Be prepared for the arrival
Before your puppy comes home, give thought to exits and entrances to the home, ensuring your puppy cannot make a dive for outside. Ensure you garden is escape proof and you have gates up for any areas you do not want the puppy to go. You will need to purchase equipment for you puppy, a bed, a crate if you are using one, well worth it! A collar and lead, chew toys, bowls and food. Consider where your puppy will be sleeping and how you plan to toilet train with the use of puppy pads etc.
Food-not consider changing your puppy’s diet from what the breeder has been feeding within the first couple of weeks. Your puppy needs to settle into its new environment first. It is quite stressful to move away from its mother and siblings to start with and can often mean there is an upset tummy to begin with. Research a good food and look to make a change when your puppy has settled over a week period introducing a little at a time.
Do not play rough excitable games with your puppy as this can cause behavioural issues later on. The puppy will learn that it is acceptable to nip, grab clothes skin and hair. Start with structured training games, with toy swops and fetch.
Your puppy is developing at a fast rate and this takes up a lot of energy. Puppies require lots of sleep in between the bursts of high energy. Rest ensures proper development of your pup both mentally and physically. Make sure your puppy has a place to rest which is undisturbed by the activities of the home, a crate is ideal for this and early crate conditioning is a bonus for the future. If you have another dog this can allow the older dog some rest bite from the over exuberant pup too.
Get your puppy’s inoculations done as soon as possible and when completed get your puppy out and about as much as possible. This is vital for your puppy to develop into a confident, self-assured adult dog. Make sure your puppy goes to as many different situations as possible. If you live in a town then make sure your visits the countryside as well and vice versa. A dog that is town savvy can become very fearful when it sees a cow or horse. Take methods of different transport from usual and meet many different types of people. Some puppies take all in their stride but others may be more fearful. Give positive experiences with rewards and a confident owner influence. Certain breeds are more sociable than others if yours is a more reserved breed or ‘aloof’ then socialisation is even more important.
Puppies have tiny bladders and little control at first this means lots of trips outside with them every hour and also after food, water, excitability and on waking. This includes some trips through the night to start with to. Reward your puppy for going in the right area and add a cue word. Never tell your puppy off for accidents, they do not understand what they have done and this will only induce fear around the whole elimination process.
Spend time handling your puppy’s body areas. This is not the same as stroking or petting but a training exercise to purposefully touch different parts of their bodies. It is best started with four to five body parts first in one training session ears, a paw, the tail and teeth, and under the chin, reward with a treat after every touch. Do this every day or more times if the puppy is wriggling or fearful in short quick sessions. Move onto different body parts, the back, underneath and the head the next session and repeat often.
Your puppies name, sit and come are the first fun training exercises to do with your young puppy. Keep the sessions short, quick and easy as puppies get tired very quickly. Use simple words and a ‘clicker’ to mark the behaviour so the puppy learns he is doing the correct thing.
Puppy Class/Puppy Parties
A puppy class is great for your new arrival as it will get to mix with other puppies. Don’t forget your puppy will need to see other dogs too, but keep your puppy safe as sometimes its excitement can be too much for adult and older dogs, so don’t allow your puppy to be too over the top with dogs that are not keen on this. Training can start early within your own home, puppies brains are like sponges and early basic fun training can help you bond with your new addition , seek 1-2-1 puppy training to get a head start.
Not always a puppy
Your puppy is small and cute at the moment but it is wise to still bring in some rules and boundaries into the relationship early on, in calm and assertive way when behaviours are displayed that are not acceptable. Use positive reward training to give alternative desired behaviours to replace the other behaviour not wanted. This will help your puppy in the long term to know what is expected which actually increase their confidence to make the right choice themselves.
End Note – First Two Weeks
Within the first two weeks it is important to make sure your puppy feels safe and secure. Take time in play and build it’s confidence. Watch and observe your puppy to know its personality. Is it confident or wary? noisy or shy? playful or quiet? The main areas to be worked on over this period is the toileting and not encouraging nips or jumping up. Actual obedience training does not need to commence until your puppy has settled in over the first 2-3 weeks.