Preparing for your new puppy

After researching the right type of dog to best suit your lifestyle, checking out the breeder, making sure that the location is clean, with a healthy mother and littermates who have a confident, happy and curious temperament, you have finally, after much thought, chosen your puppy.  Your puppy should be no younger than 7 weeks old and have already had his 1st Vaccination and has been wormed.

I suggest visiting your puppy frequently before you bring him home, so he gets to know you and build a bond with you, so when you do bring him home, he will not feel so traumatised when you take him away from all that he has known – his mother, siblings, home, breeder.

You must make basic preparations for his arrival.

Do you have other pets at home? Dogs or cats?  Trust me, contrary to popular belief, unless your pets are used to other animals traipsing through your home constantly, eg you provide a temporary home to dogs or cats, your pets usually will not easily accept a new intruder into your home. 

Play with him, put him in your lap, so when you get home, your other pets at home can smell him and get used to this new smell. Give your existing/resident pets lots of calm praise and petting as well as treats, so they associate the smell of the new pup with something good.  Put them on a leash for control if things get out of hand.

Proper and slow introductions are the key! Otherwise, there may be fights, injuries, expensive Vet bills, permanent separation or rehoming. Give me a call at #243-4338 to book these Dog Introductions and get your pets started off on the right paw together.

Before you bring the puppy home, make sure –

  • Get the Feeding Plan from the breeder
  • Same Puppy Chow that was fed
  • Supplements – Vitamins, Cod Liver Oil
  • Toys: A variety – rope, plush toys, soft and hard rubber toys. Kong, puzzle toy, stuffed toy, a large ball, tug toy, chews toys
  • 2 bowls – water and food.  Stainless Steel bowls can last forever
  • Bed – a blanket / sheet / towel / dog bed for him to lie on. 
  • Crate (if indoors)
  • Baby gate (if indoors)
  • Plain collar – flat / buckle.
  • ID tags.  It is the law to license your dog with the Animal Control Centre.
  • Front Attachment Harness
  • Leash (no chain)
  • Grooming tools – brush, toothbrush & doggie toothpaste, nail clippers, puppy shampoo, nail clippers, brush
  • Hot water bottle & towel
  • Enzymic cleanser / odour neutraliser – Nature’s Miracle is sold by Super Petsmart, puppy pee pads
  • Contact name & number of a reputable, certified dog trainer who uses modern, positive reinforcement methods which are kind and humane
  • Transport: Box, Dog gate or crate for the car, or a doggie seatbelt.

A radio, or, at least, a ticking clock in a stuffed animal and a hot water bottle.  This is particularly helpful when a puppy is first parted from his litter mates and mum.  For the first time in his life, he is alone, in new surroundings, everything and everyone is strange, unfamiliar, it’s usually a very traumatic experience.  This is why they cry and cry, especially when left alone at night.

Where is he going to sleep – indoors or outdoors?  If outdoors, he needs to have a house that provides him with shelter from the rain and the sun.  Does he have somewhere to run?  Is this area properly enclosed?  If indoors, does he have a crate which acts as his den and can also confine him, so he doesn’t get into trouble when not supervised? 

I strongly suggest keeping your puppy inside with you, he’s a baby.  He’s never been alone before.  He has spent his whole life with his mother and siblings.

Peruse your home to decide where you want the pup to go potty.  Where is he going to sleep, where is his confinement area?  Who is going to be at home with the pup, to let him out to go potty frequently (approximately 8 times a day) and to feed him (minimum of 3 meals) during the day?

Have an area where you can confine the puppy to, when you cannot supervise him 100%, which is safe, free of furniture and anything the pup can pull down and destroy.  This area will help prevent potty and chewing accidents.  Keep your pup’s bed, crate, water and toys here.

Make sure that the outside is safe, and the pup cannot escape, check your fence for any holes or areas the pup can squeeze through.

Collecting Your Pup

Pick up your new puppy when you have lots of time to spend with him, say on a Friday afternoon after work, so you have the whole weekend to get him used to his new home.  Make sure that the pup’s last meal is at least 3 hours before collection.  Some pups get car sick and having a full stomach, combined with the movement of the car, can make them vomit or have an accident.

Bring a rug or towel, paper towels and some plastic bags in case of any accidents.

Before you leave the breeder, you need to make sure you have the following –

  • When you collect your puppy, make sure you have your receipt
  • If is pure-bred you should get a Kennel Club pedigree, registration papers & transfer of ownership
  • Vaccination & worming records
  • Diet plan & feeding schedule. 

Ask the breeder about the puppy’s potty habits – does it go outside or on newspapers? Has it been crated before? Does it have any health problems that the breeder’s vet is treating? Discuss the return policy beforehand. 

Home setup

Before bringing your pup home, set up a confinement area. This is a place for your pup to stay when you can’t provide 100% supervision. For example, when you are out or busy around the house and can’t keep your eyes on him the entire time. It prevents chewing accidents, potty accidents, and teaches your dog to be alone.

‘Confinement’ may sound harsh but having a confinement area is the best possible start for your dog in your household. People often give a new pup the run of the house right away. Then, when he has an accident on the carpet or chews on the couch cushions, they confine him, and confinement becomes a punishment.

