Some probably stupid questions from a first time puppy owner

(29 Posts)
steppingintothecanineunknown Tue 11-Mar-14 14:37:10

I am clueless about all this so in advance of my new puppy's arrival wondered if the more experienced amongst you can answer some questions:

- how can I make sure my puppy doesn't disappear in the (large-ish with lots of bushes etc to hide behind) garden and comes back when I take him out initially before he learns proper recall!?

- how many hours a night might he sleep after the initial settling in period and do they wake up as soon as it's light in summer?

- how should we transport him in the car on the way home from the breeder (around an hour's journey) and then on an ongoing basis for journeys? We have a hatchback that has space for a crate in the boot but not a lot else. Is he better in the back seat with a harness or in a soft carrier or???

- are there particular puppy treats or are any dog treats ok initially?

Lilcamper Tue 11-Mar-14 15:33:32

A really young pup won't go too far from you even in the garden.

Pups sleep a lot but he will need to g out a couple of times over night, letting him sleep in the bedroom with you will wake you up when he needs to go out.

Mine travelled in a crate when tiny, he now has the boot.

You might find this a useful article about socialisation. You need o take him out in your arms before his jabs, very important! socialisation mistakes

cashewfrenzy Tue 11-Mar-14 15:34:07

- use a long line (not an extendable one). He shouldn't be off lead until recall is reliable. Letting puppies have too much freedom too soon is one of the main causes of poor recall.

- totally depends but many will manage 8 and will learn not to rise until their humans are up.

- a crate is probably best if you can fit it in.

- it doesn't need to be dog treats at all - pea sized bits of cooked chicken work brilliantly smile

LadyTurmoil Tue 11-Mar-14 15:45:22

I think you need to get some good puppy books online or from the library - socialisation is very important and the more you can do the better. Ask at local vets - they may do "puppy parties" which is a good way to get to know other dogs and their owners locally.

You will need to watch puppy like a hawk and take him out after every time he's eaten or drunk, after a sleep, sometimes every half an hour so it's labour intensive. You need to puppy-proof your house/flat so the cables, small items aren't left around. Watch out for food as well. Go online to find out what plants/food are poisonous.

You might need to sleep near the pup for the first few nights. A crate is fantastic as pup can be popped in there when you have a shower, go to the loo etc. You may have a dog bed but they won't necessarily stay in there when you want! Good luck

I have to disagree about the recall. I have let both of mine off lead absolutely immediately, when they are too scared or the big wide world to go far from you. Our Springer's breeder gave us that tip, it's worked perfectly for both of ours, have never kept them on a long line. However, I do make myself the most exciting part of the walk, have really yummy treats, recall them back loads and loads, chuck treats in bushes, throw toys etc. They never go far and if they get too excited, I calm them down by making them sit or watch me etc. I am the loon jumping around with my dogs while the other walkers seem to be on their phones smile

I would bring the puppy home on your knee for the first time if two of you go, with a blanket or toy from mum and lots of cuddles.

We have a crate for the back of the car that fits both of our dogs in.

Ours are asleep by 9pm and sleep until we get up! However, that being said, it's around 6/6.30 am in summer, perhaps a little later in winter.

I agree, bits of chicken, cheese, liver etc work well. Very small pieces. Or you can train using their food allowance.

steppingintothecanineunknown Tue 11-Mar-14 16:26:30

Thank you so far for this advice which is great. I have bought The Perfect Puppy book which seems good.

Tricky with the long lead or no lead issue then. I have a trainer coming round when the pup has been with us a few days so will probably go with her advice but email her about what to do before then.

Yep on the case with the puppy proofing but we plan to mainly have him in the large kitchen/ dining room which has more easily cleanable flooring for the first few days at least.

With sleeping, we are rubbish at getting up early and obviously will do if the dog needs us to but ideally I would keep him up later and he'd wake later. A dog owning friend said that was possible but I have no idea if that's the case?? We are normally up at 7.15ish not 6 something. A little later at weekends. I know the dog will need me up before then initially and that's fine but wondered about when he is older.

