Congratulations on getting your NEW puppy!
Here are some advice on what to do when getting a dog in order to get a successful beginning and create that essential bond.
1. Puppy-proof your home
Before even bringing your puppy home you need to go through your home step by step to make sure it is safe. No loose items on the floor that your new puppy might be able to chew on or eat. Shoes should be put in a shoe cabinet. If you have stairs make sure you block them so your puppy won’t fall down while exploring his/her new home.
2. Dog equipment
The essentials are a leash, a collar with an ID tag, a harness, a basket, food and water bowls, toys and dog food. If you want more info read Essential things you must own when having a dog.
3. Find a vet
Find a vet in your neighborhood and visit them to see if you like the place. Once you get your puppy it is also important to bring him/her to your vet just for visits without any appointment. That way your puppy makes a positive association with the vet. If the first visit is negative it is very likely he/she will develop a fear or dislike for the vet making it so much harder to take them. But a positive first impression will last and makes it easier to handle stuff like vaccinations and examinations.
4. House training
Your training should start right when you get your puppy home. A good solid pee and poop schedule makes wonders here and your puppy will quickly learn that pee and poop happens outside. A good house rule is that whenever your puppy has slept, eaten or played he/she needs to go outside for a potty break.
An important thing to remember and that surprises many is that your puppy also needs toilet breaks during the night. For the first weeks don’t expect to get a full nights sleep. Lastly, accidents will happen and it is super important not to scold your puppy for it. If anything it was your fault for not being fast enough to take him/her out. Just say “whoopsie” and take him/her outside and remember lots of praises when he/she goes.
5. Training your puppy
It is a very good idea to start training right from the beginning – sit, down, stay, come are all good starter cues and will make it so much easier down the road. You should also enroll in a puppy class near you. Make sure that the trainer is using positive reward-based training methods (the whole “pack-leader” mentality has long been disproved).
Socializing your puppy is one of the most essential things you need to do. Take them with you to new places and make the places a positive through play or treats. A dog that gets a happy association with a lot of new places will be less prone to fear and anxiety later on in life. Socialization with other dogs is also key in order to make your dog confident and secure around other dogs (read more here about how to create happy associations).
All dogs no matter age, size or gender needs daily enrichment. For a puppy it can be just going to a new place or meet a new friend, They also need playtime, time to chew and explore in general and it is super important to keep your dog enriched throughout his/her life.
Here is a link to our Enrichment playlist on Youtube where you can get ideas on how to enrich your dog:
8. Home-alone training
You should make sure that you are able to be home with your puppy for the first couple of weeks after his/her arrival to make it a nice and calm invitation into your home. After a couple of days you can slowly start your home-alone training (if you have doubts about this, contact me). A dog will want to be with us always and it is important that we remember that we are their lives and they depend on us for everything – food, walks, play, mental stimulation etc.
It is therefore important not to leave your dog home alone daily for hours on end as that will for sure lead to behavioral problems. A maximum of 5 hours daily is what the Swedish law says. I would recommend that you take your dog with you as much as possible. If not, make sure you find some good dog walkers or dog sitters that can take care of your dog while you are away.
Remember that I offer consultations for new puppy owners, so don’t hesitate to book an appointment today and let’s get you and your puppy of to a great start.