A Guide for New Puppy Owners
Congratulations on getting your new puppy. Exciting times lie ahead with lots of new experiences, laughter and joy.
As with any new member of the household, you can expect some challenges along the way, it is best to prepare for a great start together.
Here are a few tips and tricks to get you started.
Get prepared in advance before the 4 legged bundle of curiosity and mischief arrives.
If you have any other existing pets, get the scent of your new pup into the house in advance, you could ask the breeder / owner to let you have a blanket the pup has slept on in advance, or visit the pup for a pre-home coming cuddle, and leave your jumper around for sniffing by other pet residents.
Start with finding a suitable place for puppy to sleep. Dog beds come in many shapes and sizes but you are initially looking for somewhere that they can stretch out comfortably.
Suitable bowls for mealtimes – they may need to be a particular shape for the breed – floppy eared dogs like spaniels benefit from bowls with an inward slant, larger breeds need a raised bowl. Products made of stainless steel or ceramic have proven their worth as they are easy to clean and hardly ever break.
Food? Stick to the breeder or former owner recommends. You can change gradually over time if you wish to but keep the pup eating familiar food initially to avoid the extra stress of upset tums.
Do you need a dog licence? Check with your local council as to their regulations. If so – you will need to get it before you get your new pet. The cost is about £12.50 pa with some owners getting reduced fees.
Find the best pet liability insurance that you can and look out for puppy training classes, or socialisation groups. If there isn’t one in your area you could start one, your local Facebook page could be a good place to look.
Homesickness: During the first nights, your puppy will probably miss it’s mother and siblings. Place its sleeping place next to your bed. Being close to you as the new person of trust will be good for the little pup and will create a bond between you. In addition to that, a blanket or a toy from the original dog family will bring a bit of comfort for the puppy into the new home.
If you don’t want to encourage the pup to be in your room, invest in a crate that you can make cosy and safe, use the blanket you bought from the previous owner, and possibly a beating heart cuddly toy. Throw a blanket over 3 sides of the crate to keep them warm and make them feel safe.
Make your home puppy-safe before your they move in. Puppies are very inquisitive and they will try to climb everywhere and chew everything. To save stress (to you) - put your favourite things out of reach for a few weeks. Power cables and other sources of danger should be kept out of the puppy’s reach, too. You will need to monitor them!
Will any of your rooms be out of bounds? The kitchen? Children’s bedrooms? Use child gates and barriers to enforce this from the start. Make sure your kids know the rules too so that confusion is avoided.
If you need to leave your pup alone for a few minutes, their crate should become a place of safety and familiarity. Never put him in there as punishment for naughtiness. Alternatively a home or mobile kennel is helpful.
However, you need to acquaint the puppy slowly and in small steps to staying in a closed kennel on its own. To make the kennel a place where the puppy likes to be, you need a cuddly blanket, a water bowl and a tasty chewing bone or toy.
The dog needs to learn that this is a place for retreat when it needs a break. During short periods of rest, you can start to close the door of the kennel for a moment from time to time. Open the door again while the puppy still feels relaxed and happy.
The kennel should never be an unloved prison. Prolong the time that the puppy stays in the kennel on its own step by step. That way you can do short jobs quickly and calmly while your puppy is safe in the kennel.
HOUSE TRAINING! So very important for peaceful co-existence!
For this training, you need a place where your dog is allowed to pee and poo and that you can reach almost instantly. This can be a garden or the grass verge outside your door. If nothing of the kind is available, you can use a puppy toilet in your home. The basic rule is: take your puppy there after sleeping, feeding and playing, and wait patiently until it has relieved itself.
Go outside with him at least every hour and wait for him to do his business – then remember to give lots of praise.
This way, your puppy learns with positive re-enforcement rather than if you punish it for having an accident. Should things go wrong, a urine stain remover comes in handy. Stains and smells removed biologically vanish completely – but be prepared to be extra patient while he is learning.
Get your pup used to being groomed early. Our grooming massage gloves are an effective way to start off – be gentle and patient.
(Notice the word "patient" a lot!)
Playing is wonderful to bond with your pup.
Your puppy will be very enthusiastic if you play together at eye level. Particularly at the beginning, there is nothing more important than extensive playing.
Take time for this, as it gives you the chance to get to know each other and strengthen the bond between you.
In addition, it is also useful to train future behaviour in games.
A good rule is particularly important at this point: If the dog’s teeth get into contact with your skin, interrupt the game.
This allows your dog to develop a reliable bite inhibition, and it will treat humans equally carefully in the future.
Individual behaviour in games also depends on the breed. A Retriever, originally trained for fetching, will be more careful than a Terrier, whose nature is to hunt.
The right puppy toy should be robust but not too hard. Particularly suitable materials are TPR and natural rubber as well as ropes made of cotton.
You can do without squeakers or similar things. These sounds are much too exciting for most puppies.
Make sure the toy is large enough, so that the puppy cannot swallow it. Do not leave your puppy unattended with a toy. As soon as the puppy starts to destroy the toy, take it away and offer a chewing bone instead.
