It's the holiday present that every kid dreams of: an adorable, snuggly puppy.
Unfortunately, puppies don't come with instruction manuals, so "Good Morning America" asked veterinarian Marty Becker to give viewers the basics on how to raise their new pup.
If you want a well-rounded, gently mannered dog, there's one secret you must know: Overdo positive experiences during the critical socialization period in puppyhood, which ends when your puppy is about three months old.
This means more than training. Expose your puppy to everything it might encounter -- objects, sounds and so forth -- and reward the behavior you want to teach.
Although owners may think all they need to do is measure food and put it in a bowl, things have changed. Remember, all dogs are descended from wolves. Wolves had to hunt for their dinner, but we've made it easy for dogs.
Instead of searching and capturing their food, they laze over to the bowl. This takes between 30 seconds and three minutes, while hunting would take hours.
Instead, try giving your puppy a food puzzle, like the Canine Genius, the Buster Food Cube and the Busy Buddy.
Rather than making eating an ultraquick, mind-numbing activity for the puppy, it infuses thought, manipulation and skill into meals.
Dogs are just like babies with an obvious oral fixation, They teethe and try to put everything in their mouths. It's natural, normal behavior for dogs and necessary for puppies; their adult teeth start coming in at about 3½ months.
Older dogs like to chew as well -- for enjoyment and to relieve boredom or stress. It also helps reduce dental tartar, so you don't want to stop it.
You have to teach your pet the difference between constructive and destructive chewing. To do this, praise them when they chew the right things while preventing them from chewing the wrong things.
It's a good idea to have chew toys that are designed for puppies. Praise them when they're chewing them. Say, "Good chew. That's a good chew."
With some chew toys, you can stuff a treat inside, making it a combination chew toy-food puzzle. With the Stuff'n'Sniff, you can put something of yours inside. It will carry your scent and instead of chewing on your favorite shoes, your puppy will chew on the toy instead.
Dog beds have come a long way from throwing a blanket in a cardboard box on the floor. Now, they come with heaters, memory foam, and even a simulated mother's heartbeat.
The Comfort Pup helps comfort new puppies by simulating a mother dog's heartbeat. The soft pad and plush dog pillow include a digitally mastered heartbeat on a 30-minute timer in the heart area of the 21-inch plush mother dog. The Comfort Pup includes an on/off push button on the paw and removable, machine washable, chew-resistant bed with a pocket for a warmer. It's also excellent for calming new puppies or dogs that get nervous or chew when left alone.
It's also available in the Comfort Heart, a 15-inch-tall, heart-shaped pillow in pink or blue.
Puppies have to urinate a lot. The rule of thumb is that they can hold it for one hour longer than their age in months.