Essential Guide for All Puppy Parents

by Ovidiu Stoica

Last edited on August 22, 2021

What does it mean to have a well-behaved urban dog?

For most city residents, it means a companion who is confident and curious, friendly and playful with other dogs and people, listens well and dependably to basic obedience commands, follows the rules of the house, doesn’t show signs of aggression or anxiety, and is attuned to her owner.

In order to achieve this standard of balanced behavior, understanding what your puppy’s developmental needs are and how to meet them is absolutely critical. We hope this guide will get you started on the right track.

Puppy Care & Development Chart

The false dichotomy between the need to keep your puppy healthy, and the need to socialize her

Despite a scientific consensus to the contrary, new puppy owners continue to be advised to keep their puppy isolated at home, the stated reason being that the risk of getting sick before vaccinations are complete is too high. This is so very wrong.

Early puppy socialization must be done thoughtfully and carefully to mitigate the risk of illness, but the alternative is far more dangerous. In fact, the number one killer of dogs under the age of three years old is not infectious disease, but euthanasia due to behavioral problems that develop when puppies are not socialized.

Because of this fact, the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior (AVSAB) published a position paper in 2008 that landed firmly on the side of early puppy socialization. In further support of the AVSAB position, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) published a review of literature in 2015 that unequivocally advocates for early puppy socialization.

Raising a puppy from a infancy to adulthood is a challenging task, but for the informed parent, a very rewarding one. You will shape your dog’s behavior and approach to the world in ways that will benefit her for the rest of her life. In combination with good nutrition, lots of exercise, and maintenance of training, the commitment you make to your puppy now will allow her to live a happy, healthy, and balanced life.

About the author

Ovidiu Stoica
Dog Trainer, Owner at NYC Doggies

Ovidiu has over 25 years of experience professionally working with dogs. In 1997 he started training dogs for private clients, dog conformation shows, and Schutzhund competitions and founded NYC Doggies in 2002. Ovidiu has co-authored the upcoming book, WHOLE DOG PARENTING: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO RAISE AND TRAIN AN URBAN PUP