Thursday, May 29, 2014


Take It Easy the First Day.
Keep it mellow and quiet in the first few hours home, at the very least. All family members have to be made to understand that this is a big transition for a baby dog, and that lots of noise and commotion make it even tougher for her.
Sit on the floor and watch her explore the space you’ve set aside for her. Give her a chance to meet her new people—at her own pace. When she comes over to any of you, use a calm, friendly voice to greet her and give her a gentle scratch or stroke on the chest or back (don’t reach right for her head).
  Decide on a “Potty Area.”
The puppy’s “go to” area can be outside if you have a yard or on papers if you don’t or live in an apartment. First thing in the morning, when you take her out of the crate, immediately place her in the potty area. Do the same thing after every play session, after she eats or drinks, and first thing when you get home. It doesn’t matter whether she goes or not. Housebreaking is probably the biggest challenge with a puppy—not just training her to relieve herself outside, but the fact that you have to take her outside frequently to do so, sometimes in the middle of the night. However, don’t even try to house-train the puppy for the first day or two. Give her a chance to settle in before tackling that challenge.
  Start to Learn Your Puppy’s “Language.”

Puppy behaviors such as crying, whining or barking are all forms of communication—it’s up to you to try to figure out whether she really needs to go out, wants to be let out of her crate (if she’s in one) or is being playful. Like human babies, it seems that puppies are each quite different in their sleep patterns and the related frequency with which they have to relieve themselves. So your first weeks may be fairly restful at night or fairly hellish, but at least puppies grow up a lot faster than human babies do, so it shouldn’t be long before the pup outgrows her immature bladder and sleep cycles.
Copyright © Tracie Hotchner – Originally appeared in The Dog Bible: Everything Your Dog Wants You to Know by Tracie Hotchner

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