Congratulations on adding a new puppy to your family! It’s so fun and exciting but also can be a little overwhelming, here’s some information my clients have found helpful.
Puppies are a huge deal. Let’s tackle your concerns… There’s so much for you to know about how easy it is, for it being so hard!
MOST IMPORTANT for you to know… Puppies this age need 18-20 hours of sleep/day and most puppies in new homes aren’t getting that.
How can you tell your pup is sleep deprived? I call it...
POSSESSED PUPPY SYNDROME!
Your perfectly sweet, playful puppy might start biting, or zooming or racing past you and biting or grabbing your feet or...
All of that can be normal but when it goes on and on, when you think, "what the heck?", your puppy is way overdue for a nap. Keep reading for a good schedule!
They are newborns… and they need that much sleep to let their brain develop properly; just like newborn babies, their brains process what they’ve experienced while they’re sleeping and, just like babies, they have meltdowns if they don’t get it. They need to get lots of sleep for their brain to develop properly.
If your pup is biting over and over, he needs a nap. Saying “ouch” (in the same tone as if you’d just burned yourself on the stove) and withdrawing for a second will elicit a second bite.
The second bite should be softer than the first and if it’s not, he needs a nap.
Period. His brain is fried from overstimulation and or overtired and he needs a nap.
If the second bite is softer, keep playing and celebrate! He’s learning that our skin in delicate compared to dogs’ skin and that’s beginning of the end of biting.
Most puppies up to 16 weeks old should only be awake for 20-40 minutes at a time!
I know! Pretty surprising! But it works. 3 days of getting enough sleep and you’ll be amazed at the change.
Also... Puppies are seldom able to be considered “housebroken” (potty wise) until they’re 5 months old. Until then it’s all management, management, management to prevent accidents.
For housebreaking and sleep schedule, here’s a GENERAL schedule.
Most pups wake up around 6 am – outside to potty, then play for a bit and they usually are back asleep by 7am.
They wake around 8, potty, play feed (avoid feeding right when they wake up because they tend to start waking up 15 min earlier every morning to be fed!).
Back to sleep by 9:30 and they’ll wake around 11:30-noonish, potty, play, feed, play potty, back to sleep around an hour later (this tends to be the period when they can be awake the longest without a meltdown).
Wake around 2:30-3, potty, play, practice tricks, spend QUIET time together.
Back to sleep within the hour.
Wake around 5pm. Potty, play, feed half of dinner from the bowl and half from a Kong ™ Genius toy in a crate where he can see what’s going on in the house.
Play by ear.
BEDTIME IS 7:30, no later than 8pm.
Wake him up to take him out to go potty between 10 and 11 and for under 12 weeks offer a small drink of water.
I know! Everyone says no water at night but I find that puppies seem to cry more at night when they’re thirsty; a SMALL drink will help them relax. Then down for the night.
This is a GENERAL schedule but gives you an idea of how much sleep he needs.
BITING - So… the biting is not just teething. Puppies don’t have thumbs so they use their mouths to explore the world, including you. He needs to know how hard is ok to bite because puppies bite, it’s what they do. It would be a disaster if you didn’t let him bite you, he would not learn that people can’t be bitten as hard as another puppy or adult dog can.
Your puppy needs a “legal” way to use his teeth and Tug of War is the best.
Play it 6 times a day!
No, it’s not about dominance and it doesn’t lead him down the path to world domination as some people think…. Really? Have you ever seen two dogs play Tug together? If it were about dominance that would never happen. One would say, “That’s mine” and the other would say, “why yes, yes it is. Silly me…”
Use a designated tug and teach Drop at the same time.
DROP - The easiest way to teach drop, in this context, is just to tug, tug, tug (hard! Let him growl and shake his head! He has no other puppy game available to share with you and the growling means nothing) then wiggle a piece of hot dog under his nose and say “Drop!” in a CHEERFUL inviting voice.
“Hmmmmm hot dog or tug toy… hot dog or tug toy…” guess what will win? When he drops it, give the hot dog then get him right back to playing tug then repeat a few more times.
** a note about tug- let the puppy decide when to tug hard and shake his head, you need to make sure you pull gently and only side to side, down at his head/shoulder level. For safety sake no up and down and no yanking by you until the puppy is MUCH older.
Remember, this is the puppy’s game and he needs to feel safe playing with you.
Tug of War and sleep are the two things that work to decrease biting although I read a trainer’s study, recently, that said that puppies bite 200 times/day at the peak which is 14 weeks (can’t remember who it was, sorry!!).
"SOCIALIZING" - I haven’t even touched on the importance of getting him out meeting people in PAVED PUBLIC areas where dogs don’t go potty, ie. Coffee places, McDonalds outdoor area, the mall, etc.
This is crucial for puppies to be successful in their adult lives. The opportunity to imprint them is gone by 13 weeks and then it’s a big mess.
You need to have people come into your home to meet him and teach him to be calm with guests. LOTS of people. 20 people a week, between home and out, is not enough. But a good puppy class will really emphasize that and help you with ideas.
DO NOT wait until “he’s had all of his shots” I SWEAR more puppies are ruined by that than get sick, when taken out into the right places.
More dogs die from behavior problems (in shelters, euthanized by vets, hit by cars) than all canine diseases combined. Get him out!!!
