BEFORE THE BIG DAY
There are some preparations that should be done before you bring home your new pup. The biggest thing is puppy proofing your house! Try to see things from your puppy’s point of view – look for sharp edges, electrical cords, shoes, hair ties, dental floss – basically anything you do not want your puppy chewing on! Also, secure bookshelves, TV’s or trashcans so nothing heavy can topple over on your pup if they knock into it. Use baby gates to restrict your pup’s access to certain parts of your house that may be dangerous (i.e. stairs).
In the beginning, your pup’s crate will be their home. You will want to make it as welcoming and enticing as possible since they will be spending a lot of time in there. Choose an appropriate size crate where your puppy will be able to turn around and stretch, but not so big as they can use one corner of it as their bathroom space.
When the big day arrives and your puppy is home, you will want to set up their initial vet appointment. We recommend bringing your puppy in when they are between 6-to-8 weeks of age, so the doctor can discuss things such as vaccine schedule, crate training and feeding.
Between the ages of 8-12 weeks, this is the ideal time to socialize your puppy. They may be a sensitive to loud noises, but they are also very curious. It is important to introduce your puppy to all different types of situations, so they can learn how to cope with stress. This will help your dog’s confidence as an adult. Your pup should also meet about 50 people during this time period, so they are used to different ethnicities and ages.
Additionally, touching and playing with your puppy can help desensitize their body to being handled. Paws are often an area of the body where dogs do not like being touched, which can be difficult for grooming or other routine veterinary procedures. Using positive reinforcement to help with the desensitization is most effective.
PATIENCE IS A VIRTUE
There will be times where you will feel overwhelmed but being able to remain calm and show patience will help so much with your puppy’s training. Dogs are especially prone to feeding off of our emotions, so if you are starting to become frustrated, take a deep breath and try to keep an upbeat attitude. Each day will bring about new challenges but being able to keep track of the victories (no matter how small!) can help keep your focus on your puppy’s training.
Before you know it, your once small pup will have grown into an adult. You will realize that all the hard work you put in to their socialization and training will have paid off. Plus, we are always here at Blum to answer any questions you have about your pup, no matter how old they are!
Written for Blum Animal Hospital by Jackie Sheppard.