My New Puppy
At Holidays4Dogs we know how exciting it is acquiring a new puppy and bringing him home for the first time but there are a number of things you can do to make the transition into a new environment as stress free as possible; for you and your new pup! Here are a few tips and pointers compiled by Holidays4Dogs for new puppy owners;
It is always tempting to over excite or over handle a new puppy when he arrives home; so for the first few hours try to keep everything as calm and quiet as possible and let him investigate his new home in his own time. If you have children it is a good idea to chat with them well before the puppy arrives so they understand that they must be quiet and gentle with the new pet.
Always arrange to collect your puppy as early as possible, so that he has the whole day to settle in and get used to his new surroundings before bedtime.
It is likely you will have already chosen a name, so use this frequently when encouraging him to you for example and he will soon catch on!
Most puppies will be noisy and cry at night and certainly, some can be more persistent than others! If you have a particular problem there is really nothing wrong with letting the pup sleep in your bedroom next to your bed for a few days. Once he has become more confident and content with all the new sights and sounds in his new environment it won’t be too difficult to move his sleeping quarters further from you.
If your pup is happier to settle in the kitchen or other room designated for him, it will be a good idea to spread newspaper around to soak up any mess he will inevitably make during the night.
Just like human babies, puppies need to toilet far more frequently; so you should aim to take your puppy outside every hour or so and every time he wakes from sleeping or after eating. Being religious with this routine will make housetraining quicker and easier.
Each time the pup needs to go out, stay outdoors with him until he has eliminated. You could perhaps say a particular word, such as ‘busy’ as soon as the pup performs. Once he has eliminated take him straight back indoors with lots of praise.
If your puppy starts to go to the toilet indoors (and at some point this is likely!); swiftly take him into the garden and encourage him to perform outside. Do not scold your puppy for toileting indoors and especially do not scold a puppy if you find a puddle or pooh that he has done earlier in the day as he will not associate your scolding with the ‘misdemeanour’.
You may have been provided with a particular diet from the breeder of your puppy. If you wish to change your pup’s diet, ensure you do this very gradually, especially with very young puppies. If the breeder has not already advised you, provide your puppy with at least four small meals a day and for the first few days you can leave several bowls of water around; handy for the exploring puppy.
Crate training is a good idea for any dog, but make sure that you do not simply lock the puppy in the cage. Make the cage his bed with lots of soft bedding and leave the door open. You can feed your puppy in his crate and just while he is eating close the door. Once the pup has finished wait a few seconds, then open the door and praise. Your pup will soon realise that his crate is his refuge, his bed, the place where good things happen such as being fed! This will introduce your pup to the idea of a crate in a positive way so that you can build up the time he spends in it with the door shut. It goes without saying you should never leave any dog confined in a cage for more than a couple of hours at a time unless it is overnight. Do not use the cage as a means of punishment or as a way of confining an overly exuberant dog or puppy as this will always be counter-productive.
Provide your pup with lots of stimulating activities throughout the day, but also provide him with the opportunity to rest. There are many good puppy toys on the market and those which dispense treats are ideal for helping to keep your pup amused if you have to pop out. However, most young puppies will not be distracted by anything if left alone in the first few days and weeks and will usually become distressed when left. This is a normal response and will improve in time. You will need to make sure anything the pup might chew or swallow is moved out of the way; loose kitchen mats, shoes etc. Having a few chewed items does come with the territory of puppy owning unfortunately, but you can minimise this by providing suitable alternative toys and chews meant for young puppies and being vigilant at all times!
It is a good idea to leave your pup alone for short periods. Once the puppy is beginning to settle into his new home and gaining confidence, begin to get him used to being on his own briefly as it is essential he learns to be calm when left alone in the house for reasonable periods (no more than four hours ideally for an adult dog). Try to do this when he is tired. Put him in another room with his bed and perhaps a toy and shut the door. If your pup stays quiet, let him out after a few minutes, but do not over praise as this will create a dog that is over excitable on your return. If your pup is noisy, try to wait until he is quiet or quieter before letting him out. If he remains distressed, do not get annoyed or scold him, but leave the exercise for another day.
Once your puppy has had his vaccinations, aim to take him to lots of different places and experience new sights and sounds. However, do not force your pup into situations where he may become excessively fearful as, depending on the dog, this can manifest itself as nervous aggression in later life. Take socialising very carefully and watch for signs that your puppy may be becoming stressed. For further details of socialising your pup, read the Holidays4Dogs article dedicated to this subject elsewhere on this website.
Having a new puppy in the household is fun but also hectic! Deciding on house rules early and maintaining a good routine will all help things to go smoothly. If you feel you need more help always contact your breeder, who should be more than happy to advise. Once the puppy is old enough it is always sensible to enrol in a good puppy training class as this will help with socialising him and provide you with support, tips and guidance on enjoying your new pup to the full.