Two months ago, I was in my own snug little world inside my mum’s tummy.
Then suddenly everything changed.
Next thing I knew, my little world was a much, much bigger one full of new sights, colours, shapes, sounds, smells, tastes and animals.
The weirdest of these by far are these giant, hairless creatures that walk on two legs and make funny noises with their mouths.
Mum calls them hoomans and says that, despite the strange way they look, they are actually really nice and will give me a furever home filled with yummy food, comfy beds, fun toys, lovely walks, and pawsome tummy rubs.
It all sounds amazing and I can’t wait for it to begin.
But before we em-bark on this new adventure together, I just wanted to share a few tips to make sure that we get off on the right paw. That way you know what to expect and there won’t be any nasty surprises.
GET OFF TO A CRATE START:I’m pretty new to the world and can become easily scared or anxious. And that’s why I need to have a safe space to go to. Somewhere I can relax, de-stress and get some much needed shut eye.
And that’s why a crate is the ideal choice for my first bed. Not only does it protect me, but it also protects your carpet from any little accidents I might have. Plus, it stops me from chewing anything I shouldn’t such as power cords or your favourite pair of shoes.
A crate will also help me with toilet training by helping me learn to control my bowels and bladder. But please, don’t leave me in there for longer than three hours as my bowels are not fully developed yet, and I can’t hold them any longer than that.
DOG TIRED: Once I’ve passed the crate test, it’s time for me to graduate to a full-sized bed. This should be big enough for me to sprawl out on and soft enough for me to snuggle into. It also helps if it has high sides to help me feel secure.
Oh, and I recommend that you have detachable, washable covers. Cause, even though I’m toilet trained, I can still occasionally be a mucky pup. If you catch my drift?
POOCH WITHOUT THE POO:
The crate is a great first step on the road to toilet training. But there are also other things you can do to help me foster good habits.
The most important of these is reward-based positive reinforcement training. Every time I go to the toilet in the right place, give me a treat. I like treats and I like pleasing you. And once I realise that I am doing both by doing my business in a certain place, then I will quickly make it a habit.
It’s also important to remember that us pups thrive on routine. Feeding me at regular times means that I will go to the toilet at regular times - and that means there won’t be any smelly little surprises for you behind the sofa.
PUPGRADING MY SKILLS:
It’s much easier for us to learn new behaviours when we’re young. Just like it is for you hoomans.
The more you train us and socialise us at an early age, the better adjusted and behaved we will become.
And that’s why you should give me plenty of oppawtunities to mix with other dogs. This teaches me valuable new socialising skills, improves my coordination and ensures that I am comfortable around other pooches.
It’s also a good idea to expose me to other animals and hoomans on a regular basis. This teaches me to be at ease around them and not to become stressed or anxious every time I meet someone new.
Taking me to new environments is also a sure-fire way to ensure I grow up a happy and well-rounded dog. The more I get used to different places and scenarios, the more relaxed I will become with them.
One of the best ways to starts training me is to enrol me in reward-based puppy classes. These help me learn new skills and habits in a positive and upbeat environment whilst helping to build my trust and confidence.
LEASH OF LIFE:
As these spindly little sticks beneath me develop, I am going to be able to start walking and running with more confidence. And then, you’ll be able to take me for...
But first, there’s that small business of leash training to talk about.
Us pooches are curious beasts. We like to run around sniffing, exploring, chasing and playing. But sometimes we get overexcited and forget things like roads and cars. And that’s when accidents happen.
That’s why it’s important to get me used to walking on a leash. At least until we get to a safe open space where I can be let off.
Being on a leash isn’t natural for us. We walk faster than you and we like to rush up to things and investigate them. This results in us pulling at the leash and you being dragged down the road at an undignified half walk/half run.
The key to teaching me to walk quietly at your side is rewards. If I start pulling at the leash or ‘lunging’, stop and pull me back. When I come back give me a super yummy treat and some praise. I’ll soon get the hang of it.
UNLEASH YOUR PUPPY:
Right, now we come to the best part of a puppy’s life. Running and playing without that annoying leash thingy around our neck.
As you’d expect, we get excited. Super, mega-excited actually. In fact, we forget everything but the thrill of the game. Chasing the ball, catching the hoop, playing tag with other dogs. We will play for as long as is caninely possible.
And that’s the problem.
Puppies don’t have a lot of stamina in their early years and can quickly get tired. But they will keep on playing until they drop. That’s why it is up to you, the responsible hooman, to decide when your pooch is pooped.
So here’s a few tips to get me dog-tired without risking my health.
- Make sure the day isn’t too hot. If it is, then try and walk me in the early morning or at dusk.
- Make sure you have water with your or there is a water source available.
- Don’t take me for a run after I’ve just eaten.
- Make sure you don’t do too many throws. If you see me sitting down between throws then that is a sign that I am getting tired.
- Don’t let me jump up and catch those tricky ones. I can land awkwardly, and my legs are not that strong yet.
CHEW IT OVER:
As you are probably aware, puppies explore the world with our mouths. To put it simply, we chew stuff. Table legs, slippers, sofas, power cords, socks and well, pretty much anything we can get our paws on.
The reason we do this is because we are teething. This begins at around 4 months and continues until our baby teeth are replaced by adult canines and molars.
Chewing helps us strengthen our teeth and gums and get them ready for a lifetime of gnawing on bones, catching frisbees and playing tug of war. It also helps reduce the pain of the new teeth poking through the gums.
We also chew to relieve anxiety. It helps distract us and give us something to focus on.
So, if you value your personal belongings, then I’d advise you getting me a few good chew toys.
Luckily, the krew at Kazoo have a wide range of toys for every type of pup. Chew toys for teething pups, puzzle/treat toys for bored pups, soft toys for snuggling pups, rope and fetch toys for action pups, squeaky toys for playful pups and strong rubber toys for anxious pups.
GROOM WITHOUT THE GLOOM:
Mum told me that you hoomans are obsessed with us pups looking and smelling good. That’s why you like grooming us all the time.
Pawsonally, I hate the sound of it, but if it has to be done, then it’s best to get me used to it from an early age.
As always, the secret to success is treats. Give me a cuddle and brush my fur for a few minutes with a soft brush. Then give me a treat and heaps of praise.
Once I’m comfortable with this (usually after a few days) you can move to grooming my more sensitive bits.
For more tips on grooming check out the Kazoo grooming guide.
So, if you want your puppy to grow into an obedient, loving and well-behaved pooch, then start training them as soon as pawsible. Use lots of praise, lots of treats and lots of love and we’re pretty sure your pup will become the perfect family member.
Please keep us pupdated on any stories you have about your latest fur baby. We love to read ‘em and share your learnings with other readers.