What are the first two thoughts of a new puppy owner? “I got a new puppy!” “Now what do I do?”
Congratulations are in order. For the next 10 or more years, there will be more fun, more licks, more tail wags than one can imagine. The first month will be the start of a great life together.
What to do first?
Puppy-proof!! Puppies tend to destroy everything in their path. They like to chew! Go through the area the in which the puppy will spend the most time and remove anything that might get destroyed or that can harm the puppy. For example: shoes, socks, kids’ toys, plants, books, etc.
The first month will be all about letting the puppy settle in and creating positive first impressions. Here are a few tips to think about:
• Making introductions – socialize the new puppy to as many people, dogs, places, and situations as possible. Try to make each experience as pleasant and rewarding.
• Crate training – slowly introduce the crate by making it comfortable. If the puppy arrived with a blanket, use it to help him feel more at home.
• Start housetraining – close supervision is the key to success. Take the puppy outside frequently, and pick a bathroom spot outside. Reward the puppy every time they eliminate outdoors. For example, use a specific word or phrase that can eventually be used to remind them it’s time for a potty break.
• Schedule a vet visit – this should be the first step as soon as possible after bringing the puppy home.
• Teach the puppy his name – Put some treats in your pocket, call his name and toss a treat. Toss the treat even if he doesn’t look around. It gets his attention.
To start off on the right paw, the puppy will need to know what you expect from him. The foundation of training is based on positive reinforcement. This will help him feel more secure in meeting goals laid out going forward. Puppies can begin very simple training starting as soon as they come home. Remember to keep puppy training session to 5 – 10 minutes, and always end with a positive note. By the end of the training session, reward the puppy for success. If the puppy is having trouble learning a new behavior or gets frustrated, try again later.