Second Opinion Magazine
Top Five First Things To Do With Your New Puppy
By Heather Mishefske, emBARK
1. Show them where the bathroom is. A LOT. Taking your puppy out every twenty minutes to an hour will ensure that they know where the bathroom is located and will allow them to relieve themselves in the correct location. Reward your puppy IN THE DESIRED location, not when you get back in the house.
2. Reward behaviors that you like and would like to see more of. When your puppy does something that you like, reward them with small pieces of their kibble. No need to give any verbal cues, just simply reward the things that they do that you would like to see them do more often. Catch them doing calm quiet behaviors, capture them making good choices, and reward these behaviors the moment they happen.
3. Let them smell around your space – the area they are going to sleep in, your yard/outside space, and the area that they will be living in. Smell is so crucial to their world, and we often do not allow them to gather this vital information. It’s not important for puppies to meet new people or dogs when they first come to their new homes those first several days. But it IS important for your new pup to explore their new home on their own time.
4. Management is going to be so important for your home. Puppies put everything in their mouths, as they are basically the equivalent as a toddler. So, putting unsafe and undesirable things away to keep them safe is a smart move. Puppies do not understand what is theirs and what is yours. To keep them successful, keep puppy appropriate toys/chews available in their spaces.
5. Voluntary checking in with you when you are outside. When outside, and your pup acknowledges you, and comes into your space, reward this behavior! Puppies comes naturally wired to do this, and we want to keep this behavior salient. No need for a verbal cue, simply just toss them a piece of kibble from your pocket. If you do not have a fenced in yard, having your pup on a long line (15-20 feet), or even their dragging leash, is a good way to practice this. All they need to do is to come into your space, and you are simply capturing this behavior.
Heather Mishefske, Owner of emBARK
Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA)
Certified Behavior Consultant (CBCC-KA)
Host of the podcast “A Dose Of Dog”