5 Ways You May Be Stressing Out Your Puppy

A woman on the left looks confused while a husky puppy on the right looks directly at the camera

1. Not providing enough structure.

Structure in the form of a crate, exercise pen, baby-gate or leash is a must for a new puppy. You pull quote: “There is a big difference in something the puppy loves, versus something you think the pup should love.”can not expect him to make the ‘right’ choices until teaching him what they look like. That is way too much responsibility to pile on a pup. Too much freedom equals chaos. Neglecting to provide a calm and contained environment leads to negative side effects. A handful of undesirable behaviours would be: destructive chewing, bathroom accidents and biting. It is of no service to a puppy to have too much freedom. Little by little teach your pup what you expect of him and how he can succeed. Do this and as he matures he will be able to handle longer stretches of freedom. Short cuts make for long journeys. Avoid having to do damage control to fix problem behaviours. Think prevent over cure.

2. Not using food to teach, motivate and reinforce.

Rewarding your puppy with food right after he does something you like will help ensure he does it again. It is a win-win situation. Using food to educate your pup is a no brainer. It keeps the learner (your pup) engaged, motivated and happy. Inadequate pay and poor working conditions lead to stress and unhappiness. Learn how to teach your puppy using food.

3. Expecting too much too soon.

Polite walking and learning how to stay are not puppy friendly moves. This is like expecting a pull quote: “Inadequate pay and poor working conditions lead to stress and unhappiness.”toddler to do high-level math problems. Look at the education of a pup as a series of layers. Time sensitive considerations like socialization and early prevention should get special attention. Teach the other behaviours in a thoughtful and strategic way, building on one another. Create a positive association with the learning process. Keep your goals and expectations realistic. This sets your dog and you up to succeed. Remember to take your pup’s age, attention span and the quality of your efforts into account.

4. Not providing appropriate things to chew.

Puppies bite and chew. When we give a puppy stuffed animals or ropes to chew on we are not practicing best chewing methods. They need to gnaw appropriate chews and animal bits that they love. They need to learn what is okay to gnaw on. These are things you must stay involved with. Provide the chews, teach the pup, and manage the chews. There is a big difference in something the pup loves, versus something you think the pup should love. Learning a pup’s preferences is essential. It goes far beyond tossing a dog a bone.

5. Not learning to speak dog.

Learn what your puppy is communicating. A dog uses his whole body. The secret life of dogs should not be a secret to anyone who wants to live peacefully with this creature. They have a have a whole other agenda. It makes for a lot of unpleasantness for a dog if we do not gain an understanding of their species-specific ways. Use compassion and the desire to understand what makes your dog tick. This will help create a heartfelt connection.

The fantastic Lili Chin has provided the following infographic on dog body language for all of us to use. Thank you Lili Chin.

Doggie Language starring Boogie the Boston Terrier

Illustration: Lili Chin www.doggiedrawings.net

Socialization Deconstructed

 

This is a black and white hand drawn sketch of a mind map about puppy socialization deconstructed. There is a puppy head (with the title your puppy) in the middle, surrounded by 5 think bubbles: When - age 0 to 16 weeks; What - Early exposure to oodles of people and experiences; Why - After 16 weeks of age the opportunity is gone. Fallout = Stress. Afraid of things. Compelled to bite or run away from the scary things; Where - Everywhere, Everyone, Everything; How - Pair introductions with something your puppy loves: Food + Toys

Mind Map

“I’m So Confused”

There is a great deal of confusion surrounding the term socialization and what it means for a puppy. The term comes from the description of specific stages of canine development. A pup goes through two socialization periods. In the primary socialization period they learn how to be a dog, in the human socialization period they learn how to navigate our complex world and everything in it. Combined, these development stages comprise only about 10 weeks; starting at about 3 weeks and ending at about 14 weeks of age. What happens or doesn’t happen during this time has a lasting effect on a puppy.

