Chapter 8: Preparing for your Puppy
If you are about to bring a new puppy into your home, there is one thing you can do to make this transition as smooth as possible. Be prepared.
Recently, I had a client, Mr. Newowner, who had just gotten a new puppy. He told me he had picked up his puppy the evening before. That night, on his way home with the puppy, he stopped by the pet store to get everything he needed. He hadn’t done a thing to prepare for his new puppy’s arrival.
Sure enough, the next morning when I checked in with him he was a bit on edge, “We had a rough night,” he started off. He went on to tell me that while he was putting the crate together, the puppy snuck away and pooped in the family room. They finally got the puppy into his crate and he cried and barked for most of the night, ensuring a long sleepless night for the entire family.
Mr. Newowner went on to tell me he was dreading the day. He asked about what kind of fencing he needed. He went on to say he couldn’t find the same food the breeder was using so he got something else.
After I mentioned that a complete change of food can lead to some major diarrhea issues, I could hear him let out a long sigh, “Yeah, I found that out. I never knew how tough this puppy thing could be.”
I thought to myself, “Really? Let’s see, you’ve known for a month the exact day you’re picking up your puppy and you still weren’t ready for him?” I wanted to ask him if he swung by Walmart for a crib and diapers when his kids were being brought home from the hospital for the first time.
Mr. Newowner made one major, very common mistake. He didn’t read this book and he sought help only after he bought his puppy. He wasn’t prepared. If he had been prepared and thought through most major puppy contingencies, Mr. Newowner wouldn’t have had a troublesome experience. Instead, he would have felt excitement about his new furry little family member.
Let’s make sure you don’t make the same mistake. As you read further, we are going to put together a Puppy Plan. The plan will consist of a daily schedule of feeding, potty breaks and playtime. We’ll also make a plan for the puppy when you are away.
After that, we’ll look at all the provisions you’re going to need for your new puppy. Some of these provisions I consider mandatory, many others are optional.
In addition to the plan and provisions, we will also look at some of the different pet care providers that can assist you in caring for your new precious family member. Does that sound like a plan?
The first step in making any good plan is the schedule. In our schedule, we want to account for 100% of the puppy’s time. Puppies, like human babies, respond best when routines are developed and adhered to. These predictable routines help the puppy feel safe and secure. When a puppy knows what is expected of him he develops confidence.
One of my regular routines involves my good friend, the crate. Every time the puppies (I usually have 4 or 5 I’m working with at a time) and I come into the house, the first thing I do is put them in their crates. Picture ?ve puppies playing outside… I open the door and tell the puppies, “Come on, let’s go inside.”
The puppy pack rushes through the door into the kitchen. At the refrigerator they hang a sharp right and run straight through the living room to the sunroom, where their crates are. I follow them to their room; I find them each dashing into their own crate (tails wagging) looking back to me for approval.
The approval they’re looking for is my embarrassing high-pitched voice saying, “Good puppies, good puppies…” while at the same time, tossing some little biscuit
treats into their crates. We do this same routine every time we come into the house.
One of the reasons I establish this routine has to do with housebreaking. As we’ll talk more about later, one of the housebreaking triggers (likely time a puppy will pee) is shortly after a period of high excitement and/or stress.
I hear this from clients all the time, “The puppy was outside playing for an hour. We came inside and a two minutes later I look over and he’s peeing!”
By putting the pups in their crates as soon as we come in, I give them a chance to calm down in the last place they want to pee: their bedroom. After the puppies have settled down, I’ll give them another opportunity to relieve themselves.
This is just one of the routines we are going to incorporate into our puppy schedule.
Before we get too far, keep in mind that I’m giving you the same schedule that I use with my puppies. I understand your schedule may need to be different. As long you remain consistent, your puppy will adapt.