If you welcomed a new puppy into your home this Christmas then make sure you set them up for success by taking these important steps now...
Let them decompress
Your new puppy has just experienced a massive upheaval. They've moved from the home they've always known to a new home with strangers (and maybe new animals), they've left their mum and probably quite a few other puppies.
Be patient with your new puppy and make their transition as easy as possible by providing a safe, comfortable place for them to retreat to if they need to. Let them initiate contact with you rather than handling them a lot. Learn and listen to their body language and always respect their boundaries.
Provide calming activities for them using their daily food allowance: snuffle mats, likc mats, puzzle feeders or appropriately sized Kongs.
Socialisation isn't what you think it is
Yes, experiencing other dogs is a part of socialisation but it's a small part of it.
Your puppy needs to experience different people, different clothes and hats, small children, elderly people, men, women, everyday sounds, locations, vehicles, livestock, wildlife, different surfaces, different types of weather etc.
A puppy's socialisation window ends a around 16 weeks so it's important to positively expose your puppy to as many of the above as possible before this age.
Be mindful that you don't overwhelm puppy, always watching and responding to their body language and building positive associations.
Don't overdo it!
There's a general rule of thumb that puppies should have approximately 5 minutes of exercise per 1 month of age.
There are no scientific studies to back this up but it's a good place to start.
Puppies joints are still developing so the type of exercise you provide them is important.
Taking your puppy out marching on the pavement around your neighbourhood is tough going on those little legs. Free exercise on softer ground is more beneficial and allows your puppy to let you know when they've had enough as opposed to being led around until you personally decide it's time to go home.
Encourage exploration and sniffing and use a well fitting Y shaped harness with a training line attached (never attached to a collar in case puppy's sensitive neck muscles are damaged) until you build a solid recall.
Be careful that puppy isn't jumping off things as developing bones are easily broken - I've seen it personally multiple times when working in practice.
Puppies explore the world through their mouth. New textures, tastes, objects will all go in puppy's mouth and it' s up to YOU to supervise them and keep them safe.
If your puppy chews something you don't want them to, I'm sorry but it's your fault, never theirs. Puppies don't come pre-programmed with a list of acceptable things to chew so they will chew indiscriminately if you don't give them proper outlets such as rope toys, Nylabone, Kongs, or puppy-safe natural chews.
Soon your puppy will start teething and chewing things will help to soothe the pain and provide relief. Be kind and compassionate during this time, it's painful and they are going through a hard time.
Make sure your puppy isn't left unattended around things they're not allowed to chew, and never get angry if you slip up and puppy chews something 'illegal'!
Getting a puppy is an exciting time and there's so much to look forward to.
We can help with everything from toilet training to recall, from lead walking to nipping and jumping up.
If you'd like help giving your puppy the best start in life, get in touch and book a training package tailored to your personal needs.
We're on social media @allcreatureskeighley, via email at email@example.com and via phone at 07592 302112
Thank you for reading,