10 Things Not To Do with Your New Puppy

what not to do with your new puppy

10 Things Not To Do with Your New Puppy

You just brought home your little four-legged bundle of joy.  Maybe you rescued (good on you) or bought from a reputable breeder (because you do your homework).  Little Puppers is so adorable you can hardly contain yourself...until in a moment of horror you suddenly realize baby dog is almost as much work as baby human and you have no idea what you are doing!

Cue superhero music.  In comes Sammy the Dog Trainer.  Here is a list of ten things you probably should not do with your new puppy if you want a harmonious life:

1. Let Puppy run all over the house.

Unless you are watching Puppy, she does not need to have free range of the house.  She's a puppy, not grass-fed beef.  When you are housebreaking a new pup, you need to work up in time and space.  She has to earn more space privileges gradually as she learns good habits.  Good habits include not peeing on your rugs and adding doggy artwork (i.e. teeth marks) to your baseboards.

2. Sleep with Puppy.

Puppy learning to sleep in her own crate with the door shut is a million times better for her than letting her sleep with you.  She needs to learn how to sleep on her own in her own space.  If you do not follow this advice, a few things will happen.  First, your puppy may start to develop weird space ownership and emotional dependency issues which could cause you problems in the future.  Second, she could eat your pillows while you are passed out, develop a life threatening intestinal blockage, and cost you tons of money.  She could fall off the bed and hurt herself.  She could also whiz on you while you are sleeping.  None of that sounds safe or fun.

3. Give Puppy rawhide.

Look for rawhide free chewies or shin bones (also called marrow bones occasionally).  The fibrous material in rawhide chews can build up in their tiny intestinal tracks and cause blockages.  Look for chews sourced in the US or other reputable countries.

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4. Let Puppy free feed.

Not establishing set meal times is going to give you a world of headaches.  First and foremost, you are not going to know when she has to poop.  Setting specific meal times takes the guesswork out of when she is going to plop puppy artwork on the ground.  Second, sometimes you need your dog to eat.  Allowing her to free feed creates a lack of drive to eat when you put the food down.  If she gets meals only at specific times (3 times per day until she is 6 months old), you will create a healthy appetite and she will guzzle with gusto.  You can also mix in plain or goat's milk yogurt, wet doggy food, or canned salmon (no salt) to aid in your endeavors to get her to eat right away.

5. Use puppy pads. 

I dislike puppy pads.  I understand the necessity, sometimes, for having a spot where your puppy can relieve herself if you are gone and cannot let her out.  And puppy pads do have a built in scent attractant.  However, I much prefer a low Tupperware container with real sod or artificial turf instead of the pads.  You can even buy a spray scent attractant- the same that comes in the puppy pads. Puppies tend to get bored and want to eat their pads.  Then you have a shredded mess of pee soaked pads and a sick puppy on your hands.  When possible, encourage your dog to go outside to do her business.

6. Give Puppy your old shoe to chew on.

It may seem easy to relent and give Puppy that shoe she has been stealing and has already destroyed.  After all, she seems to really enjoy shredding it.  The message you are giving her, though, is that you can shred things that smell like my feet.  Hope your Louie Vuittons are in a safe place.

7. Take Puppy everywhere with you.

You must be extremely careful with young puppies.  They do not have all their vaccines until around 4-6 months of age and their immune systems are not as strong as an adult dog's.  Puppies can catch deadly diseases from simply sniffing fecal matter leftover from an infected dog.  Use your judgement when deciding to take Puppy along with you.  And please do not take Puppy to a dog park or other area where there are lots of other dogs without being fully vaccinated.  This has been a public service announcement.  For reals.
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8. Let Puppy chew on you.

Come See What We FoundLitter mates can chew on each other.  Puppy needs to learn you are not her litter mate.  No teeth on people is the golden puppy rule.  If she wants to mouth on you, correct the behavior then replace with something she can chew on like a toy or a bone.  Never entice her to play with just your hands- it is not fair to bait her into biting you.  Use a toy to play instead.  This is one of the key differences between rearing protection and police K-9s and pets- we discourage mouthing much more harshly in pets.  In the working canines, we try not to douse the bite drive too much, but redirect with play and toys.

9. Cuddle Puppy when she's howling in her crate.

Finally you think Puppy is ready for sleep.  You carefully tuck her in her crate with her Snuggle Puppy, and tip toe out the door.  Let the serenade of howling begin.  As tempting as it is to comfort her like you would a crying baby, let her be.  The exception to this rule is if Puppy is howling after she has been asleep for an hour or more.  Then let Puppy out to do her business before tucking her back in.

10. Punish Puppy's accidents after the fact.

You ignored #1 and suddenly you are stepping in something distasteful.  Resist the temptation to punish Puppy after the fact.  You have to catch her in the act of urinating or defecating in the house to correct the behavior.  If you shove her nose in it and punish her later you risk creating this scenario:

Puppy loves you.  Puppy wants you to be happy with her.  You are not happy with Puppy when you see her turds.  Puppy is a good puppy and will fix the problem.  Puppy starts hiding her turd piles under your couch.

Nobody wants Puppy solving this situation.  Try as she might, her solution is not a good solution.

When in doubt, call a dog trainer.  Check out my full length lecture on how to train your dog
Sammy the Dog Trainer


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