First and foremost, expect to spend a lot of time interacting with your new pal — you won’t be able to help yourself! It’s a good idea to schedule a vacation day or two around your puppy’s arrival to get a jump on training — and to enjoy your new family member — if you can.
Your new puppy will be overwhelmed at first, as he’s in a new place with total strangers. Go slow, and teach your kids to be gentle.
The first day with your new puppy will involve traveling, whether it’s a short distance, or a long ride in a car or the cabin of a plane. This is the perfect opportunity to start teaching your puppy to love his crate. Be sure it’s well stocked with treats and, the towel that we send along with the scent of his mother and littermates. That will go a long way toward making him comfortable in his new surroundings.
When you arrive, make sure he potties before you bring him indoors. Praise him and give him a treat when he does. Keep him on leash inside — free run of the house is still far in his future.
Sit on the floor with him or on the sofa, if you plan to allow him on the furniture. Love on him and talk to him, so he gets to know the sound of your voice and touch of your hand. This is a great time to start teaching him that it’s OK for you to touch his paws, look inside or sniff his ears, rub his belly, touch his tail and groom him with a soft brush.
Remember that puppies don’t have good bladder or sphincter control yet, and excitement can make them need to pee or poop. Take your puppy out to potty after 15 to 20 minutes of play, as well as after every meal. A potty run should be the first thing you do with him in the morning and the last thing you do with him at night.
Let your puppy spend a short amount of time in his crate. This is a big day for him, and he needs some time to himself, so he can process his new situation. It’s okay to have the crate in the living room or some other area in the home where people are coming and going, but don’t bug him while he’s in there. Unless he needs to go potty, walk away calmly if he starts to whine or bark. Don’t let him out until he’s being quiet.
Your puppy will make mistakes and have accidents for the first few weeks, and you’ll have to be diligent about training. It’s a good idea to sign up for dog training classes when your pup’s around two or three months old. Practice those skills on a daily basis! The younger you start, the easier it is for your dog to learn, and you’ll gain confidence working with your dog from the get-go.
It’s also a good idea to get your puppy to the vet for a checkup within the first few weeks. You can get great advice about food and training, and you’ll know that you’re off to a healthy start for a lifetime of fun with your new best friend.
We do also offer training services, to ensure that your pup gets a great start, and develops proper manners from an early age!
HOUSE-TRAINING YOUR PUPPY: CRATE AND CONFINEMENT TRAINING
The 2 rules for house-training success.
Preventing accidents: Long-term and short-term confinement.
What is long-term confinement?
A place for your puppy to stay when you can’t provide 100% supervision. In other words, when you are out, or busy around the house, and can’t keep your eyes on him the entire time. It prevents chewing accidents, potty accidents, and teaches your puppy to be alone.
Confinement? Surely that’s too strict?
Not at all. It is the best possible start for your puppy in your household. People often give a new puppy complete freedom right away. Then, when he has an accident on the carpet or chews on the legs of the coffee table, they confine him, and confinement becomes a punishment.
Instead, give your puppy a safe place from the beginning, and let him make a gradual and successful transition to his new home. He will be much happier and your furniture will be intact.
When do I use it?
Use a long-term confinement area if you will be gone longer than your puppy can hold it.
Setting up the confinement area.
The ideal confinement area is easy to clean and easy to close off with a door or baby gate. It should be mostly free of furniture and non-puppy related objects. The best places for a confinement area are the kitchen, laundry room, bathroom, or an empty spare room. Furnish with:
Getting your puppy used to his confinement area:
Step 1. Take your puppy out for a walk or bathroom break.
Step 2. Give him a chew bone or a stuffed Kong. Leave him alone in the confinement area while you go about your business in the house.
Step 3. After 5 minutes or before he finishes his chew, let him out but don’t make a big deal about it or make a fuss over him.
Repeat steps 1-3, gradually increasing the time you leave your puppy in his confinement area without leaving the house. Vary the length of your absences, from 30 seconds to 20 minutes, and repeat them throughout the day.
Leave your puppy in his confinement area (or crate) at night. It is normal for him to try a little crying as a strategy to get out, so brace yourself for that. He has to get used to alone time.
Step 4. Within the first day or two, start leaving the house for really short intervals like going to the mailbox or taking out the trash. Gradually work up to longer absences, like running errands.
Training Tip: Be patient. It may take several days or weeks for your puppy to get used to his confinement area.
Troubleshooting: If your puppy begins to howl, whine, or bark, wait until he has been quiet for at least 10 seconds before you respond. Otherwise, he will learn that whining or barking makes you appear or gets him out of the confinement area, and he will bark or cry more often and longer in the future.
What is short-term confinement?
It means crating your puppy. A crate is a terrific training and management tool. It is useful for house- training, brief alone-time, settling, and any form of travel. Most importantly, a crate teaches your puppy to hold it when he has to go to the bathroom. A crate helps your puppy in many ways—and saves your carpets.
Is using a crate cruel?
Absolutely not. A crate can be your puppy’s favorite place in the world. Think of it as his crib. Use treats, praise, and toys to make your puppy love his crate.
Just remember never to use the crate for more than 3-4 hours at a time, except for bedtime.
When do I use the crate?
Use the crate for short absences. General guidelines for crating puppies:
8-10 weeks 11-12 weeks 13-16 weeks Over 4 months
up to 1 hour up to 2 hours up to 3 hours up to 4 hours
Getting your puppy used to the crate.
Step 1. Begin crate training right away—preferably the first day your puppy is in your home.
Step 2. Throw small tasty treats into the crate one at a time. Praise your puppy when he goes in to get the treat.
Step 3. When your puppy is comfortable going into the crate, practice closing the door for 1-2 seconds, then treat him through the door. Let him back out. Repeat this step many times, gradually building to 10 seconds.
Step 4. Stuff a Kong with something very yummy or use a special bone that will take a lot of time to chew. Put the chewies in the crate. Shut the door. Move about the house normally. Let your puppy back out after 5 minutes or when he finishes his treat. Don’t make a fuss over him. Repeat this step several times, varying the length of your absences from 1 to 20 minutes.
Step 5. Next, leave your puppy in the crate with something delicious while you leave the house for short errands, like getting the mail or watering the garden. Gradually build your absences.
Training Tip: When you plan to crate your puppy for longer than an hour, make sure he is well exercised, has gone potty, and is ready for a nap.
Troubleshooting: If your puppy is going to the bathroom in his crate, remove any bedding and make sure he has gone potty before you put him in the crate, and that he is not being left for too long. Make sure you are following the rules for good potty training. If all else fails, call us.
HOUSE-TRAINING YOUR PUPPY: THE BASICS
How to house-train.
Step 1. Take your puppy outside on leash. Take him to the same place every time.
Step 2. When he goes, praise. Offer him a treat when he is finished.
Step 3. If you are in a puppy-safe place, let him off the leash for a little playtime.
If he doesn’t go within 5 minutes, put him in his crate for 10-20 minutes, then try again.
A house-training checklist.
Training Tip: Don’t think that confinement and crating is too strict on your puppy. You are doing him a big favor. A few short weeks’ time investment on your part nets you a lifetime of freedom for your puppy—and you don’t have to replace your carpet.
SAFETY NOTE: Your pup should never wear a collar when left unsupervised in his confinement area, because he could get it caught on any number of things, especially if he attempts to escape. You must be absolutely sure that your confinement area is secure, as an escape attempt could injure your puppy! Especially smart little guys like our pups! (Snowy comes from a long line of very escape artist type Cocker Spaniels, so we have had to make adjustments.)