Top Secrets To Set Your Puppy Up For Success
Bringing a new puppy into the home is a time of joy, love, and excitement. It is also a foundational period during which the basis of a dog’s behavior, health, and relationship with its owner is established. To ensure the best for your little one, there are a few key do’s and don’ts when it comes to becoming a new pet parent.
Spend Time With Your Puppy
The transition from litter to a new home can be a stressful time for young dogs. In addition to getting to know their new family, they are acclimating to entirely new surroundings and dealing with the separation from their littermates and mother.
Spend as much time as possible with your fur baby in the first week or two at home to help set a solid foundation for them. Setting up their space in the home, creating a reliable routine, and enjoying quality bonding time together are all helpful practices. The best part of scheduling extra time with your puppy? Ample cuddles and playtime!
Visit Your Vet
Most puppies are sent home to their new families when they reach 6 to 8 weeks of age. They are extremely susceptible to diseases at this time, as they have been weaned and the antibodies provided by their mother’s milk begins to wear off. It is best to schedule a vet appointment as soon as possible to ensure they receive necessary vaccinations. If your pet was weaned too early or was found without a mother, it is even more important that a vet be an active part of your puppy’s early life, as they could already be infected with harmful diseases.
It is also important for the vet to assess their overall health. If there are any chronic health problems present, it is ideal for pet parents to be made aware as early as possible.
Veterinary care is an integral part of a dog’s life. Setting up a good relationship between your puppy and their primary care vet will mean a long, happy life for you to spend together.
Begin Training Day 1
We all want a well-trained and well-behaved dog. The earlier training begins, the easier it will be to ensure your puppy grows up to be just that. For your puppy’s well-being – and your sanity – it is important to begin training immediately and consistently.
The Pet Gal believes in 100% positive reinforcement based training. We don’t support the use of balance training, or alternative collars such as shock, choke, or bark collars. With our professional experience, we know that positive reinforcement training is the best choice for all dogs, as it provides a positive incentive for good behavior and is a stress-free process which solidifies the bond between puppies and their humans.
Set your puppy up for success by providing structure in their training and their schedule. Puppies learn best by routine. By establishing continuity with a schedule that is repeated each day they are better able to master things like potty training and good behavior.
One of the most important rules of thumb in maintaining structure in training is to make sure all members of the household know the training commands you’ve chosen. If the puppy’s command to stop jumping is, “OFF” then everyone who interacts with your puppy needs to be consistent with that term to prevent confusion.
The Pet Gal understands it can be hard to provide consistency in potty breaks, feeding, and training when you have a full-time job or other commitments. Our pet sitters are happy to help keep your puppy’s schedule on track with our in-home pet sitting services. For a typical work day, we recommend two 15-min pet sits – one visit mid-morning and the other during the afternoon to start. As your puppy grows more active, we suggest longer visits. We know the importance of structure, so our sitters communicate actively with you to ensure all your puppy’s training cues, feeding schedules, and daily routines are reinforced while you’re away.
Give Your Puppy Lots Of Love And Have Fun!
Creating a relationship with your new puppy is the best part of the process. Be sure to stay present and in the moment with your fur baby, because puppyhood doesn’t last long. While it can be stressful at times, be sure to savor the moments of sweet cuddles, affection, and playtime. Give lots of hugs and kisses, take plenty of photos, and give your puppy all the love it deserves.
Invite Too Many Guests Over
While it’s understandable to want your new puppy to meet all your friends and family, overstimulation can cause anxiety, upset routine, and interfere with training. Loud noises, crowds of people, and confusing training commands can make it difficult for your puppy to acclimate to its new home. In the beginning, introduce your puppy to new people in small doses and be sure that visitors know your training cues.
Punish Your Puppy
While the trials and tribulations of puppyhood can certainly test your patience, punishment is never the answer. Not only are punishments – spanking, yelling, hitting, rubbing a dog’s nose in their accidents, etc. – ineffective, they also generate distrust between owner and puppy.
A puppy needs to know that you are their safe place, their protector, and their family – someone they can trust in all situations. Positive reinforcement training solidifies this bond and is more effective in producing good habits.
Socailize Too Soon
While socialization with other dogs is an important part of the training process, ask your vet when they think the appropriate time for your puppy to begin interacting with other dogs is. Often this depends on the puppy’s age, health, and temperament. Your pet’s vaccination status is a deciding factor on when they can visit places such as dog parks, kennels, and pet stores. Once your puppy is approved for socialization, be sure all first-time interactions with other dogs is done gradually in controlled environments.
Travel Right Away
Schedule, structure, and security are paramount during the first months of a puppy’s acclimation to a new home. Leaving a puppy during this time can cause unease, stress, and throw a wrench in all the hard work you’ve put into training.
If you must leave during this time, the Pet Gal offers a variety of pet sitting services including visits ranging from 15 minutes to an hour, overnight stays, and in-home boarding to provide you with more flexibility during your puppy’s first few months.
Forget To Cherish Every Minute
With that sweet puppy breath and adorable eyes, it can be easy to forget that your tiny bundle of love will soon grow up into a full-sized dog. Allowing a golden retriever puppy to sit on you when it is lap-sized is one thing, but what about when it grows to be 60+ pounds? Chewing on things, pulling on the leash, and jumping on people are all behaviors that seem negligible – even cute – when a tiny pup does them. But before you accept it as commonplace, ask yourself if this is a behavior you want an adult dog doing. It is always easier to train a puppy with fresh behaviors than to train an older dog out of ingrained habits.Pet Gal Kirstie.