The family is thrilled. The kids are electrified at the great news – Your family is getting a new puppy, and he’s ready to come to his new home. The kids’ joy shows no sign of letting up.
Little Teddy is almost nine weeks old – He is still a baby and has never been separated from his dam and siblings. A period of adjustment is ahead for both the puppy and your kids. Everyone in the family has been drilled on their responsibilities and assignment have been decided. The rest is up to you, especially the enforcement of duties and the supervision.
Teddy has a steep learning curve ahead of him. He’ll develop quickly and learn much along the way. For the next months, you’ll enlist the help of the kids to teach Teddy exactly what is expected, how to play, how to potty train and follow simple instructions. You’ll get him used to the household rhythms and the various personalities with whom he’ll interact.
You will act as the designated pack leader. Do your job well now as Teddy absorbs and flourishes as a young dog growing to adulthood, and you will reap the countless rewards of a fabulous doggie friend and good canine citizen.
Even before young Teddy comes home to join your family, decide how to safely confine him, make him comfortable, give him his own private “den,” and a spot for his duty. A strong recommendation is to use a crate for his personal den. You can also use a pet fence that can be set up in the house and later outside if desired. It is very portable and allows greater freedom of movement than a crate. The point is to work out how best to confine Teddy when necessary, and make it enjoyable for him as well.
Also seriously consider fencing a portion of your yard. All states have some type of licensing and leash laws and this is important for safety and compliance. The safer the area for Teddy to romp and play in the better. Just be certain it is a dependable fence and will securely contain him. Of course, don’t turn him out without supervision and absolutely never without fencing, for obvious reasons.
One other comment about fencing – invisible fencing may work out fine for your dog but it has serious limitations. It cannot keep out wild animals or other dogs determined to get at your dog or, worse, get into a fight with him. Your younger dog can be a “sitting duck” for strays in an invisible fence and he could be seriously hurt, stolen or even killed. Invisible fencing has its purpose, but is not secure or safe for Teddy.
Have your young pup examined by a veterinarian. If you have not yet selected a veterinarian for Teddy yet, ask for recommendations from the breeder, neighbors or call around for someone you will like. It is a good idea, as well, to look into health insurance for Teddy early on since these days, veterinary care for illness can run into some serious dollars. Get Teddy checked out from head to toe. Obtain all necessary vaccinations and don’t expose him to other dogs until his series of vaccinations protect him from communicable diseases. Guard against ticks, fleas and mosquitoes.
Work with Teddy every day for short periods of time. As I wrote in another article, “Teach him to allow being handled, examined, turned on his back, touched, and cuddled. Rub him on his tummy, touch his paws, gently finger his toes, rub his ears, and begin speaking to him. Decide on the command words you will use and even as a small Puppy, he can be taught to come by encouraging him, lavishly praising him and so on.” Expend some effort now and the time you’ll invest in Teddy will pay heaps of rewards in the future.
Furnish Teddy with his own collar, identification, and leash. Permit him to explore his surroundings. Always put on his collar and/or leash for outings.
When teaching your little friend to walk on the leash, don’t force him and never drag him. Speak softly with authority, and teach him from the very beginning to walk on your left side, heel, keep a slack lead. Take it in small steps with Teddy until he understands. Ever watch the Dog Whisperer on National Geographic? Be the leader, walk with confidence, give slight tugs when the dog gets ahead, and make it a pleasure to walk together. Certainly never scold, get angry or shout.
Always have the occasional treat, give a hearty “Good Puppy” and be lavish with praise. Keep your temper, never lose it, and be Teddy’s trusted leader.
These suggestions are by no means intended to offer training steps. They are simply basic steps that ensure that Teddy becomes a beloved family member. He will reward your decision to get a dog over and over again.
Finally, I’d like to mention just a few don’ts. These are equally important as preparations to welcome Teddy.
A young puppy, and especially your Teddy, is the cutest creature ever! Just don’t allow him to do cute puppy stuff such as jumping up on you, and other adorable antics. This sweet little guy will grow up in no time and, all of the sudden, his behaviors won’t be so cute anymore. Gently correct any misbehaviors now!
Do not discipline or work with the dog if you are in a bad mood or are upset or angry. In fact, don’t work with Teddy during times you find yourself short on patience. If you get upset with him, cut your training time off for the day. Never correct him while you are mad. Don’t use baby talk or coo to him if he’s made a mistake – save that voice for special times.
Refrain from coddling him excessively if he appears afraid of something. Instead, try to work through it with him with your calm leadership.
Never leave Teddy (or any young dog) unsupervised with other pets or children.
Hope you find some of these tips helpful. Making a little consistent effort from the beginning is the best thing you can do for Teddy. My motto with dogs of any age is simple: “Be consistent, reward generously, love and cuddle Puppy, correct as soon as a mistake is made and never hit, beat, or scream at the dog. Use a gentle, soft voice.”
Teddy will grow become a friend that will stay by your side through thick and thin, good times and bad. He will adore the ground you walk on. No other creature will ever worship you as much as your dog.