Bringing a new puppy into your home is always an exciting time!
It is also always a very busy time!
This new little one is going to become part of your family and, just like a child, he will need a great deal of time, care and attention.
In addition, he is not human! It is the wise puppy owner who takes into consideration that their new family member is of another species entirely, with a language and behaviors very different from our own.
Establishing good communication is going to be of extreme importance.
With all of this in mind, we have compiled this short checklist to help you navigate the challenge of the coming days, weeks, months and years.
This list is by no means fully comprehensive. But is meant as a good practical starter guide of things to think about.
Some of you may read this list and decide that a new puppy is not for you after all! That is fine. Puppies are a lot of work and it is best to be prepared well in advance. But if you do decide to go ahead, please know that we are here to help. Contact us while your puppy is young and small so that we can help you to encourage good habits before less desirable ones begin to develop and become more challenging to change.
Or, better yet, contact us before you get your puppy for advice on the best way to prepare.
For each of the sections below, we have tried to give a little practical advice that you will find of immediate use. Of course we can only scratch the surface here. You will find much more practical and immediately useful advice in our online course,
Basic Essential Behaviors Online Training Course
This will give you lots of fun relationship building activities to do with your puppy. Each lesson comprises a little essential theory, clear lesson plans and video demonstrations. You will also have access to expert coaching through two e-mails per week from Lynne@doglogictraining.com allowing you to ask questions and get clarification on anything in the course or that you are experiencing with your pup.
Here’s what one of our current online students has to say:
“When I brought Gabe home I knew right away that I had more dog than I could handle. Having never trained a dog I found myself lost and my lack of experience came through loud and clear. “Basic Essential Behaviors” gave me the tools I had been looking for. I could watch the video and read the lesson plan in the comfort of my home. The online format allowed me the time I needed to become familiar with a task before introducing it to Gabe. Lynne’s feedback, to questions and short video clips of our training sessions, has been absolutely priceless. Her response is both detailed and thoughtful. It gives me the confidence I need and assures we’re headed in the right direction. Gabe and I are starting to connect. He’s still a lot of dog but “Basic Essential Behaviors” is giving us a great foundation on which to build.
Also, I wanted you to know that I’ve been using the “head in” to teach Gabe to accept a head halter. It’s taken a month of twice a day sessions but he will put his nose in and I can clip it behind his ears without a fuss. “ – Kathy Wolfe.
Take a look at our checklist to help you to get prepared.
Enjoy your new puppy.
He is lucky to have found a caring family like yours.
Puppy Training Checklist
Even before your new puppy arrives, it is essential to be sure that you have a safe and secure environment for him to live in.
For example, do you already have a fenced yard? We recommend that you do. However, if not, you will need to consider how you will keep your puppy safe when he is outside. Like all young animals (humans included) as he grows, he will want to explore further and further afield. If you have no secure fence, then you will need to be prepared to have him on a leash or long line every time he goes out for a very long time – maybe even forever!
Even if you do have a fence, our recommendation would be to make a point of always being outside with him when he is in your yard if possible.
Inside the house you will need to provide a quiet place away from the hustle and bustle of the family, where your pup can sleep.
We strongly recommend setting up an area in the house with an Exercise Pen and a crate.
This area will serve as the place where your pup can stay when you are unable to supervise him – rather like a toddler’s playpen. Without such an area, potty training will be much more difficult to achieve, and you are likely to arrive home from brief excursions to all manner of mini-disasters such as chewed furniture, messes and the like.
Within this area we would be sure to provide lots of safe, durable chew toys (nothing that can be swallowed) and a bowl of water if you are going to have to leave your puppy in the house.
Having really good management systems in place ready for your new pup is key to his smooth transition to your home and to everyone’s sanity.
Spend time TRAINING your pup to enjoy his special place!
- HOUSE TRAINING:
This is a key concern of all new puppy owners. In a nutshell, the important basic rules to remember are to observe your puppy very carefully at all times and take him outside to the bathroom EVERY time he:
- Wakes up
- Has been eating or drinking
- Has been playing
At first he will have very limited bladder control and will need to be taken out frequently. You will need to watch him carefully all the time he is loose in the house. You will soon be able to spot the signs and take him outside to relieve himself.
The more vigilant and successful you are with this, the more quickly your puppy will learn.
Stay outside with your pup UNTIL he relieves himself.
If he is very distracted and won’t do so, then take him back inside, but do not allow him free range in the house.
