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What are your top ten tips for the first few weeks with new puppy?

(36 Posts)
Panicmode1 Wed 10-Dec-14 16:08:21

Although I am excited, I am now getting nervous, the closer that we get to picking up our first puppy to ensure that I don't get it 'wrong' and mess up with the early training/socialisation etc. I have been doing a lot of reading, but it would be brilliant to have your best tips for the first few weeks - dos and don'ts - things that those of you a few weeks ahead of me have learnt and could pass on!!

I guess I'm worried about what to do with her between bringing her home and her second set of jabs when we can go out and about more.....!

CMOTDibbler Wed 10-Dec-14 16:19:07

1, Take puppy out on a lead very, very frequently - at least every hour, but immediately they get up, after eating, after drinking etc. Stand quietly till they toilet then be terribly enthusiastic
2. Work on recall using a whistle from day 1 - Total Recall is a brilliant book to follow
3. Don't tolerate mouthing at all - substitute a toy immediately
4. Don't let them jump up to anyone - turn your back and ignore
5. Make somewhere that is absolutely theirs. No one goes in the dogs crate, or disturbs them in there in our house
6. Work on sit/stay/wait, and do them lots of times a day
7. Work on leadwork - its cute for a puppy to bounce around, but not for a dog.
8. Get them used to having ears/feet handled
9. Buy lots of simple solution wee spray
10. Be prepared for them to be manic at times and to chew things

Panicmode1 Wed 10-Dec-14 17:44:41

Brilliant list, thank you so much.

financialwizard Wed 10-Dec-14 17:51:16

Get Kongs. We have 3 of varying sizes and fill them with cocktail sausage bits and cheese and such like and seal them with peanut butter and freeze them. Keeps the pup entertained for hours.

Panicmode1 Wed 10-Dec-14 18:25:00

I have Kongs!! I also have a rope toy which the really helpful pet store man told me to soak in Camomile tea, then put in the freezer and it really helps with the teething pain....

NCIS Wed 10-Dec-14 18:32:27

Don't assume you will have massive problems. They may not happen but read around them just in case. Remember dogs are individuals, what works with one may not work with another. The number of times I've read do not squeal when your dog mouthes. Well it worked with our pup from the word go whereas substituting a toy did not. Equally some dogs love treats some don't. Be flexible and don't forget to breathe. smile

stirrupleathers Wed 10-Dec-14 18:33:05

Make sure you have a good supply of puppy pads.2- keep disinfecting spray & kitchen roll handy at all times. 3- Put a blanket over the crate at night. 4- leave radio on for puppy (classic fm went down well smile 5- cuddly toy for pup to snuggle up to 6- little puppy chews ( my pup used to sit beside me while I held one for her. She used to go to sleep after a while. ) 7- oooh can't think at the moment ...I will be back.

Panicmode1 Wed 10-Dec-14 18:43:25

Thanks NCIS - that's all useful too. Especially the breathing bit grin. I had to be reminded of that at my first riding lesson in aeons yesterday!

Stirrup - doesn't have to be 10 tips - the ones you have given are fab, thank you.

AlphaBravoHenryFoxtons Wed 10-Dec-14 18:48:05

My little puppy is a creature of habit. If I give her a treat in the house, she takes it to the very spot where she ate her first ever treat. (In our case on an antique rug in the hall). So if I give her a treat in the kitchen, she trots off with it to the spot where she eats her treats. So give treats in a spot where you want them to be eaten.

CarbeDiem Wed 10-Dec-14 19:08:44

Start as you mean go on.

We have a 13 week old and my Dh <glares in his direction> has undone my good work twat
I had the pup not begging at the table when we sit to eat. With a firm no! and bed! she'd go.
Dh has twice given her food from his plate and she immediately reverts back to begging dog.
We're almost back to normal and I've threatened Dh that I'll send him to bloody bed if he falls for her puppy eyes again.
Moral of the story - consistency is key.

basildonbond Wed 10-Dec-14 19:58:47

Don't bother with puppy pads - we've never used them and pup was reliable very quickly

Join the dog training advice and support facebook group - v knowledgable admins who are all qualified behaviourists

Get your dog used to being happy on their own for short bursts of time right from the start

Mix up your rewards - some dogs work better for toys than food

Book a place in a good training class and don't expect to have a perfectly trained dog after a four-week puppy course - training is a work in progress ...

