While we know that all puppies are unique and that each breed needs some specialist knowledge, there are a number of ‘global truths’ that apply to the majority of puppies, so here are our top ten puppy tips for living with and training your new (delightfully scrumptious) puppy.
- Start with a familiar smell:
Ask the breeder or home if you can take a blanket – this will smell like your pups family and will help keep your pup feel safe.
- It’s all new:
Think of your new puppy as a toddler that is seeing, hearing and smelling the world for the first time. So much is new and fresh and exciting – it’s hard to take it all in at once! If you don’t want it going straight in your puppy’s mouth make sure it’s out of reach. If you will be upset if it gets chewed, dribbled on or knocked over, you should put it upstairs and out of reach for now.
Make sure everyone in the house is setting the same rules and commands. It might sound silly but all call the puppy the same name – it’s common for different family members to come up with their own little nicknames and this can cause confusion in the early days.
- Reward the right behaviour:
Over-emphasise how pleased you are with good behaviour and teach your dog to desire reward, rather than avoid punishment for negative behaviour. For example; Ask your dog to sit when meeting new people, rather than telling them off for jumping. If they do jump, turn your back on them and ignore them – the chances are that the puppy will hate being ignored and will very quickly behave in order to get your attention and be praised. For noisy puppies, try your best not to give in to barking from their crate, ignore them (as long as they are safe) until they calm down and when they are calm and quiet let them out.
- Winter is coming:
Don’t wait until the wet weather arrives to get your puppy used to being brushed, bathed and towelled down. Roleplay it now, as when it gets really cold and mucky I’m sure you’d prefer not to chase the pup around the house whilst leaving muddy prints across the kitchen.
- Encourage independence:
We ALL think our puppies could not live a second without us, but (unfortunately for our little hearts) they can. Start leaving your puppy for short periods and try not to make a scene as you leave. You can try putting the radio on to give them something to listen to and rotate the toys you leave out to keep up your puppies interest in them.
- Safe space:
Having a crate for your puppy is brilliant for you and your puppy as it allows you to keep the puppy out of overwhelming situations and it also lets the puppy get some timeout when they want as well. Leave your pup be when they are in their crate so that they have a safe space that they can be in charge of. When your pup outgrows a crate let them have their own space, be it a bed, a rug or a place by the radiator that they feel is theirs.
Always be positive in tone when calling back your puppy, if you sound fearful or annoyed (even if you are and you’ve been hunting around the bushes for the little treasures) then your pup might not want to come back. Sound happy like you mean it!
Puppies will naturally need to ‘go’ after eating. To house-train a pup, make sure you are comfortable and well-dressed so that you can wait outside until the dog has been a ‘good dog’ before you have to go back. This might mean getting an extra layer or two on and making sure there is a sheltered space outside to hang around for a few minutes.
- Accept that puppies make a mess:
This should go without saying, but puppies will make a mess, lots of it, and most likely not at exactly convenient times. We can reduce the amount of mess but we can’t eradicate it entirely. The love that the puppies bring outweighs the mess, right?!
There are many more puppy training tips and techniques that you will need to know, and many puppy training books and videos you can read and watch. Always remember to think puppy-centric – you have more knowledge, experience, and methods for communicating than the puppy does.
Good luck! To both of you 😉