It is always an exciting time, when a new puppy comes home, especially if you have children. This is also an important time in which the process of familiarization, socialization and fundamental training begins. Not too intense mind you. A puppy needs time to acclimate itself to the new surroundings and pack members. Although many books have been written about this time, we have found via experience, that there are a few things that, if done properly, enhances the experience for you and your puppy.
One of the most important things you can do begins prior to arrival; plan ahead. It’s simple really. Ask yourself about:
- Where will the puppy sleep and in what type of container or pad
- What will it eat and in what type of container
- What about its comfort such as blankets, soft pads, etc.
- What will it chew on
- What will it play with
- How will you control the puppy inside and outside
- Who will attend to its immediate and emergency healthcare
The answers will prepare you for a smooth homecoming.
Just as with a toddler, a room must be devoid of anything that may harm your pet. Electrical cords, cell phone chargers, exposed electrical outlets, hazardous material of any kind, small pieces of any type, children’s toys or food are a threat to your puppy. Of particular note here is the potentially fatal threat you houseplants may be. Most house plants will, at the very least, create discomfort or irritation of some type and degree. Some are down right deadly. Your best bet is to eliminate houseplants altogether if you can. If not, make sure they are well out of reach and temptation. Educate yourself on which plants are particularly harmful and how to deal with a pet that has ingested such a plant. It could save a life.
Low hanging fruit to your pet are such things as tassels, ropes, cords, hanging plants, clothes and shelf stuffs which can be easily reached, tugged or pulled onto themselves. You would be well advised to seek these out and remedy them.
Also, your new pet will want to chew. Chew on anything. Make sure that there are numerous, acceptable chewing options available. There are many chew toys available at most large grocery and pet stores. Skip this step and you may provide your pet with a pair of $300 chew toys you were going to wear with that special dress.
Since you puppy will probably be somewhat anxious about this considerable change in its life, let it become familiar with its new surroundings. We generally keep the puppy to one room and expand to others as the puppy earns the privilege while becoming house trained. While on a leash, let the puppy explore the nooks and unique characteristics of the room assuming that precautions have been made with respect to potential hazards.
Establishing a routine is important for you puppy’s emotional well being and yours. This should apply to feeding, elimination in a special place, walks, playtime and bedtime. Of particular note is the feeding and elimination routines since it will become obvious to you immediately that these issues will not wait. Feeding should occur as prescribed by you breeder or rescue professional and follow the directions of the recommended food manufacturer. It has been our experience, that making your pet earn its meal each time by requiring it to wait, just slightly or sit prior to access to food and water quickly begins to establish you dominance. It also communicate to your pet that you are its provider.
Elimination is somewhat more difficult. Puppies have no guideposts in this area. Their instinct is to eliminate when the urge presents itself. They will not do so where they sleep or eat unless there is not choice but everywhere else in you home is fair game. We make use of the kennel process for this step. Our pets are introduced to their kennel in a very positive way, enticed by treats and play toys. Their kennels are size appropriate so that spending time inside is not difficult for them. They are airy and large enough to move freely in side but not so large that they can eliminate inside and walk away.
Choose a specific area of your property for elimination. This makes it easier for your pet to indentify it as THE place to do its business.
Most puppies can not hold themselves for more that an hour or two when in a kennel and will feel the urge to eliminate shortly after feeding so be prepared. Anticipation is one of the strongest tools you have in house training your pet. By anticipating its needs you do not give it the opportunity to do so on your carpet.
We put out pets in their kennels, usually at the same time each evening and after some fun playtime. We have found that as they grow older, they are quite happy to call it a day at the same time each day. Routine.
Lastly, make an appointment with a Veterinarian as soon as you can. You puppy will require a checkup and shots. This will also give you the opportunity to become acquainted with office procedures and what you should do in the event of an emergency.
Now that your puppy is home and you have done your homework and preparations, you should relax and enjoy the company of your new friend and companion.
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