Do lots of little training sessions every day - when you're waiting for the kettle to boil etc

Take lots and lots of photos - it's amazing how quickly they grow up - a bit like having a baby on fast forward wink

MostAmused Wed 10-Dec-14 20:07:47

1. Put her collar on ASAP to get her used to it.
2. I second teaching recall from day one. Two people stand at different ends of the room. Hold pup back, the other gee's her up and calls her (decide on the word you want for recall in advance).
3. Would be a good idea to write a list of cue words you want to use so that all the cues are clear from the start and everyone using them knows what they mean.
4. Our puppy learnt Sit, Come in (recall), and Stay before he was street legal. I wish I had taught Heel and Loose leash walking before we went on walks though.
5. Leave the room without her regularly from the first day, unless you want a puppy shadow!
6. Carry her as many places as possible so that she learns that new experiences are not bad experiences. Have a look at the Puppy Plan.
7. If you want to take her to puppy classes look for them now as a lot of the good ones get booked up fast.
8. Also, if you know you'll definitely be buying this puppy on a set date then you can plan ahead and book a vet appointment so that she can get her vaccs ASAP. (We took ours to a meet and greet where the vet just gave him treats and briefly checked him over, then took him back again for his first vac. The idea was that he wouldn't associate the vets with sore jabs but he actually barely noticed the injection so the first visit might have been a waste of time.)
9. Always have a toy to hand when you interact. Those teeth are sharp and she'll need to learn to mouth a toy rather than your hand.
10. We were also told by our puppy class that we should have separate toys for our puppy to play with alone and other ones which we keep for playing with together so that the puppy never knows when a play session might happen and when s/he sees the toy s/he'll know that it's time. (we have been quite bad at this as many of his toys are left on the floor and we just play with him as and when, but I think it would be better to have some toys separate)

Hope this helps! :D

crapcrapcrapcrap Wed 10-Dec-14 20:24:30

I am going to duplicate some of the brill suggestions already made but here's my list:

1 - throw away the food dish - all food can be hand-fed for training purposes or stuffed into food toys to use tactically.
2 - use food toys tactically - great to give a Kong when puppy needs some time-out from being hyperactive, teaches calm behaviour and rewards settled behaviour in the crate.
3 - the more work you put into toilet training the faster it happens - every hour, and additionally after every meal, every wake-up, every play period and any time you see circling/sniffing you grab the puppy and go out to the garden and mooch around aimlessly ignoring puppy. Eventually a pee or poo comes and you act like you have won the lottery. You will be amazed how quickly they learn.
4 - to make it more likely that you will actually carry out 3 frequently, keep a waterproof coat and slip-on shoes at the back door.
5 - GO OUT, don't wait until the vaccine course is finished. Puppies can and should be introduced to as wide a variety of stimuli as possible before 14 weeks of age (earlier if collies or shepherds). Take them in your arms to keep them safe from infectious disease and show them the world.
6 - buy a book called "Life Skills for Puppies" by Mills and Zulch. It won't teach you how to train your dog but it will help your puppy become a confident, calm and easy companion.
7 - mouthing is normal and they will outgrow it, but that will take longer if mouthing is rewarded. That means helicoptering with children to intervene before the pup gets hyper and bitey, because few things are more rewarding to a puppy than the high-pitched squeals and wriggling of a small child in pain.
8 - the more often a dog does a behaviour, the more it will do the behaviour in future. So if you want it to do a behaviour, spend time practising and rewarding it. If you don't want it to do a behaviour, PREVENT it from being able to do it and then teach an incompatible alternative.
9 - You get out what you put in. This is your mantra. Repeat it when you feel overwhelmed.
10 - Enjoy yourself - a good relationship with a dog is one of life's greatest pleasures smile

Focusfocus Wed 10-Dec-14 20:54:05

What worked for us (apart from that we landed us a brilliant brilliant puppy)

1. Sticking on and on and on at toilet training, never mind the sleeplessness or disturbance to schedule. Every 15 minutes. Yep, every 15 minutes for as long as it takes (took us two weeks to set a pattern up).
2. Preventing accidents. Every accident reinforces the mistake. Take out every fifteen minutes.
3. Get the advice of a dog behaviourist early on. We saw one when she was 8 weeks, and she went to training classes from 9 weeks. Worked superb.
4. I wouldn't mess with pee pads. They either know it's ok to go indoors or not go indoors. Hard hard hard work taking them out so very often, but worked a charm for us, she was trained in a month tops.
5. Don't give in.
6. And cannot stress this enough - good, good, good quality food. You get what you pay for. And never introduce crap treats. I stick two frozen salmon fillets, 300 gms cheap cheap liver and a chicken thigh in the oven every 6 weeks or so. Roast. Let cool. Chop/cut into tiny tiny bits, stick load in freezer bag and freeze. Dirt cheap, healthy, protein treats all day.
7. Developing that, research food. Get him or her on a high quality premium kibble which is best for them. Start as you mean to go on, their brains develop rapidly now, depending on which they are easier to train or not. Fish based food, salmon oils all help that. Not going to recommend brands, but, please get high quality food.

And most of all, the first month will be very intensive in efforts, don't give in. Don't give up, a hard first month of work will result in a lifetime of pleasure.

NCIS Wed 10-Dec-14 21:07:55

Would also emphasis that training is not just a course of puppy classes, I know I go to town on training (upwards of six hours of classes per week) but the results are amazing and the joy in walking and training a happy engaged dog cannot be over emphasised.
Remember their brains need exercise as well as their bodies but they also need sleep and that may need to be enforced, treat them like a toddler and enforce naps if necessary.

