New Puppy - OMG What Did We Do!?
Getting a new puppy can be an exciting new adventure. At the same time it can be nerve wracking, terrifying and tiring! I recently read a post in a professional chat room talking about what advice trainers give people who have just acquired new puppies. Most trainers will tell you in order to make the transition easier you should keep the visitors to a minimum the first couple of days, provide the new puppy with a place of it's own (crate) somewhat away from the hustle and bustle of the household (but not separated from everything), create a routine so that there is some predictability and to play with your puppy and get to know them. In addition, a good way to jump start a puppies training is to begin using a clicker to mark the behaviors you want the dog to repeat. If you are not comfortable with a clicker you can use a word to mark the behavior, like 'Yes!' ,and follow up with a treat. Here is a list things I would do with my own puppy during the first 2-4 weeks.
Every time the dog eliminates outside - click and treat (C/T)
Every time the dog makes eye contact - C/T
Every time the pup walks into the crate - C/T
Every time the pup comes up to you, reach down and gently touch their collar or pat their head, then C/T
Every time the pup brings a toy to you - C/T
Every time the pup lies in their bed - C/T
Every time the pup moves toward your side as you are walking - C/T
At least one meal a day, as your dog is eating walk by the bowl and drop something even better than their kibble into the bowl. Have all family members do this.
Drop treats in between your puppies paws every time you go to snap on the leash.
Put treats in your dogs crate when they are not looking so that they can discover them when they walk into the crate.
Every time you find the dog in their crate, toss a treat in. No need to make a fuss, just toss the treat and walk away.
Present a flat palm to your puppy, when they walk up to sniff it and touch it with their nose, C/T
Ring the doorbell when no one is at the door - C/T
Manage the puppies environment so that they are successful. I.E. puppy proof the area the puppy is in so the puppy can't get into trouble, crate the puppy when you can't watch it so they don't eliminate in the house, use gates and tethers to keep the pup in a safe area of the house. Use drag leashes in the house while the dog is under your supervision so that you can grab the leash if the pup starts to head into trouble.
Never, never leave puppies and children alone, even for a second. Neither has the self control or awareness to understand how to interact and the only defense a puppy has is it's teeth, which are razor sharp and can inflict painful cuts quickly!
Find and get started with a good training program.
Finally, socialize the puppy to different environments, people, places, noises and smells. Attend puppy class or puppy play groups with dogs of similar age at least once a week. Avoid large gatherings of adult dogs, dog parks and areas where there may be adult dogs that are off leash.