New Puppy: The 1st Few Days

by DFS-Pet-Blog on March 18, 2011

Puppy **Guest post from Ellen B.**

Getting a new puppy is big commitment and a decision my family and I did not take lightly. (Read about our puppy decision!) We were determined to be prepared to raise a well-behaved, happy puppy, so preparing for our puppy started weeks prior to actually bringing her home. We read several books and every puppy article on PetEducation.com. (“We” consisted of my husband, 18-year-old son, and me. My older daughter enjoyed the excitement from college.)

Since leaving her littermates would likely be a BIG change in her life, we wanted to make the puppy’s first few days with us as calm, low-key, and welcoming as possible. Our car ride home from the shelter was only a short five minutes, and it was a one-time-only exception to the rule of always having her in a crate or car restraint in the car. We wrapped the puppy in a blanket and my son held her close to make the ride less scary and as soothing as possible.

As time goes on, Izzy and Kobe are now becoming good friends.

As time goes on, Izzy and Kobe are now becoming good friends.

The next step was to introduce our new puppy to Kobe, our 3-year-old dog. Kobe is crated when we’re not at home, so we let the puppy and Kobe sniff each other while Kobe was still in his crate. The puppy was very happy to see another dog, but I don’t think Kobe returned that sentiment. However, he tolerated her and had no problem letting the puppy know that he would NOT accept her biting him. Since the puppy was only 6 weeks old when we got her, the littermates had not yet fully taught each other the dos and don’ts of biting. Thanks to Kobe’s help, she learned quickly, and within 5 days, Kobe and the puppy had their first mutual playtime!

Side note: Have you noticed I have been referring to “the puppy” instead of her name? That’s because it took us 3 days to name her! I wanted to let my kids pick her name (with my final approval) but they just couldn’t agree. I looked at every website out there that suggests puppy names and I admit even lost sleep over it. Sophie, Raji, Kalli, Lucy… In the end, Izzy became her name.

It was important to us that we spend the entire first 24 hours with her, and as much of the next few days as possible. Unfortunately, we had to pick her up on a day that was not the best for our schedule, but we did our best. She was never alone for the first 24 hours. The first night, my son even slept in the living room, which is where we kept her crate.

So our new puppy is home and you probably have picture in your mind of a cute little puppy sleeping peacefully, and the whole house being filled with happiness over this warm, fuzzy, loving new puppy? WRONG! She was a crazy biter! She bit everything and everyone. She chewed on rugs, furniture, blankets and anything else she could sink her teeth into. She howled at night! She had accidents in the house. SHE. WAS. EXHAUSTING! I remember looking at my son on day 2 and saying “are we in over our heads?” In the most serious of tones, he looked straight at me and replied, “Yes, we are.” But of course we weren’t going to give her up even though we had come to a new realization of exactly what the phrase “puppies are A LOT of work” really meant.

Izzy taking a catnap!

Izzy taking a catnap!

Nighttime whining was a tough one to deal with. Dr. Kathy Hillestad, one of the veterinarians that I work with here at Drs. Foster & Smith, had given me a booklet that our vet team had written. We took that advice which was:

We highly recommend that puppies sleep in their crates, since this keeps them safe, and since we feel it makes housetraining easier. Whatever you decide, establish the routine which you intend to follow from the very first night. Once it’s bedtime and your pup has been out to go to the bathroom, put him in his crate, with a few safe chew toys, and leave him alone. You may have to listen to some whining (maybe a lot) at first, but eventually your puppy will settle down and go to sleep. If you talk to him, or keep letting him out of his crate (except to take him out to the bathroom), he will realize that whining brings attention. At that point, you’ve taught your dog a bad habit, one that you will have to live with for the rest of your dog’s life. Although we know how hard it is to listen to that cute bundle of fur whine, it won’t go on forever, and we promise, your dog is not sitting in his crate thinking about how mean you are. Eventually, he will go to sleep, and then you’re on the way to establishing a good bedtime routine.

Looks so peaceful...for the moment.

Looks so peaceful...for the moment.

After having her at home for a week and a half, we started to get into a new routine but we had some questions about how to handle the biting, chewing, the two dogs roughhousing, etc. I’m really happy that we had a local dog training team come to our house for a 1-hour session. They answered so many questions and gave us great tips – especially on the whole frantic biting/chewing issue. They helped us feel more confident and things really seemed better after their visit. (Thanks Deb & Kat from NorthwoodsK9Sports.)


Also See
:

See All Posts in Ellen’s “New Puppy” Series:

  • Our Decision Process – Pet ownership is a long term commitment, so a new pet decision should be thoughtfully made. May this story help you think through your decision.
  • The 1st Few Days – What to expect when you first bring a new puppy home, and a few tips to help start your puppy’s life out on the right paw.
  • Housetraining a Puppy – Housetraining is one of the biggest challenges of owning a puppy. These tips and “must-haves” for housetraining a puppy will help ease the process.
  • Puppy Chewing – Why Puppies Chew & How to Stop Puppy Chewing
  • Puppy Training Classes – The foundation for a well-behaved puppy starts with a well-trained owner!

{ 2 trackbacks }

Puppy Chewing: Why Puppies Chew & How to Stop It
December 27, 2012 at 1:22 pm
New Puppy: The Decision Process
December 27, 2012 at 1:28 pm

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Rosemary March 18, 2011 at 11:44 am

That’s why I always say “I don’t DO puppies”. I would rather adopt an older puppy (at least 4 months) or an adult dog. Lucky and I almost didn’t survive the baby puppy stage. I won’t say that Ilka is the easiest dog in the world to deal with, because she isn’t. Sometimes I think her head is like a cinder block (hard and hollow), but she was easy to crate train.We are still working on the “four on the floor” and the “your teeth belong in your mouth, NOT on my skin” rule (still mouthy at 15 months), but she in improving.

Also, Ilka is one of the few critters I’ve really had to think about what to name. When I picked her up, I just called her Blaze, because of her facial markings, but when we decided to keep her, I knew I wanted something else. I ckecked out some baby name books from the library, went through them, and made a list of names I liked. Then I tried using them in real life, and Ilka (a Hungarian form of Helen) just seemed to fit.

I always say you hit the right name eventually. I had one cat, adopted as an adult stray, that I called “Black Cat” for almost a month. One day, I opened my mouth to call him, and “Damascus” came out. I swear, he looked at me like “What in the heck yook you so long to figure out my name?” He was Damascus until the day he died.

sarah March 20, 2011 at 5:24 am

you so lucky to have the two dogs adapt to each other so easily. normally, some dogs gets angry when there are other canines in the house but a few are happy to see another kind.

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