Barry Kukes poses with his dog Bentley.
My name is Barry KuKes and I am the Community Outreach and Marketing Director of the Halifax Humane Society at I-95 and the LPGA Boulevard exit.
This is my first column / article for the Daytona Times, but I’ve been writing a column for the other newspaper in town for the past three years. I am very excited to be contributing to the Daytona Times and hope the information I share is helpful and educational.
Let’s get into that right away. Are you thinking about adding a puppy to your family? If you’ve never had a puppy before, there are a few things you should know.
They chew on everything
As cute and cuddly as a puppy looks, be warned. They are wicked through and through (in their cuteness overload). They will chew on anything in their mouth including, but not limited to, shoes, furniture, all wood, bras, socks, underwear (you got the idea).
To keep a puppy from chewing on your items, you need to invest in some chew toys. Nyla bones and kongs are very popular because they last longer than other types of fabric, which a puppy would normally tear to pieces in about 3 minutes. Keep an eye on your pup when interacting with a toy, just in case he gets a loose piece in his mouth that could choke him.
Another way to keep your pup from chewing up your clothes and shoes that are on the floor is to pick up the items and move them out of reach! My wife and I once had a Black Lab who loved chewing on their expensive bras. She would ask, “Why does he chew on my bras but never your shoes?” I replied, “Because you leave your bras on the floor and I put my shoes in the closet.” (Eventually, the dog taught my wife to put her bras away.)
You need to be trained
Puppies do not come pre-trained. You need to train them to learn what is right and wrong, and most importantly, teach them to pee and poop outside, also known as burglary.
Raising a puppy is a lot easier in Florida than it is in South Dakota, simply because of the much nicer weather here in Florida. You will be taking your pup outside more and he will be happy to follow you when the temperature in Florida in November is 75 degrees while in South Dakota it is 30 degrees below.
Take your puppy with you as often as possible. There really isn’t much you can take your pup outside to learn where to relieve himself. Don’t expect a puppy not to pee or poop like an adult dog for eight hours. Puppies have tiny blisters and have to walk a lot. As puppies get older, they can hold it a lot longer. My adult dogs wait up to 12 hours at their own discretion, not mine. I always offer them to go out at 9pm, but mostly they ignore me and wait until 7am the next day.
Do not hit or do anything that will cause pain to your pup while exercising. You will get much better results if you reward the pup with play time, cuddles, and treats. Many dogs are motivated to eat and learn quickly when they receive a treat as a reward. You will also gain weight if the treats are high in calories. Carrots are a great natural treat and are very low in calories.
Finally, be patient with your pup. Don’t expect the puppy to learn everything overnight. Most puppies are puppies until they are around 2 years old, and then like someone flipped a switch they become a perfect dog and pet. So many people give up their dog around the age of 2 because they can’t handle the bad behavior anymore, but chances are the dog will turn into a prince just a month later. Be patient and work with your dog.
A tired dog is a good dog. Please make sure they exercise and eat healthily. They will be your best friend for many years to come. Please adopt, don’t shop if you are looking for a new pet. Puppies are adopted in shelters very quickly, but we get them. Be persistent and patient.
The Halifax Humane Society is located at 2364 LPGA Blvd., Daytona Beach. The website is www.halifaxhumanesociety.org.