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Get Off To The Right Start

A place to rest your head

The bed:

Making sure that your puppy has a safe place to rest in during the day as well as somewhere to sleep at night that is comfortable, suitable and enjoyable for your puppy. There is no right or wrong bed and there are plenty to choose from at the market however there are some things that you should consider.

Important points:

  • Your puppy will grow really fast especially up to 8 months of age so make sure that she doesn’t outgrow her bed straight away
  • She should be able to stretch out fully in the bed and not touch the ends
  • Your puppy will want to rest during the day even when you are around but will also want to stay close to you, her new pack. So place her bed in a central position in the house where all the action is or provide her with a secondary resting place such as a blanket to lie on in the main living area. Otherwise she may not take herself off into the other room to sleep on her own
  • Dogs and puppies love to have sides and a roof to their den or beds as this makes them feel safe. This is why they love to crawl under beds and low tables
  • Make sure that the bed is warm and not in any drafts
  • Place a piece of clothing into the bed worn by one of the family, the scent of the person will help add a sense of security to your puppy

Give your dog a bed:

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The first night:

Your puppy is a small and vulnerable animal that in the wild would be with all her siblings, parents and extended family so be understanding that she may well be timid and frightened coming into your house alone. Where to place your puppy on that first night is a big decision as at some stage you are probably going to want to move them out of your room when they are bigger and older into another room in the house. Whatever way you play it your puppy is very likely going to be unsure and uncertain to some degree so be gentle.

Options:

  1. The easiest option is to allow your puppy in your bedroom on the floor either in a crate or her bed. This way she can still hear you and smell you. If she cries then you can ignore her and if she tries to get onto the bed, place her back down. After a few days or weeks when she is more settled and you choose to move her outside your room then you can either do this by gradually moving her towards the door over time or by just placing her outside and ignoring the cries that may follow. Again the first night alone is always a touchy one, however it doesn’t last.
  2. You can place your puppy in her bed that she is going to sleep in and stay with her on that first night, either on the couch or on the floor. Try to keep everything low-key and just sleep, you are only there to keep her company, and tomorrow you will not be there. Make sure that this only happens one or two nights.

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The kennel:

If you have built a kennel then make sure that your puppy is not put outside in it until it is older and more confident. Being left alone can be a frightening experience for a young pup without being immediately turfed outside. It is always better if a kennel is placed close by. Dogs are pack animals and want to be with you, if you place the kennel at the bottom of the garden out of sight they won’t use it. They are so loyal that very often they will sit in the rain, cold and wet, waiting to get back inside. If you are going to put your puppy outside when it is older then make sure it is really warm with lots of blankets that will stay dry when the rain comes. Check on the kennel regularly to see if the blankets are becoming wet and if so make the necessary alterations to the kennel.

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Crate training:

Crates are a popular way to help young puppies establish good routines in the house. Whilst they are not necessary there are a number of benefits and most puppies and dogs grow to love them.

  • They provide you with a very safe place to put your puppy when you are too busy to supervise (provided the crate is big enough)
  • They can double up as a bed at night
  • You can take it with you when you visit friends or travel in the car keeping your dog safe at all times
  • Since dogs and puppies don’t like to toilet in their sleeping areas, crates can be used to encourage your puppy to hold on until they are taken outside to toilet

Make sure that your puppy has a good first experience with the crate:

  1. First fix the door back so it won’t slam shut on your puppy accidentally.
  2. Stay calm and relaxed around the crate. Possibly sit next to the crate or maybe side on but don’t keep looking at your puppy and then the crate or she will know something is up!
  3. Leave the door open and place inside the crate some yummy treats, a few toys and a warm blanket.
  4. Allow your dog to investigate without any pressure. There is no rush.
  5. Let your dog settle inside of her own accord and start to wander in and out. Freely and happily.
  6. When she is settled slowly close the door and then open again after 1 second. Repeat this until the door is closed for longer and longer periods.
  7. Build up the time that your puppy can stay inside the crate, trying to let her out only when she is calm and relaxed.
  8. Do not let your puppy become over stressed inside the crate however a little barking is fine.
  9. Always make good positive associations with the crate.

Remember:

Your puppy cannot move to a cooler place if she is too hot or in the sun so you must always be thinking is she at a reasonable temperature.

Always leave water down during the day inside the crate and take it up last thing at night if you are trying to toilet train your puppy.

When not to crate

  • If your puppy is under 8 weeks of age
  • If your puppy or dog is in need of physical, exercise
  • A good time guide is that you not crate for more than 5 hours during the day if you have a young puppy
  • If your puppy has just eaten or drunk and may need the toilet
  • If your puppy is hot and needs to find a cool place to relax

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What they don’t teach you at puppy school

Listen to the Audio of “What they don’t tell you at puppy training”:

(Click the Play button – this may take a moment or two to get going, so please be patient)

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