Replace him in his crate or Ex Pen area (particularly if you are not able to watch him like a hawk!)
Take him out again in about 10 minutes and try again.
If he falls asleep, that ‘s even better. Be sure to take him out again as soon as he wakes.
When he is relieving himself outside, praise him well (maybe begin to use a particular word you would like him to associate with this behavior. We use “Hurry up”) and then go inside together to play.
Be careful not to take him inside only to leave him alone after eliminating. He will soon learn to wait longer and longer to avoid being taken in. After all, all the fun and you are outside!
If you discover that your pup has had an “accident” in your house, please remember that it is far too late to admonish him for it.
You will only succeed in helping him to link your arrival with a “Scary mum or dad”
Remind yourself to be more diligent in future and follow the rules above.
(Even if you have a really small dog, try to imagine you have a Great Dane! This will help you to be very observant indeed!)
Time spent house TRAINING now will be rewarded ten fold in the future. Be diligent!
We are sure that everyone has heard the wise advice,
“You must socialize your puppy”
But do we all know what this really means?
In many cases, it is understood to mean that we must take our pups to meet and play with other pups and be touched by many people.
Whilst this is true to a degree, it is certainly not the whole story.
What is Socialization?
Again, very briefly, we are aiming to bring up a puppy who learns to view all the strange objects and experiences in the human world as “Normal”.
One of the most important socialization periods in your pup’s life is from about 7 – 12 weeks! (16 at the outside)
This does not mean that any experiences given after that period are of no use. However, it does make us mindful of the amount effort we have to be prepared to put in from the very start if we are to give our pups the best possible start to life with us.
Talk to your veterinarian about safe socialization before the completion of vaccinations.
It is a fact that more dogs are euthanized due to behavioral problems than lack of proper immunization.
Taking our online, “Basic Essential Behaviors” course online (start even before you get your pup!) will help to get you off to a good start right from day 1.
Socializing with Things:
We want him to see the cyclist, the dump truck, and the fire hydrant as perfectly normal things in his environment that mean him no harm.
One of the simplest ways to do this is to carry treats (or food from his daily allowance) with you wherever you go. Each time you meet a strange new thing, (whether he appears nervous or not) give him a treat so that he begins to expect novel things and experiences to predict good things from you. (Much better he looks to you for a treat than tries to chase the cyclist riding by in the street!)
Socializing with People:
When you are walking down the street or in the store, how do you view the other people that you meet there? Do you rush up to each one of them, greeting them with hugs and kisses? We certainly don’t and yet, we sometimes act as though it is our duty to ensure that our pups do just that. In fact, it would be much better for everyone if we could teach our puppies to ignore passers by as irrelevant to them – and to reserve their extra affection for those near and dear. Once again, carrying treats or daily rations is a good way to teach your pup that, when other humans come along, you can expect better things from your mum and dad.
Socializing with dogs:
As with people, it is unreasonable of us to think that our puppy is going to love and want to greet every dog he meets. Approaching his interactions with other dogs in the same way as his interactions with people will serve you both much better in the long run.
Obviously, this is only a very short visit into the world of puppy socialization. Our aim here has been to give you a few things to think about and, hopefully, to want to explore further.
A wonderful book on the subject of puppy socialization is, “Social, Civil and Savvy” by Laura VanArendonk Baugh.
You want a dog who is confident and happy, able to immediately distinguish between friend and threat, capable of intense focus on her work, and able to relax and play with you when you need some puppy love. But these attributes are not born in our puppies; they are created through proper socialization.
TRAIN your pup to understand our strange and sometimes scary world.
Spend time understanding socialization to create the companion of your dreams.
- RELATIONSHIP BUILDING:
Every interaction you have with your puppy will either add to or take away from, what we like to think of as a relationship bank. Obviously the more positive interactions you have with your pup will put in deposits and build up that bank account. Providing that you have put enough into the positive bank, your relationship will be able to withstand the occasional withdrawal (i.e. when you become human and become impatient about something).
Ways to build up your positive relationship bank:
One easy way to do this is to be really observant and be sure to notice when your puppy is doing something that you like. This might be something as simple as keeping all 4 feet on the ground, going to lie down on his bed etc. (Beware the less attractive human trait of only noticing when he is doing something less desirable.) Dogs find attention very reinforcing. If we only give it when our pup is doing something we don’t like, guess what we are training?
Any training that you do using positive reinforcement will add to your growing relationship bank.
