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Bringing your new puppy home

Now that you’re home with your puppy, it becomes your responsibility and challenge to educate and socialise this puppy so that it may become a pleasant, useful, happy and well adjusted companion.

It is important to understand that a eight week-old pup is just a baby. He has just been separated from his mother and litter mates, from familiar faces and surroundings. This is a BIG adventure for him and your job is to make the experience as pleasant as possible while not overindulging him. You should try to be reassuring and friendly, and avoid having many people over to meet the pup. There will be plenty of time later for getting to know friends and neighbours. You need to be careful not to overwhelm him, let him get used to his new surroundings.

Physical Surroundings

You should provide a quiet area to place his crate, a place where he can rest in peace. He will need a lot of sleep. In fact, at that age, a puppy spends more time sleeping than doing anything else. You must never disturb or disrupt his sleep. Do not put a blanket or pillow in the crate, as this could encourage him to relieve himself during the night.
You should puppy-proof the house, remove all sources of potential danger for the pup. Electrical wires must be protected from his sharp teeth; small objects like coins and marbles should be removed, plants should be out of reach, and generally anything you don’t want chewed up should be stored safely out of his reach.
You should put his feed and water bowls in a quiet area and make sure he has access to clean water at all times.
I suggest keeping a box in which you can store his toys when he is in his crate.

Puppy psychology

The first thing you have to think about is your general attitude towards the pup. Most people want their dog to be a friend, companion, playmate and guardian. If you want your dog to love and protect you, you must first bond with him and earn his trust and respect. Raising a pup successfully is a lot like raising children. You must determine which behaviors are acceptable, desirable, and unacceptable. You must think of how you will encourage and nurture the desirable, and avoid and discourage the unpleasant behaviors. You need to be consistent and never let him get away with something he isn’t allowed to do.

Puppy Discipline

One must realize that there is no use in punishing a young pup. This puppy is the equivalent a young baby and we would never think of expecting good manners from a six-month old child, would we? This is not the time for punishments and reprimands. This is the period for imprinting and encouraging positive behavior. This is the best time to show the puppy that when he pleases you, he is rewarded with attention, and this is how he will learn to want to please you. A dog that wants to please you will be easy to train and will generally not need harsh discipline.
So if I can’t punish him, then how do I keep him from doing things I don’t want? For example biting hands, chewing the furniture, eating shoes, peeing on the floor!!!
It is important to understand that a baby can do no wrong. He simply does what he does because he is a puppy. It is your job and responsibility to ensure that he doesn’t get into trouble and do things that are annoying to others or dangerous to himself.
The best way to ensure that he doesn’t get into trouble is supervision. Pay constant and total attention to the pup when he is not in his crate. If you are watching him, he can’t get in trouble. This is also the best way to toilet-train him very quickly. By this I mean that the puppy should be in his crate at all times if you are not actively supervising him.
This may sound harsh, but it is only for a while in the puppy’s life; he will sleep when you put him in the crate and he will learn his place in the house. You are the boss, not the other way around. When you have had enough, it’s time to go. If he cries, ignore him. If you cave in, you are giving him control and loosing your role as pack leader. He will not respect a weak leader and will always seek to challenge your authority and, as he grows older, this will become more and more problematic. This is the ideal moment in your relationship to ingrain that principle firmly in his head. You are the boss, you decide what goes, you are a constant and fair leader, and you will absolutely not give in or take no for an answer. That is the sort of person a dog respects. The parameters are cristal clear, the dog knows what is acceptable and what is not. The dog is comfortable when he knows where his place is in the pack. If you are fair and loving even in discipline, he will respect and want to please you.

Avoiding Undesirable Behaviors

Since we agree that there is no reason to discipline a young pup, how then do we deal with annoying habits they have?

It is a good idea to always have a toy between you and the dog when playing so that your hands and clothes are not the object of the play, so that he directs his attacks at the toy. When you do put your hands on the pup, it should be in a calming way, to soothe, pet, stroke him. He should associate your touch with love and nurturing, calm and pleasure. Play games that are not confrontational (tug, roughhousing, etc.). Encourage games that will bring you and the dog closer to each other such as fetch, hide-and-seek, etc.
Jumping up on people
It is very annoying when people come to the door and the puppy jumps all over them. The best way to avoid this is to put the puppy in his crate until the guests are settled in and you are ready to focus on the pup. Then you take him out of the crate and (after peeing outside) introduce him in a controlled setting.
You can also put him on his leash and control his jumping by keeping him at a distance if you want him to be at the door when the guests arrive.
Chewing objects
The best way to deal with this is supervision. You must remove all objects from his grasp or consider them fair game. If he is chewing on objects such as table or chair legs, then you can simple say a firm NO and pick him up and remove him from the area. You can try spraying some repellent on the surface such as Citronella or Bitter Apple available in pet supply stores. Hitting or screaming at the pup will not make him stop: it will only make him fear and avoid you. (keep in mind we are talking about a very young puppy here, not a four month old pup).

If things seem unmanageable…call for back up!

Do not hesitate to seek help from a professional dog trainer. I recommend the trainer visit you in your home with all the familly members present. This way the trainer can best assess the situation and see how the dog behaves in his environment. In home training may seem a bit more expensive, but in the long run it is more efficient and adresses issues in a much more personalised manner. Get references form your veternarian clinic to help you find the right trainer.



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About Your Dog, is your online ressource of articles on puppy and dog health, dog training and information about your pet dog