Annie in her New Home
By Justin Paynter
Bringing home a new puppy is a very exciting time, but even for an experienced dog owner, brings about a fair amount of stress, worry and anxiety.
My fiancée and I arrived at the breeder to pick up Annie at 8 weeks and a few days. She was happy playing and seemed to respond well to me at her original home. This changed completely as soon as she was placed in her crate for the ride home. She cried, wailed, howled, whimpered, howled some more.
We knew we couldn’t respond to her, as this would only encourage her to continue crying, but it was heart-wrenching to hear. This continued for all of five minutes before Annie finally fell asleep. But it seemed a lifetime to the new puppy mom and dad bringing her home.
Once the ride was over, she began exploring her new home. I let her sniff every newly puppy proofed corner, watching her like a hawk in case I missed anything, or in case she decided to relieve herself inside rather than outside. After she checked out every inch of her new home, I brought her to her crate again, and my fiancée and I attempted to go to bed. Annie had different ideas.
She didn’t like being separated from us, and serenaded us for ten minutes with more heart-breaking pleas equal to the car ride. Once again, we had to try to ignore her as she cried herself to sleep. On subsequent crate times the crying became less and less, and within 3 days she would go to sleep on her own without a peep.
This is the first lesson to pass on: When your pup decides to cry for attention, or cries and wiggles to be let down, DON’T give in. It is your job to let him realize that the behavior you don’t want will simply be ignored. Giving in is only rewarding the pup for crying, and empowers him to try that much harder the next time.
I was very fortunate with Annie since my fiancée has the summer off and can dedicate her days to establishing a schedule. Annie knows that she eats at 6:30am, goes out for a potty break at 6:45, has play time, then goes to sleep at 9:30am. She sleeps for three hours, wakes up, and repeats the morning schedule. After three more awake hours, she is then put down for another nap, and finally woken up for the evening at 4pm. A final three hours of eating, playing and potty breaks has made house training much easier.
After about a week we only had an accident in the house once or twice, most often owing to my mistake of not reading her correctly. When Annie did begin to pee inside the house I grabbed her mid-pee and brought her outside. If I missed it, I wouldn’t yell at her, only cleaned up the mess and sprayed it with an enzymatic cleaner to remove the smell that would let her know she had gone here before. I never rubber her nose in it, never spanked her.
Two and a half weeks of Annie being a part of the family she now goes to the door to be let out, giving a little cry or scratching at the door to alert me. The schedule is still in effect, and having a house broken dog is the reward for constant vigilance.
Bringing your new puppy home can be nerve wracking. It is a lot of responsibility. Just remember that your pup is seeing many new things in the world for the first time and YOU are her constant. She will be looking to you for guidance and for discipline. He will respond to you. Be patient, be consistent, and most importantly, have fun. This cute little ball of fur and teeth will grow to be your best friend, always happy to see you come home and ready to share your life.
Justin is a store manager in our Danvers, MA location. Come in and visit him and ask him how he and Annie are doing!