Now he wants to leave home Beyond weeks

Sometime between the fourth and eighth months, your puppy begins to realize that there's a big, wide world out there. Up to now, every time you called,

Buddy probably willingly came to you. But now he may prefer to wander off and investigate. Buddy is maturing and cutting the apron strings, which is normal. He's not being spiteful or disobedient; he's just becoming an adolescent.

While he's going through this phase, keep Buddy on a leash or in a confined area until he has learned to come when called. Otherwise, not coming when called becomes a pattern — annoying to you and dangerous to Buddy. After this activity becomes a habit, breaking it is difficult; prevention is the best cure. Teaching your dog to come when called is much easier before he has developed the habit of running away. Practice calling him in the house, out in the yard, and at random times. Have a treat in your pocket to reinforce the behavior you want.

When you need to gather in a wandering Buddy, don't, under any circumstances, play the game of chasing him. Instead, run the other way and get Buddy to chase you. If that doesn't work, kneel on the ground and pretend you've found something extremely interesting, hoping Buddy's curiosity brings him to you. If you have to, approach him slowly in an upright position, using a nonthreatening tone of voice until you can calmly take hold of his collar.

Your puppy also goes through teething during this period and needs to chew anything and everything. Dogs, like children, can't help it. If one of your favorite shoes is demolished, try to control yourself. Puppies have the irritating habit of tackling many shoes, but only one from each pair. Look at it as a lesson to keep your possessions out of reach. Scolding won't stop the need to chew, but it may cause your pet to fear you.

Your job is to provide acceptable outlets for this need, such as chew bones and toys. Our dogs' favorites are marrow bones, which you can get at the supermarket. These bones provide hours of entertainment for any dog, and they keep their teeth clean. Artificial toys are also available. Kong toys ( are a great favorite, especially the hard rubber ones that are virtually indestructible and that can be stuffed with peanut butter or kibble. They come in different sizes appropriate to the size of your dog and can keep most dogs busy for hours. Just be sure they're large enough so he can't accidentally swallow one.

Stay away from soft and fuzzy toys. Chances are, your dog will destroy them and may ingest part of them. We personally don't like rawhide chew toys that have been treated with chemicals or items that become soft and gooey with chewing because the dog can swallow them and get them stuck in the intestines.

When Buddy is going through this stage, you may want to consider crating him when he's left alone. Doing so will keep him and your possessions safe, and both of you will be happy. Crating him during this growth spurt helps with his housetraining, too. With all the chewing he does during his teething, accidents sometimes happen. (Turn to Chapter 4 for more on housetraining.)

Dog Care Duty

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