First week with puppy
You have possibly been dreaming about this day for years.
Now the day has arrived: you finally have a puppy of your very own.
There is going to be fun, excitement, and as you 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 wander around your living room and anywhere else it can get to explore, it’s like, what now?
What do I DO with this cute little creature?
Should I… walk 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 and what if I mess up?
What if I break him/her?
Okay, STOP RIGHT THERE!! Chill out and take a good deep breathe. Let’s 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 first week of puppy parenthood:
What to do first
Ideally, you will have planned and carry out some of these tasks before you bought your little puppy home do this before the pup comes home.
If you haven’t 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 her time and remove anything you don’t want chewed, and anything that might hurt her.
- Video game controllers, I-pads, mobile phone and similar electrical goods
- Electrical wires and phone line cables also cables to your computer
- Laundry (dirty socks are a doggy 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
You can use a bitter-tasting deterrent spray, like Bitter Apple, on anything valuable that can’t be removed, like corners of furniture. (Just test it first in a small discreet area to make sure it doesn’t harm or stain)
It’s best not to allow the puppy access to every room right away.
More access = more opportunities to get into mischief. Use baby gates and closed doors to keep the pup where you can supervise.
Gather together your puppy survival kit
First, you will need a crate. In most situations, a crate makes toilet- and manners-training easier and faster. It gives you a place to keep the pup out of trouble when you can’t supervise, 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 nap”. A crate MUST NOT be used as a prison cells for little offenders, it must remain a friendly place to be.
Chew toys. Lots of ‘em. Get a variety of types so you can figure out what kind your puppy favours best, be extremely careful in relation to rope, squeaky and certain soft rubber toys which puppy can chew and swallow.
Puzzle toys. At least a couple Kong-style ones that you can stuff with goodies to keep the pup busy. Remember these products will generally store kibble and not wet dog food products.
Training treats. Use soft treats chopped into pea-sized pieces. We tend to keep well away from the hard variety available from leading pet manufacturers and they take time to eat and may cause tummy problems.
A good puppy-pee remover. You need an enzymatic cleaner like Nature’s Miracle Stain and Odour remover. Most other types of cleaners that are on the market don’t do a good enough job of eliminating the scent and believe us we have tried a fair few of them. Again, make sure you test on a discreet piece to ensure they are not going to mark you flooring for example.
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 again.
Your puppy is not being naughty, they don’t know any better, so please, please don’t shout at them or make a song and dance over it, after all we are to blame as we didn’t ready their body language and your puppy is only doing what is classes as a natural behaviour for them.
Pain killers – for you, not the dog. You’ll need it for the headache you are going develop after a couple days of the puppy whining, chewing, and peeing on your best the carpet/s.
Call a family meeting, get everyone on the same page
You’ll 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 on the sofa?
- 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 it 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 to get off the furniture and someone else says “off,” your puppy is going to start their life with you very confusing. 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 command for behaviour/s, please speak to one of our trainers and they will explain to you the best way to communicate with your dog as well as set you up with some basic training tools to help you along the way.
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 dog.
Puppies thrive on routine. Doing the same things at the same times every day will:
- Speed up housetraining. 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 unto their bedding and therefore eliminates possibility of them getting a chill.