You’re going to pick up your new puppy! You’re probably experiencing a lot of nerves and excitement. This is a big step for you, and it’s also a big change for your puppy. Here are the 5 things that you can do in order to set your puppy up for success BEFORE he walks through that door.
1. Set up some rules right away. If you don’t want your puppy going up on the couch, then start implementing that rule as soon as your puppy walks through the door. Dogs learn through repetition, so be consistent with it. It’s much easier to stop a problem before it happens then it is to correct a behaviour after it’s rooted in. Don’t wait to put rules in place, for best results start implementing those rules now.
2. The first couple of nights may be hard for your puppy. He’s coming from a soft, cozy nest with his mother and siblings, to a new environment, with a whole new family structure. He may not sleep through the whole night, or he may need to get up to go to the bathroom. Be prepared to wake up to tend to your puppies needs. It’s a good idea to set an alarm every 3-4 hours so that you can take your dog for a bathroom break. This will help your puppy in the house training process, because it takes away the possibility of an accident. It’s a good idea to have your puppy sleep with you for the first couple of nights. This will help to calm him, but it will also help to build a strong bond between you. If you would rather your puppy didn’t sleep in the bed with you, have him sleep in a cozy dog bed next to yours so that he can still reap the benefits of being close to you.
3. Make sure that your household is calm while the puppy settles in. If you have children, make sure that they are not running around the house, screaming. This will scare your new puppy, especially if he has never been around human children before. You want your puppy to have good first experiences with his new world so that he can settle in quickly. When you introduce your new puppy to your children, have your children approach slowly, and quietly, respecting the puppies space. It helps in the beginning if you have your children give the puppy treats so that he can see that children = good things.
4. A puppies sensitive period (the age that they develop all of their ideas and opinions about the world) is between 3-12 weeks. After 12 weeks a puppy will begin to develop fear, and hesitation. During the sensitive period you want all of your puppies experiences to be positive so that they don’t develop any negative associations with the things in their world. Introduce them to the things that you expect them to encounter throughout life, such as cars, water, different types and ages of people, etc. This is also a good time to get them comfortable with being touched, as this is something that will happen to them at the vet’s throughout their lives. Try touching their underbelly, their ears, and their mouth. While you are doing all of these things offer lots of praise and treats so that they will see that there’s nothing to be afraid of. Something to be aware of here is that you want to push your dog outside of his comfort zone, but you don’t want him to be overwhelmed.
5. Be sure to have all of the items that you need for your dog BEFORE he comes home. The last thing that you want to be doing is running to the store when you’d rather be cuddling with your new puppy! Some things that you will need include: food, training treats, collar/leash, training pads, puppy x-pen, kong, toys, bed, and identification. For a closer look at the items that you will need for your new puppy, and to find out where to get them, check out our video and blog “New Puppy Essentials”.
Enjoy your new life with your puppy!