You’ve purchased all the supplies listed above and the day is approaching that you finally bring your puppy home. There are a few important steps that you can take to ensure that everything starts off on the right paw.
Socialization is probably the most common buzz word that you’ll hear when getting a new puppy. Many times this strikes fear in the owner that if they don’t get this exactly right their puppy will be afraid of the world. The owner then takes the puppy into every situation that they can think of without being prepared. Socialization is controlled exposure NOT forced interaction. This means that you want to expose your puppy to many different situations but not overwhelm them by forcing things on them. For example if you want to socialize the puppy with other dogs at first you would want the puppy to be exposed to a neutral dog from a distance and reward the puppy for also being neutral or even better focusing on you instead. The wrong thing to do would be to take the puppy to a dog park. A dog park is an uncontrolled environment where serious detrimental things could happen to your puppy. You want every experience that your puppy has to be a positive one. If they are meeting new people it should be positive not overwhelming. You always want to be in control of the situation so you can remove the puppy if you see them getting stressed. Please explore the resources below
Training can begin as soon as you bring your puppy home. Training a puppy early on will not only make your life easier but it will also open up a gateway to having an awesome relationship with your puppy. We want them to see you as the best thing that has ever happened! I love using positive reinforcement with food rewards to teach behaviors. Behaviors that are positively reinforced are more likely to occur. It is important to subtract their training rewards from their daily rations so you can keep the puppy at a nice healthy weight. I also like telling the dog they completed a behavior correctly by using a clicker. This will speed up their learning.
Enrichment - EXTREMELY IMPORTANT
When we think about the history of dogs we need to be mindful that very few breeds were selectively bred to be house pets. Most dogs were bred for some sort of working purpose. For some people your puppies parents might be hunting, herding, or guarding dogs. Or it may be hundreds of years since your puppies' ancestors were used for that purpose. Regardless, your puppy is going to have the natural instinct to be a dog. This is why dogs like to bite things, dig, chase squirrels, or why you have a hard time keeping your retriever out of the water. You can do things to fulfill your dogs instincts. This is called enrichment. A properly enriched dog will be a happier dog, a more relaxed dog, and in turn have less behavioral issues. Sniffing for food, going for walks in nature on a long leash or off leash where the dog can sniff and explore, chewing on dog friendly objects, brain games, and training are all forms of enrichment. It’s important that you stimulate your dog mentally as well as physically. Please explore the resources below.
Biting, Chewing, Jumping Oh My!
These three things are the biggest complaints that I hear from clients with puppies. Biting and chewing are things that puppies are going to do naturally. Especially when they are teething! It is important that you NEVER encourage them to bite your hands or arms. These means “no play fighting” or moving your hands/arms very fast in front of the puppy. You want to make our hands and arms as boring as possible. When an object is moving it triggers the dog. When an object is not moving or “dead” the pup will be less interested in it. When your puppy is biting or chewing on something you do not want them to bite or chew on you can give them something they can chew on instead. It is also important that you keep your pups properly stimulated both mentally and physically and that you are using the x-pen. Sometimes puppies have tantrums when they are overtired. If you start to see this it may be time for a nap in their crate. Jumping is something that is self reinforcing for the dog. This means that they get enjoyment out of jumping on us. It is important that you never encourage them to jump up on you. Remain calm and reward them for keeping all four feet on the ground. Especially when greeting people. Please explore these Youtube videos for tips.
Pet insurance is something to consider when getting your puppy. The younger your dog is when you sign up for insurance the cheaper it will be. Medical accidents will happen and as your dog gets older you will visit the vet more often. Pet insurance has saved people thousands of dollars and made procedures possible that otherwise would not have been.
Do’s and Don’ts
Thanks for reading!