Thursday, June 07, 2007

Puppy Care - Part 3 - Those First Few Days...


Your puppy is ready to learn at 4 weeks but teaching and learning require frequent repetitions of the same behavior, 100 to 200 times. The first days can be very trying for both the puppy and new owner and is similar to the frustrations felt when bringing a new infant home. The main challenges are crate training and house training. The main ones facing the puppy are learning to sleep by himself without the warmth and comfort of his littermates and finding out what his place is in the "pecking order" of your household. Remember that pups need a great deal of sleep so do not allow children to overtire him. Your pup is already used to a crate, "his den," but may cry and scream out of loneliness. Keep the crate beside or even on your bed for a while. Place some unwashed item of your clothing in with him along with a stuffed toy or two and a chew toy. The sterilized hollowed bones stuffed with peanut butter in the middle will entertain a pup for hours. You can also feed the pup in his crate. but do not leave food or water in the crate. NEVER REMOVE THE PUP FROM HIS CRATE WHILE HE IS CRYING OR SCREAMING. This just rewards the behavior. Make sure he is quiet for at least 30 seconds before opening the door. The first week or so, he may have to be taken out to eliminate once or twice during the night. Don't jump out of the bed on the first peep; wait to see if he is serious. Sometimes just saying a few words will reassure him and you will not have to get up.

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