If you want a great letter on the subject check this out http://www.apdt.com/petowners/articles/docs/rkandersonletter.pdf
What “socializing a puppy” should look like is imprinting sounds and smells and sights and interaction with APPROPRIATE people and dogs that will make your puppy know that people and dogs are good.
Imprinting is important and happens whether we intend it to or not and it can go well or badly.
USE ME FOR SUPPORT! That’s what I’m here for! If you have a question about if it’s a good idea to introduce your puppy to ______________ CALL ME.
Puppies are genius, they need really intensive learning at this age. We’re going to be working on all of the basic foundation skills right off the bat – Sit, Down, Stand, Pushups… and some tricks! But the most important things are sleep and bite inhibition…
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YAY!! Puppy’s on his way home!
Get everything ready so you don’t have even MORE to stress about!
A wire crate with TWO doors that will be big enough for him when he’s a grownup OR … one that will fit him for a few months now and then get a big one later.
A bed for in the crate; something with sides so he can snuggle into it (commonly called "bolster" or "donut" beds.) You can also replicate this with towels for puppies that will de-stuff a bed. CALL me if you want to know how! (408) 710-2883.
A “play pen” – called an Exercise Pen should be tall enough that he won’t be able to tip it over in a couple of months.
Food bowls… whatever you like!
A brush – I like to start most puppies with a baby brush…. Yes, a human baby brush, at least for the first week as they get used to the motion and feel. With a coated breed that will need deeper brushing, graduate to a regular human brush within a few days.
These brushes are more gentle on a baby’s skin and can help prevent a lifelong dread of being brushed
A leash and collar – buy the absolute most lightweight (narrow/thin) ones you can safely handle your puppy with. FEW puppies need anything wider than ½ inch and many will never need wider than that. The leash should have a strong but lightweight spring loaded clip- you don’t want a big clunky thing whacking your pup every time he takes a step. The leash should be supple and 6 feet long.
Food- Most breeders will send you with what they’ve been feeding; you need to decide if that’s what you want to continue feeding – if you want to change you should begin as soon as your pup gets home (Ask me for HOW?
Baby Gates – Tension mounted to keep him in and out of parts of the house.
CHEWIES!!! Rawhide (ask me about size for YOUR puppy), Pigs ears, Bully Sticks, raw bones (see Puppies 101 for more)
Stuffable toys!! Kong, Kong Wobbler, Kong Genius and the like; I usually recommend at least three to start out.
Soft toys – HAVE A BLAST and pick out what you like!
Questions? CALL ME!! (408) 710-2883
They can be so much fun, so cute! So soft, so playful, so full of love (and a mouth full of teeth!) and they can add a whole new depth to your life.
They can also be a heartbreak. Some can have a terrible personality and they can be "mean", aggressive, hard to potty train, horrible barkers and more; the depth they add is no fun at all.
You've seen what the rotten ones grow into... and they are why you hesitate to get a puppy.
There is a very straightforward way to get the puppy of your dreams.
If only there was a way to get a "good one"; one that's just right for you.
If only there was a person who would advocate for your best interest and help you raise the most amazing dog.
If only.... (grin) there was someone who's worked with thousands of families of all sizes and their puppies IN YOUR AREA and is familiar with what people in your situation need from their dog and can GET THAT for you.
so... good news. THERE IS!
Trish Wamsat is the founder and former owner and Head Trainer of Adobedogs Dog Training in Los Altos. She was a vet tech at Adobe Animal Hospital for 10 years. She wrote and published Choosing and Raising a Puppy (How Hard Could It Be?) and invented and patented bodycollar no-pull collar for dogs. (more here)
And NOW you can get her help one on one from start to finish with your puppy.
CHOOSING the right puppy is VERY important!
Because it is not ALL in how they're raised, puppy selection can make life SO much easier and help prevent heartbreak.
There's been a lot of "don't get a Holiday Puppy rhetoric over the years and I used to buy into it but the truth is, of the THOUSANDS and thousands of puppies I've trained I never saw one negatively impacted by coming HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS
RESCUE? Sure! But let's make sure that puppy of unknown parentage (most rescues don't have a clue and are guessing about any dog's breed) has the right qualifications to be a member of YOUR household. If the puppy is a rescued purebred, the rule below still matters.
PUREBRED? Sure! But let's make sure that puppy was bred to be the very best of its breed and that it will be right for YOUR household and family.
DESIGNER BREED? SURE! but let's make sure that pup was bred to be healthy and has only the best qualities of each breed. Breeds have qualities that can be disastrous in the wrong situations.
Getting that early stuff done is critically important!
Once we've laid the groundwork we start teaching REAL WORLD manners:
*No jumping on people
*Behave on walks
*Greet people and dogs politely
STILL don't potty in the house!
STILL no biting!
At the same time we're starting their "formal education"
All of the Sit, Down, STAY, Come
BUT we do it so they learn those commands mean it everywhere, every time, with everyone.
Trish's programs for puppies.
Puppy to PERFECT DOG - helping you through the puppy selection process from breed to litter to individual.
Coaching and helping the initial homecoming, with access to her PERSONAL phone number in case you need help in a hurry.
optional 7 day puppy transition in Trish's home to get over the initial crying through the night, the best start for potty training, best start for early training
CALL NOW for your FREE phone consult! (408) 710-2883