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Personalized Dog Training
 and
Your New Puppy

 

Labrador Retriever puppy - click here to continue    

Preparing the children

What to bring when you go to get your new puppy

What to do now that your puppy is home.

Helpful Bookmark Links

Supplies needed

Information to get from the breeder

Puppy-proofing

Transporting your puppy home

Prior to Bringing Your Puppy Home

Bringing Your Puppy Home

Your Puppy Arrives Home

Preparation for the Children

If you have children, involve them in planning for the puppy's arrival .  This involvement will be a good learning experience for them and it will help them deal with their excitement about getting a puppy.  Also, begin to teach the children what they can and cannot do with a puppy.  Children need to learn to respect a puppy and to give the puppy quiet time.  Teach the children that the crate or dog bed is the puppy's quiet spot and off limits.

 

Things to Bring when you Go to Get your Puppy

  • Either bring a person along who can hold or watch the puppy or a crate with a thick layer of newspapers on the bottom.

  • Bring along a roll of paper towels in case a clean-up is needed.

  • Bring along a bottle of cleaner/odor neutralizer such as Nature's Miracle.

  • Bring along a leash and collar for the puppy.

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For a day or two your puppy may be lonely and miss his mother and his littermates.  It may help to provide the breeder an old towel ahead of time to be left with the puppies. Bring the towel home with your puppy so he has the smell of his mother and littermates.  After the first few days, he should settle into your home and your daily routine. 

During the first few days, be careful to not overwhelm the puppy with attention.  Do not overhandle him or stress him by parading people in to see him. The children are not to constantly play with him, even if it seems he wants to play.  Give him some quiet time so he can get used to you and his new surroundings.  Also, start out right by allowing your puppy to settle.  After he has settled for a while, then reward him with attention, a play session, or a treat.  Do not constantly reinforce activity by only rewarding activity.  If he is being noisy and hyper, ignore this behavior and focus on giving attention to him after he calms down. 

During the daytime, it's advisable to confine your puppy to an easily cleaned puppy-proofed room.  The room should be a central room in your house so the puppy is not isolated from family activity and so you can easily keep an eye on him.  It's best if this room has easy access to an outside door.  The puppy's crate should be placed in this room and the crate door should be left open so the puppy can choose to go in and out (when he's not closed in the crate).

If the puppy does something wrong when he is out of the crate, firmly tell him "No" then distract him into doing something else.  Never hit the puppy with an object or with your hand.  This will only make him fear you.  If distracting him doesn't work, leave a short line attached to his collar when you are supervising  so you can give a light tug on the line after you say "No" and then distract him into doing something else (for example, give him a Kong toy stuffed with bisquits and peanut butter to occupy him).   Sometimes a bit of quiet time in the crate helps - just calmly put him in for a nap.  Do not act as if the crate is punishment. 

For the first few nights, prepare to lose some sleep - use ear plugs if you must.  It's important that the puppy sleep in a crate in the room where one of his owners sleeps.  Do not allow your puppy to sleep on the bed until he is older and trained (this one's up to you to decide, but only after he's older, obedient and easy to live with). 

Make sure he does his business before bed and do not allow him to eat or drink for a couple of hours before bedtime.  If he has just gone to bed and he cries, ignore until he settles.  If he has been settled and cries, get up and take him out to do his business, but do not allow him to play, do not play with him, and do not coddle him.  Take him out on leash and after he does his business, put him right back to bed.  To Top of Page

Basic Equipment to Purchase in Advance

  • Two non-chewable, weighted bowls - one for food and one for water.  The bowls should be large enough to use when the puppy is grown.

  • Brush and/or comb and other grooming supplies.  If unsure, ask the breeder what you will need.

  • A nail cutter.  Ask the breeder what type to use and have the breeder show you how to cut the puppy's nails (hint: only cut one nail at a time at first and then give the puppy a treat - do a different nail every day, after several weeks, try two at a time before the treat, then go back and forth between one nail and a treat or two nails and a treat. Gradually increase to cutting 3 or 4 nails before treating. When clipping more nails sometimes treat after only 1 or 2 so your puppy never knows when a treat might be coming).

