Puppy is Home - Now What?
So you brought home your new little puppy and now you are wondering what to do..... Your new puppy has very, very sharp teeth, claws that are sharp, and he/she is fast! Your new puppy can fit in and under small places and can pee and poop in seconds at any time wherever they happen to be. Have no fear, there are some things you can do to manage this small beautiful beast. Puppies and dogs thrive with a routine. Create a schedule and be consistent with your puppy and follow through every day. Be sure your puppy gets plenty of rest, has playtime, is exposed to different environments, and find brain powered activities. Here is a list of items you should have before your puppy is brought home.
Needed items for a puppy include:
- Water bowl
- Martingale Collar for training
- Flat collar for tags
- Long Line
- Supervision (A Responsible Human)
- Exercise Pen (optional)
A long line is a leash that is longer than 6 feet in length. It can be anywhere from 10-25+ feet long. Your puppy should be wearing his long line when not crated. Your puppy will associate the leash with freedom and being with you and this will help decrease the chance of him developing leash anxiety later in life.
Here is why...
· This will allow you to tether your puppy to you
· This will help your puppy to learn to follow you around the house and keep him close to you. If he gets caught on something, you will be right there to untangle him.
· You will be able to keep him out of rooms he is not ready to be in
· When he goes under furniture you can pull him out
· You can keep him from jumping on people by standing on the line
· It will force you to pay attention to him
· This will also make potty breaks easier and quicker, since he is already on leash and ready to go.
· It will help your puppy to learn his name. If you call and he does not come to you pull gently him to you.
If you are not crazy about using a long line, get the exercise pen that will contain your puppy in a non carpeted area, near an exit for quick potty breaks, that you have scheduled. It is safer than having your puppy running free throughout your home. Have their crate in the exercise pen area so your puppy can choose to sleep in it. You can also move the exercise pen outside if needed. Remember, though, that puppies grow quickly and he will learn to climb out of the exercise pen. There may also be a good chance you will miss their signals to potty or forget to put them in their crate for naps.
Start Crate Training ASAP
Get a crate and unless you or another responsible human is watching the puppy, your puppy is in the crate. While your puppy is still growing, choose a kennel with a divider that will fit your puppy when fully grown. The crate should be just big enough for your puppy to be able to stand up, lie down and turn around. Puppies should have this much room and no more. Given too much room, they will soil at one end of the crate and sleep in the other end. The crate is a safe place for your puppy to be. For more details on crate training, please visit our crate training page.
Supervise Your Puppy
Photo courtesy of BFF Dog Training. A 7 week old bordoodle puppy enjoying a bone from the butcher shop in a crate.
Create a Schedule
Puppies thrive on a routine create a schedule like this one or similar
· Potty beak and offer water
· Play session
· Potty break
· Then handle all over or groom your puppy
· Potty break
· Then crate
Groom your puppy daily in the first few months. Place him on a table or stool and do a quick grooming to acclimate them to the process. When doing your daily handling of your puppy or grooming, offer kibble throughout that experience making it fun for your puppy to have you touching and interacting with him while calm. Your vet and groomer will thank you!
Schedule play dates with other dogs or puppies that he can bite and tumble with to get it out of his system. If scheduling a play date with an adult dog, only do this with dogs that enjoy puppies. A dog that will teach boundaries to your puppy and not harm him in the teaching process. Not all dogs like puppies or want to play with them, so have them on a leash dragging the ground when first meeting so you can grab the leash and separate as needed. Be careful with large dogs as they may not understand how big they are and can potentially hurt your puppy. If possible, find other puppies that are comparable in size and age.
I am sure you are thinking wow, this is time consuming, YES it IS! As time goes on and and your puppy ages and you develop your relationship with your puppy, it will get easier. Great puppies take time and effort. Puppies are smart and learn quickly. Consistency and follow through will pay off in the end as it will help your puppy to learn faster and trust you sooner.
Please, do not waste time waiting for your puppy to grow out of certain behaviors. Those behaviors that you are allowing, while waiting for him to outgrow it, those unwanted behaviors will become bad habits that will be more difficult for your now grown dog to unlearn. Everything you do from day one lays the foundation of your relationship, so let's do it correctly!