… in order of importance.
If only I could experience the feeling of bringing home a new puppy again soon. Zeus as you can see was absolutely to die for – and oh he was a little rascal baby 💜
I’ll always remember the day that I went to go pick up Zeus and the first night that he spent at home; neither of us slept that night. It was a night full of excitement, love, but also fear. I was all of a sudden in charge of a living being! I was so terrified that I would do something wrong that I probably completely over did it at the beginning. I made a few mistakes along the way but it doesn’t seem that Z has held any grudges! Thank Gosh! All I wanted was for Zeus to have the best start in life, and I know you hope the same for your puppy. Therefore here is my list of advices to you as a new pooch owner; what in my opinion are the most important first steps.
- Buy a Crate and start crate training; but not on his first night. Allow your puppy to spend his first night with you ; imagine how big of a shock it is to him to have just been removed from his family and such a tiny age. Provide that comfort and reassurance to your puppy on his/her first night. After that let the crate training begin! People have mixed views about crate training, however I believe that it has such an important role to play in providing not only a safe place and the feeling of safety to your pup, but it is also super useful in house training! To read about how to do crate training correctly click here…
- For the first month of your pup’s life, set your alarm clock at night for every three hours to take out sweet pup (you might not even have to do it for that long). If you do this your pup will be housetrained in less than a month because the secret to housetraining is taking your pup outside before he realizes the he even has to go! I am massively against puppy pads because they do absolutely nothing in teaching your pup to be housetrained.
- Teach him the LOOK AT ME command. I cannot emphasise this enough; this command is the Holy Grail. The advantages to doing this are just too too great for you not to do so. As we all know, it is not natural for a dog to ‘look’ at someone or something intently straight in the eyes – you however want to teach them that it is. Teaching your pup to LOOK AT ME is the absolute first command that you should start practicing and it will make teaching your pup everything else after so much easier – because he will learn to pay attention to YOU. Once your pup has mastered LOOK AT ME – just like for Zeus it will become second nature to him- you won’t have to give him the command anymore. When I say Z’s name, or even make a sound to get his attention – he IMMEDIATELY stares at me in the eye to see what I want. This is where you want to be. You want your dogs full attention – and you will not have this if he stares at your feet or at your hands. And I can also guarantee you that training & behaviour aside, there is nothing that makes you feel your bond as strongly as staring lovingly into each others eyes.😍
- Teach him YES & NO. What always worked best for Zeus & I was the following: When he did something I liked I said YES and he got a treat (Make sure that you ALWAYS have treats on you- because you want to make sure that you reward your puppy EVERY time he does something good – not every now and then). For NO I would make a loud noise – hit my water ball against the wall or hit the wall with my hand etc. anything that would make a loud noise to emphasise your NO. Also don’t forget to stop whatever you’re doing once you have said the NO command. Moving away is always a fantastic strategy to use. For example: If your puppy is jumping all over you and mouthing you to get your attention, instead of just saying NO – move away – don’t give the attention. In fact in situations like this I wouldn’t even use the NO word – I would just move away. Please remember not to be too harsh with your pup. You should be saying NO far less than you are saying YES. YES is the magic word and should be used as often as possible.
- Crate training, housetraining, Yes & NO, and the LOOK AT ME command should all be started before your pup has all of his vaccinations from the vet that he needs to leave the house. Once your dog finally has the clear to go outside and mingle, that is EXACTLY WHAT YOU SHOULD BE DOING. Take your dog freaking everywhere – and when I mean everywhere I truly mean EVERYWHERE. The first 6 months of his life are crucial – let him interact with every person, animal, situation that you can think. Put yourself in those situations – if you live in a small town- take the train to a big town and walk around all day long. Take him on the bus, take him to pubs, take him to the mall, take him to the zoo, the dog park, the hairdresser etc.etc.etc. TAKE HIM EVERYWHERE.
- Taking your dog EVERYWHERE with you is a massive part of his general socialisation to the world – but it may not be enough for his dog on dog socialisation. I would personally recommend for every dog, large breeds in particular, to participate in regular doggie group dog walks. Learning to be part of a dog pack at a young age is absolutely invaluable to the development of your dog. Your pup should learn to be off lead in a pack and on lead in a pack.
Z & his best friend Maddie heading to Hyde Park ! Z was about 5 months old here 💜
- Whether he is dirty or not – clean your dogs every time he comes in. Brush your dog every other day, clean his ears twice a week and brush his teeth every day! This is particularly important for dominant breeds. Dominant dogs when older tend to not like being groomed, and in particular their front paws being touched. If you do manage to get your puppy used to being groomed – it is going to be extremely difficult if not impossible to do so when he is older.
The Most Important thing that you should be doing though with your puppy is spending as much time together as possible! Congratulations you now have a baby! But please remember that it is a pooch baby and not a human baby. Every breed was bred for a purpose, and all dogs still have these natural instincts – therefore it is your responsibility to understand what they are and how to accommodate for them.
For Example: Dachshunds were bred to chase & dig out badgers and small rodents – therefore they absolutely LOVE to dig. It is so important for us to try to allow our dogs to fulfil their natural behaviours – therefore if you have a breed that likes to dig – why not create make shift digging mounds in your garden! Your pooch will not only love you forever, but he will also be content and satisfied.
To read more about not confusing your pooch baby with a hooman baby please read:
Love, Z & A ❤️
All images © 2017 ZeusandAnna