It’s the time of year when many people start thinking about new life, re-birth, flowers blossoming, trees leafing up. And why not get that warm fuzzy feeling of new baby-ness in your home, with a new puppy!
Great idea - IF you do a bit of planning.
I love it when people write to me that they will be collecting their puppy next week, next month - even next year - and they’re researching now. Love it!
If you’re getting a new baby in the family, you don’t wait till the birth then start researching, purchasing equipment, and asking advice of friends and relations! It’s in the front of your mind for many months. You have plenty of time to work out how you’re going to manage things.
Many parents will have their newborn sleep in their bedroom with them. They don’t panic that they will have a teenage lout still there in 15 years’ time! They know that things will naturally change, move on.
And so with your puppy. When I advise new owners to have the puppy’s crate in their bedroom to ensure a full night’s sleep, I’m met with cries of “I don’t want a dog in the bedroom!” and “How will I ever get the dog out of my bedroom?”
Wrong (and fairly nonsensical) responses. The question to ask is how to settle the puppy in so that everyone rests at night. Once you achieve that happy state, you can start thinking about where you’d like your adult dog to sleep.
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You don’t want to rush in without at least having an idea of the type of dog you want for your family. And if you’re offered a rescued pup out of the blue, then you’ll know whether this puppy is likely to fit your family or not. You’ll be in a good position to take the puppy or leave it for someone who would be able to give it a more suitable home.
It isn’t our responsibility to try to rescue every abandoned puppy! It’s our responsibility to choose, as far as possible, the right puppy for our home, our family, and our lifestyle.
Of course there is more variation between individual dogs than between breeds. But you’ll get off to a poor start if your idea of exercise is walking from the car to the shop, and you choose a dog bred to tramp the moors for many hours a day, just because you like the look of it. You need to put your realistic head on!
What about my older dog?
Some of you may be introducing a puppy into a household with a resident dog. You’ve so loved your friendly old dog that you’d like to get him a playmate. Do remember that your dog has an opinion too! He may have had nothing to do with the choice process, but he has to handle the fall-out when the puppy arrives. And it may be the last thing he wants - to be harried all the time by a young whippersnapper who he’s reluctant to tell off.
Think how you’d feel if your husband came home with a pretty girl on his arm and said, “I so enjoy having you as my wife I’ve decided to get another - she’ll be a great playmate for you. You don’t mind her sitting in your favourite armchair?” Yeah. Wouldn’t go down too well.
It’s essential to create boundaries to give everyone - including both dogs - peace. You’ll find detailed guidelines in this post.
Brand new to puppies?
Exciting! Lots to learn, love, and enjoy. See what one reader said about New Puppy! From New Puppy to Brilliant Family Dog - How to survive the early weeks and still love your puppy!
“We gave our kids a Westie puppy (8 weeks old) for Christmas. I delayed getting a dog because I didn't grow up with one in our house, and I am frankly intimidated by most dogs. Reading this book ahead of our puppy's arrival helped me feel calm and excited. Even reading the book, I could finally see what "dog" people were so excited by. Since the puppy came, things have been really smooth. We are still working on housetraining (two days later), but he so far he's slept through the night both nights he's been in the house without accident or waking us up. He's incredibly sweet, and I'm so glad I have this method to work with him. I actually told my husband that I wished we had read it before our kids were born as the lessons apply to children as well and took us years to learn as far as the kids go. We are going to take one of the author’s online courses now as a family.” Amazon 5* review
Good preparation PLUS a friendly, clear, force-free, guide had an amazing effect on this family and their new puppy!
The puppy starts growing up …
Yes! In time you’ll be over the baby stage and dealing with an adventurous, boundary-testing, teenage dog (that’s around 6-8 months or so)! You need a whole new set of skills for coping with this - kindly, efficiently, enjoyably. And you’ll be so glad you took the time to lay the foundations so that your dog always looks to you first for information and entertainment.
So check out this puppy page regularly to catch up with the latest educational posts on this blog. And don’t miss the Resources list below, which will give you masses of information for getting started. Many of the posts have a free guide for you!
Do write and tell me about your new puppy, his/her name, age, breed or type, especially personality - and how much you’re enjoying each other. I read every comment and every email. And I love seeing photos! And - who knows? - your puppy may end up as a poster child here or in one of my books (with your permission, of course).