We are wrapping up our last week with Indy litter of girls. They go home on Sunday. We are continuing to work on potty training and crate conditioning so they have a good start when they arrive at their new homes. And continuing to handle, work with, expose them to things, and love on these girls.
Please be aware puppy parents, even though we are practicing all these things with the puppies, the first few days are always an adjustment and can be noisy and stressful (for humans and adults). The most important points to remember are to be consistent with training, reinforce the behaviors you want to reproduce and ignore the behaviors you don’t want to see continue.
What do I mean by that? Well, if puppy is in its crate with breakfast and just ate (don’t worry if they don’t finish their complete meal at first. They don’t always eat really well when they first arrive at their new home) and it starts fussing, ignore the cries and whines! But as soon as you see puppy settle and be quiet then let them out and give them some love. I find it helpful when crate training puppies to cover the crate with a blanket. It helps them settle faster. And those of you with small children will have an extra challenge. What kid doesn’t want to go comfort his new, crying puppy? But giving puppy attention at that time just reinforces that behavior. Puppy learns if he fusses, he gets attention. Teach your kiddos to wait until puppy is quiet before giving them attention.
For nighttime crating, I give puppy a small blanket and a stuffed animal to cuddle with. Sometime it also helps to leave a radio or some soothing music playing. I also find it helps to cover the crate with a blanket. If you use essential oils, lavender is safe for dogs and has a calming effect. Make sure you are using a pure essential oil from a reputable company and not something diluted or with added fillers. Lavender oil can be used in a diffuser in the room where puppy is crated. We also love the Doggie Calming Spray from Rowe Casa Organics. Whatever your do, DO NOT scoop puppy up and put them in bed with you! You have just wiped out all the training I have put in to get your puppy started for you! Puppy will adjust to his new home, crate and pen. It takes time and patience. It will get easier if you stick to the schedule and routine and don’t give in to puppy’s “demands”.
And setting up that essential Iris pen (or exercise pen) is soooo important for your new puppy! That will basically become their own “room” or space. That’s where puppy is when you aren’t home or even when you are home and can’t actively watch your new puppy. Nobody can watch their puppy 24/7 and it’s important to have safe space for your puppy to hang out. Most people give their puppy far too much freedom at first. Those are the ones who call in a few weeks and say, “I can’t get him potty trained!” Keeping your puppy in its confinement area when you are busy is not mean. You are keeping the puppy safe and giving him every chance to do the right thing. I always have a litter box in the pen with puppy so if I’m busy the puppy can go potty in the appropriate place. And no, it will not confuse your puppy to have a litter box available and also teach it to go outside to potty when you can work on that. (If you decide to sign up with Baxter and Bella, they do things a bit different, so go ahead and do what works for you and your puppy).
Putting the pen in your living room, family room or somewhere where the family spends time helps puppy to feel a part of the family and gets them used to you leaving the room and coming back in. This helps them see that you leaving and coming back is not a big deal and will help prevent separation anxiety to develop. (Speaking of that, never make a big deal of leaving your puppy, whether it be just leaving them in their pen and leaving the room or leaving the house. And the same goes for when you return (from another room) or return home from work, school or an errand away from the house. When we “hype” up our puppy and make a big deal of going and coming we can just heighten their anxiety and make them think it is a big deal and create separation anxiety in our dog.
Love that new puppy but give them boundaries and training ❤️