Dana and John
Join Date: Jun 2013
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Dana and I are/were new puppy parents. We read several books, on-line research, read this site and talked to friends. There is too much advice to put in one reply, but here are some of our most important take aways:
1. Keep your puppy safe and loved, but let him work through his anxiety and allow him the dignity to solve his own problems. Gibbs wailed the first 4 nights he was away from his littermates. Dana and I held each other, but we refused to bring him into our bed or reinforce his wailing. Each night the wailing subsided sooner than the night before, and he finally learned to go to bed without crying. As long as he's not in danger, hurt or terrified, Dana and I let Gibbs work through his own discomfort. All we'd try and do is offer one or two "It's OK" and let him figure it out. Now, in any new or uncomfortable situation, Gibbs looks to us to hear "It's OK", and generally remains calm and relaxed if we are.
2. Puppies get their energy and demeanor from you. What is best for your puppy, first has to be right for you and your family.
3. Consistency is key, but not to point of rigidity. Dogs are creatures of habit and are happiest with structure. Find a plan that works for you and your family and try to stick with it. BUT, if something is clearly not working the way you thought it would, don't be afraid to change it, because although dogs like structure and routine, puppies are adaptable.
4. Regarding Housebreaking:
a. Feed him at the same time every day. Regular feedings = regular pooping.
b. Take him outside:
(1) Every hour (except overnight)
(2) After sleeping
(3) After eating
(4) After playing
c. Crate train your dog. Dogs feel safe and secure in their "Den or Pen" and don't like to soil where they sleep.
d. Keep your dog in his crate/den/pen when you can't properly supervise him.
5. Get him use to having his ears and paws handled and get him use to having his teeth brushed as soon as you can. Make it routine as a puppy and he'll let you do it forever.
Last edited by Gibbs Mom and Dad; 08-23-2013 at 10:32 AM.