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Preparing for your new Puppy: Managing your Great Expectations?

Updated: Apr 30


We all have great expectations, of each other, ourselves but mostly of our dogs! But where do these expectations come from and how do we go about making them happen?


Here are the top 5 expectations I come across:

 

My puppy needs to sleep downstairs

This is a really hard one! Not everyone wants to share their sleeping quarters (or bed) with a dog, but to expect your puppy to come straight from a home and sleep alone without anyone to protect them, is too huge an expectation for the first few weeks (or even months, depending on your puppy). They have come from a safe place, with people who they trust, their mum there to comfort them, and their littermates to play with and sleep beside for warmth and comfort, and just like our human babies, we need to be there to help them feel safe if they wake in the night or need to go out to the toilet.

"We need to give our puppy time to get to know us, the sights, sounds and smells in their new home, and also get used to a totally different routine."

Only when they feel safe will they be able to cope alone and this takes time and a feeling of safety. This is something they learn, not something they are born being able to cope with. I like to be there for my puppy at every turn, and as they gain in confidence, they start to leave me - not the other way around. Having family, friends, dog sitters or someone to be there for them if you need to go out is hugely important. To put them in a crate and expect them to be happy without anyone to look after them is counter-productive and can lead to separation anxiety further down the line.

 

My puppy needs to tell me when they need to pee/poo!

This is another area where your puppy needs to learn and grow into. These organs are controlled by a muscle and it takes time to learn the feeling of needing to go! Even human toddlers have accidents when they are engrossed in something and they don't get the feeling soon enough to ask!


We do not recommend pads, but we do recommend watching your puppy like a hawk! you will soon learn their "tell" and you can take them outside quick smart and save on accidents. This is another reason for having puppy near you through the night. Taking puppy out during the day every hour, after waking up, before sleeping, during play, when they start to slowly sniff in a specific area, after eating, after drinking - and any other time they need in between.


Puppies (and older dogs) also pee and poo when stressed or anxious about a situation - so if your puppy is doing well during the day, but toilets through the night, you need to ask why? Did they need and you didn't hear them become unsettled, or are they worried about being alone?


Either way, we need to make sure our puppies have every opportunity to go through a door and outside to toilet, so they get used to where they need to be to get outside, and you don't have to clean up after them all the time. And if you do - it's never the dogs fault - do better next time!


Never leave puppy to go out alone and remember they need to toilet, they will invariably get distracted by....butterfly.... sorry, what was I saying?

 

My puppy bites all the time - how do I stop it?

Puppies bite! I lovingly call them pupodiles. There are a number of reasons why, but just like toddlers put things in their mouth to investigate things, puppies do too! They test textures, tastes, smells and all this is done through mouthing things.


Over-excitement, tiredness, hunger, thirst, too/cold (discomfort), needing your attention, teething, all lead to biting. It is also hugely important to research the breed (or breeds) that make up your puppies genetic blueprint - expecting a Labrador not to want to carry things in their mouth goes against all they were bred for.


Ensuring your puppy has a good routine and has the correct mental and physical stimulation will help a lot, but lack of sleep is the number one reason for a bitey puppy.

 

My puppy has had its vaccinations and I am taking him out on walks, but he pulls or stops and I just want him to walk with me!

This is a huge ask for a baby puppy! Walking beside you is a skill, and it comes with lots of component parts, least of all learning to ignore every sight, sound and smell, dog, person that grabs their attention. Take your time - this is socialisation time!


When you are walking with your puppy initially, you want them to be able to take the sights, smells and sounds in (especially those you can't see, hear or smell) and give them time to process them. If you puppy pulls, don't just follow them! You only teach them that putting pressure on the lead, gets you walking faster, and in 6 months time when they are fully grown, you better be ready to be walking...FAST!


Equally, if your puppy stops, sits or lies down, don't pull at them to keep moving. Stop with them, support and comfort them in their moment - they are likely to be afraid - and just need to know you have their back, and together you will process this information, and only move off when they are ready.

"We want to teach them that we are their safety net - we need them to come to us for help in future (especially when they are off lead in the park and something scary happens) not run away from us."

Take your coffee and some lunch to the park (their lunch too), find a quiet space to sit and watch the world go by, and just be in each others company. This is a great way to teach them engagement with you - something you will need for everything you and your dog do together in future.

 

I need to socialise my puppy - so we need to go and play in the park with other dogs and say hello to people.

Socialisation - the most misunderstood word in dog training at home. It is not getting puppy out walking and playing with every dog and saying hello to every person you meet. This will create an over-socialised puppy who will either ignore your recall once they hit teenage stage, or get themselves into trouble with other dogs and people, as they rush up to them as fully grown adults and bowl them over.


Remember your puppy may be small now, but in 6 months time, they will have done most of the height growing, so they will look fully grown to people, and those hormones will start to make them smell "grown up" to other dogs. Your responsibility is to teach them to be able to listen to you over everything else.


So now we have given you the top 5 puppy great expectation we hear a lot. We would love to be part of you and your puppies learning journey. We run puppy classes for puppies who have had their vaccinations, but if you are new to sharing your life with a puppy or if it has been a while since you had a baby puppy in your home, we can come and help you on a 121 basis. This means we can start even before you bring puppy home! We do suggest you give puppy a week or so with just you and the family to settle in a little, before you have loads of visitors or I come and do training - but as much as I love dogs, I am really good at not putting pressure on them (and keeping my hands to myself) , so we can get you started on your new skills sooner rather than later.


Remember, puppies are sponges who are always learning from you (just like our toddlers who are perfect at repeating things we would rather they had not heard in the first place), so we need to make sure their learning is positive and what we want them to learn.


Practice makes permanent - not always perfect!

Make sure your puppy is practicing the things that you would like them to do, instead of doing things their way (they aren't wrong, they are dogs after all)


email us at help@avrilyoungdogtraining.com to discuss your puppy problems or visit our website for info on our Puppy Foundation Course (classes or 121).



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