Puppy Parenting

So you have a PUPPY!

What should you do now?

chocolate labrador puppyThe first few weeks of a puppy’s life are crucial – before he (or she) has been parted from his mother and siblings. This is when socialisation should start. The puppy should be introduced to people of all ages, to other dogs wherever possible and to the normal things of everyday life such as vacuum cleaners and traffic. At this age the puppy is accepting of new things – the whole world is new after all – and relatively fearless.

At this age he can be introduced to the idea of toileting outside.

We can pre-empt a lot of possible future problems by starting off right. For instance, the earlier a puppy is introduced to the concept of being all alone – for five minutes at a time – the easier it will be for him to adjust later on to being left for reasonable lengths of time.

The sooner a puppy learns that if you have to take something from him he always gets something else in return or the object back, the less likely he will become possessive or a resource-guarder later on.

So when you bring your puppy home you need to pick up where his brothers, sisters and mother (and hopefully good breeder) left off. That is to give him security, protect him, play with him, teach him to be gentle, be patient, give him space and show him how to live with his new human family.

This should be done gently and kindly, without shouting, punishing or bullying. There is no need for the word ‘No’ when a puppy is constantly reinforced for desired behaviour and receives no reinforcement for any unwanted behaviours – shown what he should be doing instead. This may seem easier said than done, but my job is to show you how.

  • What confuses him or her the most is to be treated like a Little Prince (or Princess,) being picked up, carried about, cuddled, kissed, over-excited, not allowed sufficient sleep and every demand of his obeyed whilst at the same time being scolded or smacked for things like toileting indoors or nipping. Or else he/she may be over-controlled with commands at far too early an age.
  • You need to make your environment as puppy-proof as possible. It’s not for ever!
  • He has started, probably, in a whelping box and then in a very confined environment. To bring him to your home and give him the run of the house and garden is confusing for him. He may behave in a wild fashion and he may toilet all over the place. We need to start small and gradually increase his environment as he learns how to deal with it.
  • One of the most important things for your puppy to learn, from day one, is to willingly come to you and to give you things she has picked up.
  • If you chase her and corner her or if you grab her to take something off her, then you teach her to run away from you and you teach her to steal things. It may become a game but, much worse, she may become scared of you. Very quickly, even as a young puppy, she may learn to be possessive, to growl, bite and guard.

Just as with children, some puppies are harder work than others. If you have chosen the bossiest, most forward puppy in the litter – or feel sorry for the most timid puppy, you may find him or her more challenging.

If your puppy has had a less than ideal start in life, it’s never too late to make a huge difference as you work through his adolescence to create a stable adult dog, if you are prepared to put in the work.

I can Help you with your Puppy Parenting

If you are experiencing troubles with your puppy, I can help. During the first consultation I help you start rearing your puppy as a ‘parent’ should, so that he grows into a happy, stable and relaxed dog who will do what you ask when necessary because he/she wants to and not through force or fear and because you won’t put undue pressure on him to obey ‘commands’.

Puppy needs to be protected from harm, and this especially includes scary encounters with unstable older dogs, bieng touched if he doesn’t want to be touched by people he/she doesn’t know and pulled about by people and children. He needs to meet plenty of other dogs in the first few months, but being attacked or bullied by another dog at an early age can shadow his/her life unless dealt with properly.

The consultation will be followed by a personal Puppy Parenting Plan and ongoing telephone and email back up along with further visit(s) as necessary for as long as you need it, so that as your puppy grows and matures you can contact me with any questions or new situations that may arise. You may need help so that he/she walks nicely on lead from the word go – and this is on a loose lead, never through force. This is all included in the cost of the Puppy Parenting plan.

A consultation takes anything from 2 to 4 hours. I will stay as long as you need me, until you feel happy with your new knowledge. It will take place in your own home with all the people involved in your puppy’s day to day life. This gives you my undivided attention to deal with any concerns you may have. Everyone in the family can be involved in bringing up a well-rounded and happy dog.

With dogs, as with children, the first place to learn manners is in the home. He/she needs opportunities to meet other dogs and various situations, but in a controlled and non-threatening way. Humans have a way of doing too much too soon. You don’t expect a nine-month old baby to be clean, nor a toddler to be learning to read, do you.

You will receive a lot of advice from many well-meaning people. Everyone you meet will want to over-excite and cuddle your puppy. Some puppies like this but many don’t. Some find being approached and loomed over by a stranger very threatening. I will show you how to look for his subtle signs of unease. Use your common sense – do you feel comfortable with what they are doing or what they are saying you should be doing? If not, he’s Your Puppy – Your Rules! Protect him.

I will show you HOW.

Zara2