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Puppies - Arriving & Settling In - 10 tips!
Congratulations on the new addition to your family! Welcoming a new pup to your home can be an exciting and fun time. If this is your first experience of having a pup, you will need to prepare yourself in a number of ways. If this is not your first time, it may still be a good idea to brush up on your ownership skills. Remember that the experience of coming into a new environment can be overwhelming for a new arrival. Try to ease this process by providing the following:
Provide a quiet, warm and well ventilated area/room where they can retreat and let them explore this area at their own pace. Restrict access to one room initially (stair gate can be used) as this reduces confusion and can speed up the process of toilet training.
- Food and water.
Provide ‘easy clean’ food and water bowls in an area away from the toilet training mat toilet training mat . The bowls should be heavy enough not to get pushed around when used. Clean, fresh water should always be available. Avoid milk as it can cause diarrhoea and allergy problems. You should try to get your pup used to set meal times rather than letting them ‘graze’ during the day or giving ‘on demand’ feeding. Initially offer a good quality dried food (can be softened down with warm water at the start if needs be) 3-4 times a day. Dried food is much better for the teeth than tinned food / sachets. Treats should only be given as a reward for good behaviour, not because the pup has just given you the cutest look! They need to be scarce enough to hold some meaning in the context of training. Never allow strenuous exercise on a full stomach as this can lead to a ‘twisted gut’, especially in deep-chested dogs.
- Comfort and Reassurance.
Provide a cosy bed (chew resistant initially!). Pups can play hard but will also sleep lots at an early age. A ticking clock (mimics mother’s heart beat) close by and maybe a warm ‘hot water bottle’ under the bed cover may help. You can also try leaving a radio on at low volume. We also supply pheromone sprays & plug-ins and collars for dogs which can be used to provide a calm environment for the settling in period.
- New experiences.
Introduce your pup to new experiences in a clam manner e.g. car, vacuum cleaner etc. You can also take them up in your arms and walk around the neighbourhood to give them the sights and sounds at an early stage. Bear in mind that an unvaccinated pup should not be put down where other animals frequent, as there will be little or no immunity against a battery of common diseases. The first 3 months are an important window for learning to accept new experiences as normal. Make the most of this phase.
Make sure your house and garden are safe. Bear in mind objects that could be swallowed or chewed, electrical flexes, blind cords etc. Unfortunately, dogs find chocolate highly palatable but can become seriously ill if they ingest enough of it, so make sure your stash is safe! The area must also be escape proof. Some people decide to use a playpen or crate where the pup can be placed in safety at intervals during the day. Try to give them positive associations by giving a treat when placing them inside. Ensure that pups don’t have access to stairs etc as they have a poor perception of height and co-ordination is limited at this stage. Many houseplants and garden plants can be toxic for dogs if ingested. Examples are; lilies, tulip bulbs and azaleas. You can’t empty your house and garden, but just be aware.
- Existing pets.
Use caution when introducing a new arrival to existing pets. The first meeting should be initially at a distance and carefully supervised. Both the new and existing pets should receive the same amount of attention. Allow the older pet to sniff around the new pet and calmly reassure. Be relaxed but cautious. The process sometimes takes weeks before a more relaxed atmosphere is restored. Make sure feeding is done in separate areas as that can be a prime situation for conflict.
- Great Outdoors.
If your pup is to live outdoors, then you need to ensure that you provide a kennel which is wind and rain proof and has good insulation against the cold.
- Plenty of attention and interaction.
Don’t rush them. Timid pets may try to hide initially but when they start to feel more comfortable, you can begin to show them more affection or play gently with them. Try not to spoil your pet by allowing them to lie on you bed or constantly carrying them around. They need interaction but also need to learn that they are safe even when there is no physical contact or when they are alone in a room. Grooming can be useful as a means of calming and getting your pet used to being handled. You will also be more likely to discover the first signs of unwanted passengers!
- Something to chew on!
A firm rubber toy of an appropriate size or tug-of-war rope will be great fun for pups, particularly in the 4-8 month of age ‘teething phase’. Don’t overdo it – it is better to have just a couple of toys so your pup can become attached to them and enjoy them more.
- Means of restraint and identification.
A collar can be introduced within a few days of arrival. Make sure it is loose enough to allow you to pass two fingers underneath, but not so loose that it can be pulled over the head. Your pup may initially scratch at it but will soon learn to ignore it. Regularly check that it isn’t getting too tight. An identification tag is important and should be engraved with contact phone numbers. You may consider micro-chipping at a later stage. A reflective strip is also a good feature to a collar, especially if you will be going on road-walks after dark.