Posted on 03-07-2017
Bringing home a new puppy is truly one of life's joys. Thoughtful pre-puppy preparations and a well-planned first 24 hours can give your fuzzy bundle of promise a head start and make your dreams of the perfect family dog come true.
Before the Big Day
• Discuss important questions, such as where/when is your new puppy supposed to eliminate, who is taking him to the vet, who is charge of feeding and when is he being fed (puppies need fed 3-4 times a day).
• Discuss different training words- nothing is more confusing to a puppy than hearing the same word used for different things- such as Down- Mom may say "down" when the puppy is jumping on somebody/something, Dad may say "down" but mean lay down, and Junior may say "sit down" meaning for the puppy's rump to be on the floor. It can be very confusing for your puppy. A better way of wording things may be the word "off" when he is somewhere you don't want him (such as on the couch), and "down" should mean a lay down position, and "sit" means sit with hind end on ground. Put the vocabulary list somewhere where anyone working with the puppy can see it and use it.
• Shopping! Draft a shopping list and purchase supplies: food and water bowls, chew toys, grooming supplies, bedding, collar and leash, identification tag, crate, gate, and odor neutralizer. Pre-puppy shopping allows you to have every thing you need without the pressure of your puppy needing it right now.
• Safety First! You'll need to puppy-proof the area where the youngster will spend most of his time the first few months. This may mean taping loose electrical cords to baseboards; storing household chemicals on high shelves; removing plants, rugs, and breakables; setting up the crate; and installing gates. Once you think you've completely puppy-proofed, lie on the floor and look around once more to get a puppy's-eye view.
• Lay down the Rules - Children are often very enthusiastic when you get a new puppy. Make sure to tell them not to overwhelm pup the first day, and not to fight over him or create mob scenes showing him to the neighborhood.
Getting Off on the Right Paw
When you pick up your pup, remember to ask what and when he was fed. Replicate that schedule for at least the first few days to avoid gastric distress. If you wish to switch to a different brand, do so over a period of about a week by adding one part new brand to three parts of the old for several days; then switch to equal parts; and then one part old to three parts new.
• From the start, consistency is important. On the way home, your new puppy should ride in the back seat, either in one person's arms or, preferably, in a crate or carrier.
• Once home, folks who plop the excited newcomer on the Oriental and let the kids chase him will be mopping up in no time and regretting the lesson they taught their new pup. Instead, take him to his toileting area immediately. It is important that you teach him/her early on where it is appropriate to eliminate. This will help your puppy learn more quickly. Make sure to treat him each time he/she goes at first. It is important to praise them. Also a good rule of thumb is to take your puppy out to eliminate about five minutes after eating/drinking or playing.
• From there, carry out your schedule for feeding, toileting, napping, and play/exercise. From Day One, your pup will need family time and brief periods of solitary confinement. Solitude may be new to your puppy, so he may vocalize concern. Do not give in and comfort him or you may create a monster. "Gee, if making noise brought them running once, maybe more whimpering is needed to get their attention again, " reasons the pup. Give him attention for good behavior, such as chewing on a toy or resting quietly. This will help teach him to be independent and will prevent separation anxiety as he gets older.
First night home with puppy
The first night home with your new puppy can be a trying experience for both of you. It is the first time your puppy has spent the night away from his mother and litter-mates. Because dogs are pack animals, your puppy knows instinctively that being separated from the pack is dangerous. Whining and crying at night is your puppy's way of calling for his pack to find him. Of course it does nothing to comfort you. With a little preparation and patience, you can make the most of the first night with your puppy.
What to do before bedtime
Take up any food or water after six or seven o'clock to make sure your puppy is running on empty when it's time to sleep. Otherwise, you'll be making trips to the bathroom all night, or worse, your puppy will eliminate in the house. Shortly before you go to bed, spend some time playing with your puppy. You want him to be tired enough to sleep soundly. Definitely don't let him nap within an hour or two of bedtime or else your puppy will be ready to play when you're ready to sleep. Just before bed, take your puppy outside to his soiling area and wait for him to go. When he does praise him and bring him back inside. This reinforces good behavior and begins the house training process.
Where puppy should sleep
If possible, you should let your puppy sleep in your bedroom to reduce the chances of whining or crying at night. Also, the constant contact throughout the night will help your puppy adjust to you and establish you as pack leader. One note of caution: Don't let the puppy sleep in the bed with you. He'll eventually expect to be allowed in the bed, and it can lead to numerous behavioral problems as your puppy grows.
If you or the breeder have started crate training, you should put the crate in your room and use that to confine him while he sleeps. If your puppy isn't used to a crate, then tether him to your bed or close by and put down an old blanket or sheet. Keep the tether short. Puppies usually won't soil the area where they sleep, but if he has the opportunity to wander he may get up and go during the night. Your crate should not be much bigger than your puppy- just big enough for him to turn around and stand up in. As a last resort, you can keep your new puppy somewhere other than your bedroom. Make sure you puppy proof your house first and put a sweatshirt or other article of your clothing with him for your scent. A ticking clock or a radio set to a low volume can also help soothe a puppy the first night home. You should check on him throughout the night for bathroom breaks. Remember that your puppy will need to go out several times in the night at first. The general rule of thumb is to take the age of your puppy in months and add one too it (for example a 2 month old puppy should be able to hold his bladder for 3 hours).
In the morning
- Get up right away and take your puppy outside to his soiling area. Carry him. Don't let him walk there or he may be tempted to go before he gets outside. Let him empty everything out, and praise him when he's finished.
Doing things correctly from the start prevents confusion. Through puppy preparedness, you are one step closer to your Dream Dog.
An Apple a Day: Regular Puppy Visits
Puppy's do not have a great immune system when they are younger and require several series of shots to help them to avoid becoming ill. Puppies also can acquire worms very easily and these worms can be passed from the puppies to us! The best thing you can do when you get your puppy is schedule a check-up with your veterinarian as soon as you can get in to the office. This will make sure your puppy is healthy and if your puppy has intestinal parasites he can be de-wormed so you do not have to worry about the rest of your family getting sick.
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