Your puppy has arrived at their new home
This is a daunting time not only for your puppy but also yourself.
First week with puppy.
You have probably been dreaming about this day for years.
Now the day has arrived and you finally have a puppy of your very own.
There is going to be fun, excitement and as you will quickly discover, it may be mixed with becoming a tad overwhelming at intervals, but no one can resist the cuteness of a puppy.
You have now become the proud owner of this little ball of fluff and sharp teeth which has started to tenderly walk around your living room and anywhere else it can get to explore, it is like, what now?
What do I do with this cute little creature?
Should I ….. start walking him/her?
Perhaps train him/her to do something?
Enroll in Puppy School?
Perhaps start a Puppy college fund?
Oh, this is so complicated, where do I start first and what if we mess up?
What if I break him/her?
OKAY, STOP RIGHT THERE! Chill out and take a deep good breathe. Let us not panic, jump the gun or get ahead of ourselves.
Here is a simple and easy step by step plan for what needs to happen in your puppies first week of puppy parenthood.
What to do first
Ideally you will have planned and carried out some tasks before you even bought your puppy home.
If you have not, then it is not a problem, you can still do it now.
Puppies have this charming tendency to destroy everything in their path. They like to chew – a lot.
Go through the area the pup will spend most of their time and remove anything you do not want chewed and anything that might hurt them.
- Electrical wires and phone cables also cables to your computer.
- Laundry (dirty socks are a puppy delicacy and fair game).
- Books especially those belonging to the Library.
- Children’s Toys.
- Cleaning supplies.
- Antique or expensive furniture including ornaments at low levels.
- Video game controllers, ipad, mobile phones and similar electrical goods.
You can use a bitter tasting deterrent spray, like Bitter Apple on anything valuable that cannot be removed, like corners of furniture (just test it first in a small discreet area to make sure it doe not harm or stain).
It is best not to allow the puppy access to every room right away.
More access = more opportunities to get into mischief. Use a baby gate to keep the pup where you can supervise them.
Gather together your puppy survival kit.
First you will need a crate. In most situations, a crate makes toilet training and manners training easier. It also gives you a place to keep pup out of trouble when you are not able to supervise them, therefore preventing any bad habits from developing. It is also a good den for the little one to go into for a “Chill out” and a well deserved map. A crate MUST NOT be used as a prison cell for little offenders, it must remain a friendly place to want to be in.
Chew/teething toys. Get a variety of types, so you can figure out what kind your puppy favors most, but, be extremely careful in relation to rope, squeaky and certain soft rubber toys which puppy can chew and easily swallow.
Also keep away from things like “Deer Antlers” , they can easily fracture delicate teeth and cause problems, also “Raw Hide” treats steer well away from these they are full of nasty chemicals and colourants.
Puzzle Toys. At least a couple of Kong style ones that you can stuff with goodness to help keep puppy busy. Remember some of these products will generally store kibble and not wet dog food products. A good filler for certain Kong toys is either lamb or chicken pate. I would keep well away from “Peanut Butter” as it is said to contain not only nuts but also “Xylitol” which can again be very harmful to dogs especially young puppies.
Training Treats. Use soft pea sized treats. We tend to keep away from hard treats for two reasons; a) they take a long time to eat, in which time the puppy has possibly forgotten about training, b) most pet shop treats are full of nasty ingredients as well as have low value to puppy (imagine you daily diet consisting of the same thing for a month, you would soon lose interest in it).
A good puppy pee remover. If your puppy can still smell their mess on the carpet, then there is a strong likelihood they will eliminate again in the same spot. Your puppy is not being naughty, they just do not know any better, please do not shout at them or make a song and dance over it, after all we are to blame as we did not read their body language and your puppy is only doing what is classed by them as “natural behaviour.
Call a family meeting, get everyone on the same page
You will need to establish ground rules for your new house buddy, things to talk about include:
- Where will the puppy sleep at night?
- Will they be allowed onto furniture?
- Are there any rooms that are permanently off limits to the puppy?
- Who will feed/walk/train/take the puppy on their 3am toilet break?
By discussing with the whole family things will go much more smoothly since everyone is familiar with the rules and will therefore be singing from the same song sheet.
Decide on words for cues. If one person says “down” when they mean get off the furniture and someone else says “off” your puppy is going to start their life with you in a confusing state. Therefore, you need to devise a training vocabulary sheet, so everyone knows what cues and commands to give to the puppy in order to ascertain a behaviour.
Before you consider giving cues or commands for behaviours, please speak with us and we will explain the best way to communicate with your dog in order to ascertain the desired behaviour.
One important thing to remember with regards to training is that you have a student that does not speak your language so you must communicate using theirs especially in the early foundation stages of training.
Create a Schedule
Use this time to determine a schedule for the puppy.
Puppies thrive on routine. Doing the same things at the same times every day will:
- Speed up house training. With a consistent daily routine, puppies internal plumbing will adjust and they will soon be ready to eat, sleep and eliminate when you want them to.
- Help the puppy settle in. Knowing what to expect from their day will make them feel more confident and secure.
Decide on times for:
Toilet breaks – schedule as many as possible. When someone is home during the day, take the pup out every hour.
Meals – Puppies under five months old should eat maybe three/four meals per day. Water should be available always.
Bedtime and wake-up time – To give puppy time to relieve themselves, remove their access to water approximately one hour before bed. If their water utensil is in the crate with them, by removing it also prevents them from spilling it all into their bedding and therefore eliminates possibility of them getting a chill.