Emotional Puppy Preparedness
In my online puppy prep class, You’re Lucky You’re Cute, where I discuss three key pillars of puppy raising, I also spend some time talking about the emotional side of adding a puppy to your life. I think that taking a bit of time to consider all of the puppy energy that’s about to come your way is time well spent. The anticipation of getting a puppy is often rosy and dare I say a titch naive. Happy thoughts are great, I encourage you to also include preparing for the not so eagerly awaited puppy behaviors. This way when they happen you are ready for them. You are going in with knowledge and ideally some know how. Let’s look at some of the things worth thinking about ahead of time.
This Is Happening
As the early days pass and the novelty subsides, a new puppy in your space can feel like a home invasion. The wonderful Nancy Tanner recently mused about puppies not being convenient. What a bang on description. When you decide to invite a puppy into your home look closely at some of the not so loved puppy behaviors that will come along with your bundle of joy. I can’t wait for my puppy to bite and chase the kids. Oh and I can’t wait for him to destroy the expensive rug, said… no one ever.
Along with your puppy will also come his normal canine behavior, such as barking, biting, chewing and jumping up. Rest assured there are fun ways to teach your puppy preferred, alternative behaviors. Active participation out of the gate is what to aim for. Think prevention over damage control.
Another thing that can be a tough pill to swallow is the sleep deprivation for the first few weeks. Getting up in the middle of the night, sometimes a couple of times, is part of how you will teach your puppy to eliminate outside (if this is the desired spot). Puppies have tiny bladders and are physically not able to hold them for long periods. Getting up to take them out is necessary and important. Tip: Set your alarm clock versus waiting for the puppy to bark to alert you.
Speaking of barking, this can be one of the behaviors a puppy who has never been crated will do when you close the door of his crate and go out of his sight. If crate training is not started at the breeders then you will be the one who is introducing that pup to a crate for the first time. An understanding of this task and a thoughtful, effective protocol to teach your pup to be comfortable in his crate is a top priority.
Where’s The Puppy Love?
Many of my students report feeling hurt because their puppy does not want to be petted and cuddled. This is another ‘normal’ response from your pup to undesired physical contact. This is also one of the reasons that it is important to do your handling exercises. Often pup’s are not comfortable with all our ‘hands on’ attention such as petting, picking up and holding. Be thoughtful about how you interact with your pup and teach children how to interact successfully with them. This is empowering for kids. Save cuddle time for when the puppy is tired or let them focus on an appropriate chew while you gently pet.
Lucky Are We
Despite our sometimes lack of clear communication our dear dogs still mostly manage to understand what it is we want them to do. Here is where I will once again invite you to always do your best to learn what you can do for your dog and to meet them where they are in their stage of life with love, acceptance and patience.