Tips for Surviving the First Week with Your New Puppy
What is International Puppy Day?
International puppy day was first established in the US in 2006 as a day to raise awareness of puppy mills and encourage new dog owners to adopt not shop. It is now celebrated across the globe on March 23rd every year.
If you are still looking for your new addition to your family there are always plenty of pups available for adoption on Pet Rescue (where I found both Avon & Piper) or you could try your local rescue centre.
Preparing your Home for your Puppy
Bringing home your new puppy is one of the most exciting days of your life, however they don't come with a manual telling you how to succeed at raising them.
Puppies are mischievous by nature and get into everything. Be sure hazardous items like bins, electrical wires, cleaning agents and any type of harmful plants are far out of the puppy's way. Also move anything you don't want destroyed out of reach! Provide appropriate toys for them to chew on instead.
Agree on the ground rules of where the pup is allowed before you bring them home, and make sure everyone in the household sticks to the rules. It's a good idea to get baby gates or a play pen to restrict access to areas when your pup is unsupervised.
The pup will need a soft, dry, and safe place to sleep. Perhaps throw in a blanket or toy that has his litter mates or mum's scent on it.
Click here to get your downloadable New Puppy Checklist with a list of essential supplies you'll need for your pup.
The First Night with your Puppy
The first night is always hard because the puppy will start to miss their mum and other siblings or foster family. They may cry or whine throughout the night, and you can't blame them for that! However if you run to them when they cry, you will be reinforcing the habit.
Placing a sheet over the crate may help the pup to settle and get used to going to sleep at that time.
Reward-based training is the most effective and humane form of training. When you observe unwanted behaviour, you should show them the correct behaviour and reward this. For example, if they're chewing up your shoe, take it away and replace it with one of their toys. Praise them for chewing their toy.
Reprimands should be sharp and short. Never hit your pup as this may create more problems down the road. The pup can become fearful, shy, or aggressive. Always use positive reinforcement by rewarding proper behaviours. Treats make a great reinforcer, as does a simple scratch behind the ears or some playtime.
Feeding your Pup
Feed your pup a good quality food especially made for puppies. Where possible they should be transitioned slowly from the food they are currently eating if you choose to feed a different diet.
Watch out for very high protein and extra vitamins as they may be harmful to your growing puppy. Feed them two or three times a day. Usually after fifteen minutes, the pup will have eaten all they want, so you can remove the dish. After ten to twelve weeks of age, you can reduce the frequency of meals to once in the morning and once at night.
These tips should help your new pup get through those first stressful days at a new home. The bond forming between you will last a lifetime. Enjoy every minute of it as they don't stay pups for long (although Avon still acts like he's pup at 4 years old!).