What are the mistakes that new puppy and dog owners make that are avoidable?
The day has arrived. You’re finally getting to bring your new puppy home and all you can think about is cuddling and playing with your soon-to-be furry family member. Puppies frolic through your brain day and night. We get it, puppies are hard to resist and your new puppy will appreciate your cuddles. But what else does a new puppy need? What other things does a new owner need to do after they plop down their adorable ball of fur in their living room? What common mistakes are awaiting them in this new puppy adventure?
5 New Puppy Mistakes You Can Avoid:
All Play and No Routine
Make sure that when you first bring your puppy home, you don’t get carried away with their cuteness and lose all sense of time and routine.
Their puppy powers are strong, but you can do it. Your new dog needs to get into a predictable schedule, just like a human baby. This will be difficult at first and you’ll have to find what works for you and your family, but in the end you will have a well-behaved and happy dog. So, get into the habit of feeding her at the same time each day. She’ll need to be fed three times a day for the first 3-4 months and then you can ease back to just two times a day. You can schedule these meals at the same time as your own. Before feeding her, it’s a good idea to get in some exercise, maybe in the form of a walk or some play with her favorite toy.
This lets her get all that puppy energy out while also letting the two of you bond. Repeat this before lunch and dinner and keep the times consistent each day.
Going Immediately into the House
This one sounds weird, but your dog has been either at a shelter, if you rescued, or at a breeder with her mother and littermates and now you’re bringing her to a brand new environment that is completely foreign to her.
Before taking her immediately into your house, take ten minutes and walk her around the neighborhood to familiarize her with her new turf. If she isn’t the best on leash yet, you can alternate between walking and carrying her. This gives her the chance to calm down from the car ride by getting some energy out with a walk. The important thing is that she gets to smell where she will be taking her walks and living her life with you. Then take her into her new forever home.
Not Enough Potty Breaks
Your puppy is going to need to use the bathroom every 2-3 hours.
As she gets older she won’t need to go as often, but in the beginning she’s going to need to be taken out a lot. Unless you don’t mind unexpectedly stepping in puddles littered throughout your abode. No one likes wet socks. So, take your puppy out regularly to avoid accidents. You can employ a simple command like “pee pee” when you’re outside to help her get in the habit of knowing what you want from her. But keep it simple and don’t use too many words. If you take her out at the same times throughout the day she will begin to understand what it means and have fewer accidents.
Many dog owners use puppy pads in the house to help potty train their dog during the first few months. These can be helpful to some owners. But if you can take your dog out regularly, you’ll find that she can learn to use the bathroom outside with the simple help of her human (that’s you!).
Rushing the Crate
Crates are very useful and can help puppies and dogs feel like they have their own space. It’s their own personal den.
They are also handy when you have maintenance scheduled during your work schedule and you need your dog secured within your apartment. So, crate training your puppy can be beneficial to you and your dog. That being said, do not rush the process. Your puppy must feel comfortable in the crate, otherwise you will never feel comfortable leaving her in it.
So, how do you introduce the crate to your dog? First, put the crate in a part of your house that your puppy spends a lot of time in. Maybe the living room or in your bedroom where your puppy sleeps. Leave the door open and put your puppy’s favorite toy in it. Maybe put a blanket in the bottom that smells like you. Make it look inviting so your puppy wants to go in. Your puppy will probably start sniffing around it. If your puppy doesn’t go in on her own, try putting treats in the crate. Do not force her inside.
This process could take days, but be patient. You want her to go in on her own.
Inconsistent Sleeping Locations
Wherever your puppy sleeps in the beginning is probably where she will be sleeping when she is a dog, so give it some thought.
Do you want her to sleep in her crate? In her bed next to yours? The first few nights you have your new puppy will be the first nights she is spending away from her mother and littermates, so you want to keep her close. If she will be sleeping in her crate, make sure that she is comfortable and relaxed before putting her in.
A good thing to do before bedtime is to tire your puppy out with a walk or some play. This will help her (and you) get a good night’s sleep. If your puppy whines at night, try putting a heartbeat simulating plush toy in her bed. The toy mimics the heartbeat and warmth of a mother dog and helps puppies to relax and sleep soundly.