At the end of each game, the toys are tidied away. That way, the toys remain special and the excitement lasts longer.
If you have children, make sure they are aware of the importance of play and training. Let them know what to do if the pup starts to get too excited - take it down a level for all concerned.
Licking and Chewing
Licking plates are a great way to keeping your puppy occupied & relaxed.
Most dogs really enjoy licking snacks of pâtés, dairy products or wet feed with abandon. At the same time, this has a calming effect.
The snuffle bowl challenges your puppy’s nose. Hide treats between the tassels and fabric layers to be discovered. The optimal challenge that never gets boring. These toys keep your pet is busy for a long time without consuming too many snacks.
Even a part of the daily feed ration can be given with one of these two products instead of out of a bowl. Also chewing is a natural instinct. Dogs should be offered options to do this from a young age. Chewing toys and thin chewing rolls are particularly suitable for young puppies.
Start by choosing pure rawhide products to get the dog used to these chewing objects. Later you can treat the dog to more elaborate products.
Education is necessary, for it sets the rules for your future life together.
At least equally important, however, is a bond full of trust between you and your dog. Therefore, refrain from punishment if possible. There are sufficient educational approaches that do without it.
You need to understand that a puppy wants to repeat behaviour that has been rewarded.
For you this means that you reward your puppy with feed or a game as soon as it does something right. Suitable bags help you to have treats and toys ready at any time.
Small trainer snacks are particularly good rewards. Tasty pâtes that can be licked from a tube are an even more intense reward.
Dog training schools or a will support you in educating your dog.
Training with a clicker is one option to achieve learning success with positive confirmation alone. This scientifically based learning method does not work with punishment. A soft clicker with an extra soft sound is particularly suitable for puppies.
Dog activity strategy games provide exciting alternatives and offer your little friend the first challenges in memory sport and dexterity training. There are many different options where to hide treats that the dog has to get by pulling, pushing or lifting some part of the game. To avoid frustration, make it as easy as possible for your puppy at the start and only increase the level of difficulty slowly.
Check out the wonderful Dog Father Graeme Hall for more hints! (I'm such a fan!)
A relaxed walk together with your puppy isn't a given. Practise walking on a loose leash right from the start. Begin with small training rounds, in which you never allow the leash to become tight.
If your dog begins to pull, stop walking. Your puppy should not get into the habit of pulling on the leash to get ahead. Besides walking obediently on a leash, a good Recall of your pet is an important skill.
A general rule: a five-minute walk per month of age. Give your puppy time to explore everything at it’s own pace.
A front bag is ideal for short periods of rest.
You should always have poo bags with you and for longer trips a water bottle and a bowl.
At the beginning, puppies will follow their parent-person of their own accord. Make use of that to train recall in your puppy.
Practise in a fenced in area. As an alternative, retractable leashes are a potential safeguard.
Call your pet and attract it with joint playing or running. When the puppy comes to you, reward it with a really delicious snack or extra praise.
Joining a Puppy Training Class will help you to learn great habits and training skills so that your puppy will learn exactly what is expected of him within the family pack.
Harnesses or collars?
Harnesses have various advantages compared to collars. For example, they protect the sensitive neck, e.g. if a flexi® or a tracking leash is used.
However, larger breeds might exert more power in a harness than in a collar.
Keep in mind that your puppy grows very quickly. The harness should be generously adjustable in size. Collars as well as harnesses need to be fitted to the growth of the dog regularly.
All of our collars and harnesses come with details on measurement before ordering.
Travelling with your pup
Your puppy is particularly inquisitive and willing to learn up to its 16th week.
Use this time to explore as many things as possible together. It would be ideal if, already in this early embedding phase, your dog could have positive experiences with everything it should be able to cope with later.
Try to find the right number of new experiences, for too many new impressions will overstress the little one at first.
For transporting the puppy in a car, you will need a suitable box, a car seat or car harness.
A dog that has not been secured can be thrown forward uncontrollably in case of an accident and this is extremely dangerous for the dog as well as for everyone else in the car.
Note that with large breeds, it is important to be gentle on the joints during growth. So, for example, jumps from a car should be avoided. If you often go by car, it can be advisable to buy a ramp.
Special thanks to the lovely people at Trixie for some of the content in the article.
Further training hints from the Dog Father - the wonderful Graeme Hall; www.dogfather.co.uk/catagory/articles-and-tips
Personalised puppy blanket; https://www.paws-here.com/collections/puppies-sigh/products/copy-of-adorable-personalised-puppy-blanket
Personalised soft toy comforter; https://www.paws-here.com/collections/puppies-sigh/products/personalised-puppy-comforter
Puppy pen – modelled by cats! https://www.paws-here.com/collections/puppies-sigh/products/foldable-pet-puppy-pen
Soft tweed bone toy; https://www.paws-here.com/collections/dog-toys/products/tweed-dog-bone
Fun chew – add treats; https://www.paws-here.com/collections/dog-toys/products/pineapple-dog-chew
Seat belt – attach to dogs harness; https://www.paws-here.com/collections/random-but-probably-useful/products/vehicle-dog-seat-belt