Most of us would cherish a new puppy, but what can we do to make them and those around us happier? When we bring a new puppy into our home, there are similar challenges as when we have a toddler in our home, noted Colleen Campbell, owner and trainer at Heroes Boarding & Training in South Deerfield. Campbell offered a number of tips and guidelines to help you bond with your puppy and lessen damage to your home.
First, Campbell suggests you introduce the puppy to any children in the home ahead of time.
“Children act and sound different than adults to dogs. Without a slow introduction, the dog can get freaked out,” she said. Part of selecting the family dog, especially if you have children, has to do with their personality.
“Don’t pick the first dog that comes charging at you or the one hanging back in the corner. Go for the middle. A dog that is easy going and doesn’t seem to be easily bothered by loud noises,” said Campbell. She added if the dog is in a shelter, to watch to see if it lunges at other animals, especially cats.
“You need to watch for this behavior if you have other small fuzzy critters in your home,” she said.
Campbell said puppies learn the most during the period between eight and 12 weeks old.
“The first few nights can be rough. They will have accidents and they will cry, just like a child,” she said, adding they may miss their mom or siblings. Campbell said the amount of time it takes for a new puppy to adjust to being in your home varies depending on the owner and the dog.
“It can take a week or two, but some take longer, even months. The biggest thing you can do to help them adjust is to be patient and let them know consistently they are safe,” said Campbell.
Keeping the puppy close to you initially is important to help lessen accidents, damage to your home, or an injury to the puppy. Campbell suggests when the puppy is not crated, to keep them on a 6-foot leash in the house.
Puppies take a while to learn to hold their bladder and bowels. Initially, Campbell said they can usually only manage a couple of hours when they are two to three months old. As they grow older and become more accustomed to signaling to go out, they learn to hold on for several hours, Campbell said. She added that you need to expect to be up in the middle of the night those first few weeks to lessen accidents.
Campbell said another good way to help the puppy adjust is to “give them a job. Begin to teach them to sit, stay, lay down, etc. Play games with them.” Campbell said it’s helpful to understand the way dogs learn.
“They don’t generalize. They have to learn new things in different locations,” she said. For example, if you teach your dog to sit in the living room and then ask them to do the same thing in the back yard, they won’t know what you are asking them to do, she said.
“Crating, done correctly, is very beneficial for…