Things to remember
First Few Days
- Plan to bring your puppy home when you have a few days to spend with it so you can help your puppy settle into its new environment. E.g. a long weekend, on leave or on holidays.
- Leave your puppy alone, in it’s safe place, for small amounts of time over the first few days so it begins to understand if you leave, you will come back.
- Put a lead on your puppy and take it for a walk around the back yard, allowing it to explore the new space. If you have other pets put them in another spot so your puppy can explore the back yard in its own time.
- Puppies do escape, make sure you fit a collar with identification on your puppy as soon as you get it home. Have your puppy microchipped ASAP.
- It is important to check that your house and yard are secure with no places for a puppy to escape either under or over.
- Puppy proof your house and yard, making sure that objects which could pose a danger are removed, and objects that you don’t want destroyed are out of reach.
- Puppies need worming every two weeks until they are three months old, then every 3 months after that. They grow very quickly, so remember to re-weigh them before each worming.
- If your puppy is not de-sexed, then contact your local vet and book an appointment in the future around the 4-6 month mark to have your puppy de-sexed.
- The AWL recommends vaccinations at 6-8 weeks, again at 12 weeks and again at 16 weeks, then annually. Consult your local vet for a vaccination plan that best suits your dog.
- It is far better to give your puppy small meals often, rather than one big meal each day. It is important that they are provided with good quality puppy food to ensure good health and to give them a good start to life. Feeding time also provides a great opportunity to do a 5 minute training session.
Well Mannered Puppies
- Begin training your puppy as soon as it gets home. Start with something simple like 'sit' and use food rewards for encouragement. Call your puppy by its new name and when it comes to you give it a food treat.
- Socialising your puppy is part of training. The best time to socialise is between 3 to 6 weeks of age.
- Socialise your puppy by taking them to as many new places as possible in the first 6 months and introduce them to different people and animals, ensuring that these interactions are all positive and not overwhelming for your puppy. This will help your puppy to be a calm and confident dog. If your puppy has not finished its vaccination ALWAYS carry your puppy to new places.
- Enrol your puppy in a puppy pre-school. This will help your puppy to socialise with other pups and possibly avoid dog aggression later in life.
- If your puppy likes to jump up, say nothing, instead turn your body sideways and throw 3 treats on the ground and say ‘Go Find”. Teaching your puppy to keep all 4 paws on the floor will be appreciated by everyone who meets your dog.
- Biting or mouthing is very normal puppy behavior. Like babies, puppies put things into their mouth, including your hand or arm. If they do this then swap your arm with a toy or remove yourself from the dogs reach for 10 seconds. Putting your arms behind your back or on your head is one way to remove yourself. If that does not work remove yourself from the room for 30 seconds.
- If you let your children play rough with the puppy, the puppy will think the child is another pup and will most likely bite. What is a cute habit when they are small will soon become a problem as they grow older.
- Puppies need their own bed, food and water bowl, toys, leash and own space. Their own space needs to be in a quiet area such as a laundry or spare bedroom.
- Use food for a reward when training, the dog will respond faster. Reward often for all the behaviour you want to see more of. Aim to catch them doing the right thing.
- Dogs do not like hugs and kisses- instead pat them from collar to tail or on their chin and chest.
- Puppies become bored very easily. Make sure they have plenty of toys, changing them every day to ensure they don’t become bored with them too!
- If your puppy likes to dig (and most dogs do), give your puppy a digging pit to play in.
- Avoid greeting your puppy immediately on arrival home and do not make a big deal about leaving. Instead acknowledge your puppy in a calm and quiet manner both when arriving and leaving. This will ensure your puppy is relaxed and independent, and will help to avoid separation anxiety.