What Socialization is NOT

• A pup on leash meeting other dogs on leash.

• A puppy getting pets from the neighbor while you stand back and watch.

• A puppy sequestered in the house or yard until he has all his shots.

What’s The Big Deal?

Lacking a comprehensive understanding about this stage of development can literally make or break the quality of your dog’s life. If a puppy misses out on lots of positive early introductions during this time, serious behavioral issues are likely to develop. It’s crucial to have a robust game plan. You must be organized and strategic. Use our Social Schedule to stay on track, and use the Field Trip Worksheet to think critically about your outings. During this time social expeditions must be part of your daily routine.

Continued Reading

Giving Puppies Extra Socialization Is Beneficial To Them

Socialization and Vaccinations Belong Together

Count Down to Puppy – Part 3 of 3

A young boy and his jack russell puppy stand side by side looking stage right. They are both wearing red caps that are flying behind them. The boy is also wearing a red mask. All to help promote the https://www.ultimatepuppy.com/2018/03/count-down-to-puppy-part-1-of-3/ series

A New Life Together

This final instalment of our series we’ll get you ready for the car ride home and walk you through what to expect in the early days. We will provide links that show fun things to do. It is important to do these exercises with your puppy, as they learn best before 16 weeks of age. Take advantage of this time to get them used to their environment (“socialization”). This is top priority.

Car Ride Home

Pull quote: Creating a positive first encounter with all the new experiences your puppy has is important. ultimatepuppy.comCreating a positive first encounter with all the new experiences your puppy has is important. Be prepared and think about all new encounters. Make sure you have treats and a couple of toys with you when you go pick up your puppy.

Your pup may stressed.

This may be the very first time pup is separated from littermates and mom. Your puppy may never have worn a harness or collar or experienced a leash. There will now be lots of firsts.

If possible hold the pup during the car ride home. Take a partner so someone can hold the pup during the drive. A crate can be used too if that is your preference. Depending on the length of the trip you may need to alternate between crate and holding the pup.

Supplies to bring

•  A blanket or towel for the seat or your lap

•  Paper towel – poo bags

•  Water and a water bowl

•  Harness, collar, leash

•  A variety of food treats

•  Bring a few options for the pup to chew on too – bullies are a good bet

You will need to stop along the way for a bathroom break. Use a word or phrase that will become the pup’s elimination cue, like “show me”, “do the business”… you get the idea. Be sure and treat the puppy for going.

Arrival Home

Take pup directly to the chosen bathroom spot immediately upon arriving home, even before the pup goes into the house for the first time. Keep pup on leash. Be prepared with a treat if the pup goes.

Honeymoon Period

There is a honeymoon period for the first week or so when you bring a new pup home. Your puppy may be quiet, more placid, and not very nippy. He is dealing with a lot of newness. As he acclimates to his new home he will start to change. You will know when the honeymoon is over.

Dealing with Barking or Whining in the Crate

Ignore it. As hard as it can be ignoring the barking is the best approach. Any talking to the pup, cooing or letting the pup out will just make the process longer. Expect a day or two of barking and or whining and expect it to get loud. It’s a bonus and a small miracle if it doesn’t get loud. Be prepared with lots of good things for the pup to chew on in the crate – always toss a few treats in the crate every time your pup goes in. Keep a jar of treats on top of the crate, this way you are always prepared.

Get A Rhythm Going

It is nice to do the introduction to your home on leash. Take the pup around so he knows about his new environment.

Provide lots of bathroom breaks to the chosen spot. Every 15 – 20 minutes if the pup is out of the crate.

Remember 100% supervision. No free time unless you are there and paying attention.

Tips for the First Night

Expect some sleep deprivation.

Set an alarm to get up for bathroom breaks. Take the pup on leash, use your verbal cue, reward.
You may want to keep the crate in the bedroom so pup feels safe and knows you’re near by.

Tips for the First WeekPull quote. Go beyond the home, get out of the house.

