As we all know, a puppy is not just for Christmas, but the festive period is when many people consider buying a dog, as the long break away from work and school allows your pet to be given valuable bonding time with your family.
A new addition to the pack brings with it joy, fun and also, worry. Similar in a way to a new baby, there are demands on your time, cleaning up, training, crying (you and the puppy) and a new routine to adapt too.
For those considering a puppy for Christmas, we ask Johanna Buitelaar-Warden from, Lords & Labradors, to give us some much needed advice…
- Having a puppy can be similar to having a new baby with both you, and them, getting stressed and upset. What can you do to calm a puppy who has separation anxiety?
You can calm your puppy by giving the breeder a T-shirt with your smell on to give to your new puppy before he or she leaves their home. Then, on the day they leave, you can ask for a ‘scented’ blanket from your breeder with their mum and siblings scent on.
When they arrive in their new home, ensure you have something warm (like a heat pad), furry (a teddy) and a snuggly bed (like our My First Bed) with sides on to give them the optimum environment.
- When you take them home, have you got any good ideas on how to transport them safely and comfortably?
The best way to transport them safely and comfortably is in a carrier with a puppy pad, so you can change the pad as needed throughout the journey. If you transport them whilst they sit on your lap they can overheat due to the temperature of your body, and that can make them unwell.
On the journey, speak to your puppy to reassure him or her. We wouldn’t advise that you include the scented blanket in the carrier on the way home as the puppy may soil the blanket on the journey.
- How can you settle them into your home?
Sooth them with your voice and leave a hall light on so they are not completely in the dark at nighttime. When thinking about crate training, consider getting a cover to make a safe ‘den like’ environment.
- Any good toys or products for playtime and training?
Puppies like to chew, so we find our most popular items are our everlasting bento balls, nylabones and Orbee balls. Orbee balls have a lifetime guarantee and are minty fresh to help freshen breath – they are also suitable for your puppy’s first teeth.
- What’s the most popular bed for puppies and why?
My First Bed, it has snuggly high sides, a space to put a heat pad and a ticking clock.
- If your puppy is prone to barking or jumping up, what’s the best way to train them to stop?
I would say the best way to train a puppy is to ignore bad behaviour and reward good behaviour – but be consistent. Barking is often a sign of boredom, so ensure your puppy is effectively stimulated.
- When you leave your puppy for the first few times, they can be noticeably upset, how can an owner deal with that situation?
It can be tough to leave your puppy on the first few occasions, so I would suggest starting off with only leaving him or her for a short period of time. You can then build on that length of time and that way he or she will know that you won’t be leaving him or her permanently and will start to relax about it.
- What’s your top tip for new puppy owners?
Try not to worry as your stress will affect your puppy. A puppy may think, ‘My Mum thinks I should be worried about something, so I am worried’. Relax, enjoy and don’t overthink things. Puppies go through stages much like children, they can be challenging but that’s all part of the fun. Be firm, be consistent, live life as normal – try not to make your puppy the centre of all things.
- And finally, what do you recommend to the owner on how they can remain calm at this stage of the puppy process.
Read up in your puppy manuals, but just take out of it what will practically work for you. Get a network of dog owners and/or puppy owners so you can talk to them about each stage and put your mind at ease.
I would definitely recommend going to puppy training classes – this will make for an in control and happy owner and a well rounded dog who feels calm as they know where the boundaries lie and what is expected. Try not to overthink things, it will all work out – and above all enjoy this precious time of puppyhood.