Your New Puppy- The First Weeks

Toilet Training

Your puppy will need to be taken outside regularly, especially after meals and when he has woken up. Stay in the garden with your puppy and praise him when he goes to the toilet. You will soon learn when he looks ‘restless’ and needing to ‘go’ to take him outside at these times. Remember he is just a baby and is still learning so will sometimes forget to go outside or get ‘caught short’. NEVER tell your puppy off for having an accident inside or you will make him anxious. Be patient, sometimes this may take a few days to weeks to learn.

Biting

Puppies bite! When playing with their littermates they bite a lot and need to learn how hard is too hard- this is called ‘Bite Inhibition’. If play gets too rough and a puppy bites too hard the play usually stops. Your puppy needs to learn this now, with you, before he gets his adult teeth. If he is biting too hard stop the game and stand still until your puppy calms down. Sometimes he will bite harder to try to get a reaction to start with but will then settle. When he is calm again you can re-start the game. Puppies love to bite children, generally because they are ‘exciting’ to play with! Get your children to play ‘Statues’ if the puppy is getting too excited where your children stand very still and quiet until your puppy settles down. Be patient, sometimes this may take a weeks to learn.

(book- The Blue Dog Parent Guide and CD, Tiny De Keuster – Chairman Blue Dog Project http:/www.thebluedog.org)

Sleeping

Puppies need lots of sleep, including during the day, just like babies. However, they need to learn to sleep throughout the night. Remember that your puppy has just left it’s mother and it’s littermates and come to live in an unfamiliar home with people it doesn’t know. Most puppies have never slept alone before or ALL night. ‘Crates’ have become popular to put puppies in to sleep at night but remember that your puppy may not be used to this and it can be very scary to be in ‘solitary confinement’ in a new home. If possible have a member of the family sleep near the puppy for the first few nights or let him sleep near you. Letting a puppy cry or bark night after night will not help him settle. ‘DAP (Dog Appeasing Pheromone)’ can also help your puppy sleep. Remember to take your puppy out to the toilet before you go to bed and expect to be up early for the first few weeks!

Training

A common misconception is that dogs are members of our human ‘Pack’ and that we must be the ‘Alpha Dog’ and not allow our dog to ‘Dominate’ us. However this outdated theory is scientifically incorrect. Dog training should now be based on ‘Positive Reinforcement’ methods where no punishment is used and puppies are encouraged to repeat behaviours we want and behaviours we consider inappropriate are ignored. We use ‘Clicker Training’ to learn and shape these required behaviours in our Puppy Classes.

Remember that your puppy is just a baby! Mistakes will happen.
Be very patient and consistent. Puppies have short attention spans and cannot learn if they are over excited, confused, tired, hungry or too full or if there are too many distractions present. However they can also learn very quickly and sometimes learn things you were not intending them to!