A puppy is truly a wonderful addition to any home. Dogs and children are natural companions, and even adults find that puppies are great for bringing smiles. With that said, however, they are also a lot of hard work and require training from Day One in order to develop into a healthy happy companion. When your new puppy comes home, it is time to start laying down ground rules.
One thing that you must keep in mind is that what is cute in a puppy is rarely cute in an adult dog. This means that you need to start training right away. When your new dog arrives, it is time to start setting the rules.
For starters, If the dog jumps, nips, or behaves improperly, you need to show it that this behavior is displeasing to you. You don’t have to scold or punish the dog, but instead you will need to calmly move them away from whatever is provoking them, and this will alter their behavior. Offer praise for good behavior and you will see changes very quickly.
The worst thing you can do with a new puppy is to hit or strike it. To a puppy, peeing or chewing is natural behavior, and it will not associate the punishment with its actions no matter how quickly you move after the event to punish it. Dogs have different rules to us, and you can’t explain to it why pooping on your rug is bad. Instead it will become fearful of you as it will associate you with what it sees as unprovoked aggressive behavior.
Dogs learn primarily by observing their pack-mates, and they learn fastest when positive behavior is reinforced. So giving a puppy a treat the one time it pees in the correct place, or releases a stolen toy without a fight, is the correct way to train it.
In terms of feeding, if your puppy was just weaned, ask the breeder or shelter if it has been introduced to solid foods. If so, you can feed puppy food twice daily. If the dog has had milk only, you will want to mix milk substitute and puppy food for a few days until the dog’s digestive system has adjusted. If the dog is particularly young do not leave it alone for more than 5-6 hours at a stretch. Besides scaring the dog with this constant ‘abandonment’, their bellies get empty very fast, and just with a human baby, they require constant feeding to keep their blood sugar up. A constantly hungry puppy can very quickly become a stressed, sick puppy. If this is a problem then you might want to consider getting a slightly older puppy that will accept solid food.
To begin with, its recommended that you keep your new puppy in one small room, where they have a pen (for a younger puppy) or a bed (for an older puppy) where they can feel safe. Make sure they have a fresh bowl of water available at all times and easy access to their food bowl. It is best if the room has a window so they can have some natural light and fresh air – if they make a mess it’s not healthy (or pleasant) for them to breathe in the smell all day shut in a confined space.
Invest a few dollars in a night-light so they will not be anxious and cry in the dark when it becomes night. If you wonder why your puppy cries excessively during the first few weeks when shut away at night, remember that dogs sleep in packs for protection. A puppy recently separated from his mother will instinctively feel like it has been abandoned by its pack and will cry for it’s mother’s protection. In this case, try leaving a TV or radio on quietly to soothe the puppy and provide reassurance that it has not been left alone at the mercy of predators in the darkness.. Really, a puppy is not so different in many ways from a human child!
Caring for a new dog can be great fun, and with the right information, you can ensure that your new role as puppy parent gets off to a great start.