Congratulations on your new arrival! This is an exciting, and overwhelming, time for a new puppy owner. But don’t worry, I’m here to help!
Most puppies arrive in their new homes at around 8 weeks of age. Hopefully, by this age they have had plenty of time with their mum. If things have gone well, your pup will have annoyed his mum a lot, especially over the past week or so! He will also have had plenty of opportunity to play with his littermates. He’ll have been practising hunting and fighting with his siblings a lot over the last few weeks too. When puppies play, they are honing their skills in a safe way. Hopefully, he won’t ever need them, but if your pup ever gets into an argument, he’ll be glad he practised conflict resolution on his brothers and sisters!
Your pup is in the critical period right now. This phase covers 8-14 weeks of age. This is the time a pup is most open to new experiences and is the best time to socialise your pup. Unfortunately, they’ll spend most of this time at home waiting for their vaccinations to kick in, but don’t worry, we’ll talk about how to get round that in the course! But, even after 14 weeks they are still open to new experiences, so all is not lost if they are a little delayed!
During this period, your pup is like a sponge for new information. He’ll want to learn all he can about his environment, so he’ll try to chew, hump, or play with everything he comes across! He’ll also be at his most receptive with his training, so take advantage while you can.
Hopefully, you’ll have thought about how your pup will fit into your home. If not, now is the time to consider who will walk the dog, who will train him, and who will care for him during the day. You’ll be thinking about where he might sleep, rules around sofas and beds, and how you might live together. Hopefully, he’s already starting to settle over night. If not, this will improve as he starts to get used to being away from his littermates. But a heartbeat toy can be very useful, as can a warm, cosy bed he can snuggle up against. Both will replicate the feeling of sleeping beside another pup and help ease him through this phase. It can be tempting to bring a crying pup into the bedroom, and this can really help. But be clear that once he’s had the chance to sleep with you, he’ll not easily go back. Saying that, there is no behavioural reason a pup shouldn’t sleep with his humans. It’s more about whether you’d prefer to, or not!
While you wait for the vaccinations to kick in, he’ll be restricted to the house, but there is still plenty to do. I’ll take you through some of it in this course, but you’ll also be getting him used to his collar, working on his housetraining, and getting his basic training started.
Just as their vaccinations start to take effect, so will the teething phase start. Your pup might have been mouthing prior to this, but now his mouth will be sore as his teeth start moving around. This will make the problem much worse, this is normal, if not painful! Sorry, but you’ll need plenty of patience from this point forward!
Much of this will come over time, and there is already plenty of advice on the internet to cover the basic stuff – you might have noticed! But if you stick to a reward based system, you can’t go too far wrong.
So, over the next 14 days, I’ll be focusing on teaching you all the stuff I wish my behaviour clients had done with their pups in these early weeks. This is the stuff that no-one teaches you, but could save you time and stress in the future. This is the stuff that I help dog owners fix every day!
Over the next two weeks, I’ll teach you something new about your pups behaviour and training every day, and I’ll set you a task, or two!
Your first lesson is ready now… Enjoy!
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