  • A nylon or leather buckle collar for the puppy's ID tags (ask the breeder what size to purchase).  Never let a puppy or dog wear a choke collar or other type of training collar unless you are in the act of training due to the danger of strangulation or the collar getting caught on something.

  • A leather or nylon leash.  Get a leash you can easily handle - not too wide to fold in your hands and with a snap that won't clunk your puppy in the jaw.   Do not use a chain-link leash - they are hard to handle when teaching your puppy to walk on lead.

  • A crate for private resting, sleeping at night, and house training. 

  • Some safe toys.  What is safe will depend on the breed and the individual dog.  Be sure to get some toys that your puppy can safely chew on since puppys do need to chew.

     

HELPFUL BOOKMARKS

House training and crate training.

Puppy Manners 

Puppy Training - when to start

Socializing your puppy and teaching him it's okay to be alone.

Feeding

Information to Get from the Breeder when you Pick up the Puppy

  • Be sure to get a written record of the puppy's shots and wormings.

  • Be sure to pick up the puppy's AKC form (blue slip) and pedigree (ask the breeder if you do not understand the form or the pedigree).

  • Be sure to have the breeder provide you with a written guarantee regarding the puppy's health.

  • Be sure the breeder supplies you with clear feeding instructions (Start the puppy on the same food that the breeder uses to avoid upsetting his stomach and to make adjustment easier. If you want, you can later gradually switch to another food).

  • Ask the breeder for training advice (although breeders are not necessarily dog trainers, they know how to raise dogs and may have some good advice for you to follow - however, if a breeder tells you something that concerns you, please get another opinion.  For example, it's not a good idea to hit or slap a puppy's nose for puppy mouthing.  This can very easily make a puppy hand-shy.)  Also, ask the breeder for recommendations for training classes or in-home trainers in your area.  If your breeder does not know your area, your veterinarian may be able to refer you to training classes or in-home trainers.

  • Do not hesitate to ask the breeder any other questions that you may have.  The breeder should be more than happy to answer your questions and to take phone calls (at a reasonable hour, please) after you have gotten the puppy home.

     

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Puppy-Proofing your Home

 

  • Eliminate any exposed extension cords.

  • Clear food, knick-knacks, magazines, newspapers, and books off of low tables.

  • Put children's toys in a place not accessible to the puppy.

  • Relocate trash and garbage cans.

  • Put all shoes, socks, slippers, and clothes out of reach.

  • Put your head down to puppy level and relocate any items which the puppy may get into.  Remove or fasten down throw rugs.  Make sure to get rid of mouse poisons and ant traps.

  • Kiddie-gates should be used to keep the puppy away from rooms that are not puppy-proof (an unsupervised puppy should not be kept in a carpeted area!).

     

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Transporting the Puppy Home (possibly the puppy's first car ride)

  • Ask the breeder whether the puppy has ridden in a car.  If so, ask how far the puppy rode and if there were any problems such as nervousness or car sickness.

  • Make sure the puppy has not eaten for at least three hours prior to the car ride.

  • During the puppy's ride, avoid noise in the car such as loud music or loud talking.

  • Avoid any unnecessary coddling of the puppy.

  • Do not respond to the puppy's whining or crying by stroking him - you can give him a word of assurance or distract him with a small tidbit or a marrow bone stuffed with peanut butter or spray-cheese. If he continues whining or barking, firmly tell him "No".

  • The puppy may ride in your helper's lap (as long as your helper does not continually coddle the puppy).  Otherwise, the puppy may ride in the seat or on the floor next to your helper.  A crate can be used if you have no helper.  Whereever the puppy rides, it's a good idea to have a thick pile of papers beneath him.

  • Do not punish the puppy if he gets sick or eliminates during the ride.  He cannot yet control it and punishing him could make him nervous about car rides.

  • If you are traveling more than 20 miles, you may want to stop for some breaks so that the puppy's stomach can rest and he has an opportunity to get some fresh air and to eliminate.  Drive in a steady manner, take the least bumpy, curvey, or hilly route, and make enough rest stops to try to get home without the puppy getting sick.

     

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Personalized Dog Training by Martha Windisch.  Located in South New Jersey in the town of Chatsworth.

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