Part 3

Welcome back to our Blog Series about Puppyhood and Dog Adoption!  In Part 3, we’ll go over what happens when you welcome your new family member into your home.  I’ve divided this information into short, easily understandable sections and have shared them over the past few months.  I hope you’ll find this information helpful and, please feel free to check out our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/trulyforcefree/) for more information and to ask questions.  I hope to see you there!

Home at Last!

The day you bring puppy home is exciting for everyone.  It is important to keep in mind that your puppy is leaving his mother and siblings and the only house he has ever known.  Or, if you’re adopting a rescue, realize that the dog is coming into a new situation it will take time for them to adjust to their new surroundings.  Coming into your house can be as foreign as you going to a new country where you do not know the language and you do not know anyone.  It is critical to start a routine when you first get home.  You also should keep your house fairly quiet for the first few days to week of your puppy’s arrival.  This blog section includes many ideas on how to get your puppy into a routine and to prevent problems from occurring.  Many things can be altered to fit your lifestyle, however if there are things you do not want your puppy or adult dog to do. For example, if you do not want your adult dog to sleep on the bed or couch, do not let your puppy sleep there.

  • Keep your household fairly quiet and let your puppy have naps and rest time.
    • It is very tempting to have friends come to see your puppy and have other dogs come over to play. You also may want to play with your puppy non-stop.
      • For the first week or so, you may have people come see the puppy, just don’t make it a large party.
      • Make sure you let your puppy nap in a quiet place throughout the day. Puppies need 18-20 hours of sleep (since they are growing so fast).  This is a perfect opportunity to teach your puppy to sleep in a crate.
      • As your puppy gets used to his new home, you can gradually increase visitors and experiences.
      • It is very important that your puppy experiences as much as possible, just be sure to not overwhelm your puppy or rescue dog.
  • Especially for puppies, start crate training right way. Not only will it help with housetraining it also allows your puppy to have a quiet, safe place to sleep during the day and night.
    • When you put your puppy in the crate, give him something to chew or play with. Stuffed Kong’s are great for this, but other chews are good too.
    • If your puppy whines, it is important that you do not let him out until he is quiet.
    • It is helpful to feed, potty and play with your puppy prior to putting him in the crate. With this strategy, all of his needs are met, and he will be more willing to rest in the crate.
      • If a puppy gets overtired, they often become extra mouthy and go into a “puppy frenzy”. Often when you put your puppy in his crate during this time, he may cry more at first but then will fall fast asleep from exhaustion.
  • Housetraining a puppy can be very tedious and frustrating for many people. The key to stress free housetraining is to create a routine and remember a few key things.
    • Consistency, Confinement and Reward are 3 important words to remember when house training.
      • To be consistent, it is helpful to have a routine. Puppies usually need to urinate and/ or defecate when they wake up and after a meal.  Be sure to take your puppy to the “potty spot” when he wakes, after he eats and if he has not gone potty within the hour if you are playing with him.
        • Consistency also includes what type of surface you want your adult dog to eliminate on. If you have a large breed and you do not want to ever use indoor potty pads, then do not teach your puppy to use potty pads.
        • Dogs often prefer the surface that they were trained on to eliminate. If they learn to use a potty pad, it may be difficult to get them to use grass.
      • By confining your puppy, you are decreasing the chance of accidents. If you are busy making dinner and the puppy is in another room, he will likely have an accident.
        • Most puppies do not want to eliminate in a crate or kennel (if it is small enough) so when you cannot watch them, crate time will help them learn to “hold it”. They should never be left in a crate so long that they are forced to eliminate in the crate.  This will not only slow your house training down; it can be stressful for your puppy.  If the puppy is in a crate, you can take him directly to the potty spot to eliminate, creating an instant success.
        • Another technique that can be used that is not actually confinement is tethering the puppy to you so you can keep an eye on him at all times. By tying a leash or rope to your body that is attached to the puppy’s collar, you will always know what your puppy is up to and can prevent accidents.
        • Another use for confinement is preventing your puppy from getting into dangerous situations. By nature, puppies are curious and they like to chew things.  A puppy without supervision can get into a lot of trouble!
      • Rewarding your puppy for appropriate elimination is a key to them understanding where they should go. When you take your puppy out to potty, be sure to be very boring.  Do not play with him until after he eliminates or he will not learn to eliminate quickly.  As soon as your puppy is finished urinating or defecating, give him a high value treat.
        • Some puppies have a very easy time understanding a schedule. For example, they urinate every time they go out but defecate only after meals.  Others can be elusive and it may be beneficial to chart their potty routine until you see a pattern.
        • To prevent the chance of you forgetting a treat when you go outside with your puppy, it may be helpful to put a sealable container outside so you are always prepared. Be sure that no one can access the treats, including your puppy or other wild animals that may come into your yard.
      • If an accident occurs, it is important to realize it is your fault. The puppy is learning and he needs you to teach him.  So, if an accident occurs, clean it thoroughly with an enzyme solution (like Nature’s Miracle or Anti Icky Poo) and pay more attention next time.
  • Be sure to start your regular routine right away with your puppy. Housetraining and crate training alone will help create a routine.  Many people are home with their puppy for the first few days or weeks.  This is a great way to begin to bond with your puppy but if you will eventually be going back to work, it is best to get your puppy used to that routine before you actually go back to work.  For example, if you plan to have your puppy in the crate when you are not home, it is not fair to him, if his first experience with the crate is when you leave.  If you will be having a dog walker or friend come check on the puppy during the day, be sure he or she comes by before the first official day.

Bringing the puppy home involves a lot of change in your routine.  You can begin training your puppy as soon as he gets to your home.

I hope this information has been helpful and that you and your new puppy or rescue dog will have many happy years together!

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