Instead, give your pup a safe place from the beginning, and let him make a gradual and successful transition to his new home. He will be much happier and your furniture will remain intact.

Where? The ideal confinement area is easy to clean and easy to close off with a door or baby gate. It should be mostly free of furniture and non-dog related objects. The best places for a confinement area are the kitchen, laundry room, bathroom, or an empty spare room.

What? Furnish the confinement area with a bed or a crate with something soft to sleep on, a water bowl, and several toys, including a chew toy or a Kong stuffed with part of your dog’s meal.

The First Day

Home introduction

Introduce him to his new home, including the confinement area.

Step 1.  When you arrive home, let him explore his surroundings.  Take him where you want him to “go”.  DON’T overwhelm him with too much attention and fuss.  Your housetraining starts the moment you see your pup going potty, in the designated area, give quiet praise.

Step 2.  After he goes potty, take him to his confinement area, and give him a chew toy or a Kong with treats/chow in it and leave him alone for about 5 minutes.  If your pup howls, whines, or barks, wait until he has been quiet for at least ten seconds before interacting with him. Otherwise, he learns that whining or barking makes you appear or gets him out of the confinement area, and he will bark or cry for longer periods of time.  But DON’T leave him alone to cry it out, that’s simply cruel.

Step 3.  Start alone-time training now. Begin getting your pup used to short absences within the first few hours of his arrival. You will want to spend every minute with your dog when he first comes home, but it is better to prepare him for a normal routine right away. He must learn to be relaxed, calm, and settled when alone—and this doesn’t come naturally to dogs, social animals that they are.

How? Leave your dog alone in his confinement area while you go out or spend time in another part of the house. Vary the length of your absences, from 30 seconds to 10 minutes, and repeat them throughout the day. If your dog seems comfortable, you can gradually increase the amount of time he is left alone.

Pups sleep a lot and after an eventful and exciting morning, he will no doubt crash out.

Crate training:  Another good habit to start right away. A crate is a terrific training and management tool, useful for house-training, brief alone-time, settling, and any form of travel. Most importantly, a crate teaches your pup to hold it when he has to go to the bathroom. A crate helps your pup in many ways—and saves your carpets.

Bedtime routine:  The first few nights can be hard on both puppy and owner.  The puppy is by itself without the warmth and companionship of its mum and littermates; A comfortable bed, (such as a fluffy blanket, no fringe on the blanket, it could strangle him) beside your bed would be almost as good along with a hot water bottle and a stuffed toy fitted with a ticking clock to simulate a mother’s heartbeat. 

Pups prefer to sleep indoors where it is quiet and cool. At night, put a chew toy in your pup’s crate or sleeping area and leave him. He may have trouble settling in at first but should eventually relax and go to sleep. It is important not to let your pup out of his confinement area if he cries or barks, BUT go to him when he is quiet, even if it’s just 5 seconds.

When he is going to sleep, wrap the hot water bottle in the towel and put in his bed, with a stuffed toy.  Remember, your pup is used to the company of his mum and siblings, now suddenly he is all by himself, in a strange new place, and this is traumatic.

Puppies do best with a routine, so as soon as he wakes up, take him to the toilet area, quiet praise when he does his business.

Feeding Time

Stick to the breeder’s diet plan and the feeding schedule ie times fed, or you could have a puppy with diarrhoea.  The puppy is in a new environment, away from his mother and littermates – this change is stressful enough without changing his food, too

Feed him at the same times and at least 3 times a day, with the same foods that the breeder was using. 

After a week or two, you can gradually introduce another or a better quality of food, by gradually adding more of the new food to the old one, each day. 

All dogs need a good quality food since they double their size in 6 weeks and by 6 months old, can reach their approximate adult size. 

Dogs are carnivores, so protein must be the main ingredient – puppy chow, chicken, minced meat, eggs,

goats’ milk, yoghurt (NO artificial sweeteners since this can be toxic), sardines, tuna, go easy on the oil and gradually add some fruits and vegetables. 

Puppies like babies need something to keep them busy and occupied and this is where toys come in – chewies, treat dispensing, puzzle, rope bones and squeaky toys are best.

You should take your new puppy to your veterinarian within 24 hours of bringing him home, if not have him checked as soon as possible during the first week in his new home. 

Training has already started from day 1 in your home.

Things To Remember:

  • Dogs don’t speak nor understand English, Spanish, French.  They don’t understand human language.
  • A dog is not considered an adult until 2 to 2.5 years.
  • Dogs are smart and can learn a lot, but an adult dog only has the learning ability of a 3 year old child. 
  • Dogs aren’t stubborn if they “disobey” it’s because they do not understand what you want, they are tired or distracted.
  • Dogs don’t do things to spite you, this is a human behaviour.
  • Dogs don’t magically read your mind and know every single word you are telling them.
  • Dogs need to be taught what you want and this takes time.  How long did it take you to learn a new language or skill?
  • You got a DOG, an animal, it’s NOT a robot nor a stuffed toy.  Your dog has feelings and emotions, it’s a sentient being.
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