Meet Story my new Australian Shepherd pup – she’s 8.5 weeks old and ready to move in with my crew and I.
Every new puppy is different – I’ve had my share and there’s none that are the same even if they are the same breed or from the same lines.
The most important thing to keep in mind over the first few days is that your puppy has had a dramatic life change and everything is new. They may be scared or ready to go but both are ok.
I try to set my puppy up for the rules they will have as an adult dog from day one. This means that if I don’t want my full sized adult dog on the couch then I won’t bring my puppy up there. Also if I don’t want my full sized adult dog sleeping in my bed then I’m not going to do it with the puppy. THIS IS HARD.
My priorities when I first bring home a new puppy are:
- Ensuring the puppy is healthy – good stools, eating and drinking well
- The puppy begins learning what they can and can’t chew on, I provide copious amounts of chews with different textures
- The puppy meets my other dogs and begins learning to respect them, I don’t expect my adult dogs to discipline or train my puppy. I step in when I need to and redirect the puppy to give my adults a break.
- I start teaching my puppy that a crate is a safe and happy place to be. I feed meals in there, I use it for short durations of alone time with a nice tasty snack and I use it for bedtime.
- Bedtime is so hard – often new puppies can’t settle to sleep on their own (although some can!). I always use a crate as it helps with house training and keeping my puppy out of trouble over night. Some people prefer x pens or just a puppy safe room. If your puppy really struggles a crate by your bed that you slowly move to the location of your choice can help.
Story is pictured above in her crate (well one of our crates) with a stuffed kong, water and supervision. She’s hanging out in my office learning to be happy with the door shut. She hates when I leave her alone so we’re working on settling in the crate with me here and will gradually add more and more alone time. I often do closed door sessions when puppies are hungry and want their snack or sleepy and ready to relax. I always make sure they’ve had a bathroom break before I put them in. If your puppy panics in the crate work with the door open for awhile.