet because of their young age, they haven’t learned what is safe and what can be a problem. Even the most diligent pet owner can be challenged to keep the house ‘puppy proof’.

Charley’s symptoms started with her owners first noticing a small amount of poly-fluff in her poop. The next morning Charley didn’t eat with her usual enthusiasm but she had good energy. Another 24 hours later she ate dinner but then vomited her meal right away. As can be the case, this was on a weekend. Fortunately, Charley’s owners were able to get her in to an after-house veterinary facility. They took radiographs and determined she didn’t have a blockage which was great news. Charley was started on IV fluids to help with hydration and provide supportive care so that the stuffing she ate could move through the intestinal tract. It took several days, along with some bland easy to digest food for Charley to resume her normal appetite and eliminations.

Then, just when we thought she was out of the woods, Charley found another stuffed toy that the owner had overlooked. Puppies can be mischievous! This time, the owners were able to manage Charley at home and we are happy to say, she is doing well.

Here’s a list of common puppy behaviors that can be challenging if not addressed early in your dog’s life:

  • Mouthing and biting
  • Chewing on items and dietary indiscretions
  • Potty accidents
  • Alert barking and barking for attention
  • Reluctance to be left alone / Crate Training
  • Jumping on guests / counter surfing
  • Pulling on leash
  • Not coming when called
  • Being fearful of new situations

Before bringing a puppy into your home, it is important to consider the time and energy it takes to guide a puppy’s development and training. Do you have the patience, the time and the dedication to put in the work? Does your work schedule allow for flexibility to ensure your puppy is getting enough exercise and attention? Every puppy learns at a different pace and even the ‘best behaved’ puppy can get into trouble from time to time. Being prepared helps you address these situations. We strongly advocate for pet insurance and in many cases, enlisting the help of a skilled trainer can be beneficial.

Here are some excellent resources to get you started:

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