There’s no denying that a new pup can be a wonderful addition to your family but it can also bring a whole load of challenges – especially during the festive season and after. So before that adorable bundle of fluff comes home to stay here are a few helpful tips. I recommend:
To help your new puppy settle, a safe retreat space like a crate with soft bedding inside is ideal. It’s a useful aid for feeding, treating and toilet training too. Never use it for punishment though. It’s worth remembering that rest is very important. Puppy should be encouraged to sleep regularly and play for a maximum of twenty minutes.
Not so silent nights?
For the first few nights your puppy may wake up and bark. It’s a good idea to sew a small clock into a large stuffed toy that pup can cuddle up to as it mimics mum’s heartbeat and has a soothing effect. Also make sure there has been lots of interaction, play sessions and chances to go to the toilet before bedtime. If pup wakes, try your best to ignore until there’s silence then take him or her out to toilet before putting back in bed or crate with a treat.
Routine is key
From day one start training. To toilet train, regularly take the pup outside and be patient. Praise and reward when he or she performs. When using puppy training pads or newspaper, gradually move them to the door then outside.
move them to the door and outside. Don’t punish for accidents in the home, as it is counterproductive and can lead to behaviour problems. If you would like help or advice just contact a reputable trainer so you can begin the process straight away.
- Socialise your puppy with the family and friends. Positive experiences are really important when they are young. Let the puppy approach you and only fuss him or her when all fours are on the ground as this prevents jumping up in future. Children should be taught how to say hello, always ask owners permission, use quiet voices and not pick pup up but hold out their hand for the pup to smell. Never leave your dog and child together unsupervised
- Young puppy joints and bones are very delicate so they should not be encouraged to climb on and off furniture or go up and down stairs until older
- Grooming and handling: Get advice on the right brushes and how to use them. When puppy is sleepy, or right before breakfast, very gently brush all over. This is also a good time to get him or her used to having ears, paws, belly, teeth, eyes and tail checked
- Name train: Get puppy to know his or her name and come when called. Try playing hide ‘n’ seek in the house. One of you can hold pup whilst the other hides and calls his name. Praise and reward when he finds you
- Puppies use their mouths as a form of social play and interaction. To stop your pup mouthing on you make sure he or she has something else to chew on other than your hand and remove your attention whenever it occurs. Also avoid high-pitched noises that can make pup more excitable and mouth more
- Noises on: To get pup used to various sound and volumes without being distressed start now by having playlists on during a meal or rest times of crowds, fireworks, traffic and more. Start with low, hardly audible volumes then increase slightly day by day
- Sit! Get him or her to sit (all four paws on the ground) whilst the harness and lead are clipped on
- Not home alone: Leaving your puppy alone for long periods will cause distress. There’s also the potential risk of injury if attempts are made to escape. Anxiety, sensitivity to noises and negative associations can result in the pup having a nervous disposition
Santa Claws and jaws
Playful pubs will try to chew and eat absolutely anything. So ensure yours has plenty of teething toys or safe, durable interactive chew food toys around. This will help keep puppy occupied on chewing things other than your furniture. Cover and contain wires. Check that you have no poisonous houseplants. Clear any room of small children’s toys or ornaments that pup can get his jaws around.
And of course, if you’re seasonally decking the halls make sure that the baubles on your Christmas tree aren’t chew level. Christmas garlands can make a great game of tug of war, wrapped presents under the tree are an irresistible shedding treat whilst tree needles and branches are dangerous to swallow. Likewise watch out for puppy thinking that the special water at the base of your tree to keep it fresh is a handy drinking bowl because it could make him sick.
You could use a pet/baby gate or playpen as a barrier to the room to keep him or her safely out of harm’s way. Or maybe put smaller trees out of an inquisitive pup’s nose reach on a table. Best of all, simply don’t leave your new puppy unsupervised in any area where he or she can cause mayhem. Puppy proof your home and you can all be certain of the merriest of times.
Get out and about
As soon as your puppy has been vaccinated it’s time to get out and let him or her experience the big world out there. By taking little pup on short car journeys, out meeting other canine buddies on walks whatever the weather, going to the vets and groomers and facing traffic down the high street you gradually acclimatise your small chum to the hustle and bustle of everyday existence. It makes for a much happier and relaxed dog and helps prevent common behavioural problems in later life. Reward your growing puppy with treats or toys and you’ll make it a thoroughly satisfying and positive experience for you both.