I plan to sleep in the living room the first night or two, with the door to the kitchen open so I will be about 8ft or 9ft from his crate but out of sight (would it be better to be where he can see me?) It is a big house and I very much doubt we'd hear him if I slept upstairs. Contemplating borrowing a baby monitor for the first nights when he is alone downstairs?? Would that be weird or practical??

Off to read the article Lilcamper linked to...

Lilcamper Tue 11-Mar-14 16:34:00

Would be better to sleep with the crate right next to you so if he gets upset you can reach down and reassure him.

Snugglepiggy Tue 11-Mar-14 17:28:01

I would agree with Needsastrongone regarding recall.The time to teach them is when they are as young as possible.Always have tiny treats or kibble in your pocket Practice in the garden and as they get older find a save quiet place out on your walk - a field or clearing in a wood where you can see who is coming and just go for it.Puppies think you are the centre of their world and wont go far.i walk dogs full time and have been frustrated numerous times by owners who want to wait a 'few more months' before trying their dog off lead because they think they need to be older to learn recall.Our two are 5 months old Springers and like out previous dogs are going to classes and are off lead for short periods each outing and their recall is good.Not deluding ourselves that in adolescence we won't run into a few challenges ,most dogs push the boundaries somewhat at that age, but hopefully good habits will be firmly established.i have used a long training lead on several customers dogs in the past because they did and requested it ,but once had a nasty fall when a dog whipped around me fast and legged me up so personally hate the things !

Racerider Tue 11-Mar-14 17:33:08

My pup is 15 weeks old.
Your pup won't disappear initially as she /he is unlikely to go far from you. Make sure your garden is safely enclosed though for when she is bigger. You can start teaching recall straight away and the garden will be excellent practice before going out on walks.

Not necessarily giving advice here but we let ours off lead for short periods in safe places ( a field ) as soon as she was fully vaccinated. We took LOTS of treats ( bits of sausage ) and made sure we were not near other dogs initially.

She doesn't wake up with the sun. We put her in her crate around 10.30pm, let her out to wee at 2 am ( will stop soon) but after the first week she has never woken us in the morning , we come down before 7 but I think she would wait longer if we didn't. I don't think it makes a difference what time they go to bed, they are not like humans !

I'm with needastrongone too. It's what I always advise and always do.

Let the puppy off as soon as you get it. The puppy will be naturally nervous and as keen as mustard to stay with you. You will be the centre of a new puppy's world, so take advantage of that.

The longer you keep a puppy on a lead, the harder it will be to teach it a recall. Puppies grow in confidence by the day, and the window to teach recall quickly and easily is pretty short.

Apologies for the terrible spelling etc in my post above, I am entertaining the 15 week old puppy, putting away the supermarket delivery, cooking tea, trying to talk to DS about his report and also asking about DD1 and her day smile

Our puppy is 15 weeks old, he's a working cocker, he can actually take quite a bit of exercise. However, I am chucking the ball around etc for the springer, the puppy is tootling around by my feet still, which is where he would rather be anyway, but also enticed by sausage smile We go at his pace at the moment, so a walk round a field can take an hour, while he sniffs around.

When do you get your puppy and what breed is he/she? Some breeds are naturally more inclined to go off and explore the world than others, terrier breeds for example.

We slept downstairs initially, right next to the crate, both of our dogs (ddog1 is only 16 months), had a little stir in the night and we popped outside for a wee, with minimum fuss. Find a command that you use for toileting, our friends use 'be good', we use 'wee wee'. We gradually moved away from the crate over the course of 2/3 nights and they slept through from then. But, all pups are different. Ddog1 had/has the bladder of a camel, ddog2 dribbled with excitement or desparation until last weeks, but is only 15 weeks. And is now totally clean in the house.

I do leave both dogs, when they have been trained and exercised and loved and toileted etc. Today was my longest time I left them, and got stuck at work, 3.5 hours. The puppy hadn't wee'd and wasn't crated, neither have been chewers and ddog2 likes to sneak into ddog1's bed and they sleep together. I wouldn't have done this with ddog1. I felt like shit. They were fine smile

WeAllHaveWings Tue 11-Mar-14 18:31:21

I would second letting him off lead sooner rather than later to take advantage of his natural instinct to stay close to you in the early days. The book "Total Recall" is very good and gives you pre recall training tips with a puppy.

steppingintothecanineunknown Tue 11-Mar-14 18:59:05

Right, definitely doing the off lead thing from the off then. Great advice.

