Introducing a Puppy

A new puppy – preparation and settling in.

The arrival of a puppy in a new home is a very exciting event. You are more than likely anticipating hours of fun and a lifetime with your devoted friend by your side. If you are willing to accept the challenges that come with the fun and live up to the commitment you made to this little bundle of fur, then this can be an accurate picture.

So you have decided to offer a home to a puppy and you may well have a good idea of the type of dog you want to your pup to be. The important thing is to research the various breeds that interest you. They all have different sizes, needs and general breed characteristics. You need to consider the commitment you would be making; have you the time to give a large dog the amount of exercise it needs? Or the time needed to devote care and attention to it’s special coat? If you would rather lie on a bed of nails than groom your dog almost daily you certainly won’t want a Maltese! Keep in mind that the breed information is only a general guideline – each dog is different.

If the parentage of the pup you are considering is not fully known, it can be hard to know what to expect with regards the size it will be when it grows up and what behavioural characteristics to expect. You can often get a good idea of what breeds the parents MAY have been just by looking at the pups features but it is not an exact science. That little Lab look-alike may turn out to be a Chihuahua cross!

If you already have a puppy on the way and have not have researched the breed, don’t panic, you can still do your research and find out what is best for the breed and what to expect. Training for both dog and the humans he lives with can solve a multitude of problems encountered!

Now that your puppy is lined up and you are quivering in anticipation you need to prepare your home and everyone in it for the new arrival. In a nutshell, you need to baby-proof your home, putting breakables on higher ground, hiding electrical cords, guarding the fire and maybe adding baby gates to the stairs. A puppy is a lot like a toddler; he has a lot to learn and little sense of personal safety. Let us not forget how everything ends up in a baby’s mouth, well it’s the same with puppies I am afraid. Everyone in the household needs to keep in mind that anything left lying around is potential prey for the puppy’s mouth, many a mobile phone or designer shoe has been mangled by a delighted puppy! At some stage you are certain to scream “Oh My God!”

Something every new puppy needs is Time. A pup needs a lot of attention and basic training when he first arrives, so you are best advised to take some time off work. If left alone too soon your pup may prove to be slow to train and will have trouble adjusting.

If you already have a dog and/or cats, the arrival of a puppy will upset things for a while. You will need to let the animals meet one anther and adjust on their own terms. Your goal is for the puppy to settle in to your home and be accepted by all, this can not be achieved if your other pets feel cast aside. You need to apply the same principles as you would if you were introducing a baby. Let your pets know that you as the master are welcoming the pup into the ‘pack’ and at the same time continue to lavish attention on your other pets as you normally would. If necessary you could employ the slow meeting method where the pup is confined to a puppy pen, you can let the other pets in to examine the new arrival without them getting too close and then gradually let them closer until they can be in the same space as the pup.

The day has arrived! Puppy le New is here, there is much fun to be had as the pup explorers his surroundings. He will most likely be quite wary of you at first, he has just been separated from his litter mates and he needs to adjust to human company. This is why most pups cry and whine during their first week or two. They are feeling separation anxiety and to top it all off they are in unusual surroundings that may feel imposing and threatening. Patience, understanding and kindness will soon have pup happy to be in your company and he will soon see your home as his home too.

There is more to his introduction than looking after his basic needs. One very important need is training. Right from the outset a pup needs to be shown how and where to go to the toilet. Accidents WILL happen during the first few weeks but with training and perseverance he will learn. An untrained pup needs to go to the toilet often and the only way he will learn is with your help. Praise goes a long way, many a dog pees correctly thanks to standing ovations when he was a nipper.

Like babies, pups chew. On everything. Nothing is safe. Not even the leg of the table. The key is to give him a selection of chew things as soon as he arrives. If you catch him chewing on the leg of a chair or anything else he shouldn’t be chewing then remove the object, say “NO” and give him a chew thing instead. Do this every time and he should learn.

Sleeping arrangements are something which need to be organised from the first night, whether you choose the living room, utility room, kitchen or your bedroom. A new puppy will cry at night, the separation anxiety will be at it’s worst. You will need to be prepared for a lot of fuss from your puppy. He will test your resolve, a crying and whining pup will make you feel guilty but he will adjust with time.

While your puppy is settling in you need to make first contact with your chosen veterinarian! Puppies need vaccinating from as early as 6-12 weeks, although the vaccination protocol varies from vet to vet and from dog to dog. Vaccinating puppies is essential, it gives them their immunity, allowing them to go outdoors in relative safety and can protect them against certain illnesses they can pick up from other dogs. Animals are very good at hiding their illnesses and pain. With that in mind you are well advised to have annual vet check ups.

Once your pup is settled in, the rest of your lives begin. It is not only your pup that needs to be trained, as his owner and master you need training too. You need to learn to understand each other in certain situations. For a dog living with a human, training is a lifelong thing, think of it in terms of learning a language, if you don’t practice it you forget it.

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