Bringing a new puppy into your home is always an exciting time! If you make proper preparations beforehand, you will make the homecoming easy for yourself and your new family member. Think of bringing an adopted two year old into your home. It would be pretty chaotic if you brought the child home with nothing done to provide for his needs or safety! Imagine the child exploring your home without any supervision! Think of him taking care of and making decisions for himself. Wow, you can just imagine the consequences! Now picture this same child being well-tended. Being taught what is right and wrong consistently. Praising and talking to him, yet firm when something needs corrected. Being fed quality food and vitamins in a scheduled way and taking care of his physical needs by providing needed vaccinations and doctor visits. If you think of your new puppy in this same way, you will be taking a step in the right direction towards developing a super family companion!
We recommend the "Umbilical Method" of training, promoted by the Monks Of New Skete. Keep your puppy on a leash inside and outside of the house. That way you can tell when they have to potty and will be right there for any corrections that need to be made. As your puppy becomes used to obeying you, short times then longer and longer times can be spent off of the leash. If they start ignoring you, put them back on the leash and go back to reinforce good behavior.
The next thing to consider will be safe-proofing your home from exploring mouths! Take a close look around the house and remove anything that you don't want to be chewed on. Many things can actually be a choking hazard, so pay close attention to removing small items such as socks, children's toys, etc. Move magazines and books to a higher spot and check to make sure that all electrical cords are out of reach. Some plants can actually be poisonous, know what type of plants that you own and remove those that will be a danger. It might help to actually get down on your hands and knees to check out what would be the puppy's point of view. Taking these precautions will not only protect your new puppy and keep him safe, but will also help protect those things that you don't want destroyed! Check out our link about "Common Dog Toxins" to become familiar with what will be a danger to your new puppy.
Safety inside the home is another point to consider. Remove rocking chairs to another room where puppy will not be. These can be extremely dangerous and cause irreversible damage and even death! An expandable gate will work well to protect your new family member from going where he shouldn't be, and protect him from falling down a long flights of stairs. If you have mouse or rat bait, weed killer, anti-freeze or coolant around, take extra precaution to store these in a place that cannot be accessed by your children or your new puppy, these are deadly!
One of the greatest tools for training will be your puppy's crate. This will be his "safe" spot when you aren't able to watch him closely and where he will be sleeping at night. Eventually this will also become his den when he needs a break. Keep his favorite toys in there, this will be a reward for him when you have to put him in for a while during the day, and at night while you are sleeping. (Because puppies get bored easily, make sure that he has plenty of his own toys to play with. Avoid toys that can be chewed and ingested. I don't know how many owners have warned me about their puppy ingesting soft material (one puppy had swallowed two socks!) and having to have surgery to remove it. There are many types of great toys available, just watch closely to see what toys work best for your puppy!) You can train your pup to "kennel up" by offering a small treat when he goes inside and saying the words at the same time he is walking in. If used consistently, this will be an excellent help in housebreaking your new puppy.
Outdoor safety also needs to be considered. Secure fencing will be top priority in keeping your new puppy safe. Make sure that it is tall enough for your adult dog and close enough to the ground that he can't squirm under. Unfortunately, some dogs like to dig their way out. We have found that installing a 1 1/2 foot wide piece of fencing on the ground around the fence line and under the gate will take care of that problem. Some dogs also like to jump over. We have found that using an electric fence charger with a live wire around the top of the fence actually trains your dog to not jump over, if started right away.
Now, take a close look around your yard and look at things in the puppy's point of view. Is there anything around that he would like to chew on? Remove these things and provide lots of toys in his outdoor area. He will automatically establish the habit of chewing on his toys. When he is more mature, you can start returning things one by one, letting him know that they are off limits. Next, are the plants in your yard safe? Make it a point to check out what plants you have and remove those that are toxic to animals.
The last thing that we will discuss is pool safety. If your puppy will have access to your pool, make sure that he knows where the steps are. Although puppies can swim for a short while, they get exhausted and can drown quickly. Train your puppy by taking him into the pool with you and teach him how to swim to the steps. After he knows where to swim to, try getting out of the pool and have your puppy do this on his own. If your pool area is not secure, never leave a puppy alone outside until he is mature and able to consistently climb out on his own.
Before receiving your new puppy, check with your breeder to see what brand of food he has been eating and have some on hand for his homecoming. If you choose to use a different brand of food, be sure to change to the new food slowly. Mix about 2/3 of what he has been eating with 1/3 of what you want him to have. Use this blend for a day or two, then over the course of the next week or so, slowly start adding in the new food until it is completely replacing the original. This will help prevent an upset stomach and possible diarrhea. Always use a food specially formulated for puppies and look for quality brands that do not contain artificial flavors, colors, preservatives and additives.
We recommend feeding your puppy three times a day, as much as they want. After about a half an hour, remove the bowl until the next feeding. Withholding food and water after 6:00 p.m. will help your puppy fully eliminate before being crated for the night.
You should be able to feel a nice layer of fat over the ribs. Sometimes puppies go off of their feed when they go to their new home. Adding a small spoonful of canned food, mixed with the dry, morning and evening, will encourage a healthy appetite. Expect to drop to two feedings a day over the course of the first year. Keep an eye on their weight, it's best to be a little bit on the lean side to encourage healthy joint growth.
By keeping these tips in mind, you will begin a successful start with your new family member. Good luck and enjoy your new puppy!
Authored And Copyrighted By Janet Wright
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