The first days you and your puppy spend together are wonderful, but it can also be unnerving. With a little advanced planning, you can make your transition easier on both of you.
Before your puppy arrives...
1. Have a family meeting. It is important to know who’s going to be the primary care giver, otherwise you’ll spend too much time arguing while your new puppy stares at his empty food bowl, or poops on the rug, or destroys a couch cushion.
2. Be prepared with supplies. Buy some of the basics ahead of time Here’s some of what you’ll need:
A crate, food and water bowls, food, and maybe some treats for training. Since a sudden switch in diet can upset his stomach, make sure you get food from us if you plan on changing his diet. We highly recommend Victor. The next items you will need will be a collar and leash, dog bed, toys, especially chew toys, stain- and odor-removing cleaners, and some baby gates to block off sections of your house. Visit our pages for information as to what you should be collecting now: http://www.tfgoldendoodles.com/faq and look at the answer for FAQ #12. There you will find links to each item on the supply list.
3. Prepare your house. This requires a little more work because you’re getting a puppy, they can be champion chewers and have a knack for getting into things they shouldn’t. So, you’ll want to do some organizing ahead of time.
Create a temporary, gated-off living space for your dog or pup, where he can’t damage your belongings or eat something that will make him sick. He’ll stay in this area whenever you’re not with him to prevent him from having house training accidents. A crate is recommended for when you leave your house and at night. Any time when he will be unsupervised for a long period of time.
Pick a room that’s a center of activity in your household, so your puppy won’t feel isolated, and be sure it’s one with easy-to-clean floors. The kitchen is often a good choice; you can block it off with baby gates if needed. Make sure you remove anything that you don’t want chewed on or soiled. What’s in your dog’s area will vary a bit depending on his age and how you are house training.
Puppy-proof to make sure anything that could hurt your dog–medicines, electrical cords, chemicals, certain plants–is out of reach.
4. Arrange for home care. Ideally, you can take a few days to a week off work to get your new puppy settled in and to start house training. It’ll also help the two of you bond, which in itself can make training easier. But even if you can take some time off, you’ll need a back-up team in place pretty quickly.
Here’s what you’ll want to shop around for:
dog walkers, dog daycare (after the puppy is 16 weeks old)
5. Find a good trainer or training class. Group obedience classes are great for bonding with your new dog and for learning how to communicate with and train your dog. They’re especially recommended for young puppies, since they give pups a chance to be socialized and to get comfortable with being around other canines and people–a socialization is key part of raising a safe, friendly dog.
Dog training is unregulated, and pretty much anyone can call herself a dog trainer, so you’ll want to do a little research to make sure you’ve found the right class and teacher.
6. Plan the trip home. Find a helper to come along when you go to pick up your puppy or bring a small crate. Young puppies who’ve never been on a long car ride before may get rattled. Plan to make a stop or two if needed. Stay away from rest areas, or any high traffic dog areas. Stopping at a gas station or fast-food restaurant are good options. Make sure you bring a plastic bag to pick up after your puppy if needed.
After your puppy arrives....
1. Keep it pleasant but low-key at first. For a shy puppy, being taken to a new place and then deluged with lots of loud, lively strangers can be really overwhelming. The first day or two, keep the mood mellow and calm.
2. Start your training ASAP. The earlier you start, the faster and easier it will be to teach good manners and the better the lessons will stick. The two most important things to teach your dog are:
house training, getting comfortable around people and other dogs, no jumping up, and no mouthing humans.
3. Set up a routine. A routine helps with house training and is reassuring. Figure out a schedule for walks, meals, bathroom breaks, and exercise, –and try to stick to it.
4. Find a vet. It’s especially important for a puppy’s first vet visit to be a pleasant experience so that he learns to take trips to the vet in stride. Ask around for referrals and schedule your first appointment. Your puppy will need a check-up and to complete his vaccinations.
5. Find a groomer
Before long, your puppy will need to visit a groomer. This visit is of vital importance that it be a pleasant experience. Visiting the groomer can be a very frightening and stressful experience for your puppy. The groomer will comb, bathe and use a blow dryer, scissors, and clippers on your puppy. This is not your puppy's first experience with any of these tools as we have been very careful to keep him clean and we have given him his first sanitary clip. However, a groomer that does not know how to handle a puppy can damage all the good experience that we have implemented. A groomer with puppy experience is a MUST. Make sure you ask around and get referrals if you do not already have a trusted groomer.
Bottom line: Your puppy’s first few weeks home will likely be a period of huge adjustment, for both of you. You can make the transition much easier all around if you prep in advance, gather a team...vet, groomer, trainer, and dog walker, and set up a routine right away.