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Getting a 4 month old rescue puppy, tell me everything!(26 Posts)
I’ve never owned a dog, neither has my husband. As children we both had them in the family home, without the responsibility.
I want to know literally everything, I’m reading about house training, crate training, teaching manners on the lead, good food brands, the best commands, how strict to be...
What do you wish someone had told you before you became a dog owner for the first time? Be honest, you won’t talk us out of it, we just want to prepare for everything.
Socialise socialise socialise. It is very underestimated how important this is. Take them everywhere. See everyone and do everything. U only get a small window to do this.
Honestly I wish I hadn't 'read' so much as it made me think that I must have been doing something wrong when my puppy wasn't toilet trained in a week, wouldn't walk nicely on the lead etc etc. I soon realised that the reality was very different from the manual.
I wish I hadn't bothered with group puppy classes and just gone straight to a good 1-1 trainer.
I wish I had gone for the highest insurance cover.
I wish I hadn't spent so much money on wasted items for the puppy.
I 2nd socialising!
Plus a really good training class, go and observe some. A great trainer makes a huge difference. Our told me "don't baby him, treat him now like the 30kg dog he will one day be." We weren't harsh or anything but we did have high expectations and didn't let things like jumping up slide because he was small and cute.
I wish somebody had told me that Labradours are in the top 10 farting animals...It wouldn't have changed my mind though.
Oh and teach the dropping down dead sideways from standing trick early...they just don't get it later on.
Most of all enjoy!
I think you work it out as you go along, at different ages they are capable of different things, so a puppy might not be particularily good on the lead or toileting in the right place, but that is not to say things aren't going to improve with little encouragement. Being very strict with a young puppy is to me unnecessary, they long to please you, and will do so if you give them the chance...Positive praise at all times. Read some of the puppy support threads or search on mumsnet New Puppy for some of the trials and tribulations and advice others have been given. It is really an eye opener.
It has all gone in a flash, my puppy is now a year old "dog" (birthday 2nd December) and a lot of the training has been slow and circuitious rather than Right I am Determined That You Will Do X Y Z. Ian Dunbar has some good advice on toilet training that helped me, otherwise it is a mish mash of talking to other dog owners out in the park, reading stuff on the internet and talking to the puppy class leader. A good collar and harness is important. A nice big bed for puppy to stretch out in, mine didn't like curling up like a cat. Lots of washable throws (my pup liked wool mixture, as it absorbed moisture when he was wet from a walk, unlike fleecy polyester) Lots of white vinegar for accidents. A big crate, not too small for him to turn around in if he is already 4 months. A crate cover to make it cosy and dark. A dog bed for another part of the house(we ended up with three different doggy bed areas!!! and it is less muddy than having them on your sofa..
I think I was in the attachment/routine camp - a bit like child rearing.
My puppy also thrived on Canagan kibble. And I used it for treats too. Ostrich tendon is a good chew, much better than rawhide. Soft toys from Wilko for puppies.
They take up a lot of time to start with. Then they just fit in very very easily.. I hardly have to do anything now except let him out when he asks to go in the garden for a week, and walk him twice a day. He is a companion, just there enjoying the family life.
How exciting! I would say lift food bowl a minute or so when pup is eating so stop food aggression. But most important thing is to have fun relax and enjoy! What breed are you getting?
Training can take time and needs to be reinforced over and over. Having said that, enjoy training your puppy. The more fun you make it the easier puppy will learn so don't be afraid to be loud and jolly in the park. The better trained your dog the more pleasure you'll get from him/her. Oh, and if you use a trainer, look for one who uses positive reinforcement. Avoid like the plague anyone who talks about dominance or pack theory.
Be prepared for training to go a bit awry when puppy hits adolescence, which can start around eight months depending on breed. A lot of adolescent dogs will forget recall, and be quite stroppy, the same as teenage humans, don't be fazed keep on with the training and it will pass.
Yes, as pp said socialisation is vital, which doesn't mean, as many people seem to think it does, encouraging your dog to rough house in the park with all the other dogs. Take your puppy to as many different places to experience as many different things, people and noises as possible.
Above all, enjoy your lovely new family member and if/when you do find it gets hard, come on here and have a moan. Lots of people willing to help.
Two things helped us massively (also first timers).
1. Getting a puppy pen. Meant that I could keep his crate, a toy and some water in there and made it so much easier to leave the room for a wee/shower etc without having to check the room for things that might inadvertently get eaten.
2. Instead of a puppy class I found a good trainer to come to us and do a 1-1 session. She could see the house set up and meet us all.
I have carried on with the trainer and she’s been three times now as he has grown - he is now one and a half.
Please keep all wires out of the way and anything that can be chewed! Remember if pup has been in kennels may need toilet training all over again and find out what food they have fed pup on ( some pups are grain free) start as you mean to go on as far as in bed and furniture goes and decide if you want to crate train. Enjoy the best 'breed' there is... rescue.
What are your working hours, will the pup be left alone and if so, for how long. Have you considered costs - food, insurance, flea and worming treatments, vaccinations, bedding, medications, grooming etc. What will you do when you go on holiday, can you afford dog sitters/kennels etc.
Puppies are harder work than you think.
You will get tired and grumpy.
You will wonder why you did this.
