Can You Give a Puppy Too Much Affection?

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Can You Give a Puppy Too Much Affection?
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Yes, it's possible to give a puppy too much affection, and in some cases, you can even love a newborn dog to death. Puppies need to be trained to become independent in many different situations and develop self-confidence and self-assurance.

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Cuddling a puppy too much as well as excessive petting, kissing, and other behaviors by a human can make a dog spoiled and too dependent on the human for her emotional needs. Reviewing how much affection you should show your puppy will help you balance how much love and how much discipline you should give her without spoiling her or scaring her.

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Let the pup wean

Puppies need to socialize with their siblings and drink their mother's milk for at least seven to eight weeks. If you're getting a puppy from a breeder, pet store, or even an animal shelter, ask if he's been weaned. If not, ask if you can keep the puppy with the mother and pick him up after he's been weaned. You might need to pay more for the food and care, but it will provide a lifetime of health benefits for your pet.

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He may develop separation anxiety

Do dogs need human affection? Of course. But if your dog is in your lap or in your arms when you watch TV together, when you go outside, when she's eating her food, or while you're reading the paper, the dog will get used to this behavior. When you put the dog down, put her in a cage, go into another room, go to bed, or go to work, she might start crying, jumping on you, and whimpering.

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Use the correct reinforcement

When your dog is scared, misbehaves, or needs help, don't automatically rush to him and pet, kiss, or talk soothingly to him. Your behavior rewards the dog for this behavior. For example, if a dog whines or cries when you leave the room, coming back to the dog, petting him, and saying "good dog" provides positive reinforcement for this inappropriate behavior.

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Disciplining and training a dog should never include spanking or yelling. In some cases, simply ignoring a dog's slightly negative behavior (like whimpering) will teach the dog that this behavior doesn't result in a reward. If the dog starts loudly barking, baying, and crying, that might be a sign of something more serious.

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Look for patterns

If your dog is stressing and not responding to you being there — but you're not petting her or giving verbal reassurance — look to see if she's doing this because of a similar trigger each time. This can give your vet, pet sitter, groomer, or dog trainer an idea of what is causing the problem, how serious it is, and how you can reduce the problem.

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For example, your dog might start whimpering or barking each time a grandfather clock chimes, when you run water in the kitchen sink, when she hears a lawn mower outside, or when she sees a critter in your yard through the window.

These are situations where holding your dog while recreating the environment will help her adjust to it. After a few times of doing this, you won't hold her but can stand next to her and soothe her verbally. After a few times handling the situation this way, you can stand near her during the occurrence but not touch her or speak to her.

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Don’t sleep with your pup

While there are few more enjoyable activities than snuggling, napping, or sleeping with a cuddly puppy, you can smother the dog if he wiggles under you while you're sleeping, or you might roll over and trap the puppy. If you feel drowsy and start to drop off when you're on the couch, put your puppy in a place where he can't reach you.

Don't bring your puppy to bed even if you start him off at the foot of the bed, as it's better to be safe than sorry. Sleeping with an adult dog is OK if you follow some basic practices that ensure the dog doesn't become too entitled or dependent and that neither of you increase your risk for health problems.

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