Think I will still have to sleep on the sofa and try reassuring him with my voice initially and then go in if needed as I can't sleep on the kitchen floor for several reasons.

What can I do about the not being able to hear him from our bedroom when I do move back upstairs thing?

He is a...cockapoo. Sorry as I know that sometimes people get these for the wrong reasons but he was the right choice for us and from a very reputable breeder.

I won't have to leave him alone much or often but do want him used to short periods.

Lilcamper Tue 11-Mar-14 19:04:29

You could have him next to your sofa or bed. In the early days it is important to be there to hear him stir to get him outside. You can think about moving him to where you eventually want him when he is sleepingdhrough and feeling settled.

Bowlersarm Tue 11-Mar-14 19:08:09

Be prepared for a bit of hard work in the first few weeks if you aren't used to puppies.

My bit of advice:-

Off lead right from the start. They are very keen to stay close to you when little. Hopefully he'll be food motivated and that's what gets him back to you immediately, if you give him a treat.

We have a large garden (two acres), ensured it was puppy proof, but let them wander freely. Obviously when they are very little, they are in the house the majority of the time.

Every time he naps take him out to pee as soon as he wakes, and lots of praise when he does. Ignore any accidents in the house, just clear up with no comment.

We crate trained ours, and popped them in when we went out right from the start. We school run was about 1 and a half hours so at the beginning they had to get used to this. Play with him and wear him out before you go out, so he's tired.

Picking him up, I would take someone with you and have him on their lap in the back of the car.

steppingintothecanineunknown Tue 11-Mar-14 20:15:32

Definitely going to have someone else drive so I can have him on my lap on a blanket. Looking forward to my first cuddles with him during the trip smile

I will be able to hear him stir from the living room sofa as it is about 3ft from the kitchen double doors to the living room so it's almost the same as being in there. I just can't physically reach out to reassure him without getting out of 'bed'. Pretty sure I will not sleep much anyway that first night as I will be listening out for him.

LadyTurmoil Tue 11-Mar-14 20:39:11

Travel home - along with all the other suggestions, have a few old towels, baby wipes and hand sanitiser (maybe) in case he does a wee or a poo, it's all going to be incredibly new/exciting/scary for him.

In my (honestly) humble opinion, I wouldn't bother with a trainer right away. I'd let the puppy settle in for a few days, you will be knackered and, yes, you will have to get up early for the next few weeks!

I would ask the trainer to come in a couple of weeks, you and puppy will have a little routine going and you'll be confident and take in what the trainer has to say.

And yes to off lead straight away - obviously within reason. If you're on the pavement he'll be on the lead, but if you're in a big enough space let him off, he won't go too far away.

Make his bed/crate comfy, don't use any new fancy stuff as he might well wee/poo on stuff. Get some Simple Solution http://www.petsathome.com/shop/en/pets/simple-solution-stain-and-odour-remover-750ml - normal cleaning stuff doesn't take away the smell properly and encourages them to use the same place again (so not helping with house training).

Lastly, the stress and strain (although there's enjoyment too) might get to you - it's a completely new experience - so don't hesitate to come on here and get it all out! People will be fast and willing to give you good advice grin and wine

lampygirl Tue 11-Mar-14 21:09:54

We have an 8 and a half week old Bernese. Obviously not had all the vacs yet so cant venture out into the big wide world unless carried, but she's only been on a lead in the house to get her used to a lead and collar. She religiously follows us round the garden on toilet trips. She'll then follow us back to the house, and now we are slowly mastering the stairs, we dont need to pick her up to get her back up from there either.

