Puppies, as humans, are all different and each have a strong personality like no other. Just like a baby, the hardest part is the lack of communication - but you will be able to tell their needs, wants, and feelings in a matter of no time. Remember to be patient, and if everything is going astray, a walk outside could save both of you from a major freakout.
Whether this is your first newborn puppy, or second rescued 5 year old - here are some times to help you, and most importantly help the 4-legged cutie adjust to their new home.
1. Mentally Prepare for a Dirty Home
If you're a clean freak like me, temporarily let that trait go.... Your puppy WILL pee, poop and throw up wherever he/she wants to. It's inevitable. Of course some dogs learn faster than others but don't get too stressed about the aesthetic of your house while having a puppy around
Survival tactic: Be patient and purchase lots of carpet cleaner and puppy pads. All you can do is wait until they realize that outside is the place to go, and you can do that by taking them for walks at least 3x a day. Soon they will realize how to communicate with you if they need to be let out right away, or need to go for a walk. Patience!
2. Organize a "Who's Doing What List"
Of course when the whole family's talking about getting a puppy, everyone agrees to put in 100%. Then, a week after being home with him, that reality hits. The kids have homework. Dinner needs to be made. Laundry needs to be done. And suddenly your sweet new little pup is longing for some attention and a nice stroll outside.
Survival tactic: Make a puppy chart. Get everyone involved and choose a dog duty for each person to do everyday. It's a full time job and if everyone makes an effort it makes things so much easier, and is the perfect opportunity to teach kids about responsibility.
3. Safeguard Your House!
Puppies chew EVERYTHING. Stealing the toilet paper to chewing the roll. Gnawing on the kitchen table chairs. Ripping apart a favourite rug. Eating the leather right off the couch. He did it all. Despite how much attention we gave him, he still managed to find a way to do it! Remember this is absolutely normal, they're teething and it doesn't mean they hate you.
Survival tactic: Put every last thing that is chewable but movable, away! Cords, computers, books, pillows, they all need to go. As for the home furniture, I definitely recommend a bitter apple spray that dogs don't like the taste of. It works wonders and is completely natural for your little pup. Get lots and lots of toys that they can chew and destroy, try and put peanut butter inside and all around the toy to distract the dog for a few hours.
4. To Crate or Not to Crate?
Before buying a new pet, talk it over with your significant other and make sure you agree on a few decisions that will have to be made regarding the puppy. Yes, just like having children! Crates can seem like the easiest way to train your dog, but they can have negative impacts if not used correctly. Make sure you aren't using the crate as a disciplinary mechanism, and never leave your puppy in there for too long (3 hours).
Survival tactic: If you choose not to crate your dog, just be prepared for a lot more ups and downs during night time and during potty training. Get ready for 2am, 4am and 6am wake up's! But your dog will learn independence quicker and be more happy and less anxious.
5. Fall in Love with Your Dog Everyday
In order to not get frustrated and fed up, find all the great things about your new pet too. Even though it's probably going to feel like more than you bargained for, having a dog really is an absolute blessing. Its like adding this adorably, innocent, little, loyal best friend to your home. Having a dog is like having a best friend move in that just adores you 24/7. The challenges will all be worth it in the end with the endless joy the pup brings you.
Like the saying goes, "there's no love like a dogs love."
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I love it! There is no job like surviving that first few months of a puppy. No matter how many I've had, or how many foster or shelter dogs I've taken in, it's still a challenge. I got really good about setting my clock every hour to take the dog out! After awhile you can do it in your sleep.
One thing that helped me a lot when I was potty training my brother's dog (and that puppy had made a habit for all his 6 months of life to do his business inside) was using a leash inside. Yes, I tethered myself to the dog, ruining both our chances for freedom, in exchange for the ability to see exactly where and when the "bomb" was about to drop on the floor. As a result, I was able to get him outside often and reinforce him for going outside. (What choice did he have but to let me see? I was going to be there for his every move.)
Yes, once in awhile he would just let 'er rip in the kitchen while I was getting dinner. But the great thing was that I could say, "No, outside! Outside!" and take him out before he was even done.
The pup from Hell really did learn this way. And, even though he was from Hell, he was ADORABLE!
I love the fact that you got a puppy and stuck with him and figured out all these tips. It may be too late for us puppy lovers to do it all over, but at least we can pass on our experiences to others ... hopefully BEFORE they get one, too!
This is a wonderful article! Having a dog is a challenge, but they make life so much fun!! All your tips hit it right on the nose. Everyone has to help out or having a puppy is going to be difficult. I like your idea of a puppy chart, similar to a chore chart. This way the dog is always getting attention. :)