I haven't raised a puppy by myself since I brought home my first dog years ago.Ever since then, each puppy joined a household which already included at least one adult dog. Ursa helped me raise Riker; Riker helped me raise Bashir; Bashir helped me raise Archer, Sisko, and Bones; Bones is now helping me raise Hero. Since all of these dogs were (or are) treasured companions, I take pleasure in thinking that some of the lessons Riker taught are still being passed along today. Selfishly, I enjoy the fact that younger dogs can learn from older dogs; thereby making my job easier.
Early LessonsUnlike some creatures that are able to survive on their own right away (like sea turtles hatching and heading into the ocean), puppies need to be nurtured and taught by their mother. She will teach the puppies when they are biting too hard, and will growl and interrupt any other unwanted behaviors. This teaches the puppy to accept discipline and to understand things don't always go his way; vital lessons for his future life. The mother dog is also nurturing, affectionate and comforting, which teaches the puppy how to love and accept affection. Littermates also teach each other lessons. The puppies learn how to interact with each other. For example, if littermates don't yelp, cry, growl, or otherwise react when one puppy plays too hard, the rough puppy doesn't learn to change his actions and life will be extremely hard for him. The littermates play individually and as a group, learn social and play skills, and provide warmth and comfort for each other. When the puppy leaves mom and the littermates, those lessons will need to be continued at the puppy's new home. The humans the puppy will be living with become the teachers, as well as any other pets in the household.
Puppies Naturally Follow AdultsWhen I brought Hero home at ten weeks of age, he naturally followed Bones. This is instinctive as a puppy who follows an adult is going to be safer than one who wanders off on his own. Puppies start by following momma dog but will also follow other adults dogs. This makes house training much easier. With Hero following Bones to the backyard, seeing and smelling what Bones does out there, and where he does it, the puppy would then copy him and do the same thing. I always followed both to continue Hero's lessons, including teaching him a word for relieving himself and praising him when he did. The instinct to follow an adult can help a puppy learn to walk on a leash, too. The puppy should be on his own leash and walking side by side with an adult, leashed dog. When the adult dog walks nicely on the leash and is calm throughout the process, the puppy is apt to copy those behaviors.