Summer is Puppy Season! It’s so exciting to welcome a new puppy into your home, but lots of folks don’t realize how hard these early days can be. Here are 5 helpful tricks to make those first few days more fun and enjoyable for everyone.
1. Get the house ready beforehand (toys are a must)
Nesting is 100% acceptable when getting ready to bring home a new puppy. Make sure small objects are cleared from the floor, get rid of any potentially toxic plants, and make sure you have some toys that are chewing- and destroying-friendly. Invest in puppy pads early on, and some folks even roll up carpets in the beginning few days before house breaking.
2. Walk every 2 to 4 hours at first
The more, and more frequently, you get your pup outside, the more you can reinforce that outside is the place to go potty. Small puppies will need to pee every two hours on average, so the more and more regularly you can get them outside, the less likely they are to have an accident. Reward outside peeing with praise and (irregularly after the first few times) treats. Punish inside peeing only if you catch them mid-act, with a stern “no” and a quick leash-up to go outside.
3. Use a crate to help housebreak
4. Take them to the vet early on
This can just be a check-in so you can start a relationship with a local vet. Let them weigh and palpate your pup, so you have a baseline to compare with in case your puppy gets sick later, or to find any early warning signs of issues.
5. It may be last, but it’s the #1 training tool: Be Consistent
Dogs are very capable of learning — but much the same as small children, lessons take a lot of work, and they need to be clear. We can help our puppies learn by always being consistent and sticking to rules that are straightforward and easy to follow (In fact, many trainers say they do more to train humans than they do to train dogs). Is Floofer not allowed on the couch? Then Floofer should never be on the couch — adopt a black and white policy, and stick to it always (even when they give you “that face.”)