Think like a puppy

The pups are heading to new homes. It’s exciting for everyone and a big change too! We encourage new puppy owners to think like a puppy.

It takes some time for your new pup to settle in. For his or her entire life, they’ve been surrounded by 9 other puppies. Their mom (and grandparents) have been there. The same 2 people are caring for them. Sure they’ve had visitors and played with kids, but for short amounts of time.

Everything is new for your puppy. While we try to expose our pups to as much as we can, it’s still so different at your house. It doesn’t smell right (yet). This is why we send our pups home with a towel that’s been in the kennel with their littermates for part of the day. It offers some reassurance and familiarity in this new situation.

Brittanys are adaptable dogs, but we want to make this transition easier for them. Try not to introduce them to too much at once. Resist showing your new pup off to friends and family members for a few days (if possible). Give your new pup as much of YOUR time as you can manage. Help them explore their new surroundings in manageable chunks.

Please remember that puppies explore with their mouths. It is your job to continue to teach them what is acceptable. We work on “no bite” and redirect them to toys, but they haven’t experienced any real amount of unsupervised time in an area where they have access to things they aren’t supposed to chew on (like your shoes).

We recommend periods of kennel time and supervised exploration/family time. The kennel time helps to kennel train your pup and give them a bit of a break from all the stimulation. They will probably whine at first, but they will start to settle down and relax. Immediately after you let your pup out of the kennel, take him or her outside to potty. Then it’s time to explore and play. Give your puppy another potty break before putting him or her back in the kennel.

Your puppy will have accidents in the house. If they eat or drink water, they will need to go to the bathroom very shortly. Don’t wait! Just go ahead and take them outside. When they wake up from a nap – take them outside. After they’ve been playing for a while – take them outside.

Part of successfully training a puppy or dog, is to set them up for success. The puppies don’t know what we want from them. We have to teach it to them. The easiest way to do that is to give them the best opportunities to do things the right way, and reward them when they do it. By taking them outside immediately after eating or drinking, we are setting the puppy to complete the desired behavior – to potty outside. We can reward them with a treat, praise or play time with a toy.

Puppy proof your home  and remove “temptation” when possible. Close your closet door, so your pup can’t get to your shoes. Don’t leave them unsupervised in a room they can get into trouble in. Again – set your puppy up to succeed.

Once your puppy has had a few days to adjust to their new environment, start exposing them to as much as you can – but in small doses. Let them play in a puddle before taking them to the river to swim. Many pet stores and even some home improvement stores let you bring dogs inside. This is a great way to expose your puppy to all sorts of sights, sounds and smells. Take them for a walk around your neighborhood or to the park. Show them off to your family and friends.

Remember, when you let your puppy “get away” with things, like jumping up, you are reinforcing to the puppy that this is ok behavior. It’s so easy to give that cute little puppy some attention when they jump on you, but it’s better for you to ignore the pup until he or she is sitting or has all four feet on the floor.

We’ll get into more details in upcoming blog posts on things like kennel training, potty training and other behavioral training.

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