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You’ve done all the new puppy owner preparation: You researched and asked questions about the right breed for you, you selected a responsible breeder from whom to acquire your puppy, you puppy-proofed your home, and you spent more hours than you’d care to admit watching videos of dog training tips on AKC.tv. Good job getting off to a great start as a responsible dog owner!

You’re probably also wondering: How is it possible for something to be so cute? Hate to disappoint you, but we haven’t cracked the answer to that question yet. Puppies are insanely adorable and will probably melt you into spoiling them with extra cuddles, gifts, and treats. That said, here are some new puppy owner questions that we absolutely can answer:

Why doesn’t my puppy like being picked up by my kids?

Most children are unaware of the signals that dogs send when they don’t like something or are trying to get away. So by picking a puppy up, the kids are unwittingly forcing the dog into an uncomfortable or even painful situation. Dogs continuously held when sending “please stop!” signals will remember the unpleasant experience and try to avoid the situation again. Take the time to teach the children what the dog looks like when he’s happy and when he’s not and how to hold him properly. (Check out this handy chart to better understand dog body language.)

Is it cruel to leave my puppy with someone else while I’m on vacation?

As long as you trust the person caring for your puppy and you provide food, collar, a leash, and chew toys, your puppy will be fine and will be very excited to see you when you return. (Here is a list of items to give your pet sitter.)

Alaskan Malamute puppy laying down outdoors.

My puppy attacks my clothes when I get dressed. Why?

It sounds as though she is trying to get you to play with her. If she does this again, don’t engage her. If you push her away or chase her, she will think that you are playing her game. Instead, quietly and calmly put her in her crate or another room until you are finished dressing. Then let her out and leave the room. It may take a few repetitions for her to understand, but if you are consistent, she will learn.

My cat doesn’t like my new puppy.

Don’t allow your puppy to “insist” on playing with the cat or chase it. Your puppy doesn’t understand your cat’s communications, so you have to intervene on the cat’s behalf.

The vet said not to take my puppy outside, but now he has to potty!

It is ok to take your puppy outside to potty. Until he has had his last set of vaccinations, avoid areas commonly used by other dogs and carry your puppy if you can’t.

Related article: How to Find & Choose a Dog Trainer
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