First few days…
Coming home with a new puppy is delicious, you will laugh so much your sides hurt.
Picking up from the breeder’s….ask to bring some of the current food puppy is getting so that you can change over the diet over a few days and allow his or her digestion to settle and adapt to new things. Do 50/50 current to your food for a day or two and reduce old food over the next few days.
Remember even the water will be different to what Puppy is used to having. I am a big proponent of filtered water, not just for us but for our dogs as well. Did you know that fluoride is toxic to dogs, even more so than to humans. I use this one as it alkalises the water too. I write about this elsewhere.
Happy puppies need to feel safe secure and loved, warm, not fearful so those first few days are vital for setting up the confident and secure little dog. No scolding, positive directions, puppy has to learn a lot of new things and will do so more easily with love and direction and patience.
Be calm and steady, and be careful as puppy will be under your feet. Do the puppy shuffle (ie don’t lift your feet off the ground, just shuffle!)
Routine is important, they thrive with routine, same things at the same time whether that is feeding, toilet, walks, play, sleep, cuddles. And most important they want to be with you, around what you are doing, exploring with you, talking to you and being talked to.
Puppy will need a place to feel safe, warm and secure, where bed is, and where s/he can go rest and not be disturbed. It is better to be somewhere that they can see the family but not be underfoot or in a walkway. If you crate, this would be their crate. It is a good idea to reward bed and nap time, associate it with quiet time. And I have learnt that the adage “let sleeping dogs lie” is a good one!
Also you will have set up a place for eating and the water bowl (which needs to have clean water at least daily). I like to have the food on a washable mat or bath mat and the puppy knows the place. This can become the place to have bones as well. (more on this in the food post)
Set up paper at the doorway/s that you want puppy to use to go outside. (assume puppy is paper trained by the breeder, if they were using some other material you will need to use that too like puppy pads). However it can be a long way to the paper/door from elsewhere in the house so you may need to allocate a few different spots for the first weeks. The easiest way to train is to pre-empt. We know that after eating the puppy will want to toilet (it is triggered by eating) so take puppy outside directly after finishing a meal. On waking up, first thing in the morning, last thing at night. After lots of play. These are all times when puppy may want to toilet and the best is to be in front of it.
When accidents happen (and they will) don’t ever scold. Mistakes happen and best if nothing is said. No praise no scold. Just clean it up.
I have found using a word to associate the action is helpful – so I use “wiza” for wee and “dodo” for poo. Using a word that the puppy will learn to associate with the action means that you can ask the adult dog to wee on command – or poo – very helpful when travelling or going visiting. Good to pick a word that you wont mind saying in public! Praise when the action you are asking for happens. So when puppy is doing a wee – use your word (“do wiza” – “good dog do wiza”) and when finished praise the good puppy. All dogs LOVE praise.
Dogs don’t understand consequence, so you must train by association. Praising and rewarding the behaviours that you want them to continue, and ignoring the ones you don’t want.
For the first few days, stay close to home, there is so much new it is better to let the puppy adjust to that first. Once it’s time to go
outside never go out without the harness on and attached to a human via a lead. I like Puppia harnesses and remember that the puppy will grow, so if possible buy one that can be expanded.
In the car it is best to have a puppy restrained (and the law in some states). I do this with the harness attached to a double clip lead
around the seat belt.
More to come…