Yesterday I visited nine-week-old Tibetan Terrier Molly’s new home just a couple of hours after she arrived. The couple want to do all they can to start off the right way with their gorgeous little ball of black fluff.
We were able to work out the best place in the house for her to spend most of her time – somewhere she can easily get to the door leading to the garden and somewhere that her inevitable toileting mishaps won’t spoil the carpet.
We worked out where she would sleep at night-time. They are using a crate. Molly has never been all alone before and we want her to feel secure. It is a lot better to give a puppy company to start with and gradually wean her into independence, rather than to force her into hours of solitude, howling for company. This can easily then lead to panic whenever she is left alone.
From the start she needs to be shown that use of teeth and mouthing isn’t welcome, but in a fair and kind way that a puppy understands and without scolding. She needs to be gently discouraged from jumping up. She is already grabbing trousers and feet, so playing chase games will only encourage this. It’s important she’s not taught through play the very things they don’t want her to do.
I gave them tips I have gathered for successful toilet training including some that people don’t think of, like if the dog is always carried outside she will find it harder to learn to walk to the right place herself; like when praise is lavished on her for ‘going’, she might think this is for the act itself rather than for going outside.
It’s important to give her quiet times in their company without too much fussing and to take no notice of her sometimes so she learns independence and self-confidence; to teach her what behaviours are NOT wanted by showing her instead what IS wanted – ‘come away – good girl – do this instead’.
We discussed the best food for Molly. Cheap food is false economy. Her little body and bones will thrive best on good nutrition, and it can affect her behaviour as well.
Finally, the next few weeks are crucial for introducing her to people, children, cars, bikes, vacuum cleaners and so on in a careful way so that she grows up to be a confident dog. Her early experiences need to be positive ones. They should not let friends and family overwhelm her with lots of excited noise, too much picking up and especially teasing. They should keep calm, allow her to sniff them and explore them, and if they have to pick her up to do so gently. Don’t allow children to get too excited or noisy.
In a couple of weeks I shall be going again.