Introducing a new puppy to your home can be an exciting, but also overwhelming experience. If you are thinking about making a puppy a new addition to your home, GHS’s Behaviour Coordinator, Melissa Stolz, offers her advice on how to ensure a smooth transition for both you and your new furry friend.
Prepare your home: “Before bringing your new puppy home, make sure to puppy-proof your house,” says, Stolz. “This includes putting away any small or breakable objects, securing any potentially harmful household items, and making sure there are no escape routes for your puppy to run out of the house.” Keep an eye on your new puppy, especially when they are exploring their new surroundings and limit access to any potential dangers they could encounter, such as electrical cords or small objects they might chew on.
Create a schedule: Puppies thrive on routine. Doing the same things at the same times every day will help speed up house training. “A solid schedule will help a puppy settle in,” says, Stolz. “Knowing what to expect from their day will make them feel more confident and secure.”
Schedule a visit to the veterinarian: The relationship between your dog and veterinarian will be important over their lifespan. “Taking your pup to the vet early on will get them used to the experience,” says Stolz. “Try to make it positive; feed your puppy treats or play with a toy in the exam room. Positive puppy experiences at the veterinary clinic will make visits easier when they are older and large.”
Socialize your puppy: It is important to have a plan on how you will socialize with people, other animals, and various environments as early as possible. “Certain behaviours may seem cute when dogs are young,” says Stolz. “But behavioural issues are one of the top reasons dogs are surrendered to shelter, a well-socialized puppy helps them to become more confident and well-adjusted as an adult dog.” Take them for walks, take them into stores that allow dogs, such as pet stores, and invite friends and family over to interact. This will all help introduce and normalize new sites, sounds and smells.
Training: “GHs strongly recommends investing in group puppy classes for your puppy,” says Stolz. “Training and the socialization they experience there can go a long way in helping them become well-socialized and well-mannered adults.” Look for a certified trainer or training class in your area that utilize reward-based training methods and avoid those that use physical or verbal corrections or other forms of punishment.
If you have kids, they need to be trained too: “If you have children, it’s important to teach them how to respectfully interact with your new puppy,” says Stolz. “Gradual introductions with limited play time are recommended.” Remember that puppies are still learning and may not always understand their own strength or boundaries. Show children how to pet the puppy gently. Supervise all interactions to ensure the safety of both the child and the puppy and intervene if necessary to prevent any accidents or injuries.
Remember to be patient and consistent with your training for a new puppy. By following these tips, you can help your new puppy feel comfortable and welcomed in their new home and set them up for a lifetime of good behavior.
The Guelph Humane Society currently has a litter of eight puppies available for adoption. Applications are being accepted in early January. Note: Once we have received a threshold number of applications the post will be closed.