Bringing home a new puppy is a huge change in your life! Wave goodbye to those lazy mornings and hello to standing outside at 3am! This past weekend we brought home Ginny, an 8 week old standard poodle puppy. Ginny is now the 5th puppy we have brought into our home since we got married.
The old saying of when you know better, you do better; completely applies to prepaing for a new puppy into your home! I feel every time I prepare myself and the house, I learn something new that makes the transition a little easier.
Preparing for your new puppy isn’t about running out and buying the leashes and collar and dreaming about snuggling on the couch. It is hard work, some people can get the puppy blues and question their decision.
I wanted to share how we prepared!
Discuss the Changes That Will Happen
It is one thing to say, ‘I guess early mornings will be happening around here!’ but another to really discuss what that means. Night owls like myself need to mentally prepare and manually adjust our schedules. The kids need to realize that it means screen time and play time will be cut short to run puppy outside…constantly.
My kids are getting a bit older and this time we talked about how it will make us feel (annoyed, sleepy, cranky) to be getting less sleep and having our current daily life interrupted. It helped when she arrived!
We all have been taking shifts, knowing when one person needs a bit of a break and making changes to our daily routines. Mentally, we were prepared for the changes!
Brush Up On Latest Training Advice
There is actual science and research to back up the latest trends in dog training! I used to think I knew it all but looking back I think I got lucky and we also had some behavioural issues we ignored. Truthfully, I want to be a good dog owner. I want the house to be happy and our dogs to be happy.
I also know that positive reinforcement has the science to back up why it works. We watched Victoria Stillwell’s “Its Me or the Dog” with Henry. Her methods really worked! This time I wanted to know more in-depth (maybe it is the nerd in me?) and the why! I found Patrica McConnell, her books we detailed, filled with research and pleasant to read.
Her books helped me understand so much about my dog and how to prepare my puppy! There are also some Youtube videos from Kikopup that were great to watch for a visual.
Prepare Your Schedule
After rising four dogs into adulthood I can say that clearing my schedule or making adjustments that benefit the puppy makes a HUGE difference. One of our dogs was brought home when Josh and I were both working alternate shifts. A few times we had to take him to a doggy daycare when we both had to work. It took about a month but he was housetrained!
Our second dog came and I was juggling school, working full-time and it was a bit of a disaster! She took FOREVER to housetrain. Over a year later and I couldn’t be fully confident in leaving her for the day.
The pattern was seen again when I was home with the third dog as a stay at home mom, and he was trained within a short period. Our fourth dog came when work was crazy, five kids were young, and two older dogs who needed more care….months and months of accidents. Once work settled down, our older two dogs both passed away I realized he was finally trained. The schedule did NOT benefit him in any way.
Knowing these past experiences we chose to bring home a puppy in the summer. Waited months and months for the litter. We also made the decision of no annual trip to Prince Edward Island (this pains me because it is my happy place!!).
The kids are older and home, I am working a lighter schedule and when the kids go back to school, hopefully, housetraining will be pretty well established! This may not be possible for everyone but it is sometimes what puppy needs and figuring out how to make it work may save you frustration in the long haul!
Plan for Help
Planning for help was probably the smartest idea we had about preparing for a new puppy! Having help in the home and asking for professional help can make everything go smoother!
With all of our previous dogs, it was up to me to train, care to get up late at night. It left me feeling drained, frustrated and severely sleep deprived. This time we have some older kids to help with the work load.
It was already a given that I would be doing the overnight shift. The puppy was going to be sleeping next to my bed and I would be responsible for getting up at the unholy hours. There is a breaking point to all the sleep deprivation and I asked that each of the older kids take turns waking at 6 am. This would allow me uninterrupted sleep till 8 am.
Daytime is a bit easier as puppy would be either in their crate or someone would be babysitting. We talked over schedules and what that would look like and entail.
As for professional help I pre-booked puppy classes from a certified animal trainer! This would get puppy more socialization, would have the chance to really fine tune our training and learn a few new tricks to help make things easier!
We also booked a private lesson for the end of the first week, in our home. The reason for this? This would allow puppy to settle, it would allow us to establish some routines, and the most important? It would give us the time to make a list of our concerns!
We already have one dog and I knew there might be a few issues that pop up. Our life is full and somedays chaotic and sometimes things fall through the cracks. Asking a professional for their advice and expertise can really help us make sure we are on the right path!
Be Aware of Puppy Blues
Have you ever signed up for a class that feels above your head? Bought shoes that were a bit too expensive and didn’t feel super comfortable after a few hours? Having a new puppy can give you the blues!
Your life was predictable and sleep was plentiful. The floors were clean and nighttime meant your head was on a pillow…then puppy came! Life can become chaotic, messy, noisy and sleepless! It can feel like a colicky newborn in in the house!
There is a chance you will regret that furry little monster chewing everything within its reach! That resentment can make those warm fuzzy feelings feel brittle and dry. This is completely normal!
Remember, puppies sleep 18-20 hours! Having a plan, the time, the resources and help will elevate those blues and make preparing for a puppy for much easier!