By Sandy Modell
Alexandria, VA – The pandemic has added lots of stress and concerns to our lives in the past four months, so what better way to bring some joy into our lives than to get a new puppy?!
Indeed, we have seen a vast surge of them in our area! We say to ourselves: “If I’m going to be quarantined at home, why not live with the joys of a new bundle of fur and fun?” After all, puppies are amazingly cute animals whose antics often make us laugh.
However, puppies are a lot of work. As cute they are, puppies have many very normal, very “bad” puppy behaviors. Nipping and biting, jumping, barking, crying at night in their crates, and going to the bathroom everywhere but outside are just a few behaviors that can take all the joy out of having a puppy.
If you recently brought home a puppy or are planning to do so, here are the most important items and supplies you should have at the ready when they arrive.
Essential Supplies and More
Food and water bowls – I recommend putting only half of your puppy’s food in his bowl. Use the other half for training and reinforcing good behaviors. Of course, high quality puppy food, mainly dry food that will best meet your dog’s physiological needs according to great suggestions from The Pets, and lots of high value training treats are on this list.
Collar with ID and harness – A good body harness will help to reduce pressure on your pup’s neck. Puppies don’t know how to walk on leash and until they are trained, they do a lot of pulling.
Dog Bed and Mat – A comfy bed for sleeping and a crate mat, door mat, or bath mat for a chill spot. We love teaching puppies how and where to relax!
Puppy crate, baby gates, xpens – Managing your puppy’s environment is a critical part of training and a good way to keep your puppy safe.
You wouldn’t leave an eight-month-old baby on the living room floor while you go for a run or take a shower. Puppies are infants too, and they love getting into everything!
You cannot leave your puppy alone for even a minute! If you do, he will be sure to go off and potty on your favorite antique rug. The best way to housetrain a puppy is by supervising his whereabouts, taking him outside very frequently, rewarding him when he goes outside with a potty party, and putting him back in the crate when you cannot keep your eyes on him, even if it is just for one minute.
Managing your puppy’s environment will help to set your puppy up for success and keep him from practicing all sorts of bad puppy behaviors.
Chew Toys, Stuffed Kongs, Bullysticks, Himalayan Yaks, Tug Toys, Balls, Puzzle Toys, and more. – When you sit down to play with your puppy, do so with a variety of toys, tugs, and chewies. Puppies explore with their mouths and their little teeth are very sharp. They have spent the last two months or so biting and fighting with their siblings. They don’t simply stop biting and they have no idea that your skin is not as tough as the skin and fur of their siblings.
They are starting to teeth, so providing them with a plethora of things to chew on and redirecting them when they are in their biting modes (which is all the time), will go a long way toward teaching appropriate biting. Never punish your puppy for nipping and biting.
Training, Training, Training – You want to start training your puppy from the minute you bring him home. Puppies learn from the minute they walk into our homes. It is always better if we are training them, not the other way around. The critical puppy socialization window is 4-14 weeks of age, so there is no time to lose in helping them make positive associations to new and often scary world around them.
Find an experienced positive reinforcement trainer and attend puppy classes so you can learn modern methods and techniques for raising and training your new puppy. So much has changed in the last twenty years on how we train puppies because we now know so much more about how puppies think and learn.
This list highlights some of the most important things to help you get started on the right paw with your new puppy. Oh, and don’t forget the Nature’s Miracle or similar enzyme spray. There will be accidents, but hopefully, not too many if you heed our advice. For more information on puppy raising and training, check out puppy resources at www.wholistichound.com/resources. Have fun with your puppies!
Sandy Modell, CPDT-KA, is the Founder and CEO of Wholistic Hound Academy, Alexandria’s award winning, premier canine training and learning center — offering classes and private lessons in puppy training, adult dog manners, behavior modification, agility, dog sports and canine fitness and conditioning, kids and dogs, pre-pet planning and pet selection. Classes starting soon! Visit www.wholistichound.com to enroll in our programs, and like us on Facebook.com/wholistichound.