All of us hope our darling puppy will grow into a sociable, friendly, well-mannered adult dog.
This won't happen overnight. And it also won't happen without laying a good foundation and providing consistent encouragement. A plan is a great help.
Socialise your puppy to your world
This is not just about 'puppy classes' it's about giving your puppy lots of safe encouraging experiences in the first 3 to 4 months of their lives, exposing your puppy to your world so that they can participate happily and fully in it as adult dogs. Your Breeder may have started a socialisation programme and have lots of good ideas. If not, there's plenty of great information on line about how to incorporate activities into a young puppy's life. The first few weeks are crucial, but it's never too late and the effort you put in will help your puppy to feel happy and secure in all sorts of circumstances. Have a good chat to your Vet about how to socialise your puppy while you wait for vaccinations to be effective - DON'T WAIT UNTIL YOUR PUPPY IS FULLY VACCINATED TO START. You can carry your puppy in cafes, on boats, on walks, meeting people in your neighbourhood so they can see, hear and smell life safely while their immunity is growing,
And of course do go to puppy classes - these are always fun and a great place to get good practical advice and compare cute puppy stories while they play.
Get to know your Vet & handle your puppy
Regular Vet visits, vaccinations, bathing and grooming are key to maintain the health of your puppy.
We recommend you deliberately handle your dog everyday for the first few months - touching toes, ears, rubbing your hands gently over limbs. This will make Vet and Groomer (if relevant) visits much easier for the rest of your dog's life.
Make sure you read and talk to your Vet about the right time to de-sex your puppy (it may be a bit later than you think for some breeds, based on recent research).
Find a balance between rest & play
Young puppies need lots of sleep, and a place they can relax and re-set when excited, away from the hustle and bustle of family life.
If you've never used a crate or pen, have a look into this. Many people find this a great solution and a help with toilet-training. Lots of dogs love their crate and choose to sleep in it for the rest of their lives. It can make it easier to 'air b'n'b' with your dog too.
If your dog is going to sleep outside, or be outside while you are at work - start early and provide a sturdy, insulated dog house.
When not sleeping, your puppy will be full of energy for play. Safe, fun play is what you are after - indoors and outdoors. Be careful if you have young children that both puppy and child are enjoying playtime. Toys, especially chew-toys are a great aid when your puppy is teething.
If you know a vaccinated, well behaved calm older dog, a play date can be as much fun as with another puppy, and can have the benefit of the older dog putting limits on extreme behaviour. Be careful again that both dog and puppy are enjoying themselves.
Until your puppy is fully vaccinated you should avoid places where unknown dogs may have left germs e.g. dog parks. But this doesn't mean that you can't play and start to practise walking on a loose leash in a safe environment - your backyard or a friend's. Once you can go out regularly, make sure you have an ID tag with phone number attached to your puppy's collar (better to be safe than sorry).
In our experience mental exercise e.g. learning their own name and commands (sit, down, stay) and even tricks, is just as likely to tire a puppy out for a sleep as a vigorous physical play session. When your puppy is a bit older you can make interactive toys to practise problem-solving (there are lots of great ideas on-line). This stimulates your dog mentally and helps relieve boredom which might otherwise result in damage to furniture etc.
Whether your puppy is eating dry food, wet food or raw food - make sure you're buying food that's particularly aimed at puppies - you want a good foundation for growing bones. Set some house-rules about feeding from the table (or not), treats between meals (or not) and make a pact to keep to them, as it's hard work to stop bad habits later, particularly if your dog has appealing eyes.
All puppies will get there - it's not a race and don't compare yourselves to others in puppy class. Just be consistent and 'train yourself' initially rather than relying on your puppy's memory. Give your puppy every opportunity for success and celebrate when they get it right. Making the whole family use a special word will help with consistency. Some puppies relapse when there are exciting distractions - this may take a lot of patience - remind yourself it's only temporary. One day, you'll suddenly realise they've got it. In the meantime blotting with a 1:5 mix of white vinegar:water in a spray bottle is great for removing odours and stains.
We love dogs and understand their needs for stimulation, companionship, exploration and engaging exercise. We only employ trusted individuals who have extensive experience in animal handling and care. Feel relaxed knowing your best friend is in good hands.
Our individual walks deliver customised solutions to meet your pet’s exercise and companionship needs.
Contact WALKIES now - we'd love to meet you and your dog