8 Tips to a Well-Adjusted New Puppy

March 26, 2013

GatorBringing home a new puppy is exciting.  He’s adorable, cuddly and so sweet.  But that little bundle of fur can quickly grow into a badly-behaved, canine adolescent if he doesn’t receive some training right at the beginning.

No one would advocate serious obedience training for a young puppy, but he’s never to young to learn routine and that some things are off-limits.  Here are a few suggestions for getting your baby Fido off on the right track:

  1.  Train your puppy to a crate.  If you begin by using the crate to confine the puppy at any time you can’t watch him, it will be easier to housebreak the baby.  Puppies don’t like to soil the area where they sleep.  Most puppies will crate-train easily.  Occasionally, you’ll run into a head case (like my Weimaraner) this is so claustrophobic, he can’t tolerate confinement, but most animals quickly learn to regard the crate as their “den” and prefer to be there at quiet times.
  2. Walk the puppy every half hour and after eating.  He may not “go” every time, but when does pee or poop, shower him with praise.  It won’t take long for him to learn.
  3. If you have other pets, introduce the newcomer slowly.  Keep the puppy separated from the others until they have accepted the baby.  Don’t allow the little to harass a senior pet.  You may think he’s adorable but to an elderly dog, he’s just a nuisance to be tolerated.  You older dog deserves peace in his old age.
  4. Enroll your new baby in puppy training classes.  These courses are designed to teach you how to work with your puppy at home, and they teach basic socialization skills and manners.
  5. Familiarize your puppy with the word “no” and the phrases, “no bite” and “leave it.”  Your little one may not always obey instantly, but he will quickly learn the meaning and begin  the process of learning to obey a command.
  6. Before you bring home a new puppy, be certain that no one in the home is allergic to dogs.  Nothing is sadder than a puppy starting its life in a home with a family and then, through no fault of its own, ending up in a shelter.  Please don’t allow this to happen to your pet.
  7. Start as you mean to go on.  My Mother used to use this phrase in reference to raising children, but it works for pets, as well.  If you don’t want your puppy lounging on the sofa, don’t allow it to ever begin.  If you don’t want your older dog sleeping in your bed, don’t allow it to do so as a puppy.  I made that mistake with Gator.  When I brought him home, we had a long drive from Little Rock to Southwest Florida and spent a night in a pet-friendly motel along the way.  Our new baby slept in the kingsized bed between us that night, much to my husband’s disapproval.  Once home, Gator stayed in our bed, because it was so easy to know when he became restless and needed to go outside.  Because I was right there, I was able to get him outside quickly and he was housebroken completely within 2 weeks.  But Gator grew….and grew…and grew!  At 9 months old, my very patient husband declared that it had to end.  Getting tough with a crate-phobic pup weighing 60 lbs at that point wasn’t easy.  Don’t make the mistake I did.  Begin as you want it to be.
  8. Shower your new puppy with love and attention.  Puppies are babies.  They require time and a lot of patience.  Be sure you have all of that to give before you bring him home.

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