When she's 10-12 weeks, i'd have no issue in secure areas (away from other dogs) letting her have a short time off leash, even without massive recall skills. If you look exciting enough and wave some chicken she comes back even if she doesnt respond to 'come here'

We are currently on 3 hour get ups during the night. First night home, mainly she'd wee'd in the crate, we are now on start of week 2, still on the same routine but she's nearly always dry and we've had very few accidents. Went in the crate from the start, we went in our own beds. With alarms to get up we slept through her whimpering so she doesnt learn whimper and crying gets her playtime.

Cant comment on the third week onwards as we arent there yet, but be prepared to put in the hours on training and providing a full range of experiences for your little one and it will be thoroughly worth it.

We've had Eric, a poo shih for a couple of weeks now he's 11 weeks. He wakes when I get up at 6am (goes to bed around midnight but dozes much of the evening) and goes to pee, but then he goes back to bed and gets up when dc get up at 7.30am. It seems he doesn't like early starts.
For the first couple of nights we slept with the crate next to us but tbh he wasn't that bothered, I think, because the breeder had separated him from Mum once the last pup went so he had done two nights alone anyway.
Eric adores me and so in the garden I don't have him on the lead as he always comes back to his name anyway as we practise in the house.
It is hard work, I definitely find it harder than having a baby (more like having a toddler on speed) but it's been fun, even if I have had to bath him (he loved it) this evening after a particularly messy poo

steppingintothecanineunknown Wed 12-Mar-14 14:15:24

Oh gosh HARDER than a baby ?! Yikes!! Now you're scaring me...!!!!

Well I've had five babies wink, five puppies though shock? I'd be a basket case.
Don't be scared though just be prepared for it to be hard work and then there's no nasty surprises.

LadyTurmoil Wed 12-Mar-14 16:06:38

Mobile baby without nappies on! I looked after a puppy for a week and nearly had a breakdown but all the puppy threads on here say it's important just to get through the first 2-3 weeks without too many expectations. You'll get into a little routine, will be easier when you can go out for little walks.

Booboostoo Wed 12-Mar-14 17:03:28

I agree with most people on the thread that you want to let the puppy off the lead asap. When they are tiny they are very scared and naturally stay close to you. You can take advantage of this and reward them everytime they happen to be near you. The recall game is good fun as well.

Remeber the crucial socialisation window which closes around 14-16 weeks and try to expose the puppy to as many things as possible during that period even if it means you have to carry her everywhere.

Goldencity1 Wed 12-Mar-14 17:06:12

Our dogs both sleep in our room, in their beds, so I can hear if they need to go out, works well for us!

Toilet training: pup needs to go out: before meals, after meals, after a sleep, after you have had a game, ....basically every few minutes at first. Keep an eye on him and at the first sign of sniffing or circling, out he goes. Stay with him, saying "hurry up" [or whatever command you choose] and lots of praise when he goes. Gradually you will have a dog who asks to go out, and one that will "oblige" on command.
Never punish him if he makes a mess indoors, it was your fault for not being vigilant! If you do, he will just think he is being punished for what he has done, not where, so next time may hide to make his puddle.

Recall: as long as you have a safe fenced area, let him off asap. Have lots of very tasty treats and toys, keep calling him to you and rewarding him with a game or treat. Soon he will want to be with you all the time as you are so exciting.
A trick our dogs breeder told me [have done this, it works]: when pup is still quite small, about 4 or 5 months, let him off the lead and let him wander off, when he is not looking, hide behind a tree or something, where you can see him but he can't see you. He will realize you are missing and start getting worried. When you see this, "reappear" and let him find you. Pup learns to keep an eye on you. Obviously you need a secure field/area to do this in.

CalamityKate Wed 12-Mar-14 17:15:41

Pick puppy parties and training classes carefully.

Our local vet did a puppy party. The vet nurse running it encouraged everyone to let the puppies mingle and play - and then used one of those compressed air Pet Correctors to break them up, to demonstrate how you could use them "If things get out of hand".

Things weren't out of hand you ignorant woman. The puppies were playing perfectly nicely and even if they hadn't been, the use of that bloody thing would have been completely unnecessary. In fact you've just taught the puppies that playing nicely might well result in a loud unpleasant noise. Brilliant. Is this place really so desperate for the commission it gets from sales that you want to risk setting up behavioural issues?? angry

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