If you work at home or have taken some time off from work, make sure the pup gets some time alone in the home. You want him prepared for spending some time alone when you need a break and for your eventual return to work. There should be no big hellos and good byes. Just get out of the house and leave pup alone for an hour or two in the crate. He needs to learn that your coming and going is normal.

100% Supervision

There should be zero unattended time outside the crate. This is lethal for a new puppy. It is much easier to prevent annoying behavior than it is to change it. Think prevention versus cure.

Pups need lots of sleep, lots of quiet time. Lots of crate time.

Keep the leash on in the house to help with management of your pup. Have lots of chews available for your pup to chew on.

Be proactive and set your pup up to succeed. Build good habits from day one with structure, training, playing, exploring, the crate, etc.

Socialization Checklist and Field Trip Worksheets

Here are two handy sheets for you to use for early introductions, aka socialization.

Socialization Field Trip Worksheet

A Social Schedule

Your puppy should be meeting lots of new people and getting treats from everyone.

Take walks through the neighborhood, don’t worry if you carry the puppy a lot in the beginning this is fine, fun and normal.

Make sure you have your treat pouch full of a variety of tasty, soft treats that your pup loves.

Plan a couple of socialization field trips in advance that you will do during the first week. Book a fun vet visit. Ensuring a variety of new experiences is essential. Go beyond the home, get out of the house.

Games and Training

There are lots of fun games and new behaviors to teach your puppy. Keep sessions short, reward all the behaviors you want to see more of.

Patience & A Sense of Humor

Note for fridge. There are two things we want you to always keep in mind as you raise this puppy. Patience and a sense of humor; write this on a piece of paper and put it on the refrigerator.

There are two things we want you to always keep in mind as you raise this puppy. Patience and a sense of humor; write this on a piece of paper and stick it on the refrigerator.

 

Here’s to all the adventures that await you and your dog.

Count Down to Puppy – Part 2 of 3

In this image a very young girl is being coached by her vet to listen to the heartbeat of her labradoodle puppy while her brother watches while standing beside her.

It Takes a Village

Part two of our series is designed to help you build the support group that you will need when you bring your pup home.

Find a Low Stress, Fear Free Vet

Why is this important? Imagine a scenario where you are working diligently to raise a relaxed, confident dog. Then you take him to a vet clinic that creates a situation, where all the new experiences cause him high levels of stress, anxiety and fear. It’s not uncommon for pets to become wary of being poked and prodded. Finding an animal clinic that uses a low stress, fear free approach will help ensure this doesn’t happen.

 

This is an image of an 8-week-old puppy laying upside-down on a weight scale. The picture is taken from above and the puppy is looking up at the viewer. https://www.ultimatepuppy.com/2018/03/count-down-to-puppy-part-1-of-3/

 

Reserve a Spot in Class

Spring usually is the optimal time to get a puppy. It allows you lots of outdoor time instead of being cooped up in the house over winter. Puppy classes fill up quickly so it’s prudent to reserve a spot early. A well-run class is the best possible place to socialize your puppy to other puppies. Do your homework and choose a professional dog trainer. We offer training tips to help keep you on track in-between puppy classes. Be sure to sign up. If the school offers pre puppy consultations take advantage of them.

Prime Yourself

pull quote reads: When issues arise, it’s “oh, right I remember reading about this… and I know what to do.”It’s been proven time and again. People who read up on early training are far less panicked once they get their puppy and more likely to be successful. When issues arise, it’s “oh, right I remember reading about this… and I know what to do.” This is what our site is for. We usually tell people to start with the Development Chart. It’s fun to look up what stage your pup is at. You can do that or go straight to Getting Started or How Dogs Learn and take it from there. Read a little bit everyday. It helps pass the time until your puppy is ready to come home.

A Support System

An eight-week-old puppy needs to go outside to the bathroom approximately every two hours. As the puppy grows, this time period will lengthen. This chart will help you gauge how long your pup can hold it.

