The holiday season is here, which means many people will be bringing home a new puppy to join their family.
While it can be exciting time, it can also be a bit overwhelming to add a demanding new addition to an already busy time of year.
With a bit of preparation and planning, the transition doesn't have to be quite as stressful as you might imagine. Here are our five top survival tips to help ease the transition of bringing home a new puppy:
Find a great veterinarian.
A quality veterinarian will take their time with your puppy and work to ensure that she has a safe, minimally stressful first visit.
Begin safe socialization right away.
There is a critical window between the ages of 8-16 weeks: it happens to be your pup's primary socialization window. To put it simply, later is too late.
During that time, your pup needs to be exposed to everything from toddlers to wheelchairs to skateboards, and everything in between.
You can find a comprehensive socialization checklist here.
Find a quality trainer who offers puppy socials and/or puppy classes in a safe and controlled setting, as these can be a great opportunity to get your puppy socialized with the help of a professional.
Start training immediately.
Training doesn't start once your dog is older; it should start as soon as you bring your pup home.
We like to start puppy training as early as 8 weeks of age.
Early puppy training can prevent all sorts of unwanted behavior problems, including jumping, excessive mouthing, and even fear and aggression.
We recommend supplementing a group puppy class with private, in-home training so that you get the benefits of group interaction plus the added help of one-on-one professional training.
4. Have a plan.
If you choose to hire a dog trainer, they will be able to help you craft a customized potty training and crate training plan.
Before puppy comes home (ideally), you should have both a long-term and a short-term confinement area prepared.
We recommend a crate (to be used overnight and when you're gone for short periods) as well as a play pen (to be used for convenient management throughout the day, or if you need to be gone longer than puppy can hold it.)
Your puppy should not have accidents in their confinement area unless you specifically create a potty place inside of it (which we don't recommend doing unless you absolutely must leave your pup for longer than they can hold it.)
Have a plan for who will be available and when to walk the puppy, get him out for potty breaks, play with him, and work with him on training and manners.
If you have a plan before puppy comes home, those first few weeks with a new puppy are going to feel much less overwhelming.
5. Rely on professional advice.
Similarly to the medical profession, there's lots of outdated, incorrect, and downright dangerous information on dog training that can be found online.
When you're stuck on an issue, find a quality dog training professional who is up-to-date on the latest modern behavioral science to help you sort through the most effective solutions.
Relying on incorrect online advice for puppy training can be ineffective at best, but potentially damaging in other scenarios.
For help with puppy training in the North Atlanta area, including Milton, Roswell, Alpharetta, Cumming, Johns Creek, Dunwoody, Sandy Springs, Peachtree Corners, Chamblee, Brookhaven, and surrounding areas, contact us here.