The first week with your new puppy
April 19, 2020
Survival guide - Part 2.1Comments
The first week will be a continuation of the familiarisation we started on day 1. Also, this first week we’ll begin to introduce housebreaking and some basic obedience training. It is important to start this straight away so we don’t reinforce any bad habits at the start. Towards the end of the first week, you can begin the socialisation checklist that you should have already put together. If not, see the socialisation section from the first preparation series.
Overview of week 1 checklist
Week 1 will go by like a blur, there are just 6 things for you to do during this first week. Here’s an overview of them before we go into a bit more detail.
- Contact your vet to arrange a health check and schedule in the next round of vaccinations. Also, talk to your vet about the annual booster needles required and flea and worm treatments they would recommend.
- Start some basic obedience training having your puppy follow you around and learn to “come” to you.
- The all-important housebreaking can begin
- Start teaching your puppy to sit before receiving treats of food. Remember your puppy shouldn’t expect to get something for nothing.
- If your puppy is registered with a body such as the Kennel Club, you’ll need to contact them to transfer ownership from the breeder to you. This can usually be done online.
- Your puppy should have come microchipped. If you read the previous guide on what you should collect from your breeder before picking your puppy up, you’ll know the breeder should have provided you information about the microchip. You will need to follow the instructions on changing the owner and contact information for the microchip.
Housebreaking Stage 1
This goes by various names such as toilet training, house training and put simply is teaching your dog not to relieve themselves in the house. They should learn to go to the area you have designated as the toilet area.
As this is the first week there will be lots of accidents - Rome wasn’t built in a day! This first week we’re just introducing these new rules and expectations. I’m going to call this week’s housebreaking training “Stage 1”
- You’ll have to carry your puppy to their designated toilet area
- You’ll stay with your puppy until they do their business. Wait with them for around 5 minutes. You can introduce the phrase you’ve chosen for when you want them to do their business. We picked “Go wee wee” for Betty. Don’t overuse it, though. You don’t want it to turn into background noise. At this stage only say your phrase when they’re actually performing the deed. That’ll create an association with the phrase and what they’re doing. We’ll use this to our advantage later!
- If they do go successfully you’re going to praise them and make a big fuss.
- If unsuccessful after 5 minutes of waiting you’ll take them in and either keep them on your knee or in their crate for 10 minutes before going back to step 1.
- When they do their business you can let them have a bit more freedom in whatever room they will be mostly staying in. You should be confident that they aren’t about to have an accident, but that is by no means a guarantee!
- Now set an alarm for 30 minutes
- After about 10-15 minutes you should start monitoring them for signs they’re about to do their business. You’ll start to know the signs! If you see any of these signs you should start step one of this stage. Remember if in doubt, take them out.
- After the 30 minutes, you should go back and start at step 1
Puppy recall training Stage 1
For the first few weeks when you bring your puppy home you’ll have a unique opportunity that shouldn’t be missed. Puppies at this age have an in-built mechanism to follow their mummy everywhere they go. As you have now become the new mummy, your puppy should start following you around the house without you doing anything at all.
- Place your puppy on the floor
- Sneak a few steps away and get their attention
- As they run towards you bend down to their level
- When they reach you pick them up and make a fuss occasionally dispensing a tasty treat to them.
This is as far as we will go with recall training for a couple of weeks. If you do this groundwork now you’ll make the next part of recall training a piece of cake!
Don’t follow your puppy around the house, you don’t want them to learn the opposite to the above. A puppy would love nothing more than to have you chase them around the house. If you have children make sure they’re on board with all training and particularly this. If they run away from you, don’t be tempted to run after them. In most cases, if you walk in the opposite direction they’ll change course and come back running to mummy!
Teaching “sit” stage 1
This is probably the easiest thing to teach your puppy, in fact at 8-9 weeks old they may already have learned it from their breeder. If not here are some simple to follow instructions:
- Hold a treat slightly above their nose.
- Have them follow the treat as you move it up over their head.
- As their head raises to follow the treat they’ll move their bum towards the floor
- As soon as their bum hits the floor you praise them and give them the treat
We won’t move beyond this for week 1. If you practice this with them they’ll eventually associate sitting with getting a reward. Later on, we’ll have them associate the word “sit” with the action. Then we’ll move onto having them “sit” on command
The first week with your puppy is going to fly by so familiarise your self with the above items.
Summing up you should be familiarizing your puppy with their new family and surroundings, beginning some basic obedience training by having them sit for food and treats along with stage 1 of recall training. By far the most important thing to get underway is housebreaking your puppy by starting stage 1.