Bringing your new puppy
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
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.
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.
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
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
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,
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.
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
If things seem unmanageable…call for back
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.