What breed are you getting?

writingbeagle Wed 10-Dec-14 22:20:53

Our puppy is 18 weeks now, so still new to this. We've been lucky, although he's a working cocker and they have a reputation for being crazy, he's been wonderful. Not sure I can get to 10, but this is what has been important for us:
1. Agree with all the good advice above re toilet training. We tried very hard to take him out every hour and it has paid dividends.
2. Puppy training classes have been great, as much for teaching us as him.
3. We took him out and carried him before the final vaccinations. Has meant he's pretty sociable.
4.Crate. I know not all puppies get on with them, but for us, it has been a life saver. He's chilled and happy in his crate and we know he's safe.
5. Likewise, stairgates, so we can keep him where we want him. It's not a toilet training or that he chews furniture, but he's terrible for eating anything he can get his little paws on, and DS has lego and isn't tidy. I would be terrified he'd eat something and make himself ill.
6. Spend as much time with your puppy as you can. That might go without saying, but we've been lucky that either me or DH and mostly both of us have been able to devote a huge amount of time to him in the first couple of months. It has paid off in that we both have a brilliant bond with him which is commented on by other owners when we're out and about.
7. Pick your battles. We started out saying he couldn't sit on the sofa. We had a few weeks of miserable evenings, he would just go crazy trying to get up with us. In the end, we realised we'd actually quite like him cuddled up and that it was more we thought we ought not to, IYSWIM. Since he's been sitting up with us, he's chilled out from about 8.30 onwards and its lovely. Its not necessarily about the sofa, in general it might be bedrooms, or whatever, but my point is, don't get so stressed out about training and rules and what other people think is right that you don't enjoy your puppy.
8. Be prepared for how utterly exhausting it is, in the first couple of weeks. We are definitely out the other side now, so it doesn't last more than the first month or so, but it felt as hard as having two DC and then a newborn baby (or to be precise a newborn who can run around and cause havoc the second your back is turned. wink)

That's 8, not too bad. Good luck!

Panicmode1 Thu 11-Dec-14 06:12:46

You are all fabulous, thank you so much for taking the time to write all these down. I am taking everything on board - especially about the housetraining!

We are getting a golden retriever puppy so hopefully easier to train than some breeds (I've been told!). I have already got the vet and puppy classes sorted out and she has been wearing a collar for a while. She will be carried on the school run (until her second jabs) because it's only 10 mins away and we live near a busy road so she will be able to see lorries/motorbikes/sirens etc early on!

I also have a wonderfully helpful and knowledgable neighbour who has a golden too and she has been a fount of knowledge, so am feeling more confident now.

Thank you again, am sure I will have a myriad more questions once she's here!

MostAmused Thu 11-Dec-14 12:18:33

I haven't researched this but I remember reading on here someone said that goldens are naturally posessive? It might not be the case but it's a good idea with any dog to get them used to you going near their food, even taking it away adding some yummy chicken or something and putting it back.

crapcrapcrapcrap Thu 11-Dec-14 12:33:12

Just add the chicken, don't worry about taking food away - that just teaches a dog that they need to worry about you taking it away and makes them more likely to guard it. If you add extra food they learn that they don't need to guard food because your approach isn't anything to be concerned about smile

MostAmused Thu 11-Dec-14 17:47:00

Thanks crap
I wish there wasn't so much variation in advice about dog training. Very confusing sometimes!

crapcrapcrapcrap Thu 11-Dec-14 18:00:41

I know exactly what you mean Most. My best advice, if you're interested, is to get hold of a book called "Don't Shoot the Dog" by Karen Pryor. Once you know how dogs learn it is much easier to work out what advice makes sense and what advice is bunkum smile

punter Thu 11-Dec-14 20:12:37

Don't despair if things go wrong think forward to when things calm down! I agree consistency is the key just as it is with children. And walk away if it mouths, play bites or winges will soon learn that behaviour is not rewarding.

MsAdorabelleDearheartVonLipwig Sun 14-Dec-14 01:09:35

A good trick we tried when feeding was to call him and hand feed him something yummy while he was eating. Taught him not to fear our hands near his food.

We had a working cocker. He was a fabulous dog. Easy to train and always well behaved.

Enjoy your new dog. It's the start of a long and happy relationship.

EvenBetter Tue 16-Dec-14 17:23:27

Everything you need to know is on that facebook training page. Pack leaders and dominance and all that shit has been scientifically disproven for years and can be damaging if not downright dangerous to implement some of its teachings. Saying NO sternly is pointless, your dog doesn't speak English, it'll just learn that you're a bit scary, you need to show them what you do want them to do instead.

When they're teething give them ice cubes (they can chase them and gnaw on them) and a whole, raw cabbage to roll around and sink their teeth into. When it gets hard remember you won't always have a bitey, incontinent maniac, they grow up super duper quickly. Give em your recycling, they need to bite things so might as well give them stuff on its way to the bin-cardboard and squashed plastic bottles are always winners.

If you don't want it chewed, don't leave it on the floor. If it gets wrecked it's entirely your fault!

Take tonnes of photos and videos, you'll miss their babyhood when it's gone.

NCIS Tue 16-Dec-14 19:12:08

at this time of year Amazon boxes can be a godsend, doglet shredded a lot last year, messy but effective.

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