It is officially Pumpkin Spiced Latte season which means that every store around is clearing space for seasonal decorations and the must-have-gifts of the year. I must admit there is something that is very magical during this time of year and this change always brings out the little child in me. As the days get shorter and Christmas Day nears it never fails that when we go to the mall to see Santa, we always get turned around and coincidentally pass by the pet store which 10 times out of 10 ends with a stroll through to see all the puppies. My wife and I will look at each other with a singular unified thought as we know almost all of these cute Wet Nose puppies will be bought as Christmas presents for loved ones, and with each sale will come a new responsibility that most are not prepared for. How to ensure you are prepared for Fluffy’s arrival!
*Authors Note: If you are thinking about getting a significant other a puppy this Christmas, please make sure you have thoroughly thought it through and it is the right decision for everyone involved. Once you have decided that it is the right decision, please visit your local animal shelter first when looking for your new Wet Nose Family Member. There are hundreds of dogs at these shelters and a lot of these shelters are over capacity year-round. Most shelters will have incentives to help re-home the dogs in their care and I can personally attest that the dogs my wife and I have adopted have a new-found appreciation and are the best dogs we have ever owned. Because I wanted to make sure that every new Paw Parent has all the right information to help with their new addition I have broken this blog into 2 parts. I hope you enjoy this post as much as I enjoyed writing it!
Puppies are A LOT of work! If you are thinking about giving a Wet Nose Family Member as a gift, please plan ahead and prepare your home for a puppy that is going to be very curious of its new surroundings. Pick up any items that may be hazardous to its health; LEGO’S and small plastic toys are some of the victims to pass through a puppy’s digestive tract. Having a variety of dog toys that are designed for play or chewing will help keep your Wet Nose Family Member occupied. If you have other animals, please make sure they are secured and introduced to each other in a controlled manner. If they are not best buds from the start, do not assume they will figure it out on their own, ensure that all encounters are controlled until they become completely comfortable with each other (this may take some time). If they hit it off from the start, the same methods should be followed for a few weeks to ensure they are compatible.
You will need to decide where the puppy will sleep (crate), eat and any rooms and/or furniture that will be off-limits. A puppy is a baby, and just like you wouldn’t let a human baby roam free around your home because there is so much they could get into and dozens of dangerous places, the same goes for your Wet Nose baby. Only allow your Wet Nose Family Member in one room of your home until they have demonstrated proper house manners and you feel they have graduated to have another room. Slowly continue to do this method until they are allowed to roam freely around your entire home.
With all things in life, CONSISTENCY is key, and your new puppy is no exception. Your schedule will need to be fluid until a routine can be set into motion as it is vital in the success of your puppy molding into your life and becoming a valued member of the family. Taking your Wet Nose Family Member out for walks and to go potty the same time every day will help them with their timing. Do not just place your puppy outside in the backyard without monitoring expecting them to potty by themselves; they need praise right away to know what they are meant to do. Dogs are a lot smarter then we give them credit, I remember as a kid riding home from school on the bus all the dogs waiting at the end of driveways for the kids to come home. If dogs can time when kids come home from school, they can time when they will be going for walks and bathroom breaks.
Before your puppy came home to you, their mother set boundaries and made sure they stayed safe; she did not care if they chewed up a shoe but did care if they strayed too far or did something out of line. Your puppy always knew which behaviors could be repeated or what not to repeat because their mother took swift action to reprimand or reward her puppy. Training your new puppy will be one of the most challenging hurdles you will face in this adventure, but the most important thing to remember will be patience and consistency. Continue reading next week as I discuss the most common struggles new dog owners have with training and how to succeed.