If you have to be out of the house for extended periods, you can’t leave a young puppy alone for long stretches. You may consider enlisting a service that can help with this while you are at work. Do your due diligence when selecting such a service, or ask a trusted friend.

What is Available? What is Appropriate?

Pull quote reads: Be clear on the organization’s qualifications including certification, first aid training, and their training philosophies.Ensure that the services you select for your dog match your own values.

Doggie day care, dog walkers, and dog sitters are some of the services that you can enlist. If you consider one of these services make sure that all your hard work is not undermined by an outfit that is not “socialization” or “early puppy training” savvy. Be clear on the organization’s qualifications including certification, first aid training, and their training philosophies. Force-free methods and positive reinforcement are key.

Stay Tuned

In Part 3 it’s time to go pick up your puppy. We’ll get you ready for the drive home and what to prepare for in the days ahead.

Count Down to Puppy – Part 1 of 3

An 8 week old Huskie puppy lies to the right of an alarm clock. His nose resting up against the clock.

Pre Puppy Preparation

New puppy on the way! Yahoo! You are probably feeling excitement mixed with some nervousness. This is completely natural. This three part series will help you organize your pre-puppy preparation, resources and support system. It will also help you navigate your pup’s homecoming and your first week together.

Toys, Treats and Supplies

this is a pull quote which reads: Focus on toys to stuff and appropriate things to chewOver time and with test runs you will learn your pup’s preferences for toys and treats. Use your imagination as you build your toy and treat arsenal. Remember that pups love variety. In the meantime there are a few essentials that you will need pre-puppy. Focus on toys to stuff and appropriate things to chew in the crate. You will also need a couple of toys to play tug and retrieve with. Food stuffed toys should be easy for a puppy to use. Too difficult and the pup will give up. Check out West Paw Toppl Toy for an easy beginner toy.

Crate Location

Kitchens or family rooms are usually good bets for crate locations. Avoid high traffic locations such as next to the front door. Pup should not be able to see outside the house when in the crate, as the view will stimulate him and he is supposed to be “at rest”. The crate should not be placed in an unlived area of the house such as a guest room or basement; your puppy should not feel banished and should be comfortable with normal household activity.

Having a couple of crates is a good option. A crate in the bedroom, living room and kitchen if you have the space ensures that there is always a prepared place to keep pup safe and provide the all-important structure that a new puppy needs.

Wire crates can be draped with a towel or blanket to increase the cozy factor and help reduce visibility when needed.

Use non-plush bedding in the pup’s crate to start. Your puppy may be enticed to chew it or use it as an absorbent spot to pee. Monitor any bedding for pee accidents and remove immediately as you are teaching the puppy to go outdoors.

Puppy Elimination Zone

Decide on a spot before the pup comes home. You want to take the pup to this spot immediately upon arriving home for the first time. This is the spot that you will take pup out (on leash) to pee and poo–sod can be used if there is no lawn. Pee pads or other pre-fab elimination areas sold at pet supply stores are an option for condo dwellers far from an outside spot. Read up on house training.

Accidents Will Happen

Be prepared with a good enzymatic cleaner. Orange Apeel, Skout’s Honor and Nature’s Miracle being a few of the products available for the task. Skout’s Honor is a favourite.

Find A Trusted Neighbourhood Pet Supply Store

Think about what you will feed your new pup. There are lots of options beyond kibble. Prime yourself on nutrition by subscribing to the Whole Dog Journal. They are a great resource for this. Then go look for a pet supply store so you can discuss your options with them. A good shop will have keen knowledgeable staff eager to talk with you about your pup’s nutrition. Better choices in food will make all the difference in your pup’s health both short term and, most importantly, long term.

Stay Tuned for Part 2

In our next post we’ll discuss lining up a support system, finding a vet, reserving a spot in a class and priming you with the right training knowledge. All of this will make you comfortable with what to expect with your new puppy.