What is Play?
“A generic term for fun things we do with our dogs and each other. It happens in all species. Watch lambs or any young animal. If they are not playing or eating, they are usually not well. When animals play they are practicing life skills.
It always makes me stop, watch and smile”
Playing with your puppy should be as natural getting out of bed in the morning. Play with your puppy to develop a great relationship.
TEACH him to play with you. Learning through play is a very powerful way to learn.
- VETERINARY CARE:
It is obviously crucial to have lined up a reputable veterinary practitioner before you bring your puppy home. If possible, find out if your veterinarian is aware of the “Fear Free” veterinary movement. Try to set up some visits to his office with your puppy – just to familiarizing him with the environment. Make sure these visits are pleasant and there are no needles present! ☺
Our Basic Essential Behaviors course will help you to prepare your puppy for visits to both the vet’s office and groomer’s shop.
Can’t get your dog back on leash after a walk?
Won’t come back when you call?
Are #Veterinarian visits too stressful?
Sign up today! pic.twitter.com/i9HNZljIYS
— DogLogic Training (@doglogictrainin) May 2, 2018
We can introduce your veterinarian to our positive training methods with a free Lunch and Learn presentation (within a 50 mile radius) And / or by offering a special veterinary package of access to both our online courses, Basic Essential Behaviors and Clicker Training made Easy.
This package can also be made available to clients of veterinarians who take up our Lunch and Learn presentation offer.
Take time to TRAIN your pup to accept being handled as he will need to be in the veterinarian’s office. Teach him basic behaviors such as a chin rest and hand touch – both tools that will help make your vet visits more pleasurable.
When you collect your puppy, you will receive sound advice from the breeder or rescue organization. Be sure to follow this advice and don’t be tempted to change your puppy’s diet too quickly.
If you are going to change his diet, please do your research first. If wishing to feed raw or human grade cooked food, you will need to discuss this with a qualified veterinary dietician to ensure your pup is getting the right balance of nutrients. If feeding a prepared, “kibble” type of food, be sure to read the ingredient list and look for real meat as the first ingredient listed. Always refer to your veterinarian for advice if you are unsure – and especially in the event of any food allergies.
TEACH your pup to expect good things to arrive in his bowl when you walk close by to avoid possible challenges with food guarding behavior later.
Contrary to popular belief, you can give puppies too much exercise. At first, just allow your pup to play and rest as he wants in the safety of his yard. When you begin to take your pup out for walks, plan short excursions only at first. It is often a good idea to take him for a car ride to different locations (this will help with socialization!). Once at your destination, take him for a short, fun exploration walk – not too far from your vehicle, so that he doesn’t have to walk too far on those developing muscles.
TEACH your pup to walk sensibly on a loose leash by giving him some time to explore and sniff on his walks too. Remember he is a different species!
Regular grooming is essential to the care of all dogs. Take time to understand the grooming needs of your particular breed. If you suffer from allergies it would be wise to look for a breed with a coat type that doesn’t shed. However, be aware that these often need specialized grooming care. In any case, your pup will benefit greatly if you include a daily grooming routine right from the start so that you can avoid those fights with nail trims and baths later.
TEACH your pup to accept handling, touching, brushing, nail trimming right from the start. Use positive reinforcement methods to condition him to enjoy these experiences.
“Training” is the common thread that links all of these essentials together. Wherever you live, be sure to find a trainer who uses positive reinforcement. If possible find a Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner (You can look online to find one in your area).
A KPACTP will use marker based, positive reinforcement training.
He or she will not advise the use of prong collars or other aversive methods, which can have devastating consequences.
These will get you off to a great start and give you the confidence to ask the right questions, be your dog’s advocate and find a reputable face to face trainer in your area.
Our aim is to help you and your pup to enjoy many happy years together.
Does your dog jump up when you try to give him food?
Then try this!
Deliver the food to your puppy’s mouth very slowly and deliberately. If he begins to jump up, remove the food instantly. As soon as he is sitting again, begin that slow deliberate delivery. In time, if you are consistent, he will understand that the only way to take treats from you is if he is sitting calmly.
Do you want your pup to love coming to you when you call?
Then try this!
Always make it fun to come and when he does, deliver him a gourmet meal like this
Be sure not to hand him a quick take-out like this:
We can help you to understand and use these methods to ensure your new pup the best start possible.
Be sure to check back for more Bonus Bites as we continue to develop this page for your information.