Be prepared for the arrival
Before your puppy comes home give thought to the safety of the 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 in. You will need to purchase equipment for your 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 start puppy’s toilet training. I would always advise new puppy parents to complete a diary of your puppy’s feeding, toileting and sleep times, getting a routine helps your puppy settle into its new life far happier.
Do 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 mum and siblings and can often mean there can be an upset tummy to begin with. Research a good food and look to make a change if needed when your puppy has settled. When changing a food introduce a little at a time over a week to ten days.
Do not play rough excitable games with your puppy as this can promote nipping and chasing behaviour, and those puppy teeth are sharp! The more aroused your puppy gets in play the more your puppy will think 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 allow the other dog some rest bite from the over exuberant new pup.
Try to gain your puppy’s inoculations as timely as possible so you can start to get your puppy out and about. This is vital for your puppy to develop into a confident and self-assured adult dog. Make sure your puppy goes to as many different places and positive experiences as many different situations as possible. If you live in a town then make sure you visit the countryside as well and vice versa. A dog that is only town savvy can become very fearful when it sees a cow or horse! Vice versa a dog that has experienced little urban life can show fear to high traffic volume.
Look to try different methods of transport with your puppy and your puppy needs to see many different types of people. Some puppies take all this in their stride, but other puppies may be more fearful initially. Give plenty of calm positive experiences with lots of rewards and reassurance. Certain breeds are more sociable than others, if your puppy is a more reserved breed type or ‘aloof’ then early socialisation is even more important.
Puppies have tiny bladders with little control this means lots of accidents will happen to begin with. Ensure your puppy has somewhere or something that is appropriate for him to toilet. Reward your puppy with treats for going in the right area and add a cue word. Never tell your puppy off for accidents, young puppies do not understand what they have done wrong and this will only induce fear around the whole toileting 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 two to three different body parts in one training session, the ears, the paws and the tail. Move on to other a body parts on further sessions such as under the chin and checking your puppy’s teeth, your puppy’s back, tummy, and legs. Reward with a treat after every touch.
A puppy class is great for your new arrival as he will get to mix with other puppies. Do not forget your puppy will need to see other dogs too but ensure to keep your puppy as safe as possible, any negative incidents at this time can prove harmful to your puppy’s development. Puppies can sometimes be too exuberant for adult dogs and older dogs, do not allow your puppy to get too boisterous with unknown dogs.
Not Always a Puppy
Your puppy is small and cute at the moment but it is wise to bring in some boundaries and limitations within your home, this is less confusing for your puppy if you start as you mean to go on. Inform your puppy in a calm and clear way when behaviours are displayed that are not acceptable and always use positive reinforcement training to give your puppy alternative behaviours to do to replace behaviour which is not wanted. This will help your puppy in long term to know what is expected. This will increase your puppy’s confidence as he is making correct choices and being rewarded.
Due to bone growth and muscle and ligament formation it is recommended to only give five minutes of exercise for every month age of your puppy, twice daily. Therefore, three months of age is fifteen minutes twice a day and so on up to twelve months. After one year of age you can give exercise needed to the amount recommended for your puppy’s breed type.
The first two weeks it is important to make sure your puppy feels safe and secure. It is a great time to calmly play and to expose your puppy to your home, new things and his new environment. You will get to know your puppy’s personality by observing him. Is he a confident or wary puppy? noisy or shy? playful or quiet? Your puppy will also be getting to know you and your family and starting the bonding process. Don’t be overly concerned about doing lots of formal training within the first two to three weeks, concentrate on good routines with toilet training and training your puppy to enjoy short alone times to settle, sleep and to self-amuse with toys.