Welcoming a New Puppy into the House

Welcoming a New Puppy

On your puppy’s first day home, give him a complete tour around the house on a loose leash. This is the pup’s first introduction to whatever limitations you want to put on his future access to your possessions – your furniture, golf clubs, books, the kids’ toy shelves, etc.

This is not the right time for “no.” (The puppy might begin to think that “no” is his name!) Instead, use a guttural “Yack!” combined with a very slight tug-and-release of the leash as he sniffs to warn him away from untouchables. He’s new at this, but just saying, “Puppy!” in a happy voice may be enough to get him to look at you – “Good dog.” Back to happy chatter as you move on.

All you are doing is letting him know by means of prevention (a growl sound he understands) what things he will have to avoid in the future. Let him sniff first because he’ll remember the objects more by scent than by sight. He looks up at you and he is praised. Think of it this way: “No!” means “Don’t do that!” whereas “Yack!” means “Don’t even think of doing it!” Chit-chat is natural and pleasurable to both of you; but in the beginning the puppy will only pick up on his name because everyone uses it in connection with things he finds pleasurable – play, food or praise. If you use the word “din-din” many times while fixing his meals, that word will stand out in the midst of a five minute speech on nutrition as a clue to the observant pup that he is about to eat. The human-canine teaching language is based on short, simple words that are consistently applied to specific actions.

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This first guided tour teaches your puppy the layout of his new home, what it looks like, smells like, even feels like (rugs, carpets, tile, wood) and that some things are off limits even to adorable puppies. There is one more important lesson he is learning from this adventure: that you are his new Leader, the He or She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed. If you do not take on this role, the puppy will. Somebody’s got to do it, and he’ll fill the vacancy immediately! You may be familiar with the saying, “Lead, follow or get out of my way.” Every dog is born knowing it and continues to live by it!

Once the house tour is over, now it’s down to specifics. Show Sparky where his water bowl will always be. Let him investigate his crate. Then take him outside (still on leash) to the exact area where you want him to eliminate. Stand there until he does. (Patience. He’s new at this.) Praise quietly as he goes, after which you can make the same kind of tour outside, with warnings about flower or vegetable beds, bushes or plants. Or you may live in a city and by law (and responsible dog ownership) must curb Sparky. Go to the quietest no-parking spot you can find. If you remain on the sidewalk, he will naturally want to join you, so stand down in the street with him. It will take time, plus your casual, confident attitude, to get him used to the noise, the confusion and the speed and size of trucks and taxis. No outside walking tour at this time. Wait until his immunizations are complete, by which time he will also be more accepting of city life.

Note: If the original trip home from where you picked up Sparky took more than an hour, reverse the two “tours” to let the pup eliminate first.