Labradors are truly disgusting
you will have a fierce love of each other
They will make you laugh
They will make you cry
You will know unconditional love and
when the time comes to say goodbye and your heart is broken you would not change your decision to get that puppy for the world.
Another one saying socialisation is vital. But also don't just let your dog play with any dog it meets - like humans, not all dogs will get on and it only takes one bad incident for your dog to end up reactive.
Ours was bitten as a 16 week old puppy and it's taken us eighteen months of work to bring him round to being okay with other dogs again!
Can I second the advice about not letting your dog play with just any dog. My 11 month old lurcher was badly frightened and sprained his wrist on a 'playdate' when he was 6 months old - other dog wasn't meaning to be unkind but was simply playing like a typical lurcher. However, it initially left my boy wary of all larger dogs and now he's pretty much fully grown, very timid with any dog that he reckons could outrun him. Luckily, not many dogs can outrun him but for all that, his reaction to meeting any other lurchers or whippets is to sit on my feet and not engage. If only I'd gone with my instinct and declined the original (persistent) invitation to play. Socialisation is about so much more than just running around with other dogs!
Dog training advice and support on FB is great.
You don’t need to be strict. Just clear and consistent. Positive and reward based training is the way to go.
Get a good harness that won’t pull on neck
Eg perfect fit
Where are you getting this dog from - is it an imported rescue dog from Eastern Europe by any chance?
Why do you ask?
Probably because there may be medical or behavioural problems that can be associated with doing that OP.
1. Don't lift food bowls as a means of training against food guarding. Add to bowls so the experience of humans going near food is always a positive one. Only there's nothing that'd make me guard my food more determinedly than the knowledge that someone would whip my plate away at random intervals. Dogs are no different although they don't tend to stab your hand with a fork.
2. There can be very different challenges to overcome with some imported Eastern European pups. So having that knowledge might assist with getting useful help from people who have done this.
Agree, I wouldn't lift a dog's bowl while it's eating. Very annoying, I imagine.
I haven’t read all other replies so I may be repeating but here are the tips I had or wish I’d had:
*The first few nights are tough for a pup. Don’t leave them to ‘cry it out’, they’re scared and it’s all so big and new. Stay with them, gradually move further and further away each night.
* Get good lifetime insurance.
*Puppies are way harder work than you imagine - it’s even a shock when you’ve done it all before.
*Puppy blues/regret are a real thing. It’s normal and will pass.
*Save one treat, the thing they’d give anything for, for teaching the skill you feel is most important. For us it’s cheese and we use it for recall only.
*Raising a pup requires more patience than most people possess. You may quietly lose your sh!t, or cry in frustration. This again is normal, just be sure to stay positive with pup.
*I wish someone had told me not to bother with puppy class.
*Puppies don’t need all the paraphernalia. Treat it as you would preparing for your 4th child (you know, baby #1 gets every gadget going, by #4 they’re lucky to get a cot ).
*Do things like grooming, checking ears, tooth brushing, looking at teeth etc regularly and with treats so they’re used to it.
*They all have a death wish and will eat ANYTHING! Usually with no warning, they just Hoover it up in under a second as they walk on by.
*Teach ‘Leave it’ ‘drop’ and ‘stay’ early. They’re important.
*Get a good quality food! I can not stress how important that is. Just because it’s expensive, it doesn’t guarantee it’s good. Go on allaboutdogfood.co.uk and find a good one. If like me you are unable to raw feed, I can highly recommend Orijen food.
*SOCIALISE, SOCIALISE, SOCIALISE!
*Again, it’s hard work and beyond exhausting (the first few months were way harder than having 4 kids for me), stick with it though. It’s all worth it in the end and passes faster than human baby/toddler years do.
Fair enough. My pup is from Romania and I’ve had a few shitty comments about it so I tend to be a bit bristly
Mine's 6 months now.
The useful things:
Easy Peasy Puppy Squeezy book (£4 from Amazon).. naff title excellent info.
Perfect Fit harness... we started with a Julius K9 but she managed to catch her own mouth in the jaw strap a couple of times and it restricted her shoulders. Perfect fit really is just that!
Tons of chew and tug toys!
No puppy pads... straight out every 30 mins to the garden.. I think we were lucky as she had 3 indoor wees in total and no poos, but we were very consistent at taking her out. Now she knocks at the door if she needs to go!
Things I wish I hadn't bothered with:
I failed with the crate.. she didn't like it and neither did I tbh..I slept with her downstairs the first 10 days and after that she settled herself..and prefers the floor to any bed!
Puppy classes... mine was too distractible with other puppies and we taught her sit and stay just as easily at home. Cheese is generally a great incentive!
I am thinking of getting a one to one trainer to improve her on lead walking as she's a bit of a sniff pull and wander girl. Plus she is nervous of strangers unless they have a dog, despite loads of socialisation.
I wish I hadn't worried so much... mines a fussy eater and I was so concerned..now I give her a mix of stuff.. some raw, some home cooked and some high quality (Orijen) kibble and rotate meals.. she's a perfect size and weight for her age so it has all balanced out fine.
Oh and I really wish I had been firmer with not letting strangers approach her. She is a rare and very fluffy large breed and everyone seemed to think it was ok to stroke her.. now she ducks out of the way and sometimes barks at strangers and that is my fault for not preventing it. Once she has decided they are ok she is great with them but I wish someone had told me that socialisation didn't mean having to be petted by everyone!