So you got a new puppy, now what?
August 31, 2019
There is always a build up of anticipation when you are planning on adding a new puppy to your family. When the day finally arrives to bring home that furry little ball of joy, the excitement is barely containable. Most likely you've already bought a new collar, leash, puppy toys, puppy food and treats. Everything is perfect when the little cutie arrives home. And then, 48 hours later, you realize your new puppy is actually a terrorist whose sole mission is to destroy every possession you own and make you into a sleep deprived zombie. After a week of sleep deprivation and destruction you start to wonder what the heck you were thinking when you willingly brought this little home wrecker into your life.
My own terrorist arrived as a black and white furry ball of 4-month-old border collie named Wally. He was a precious gift to me from a couple of very dear friends. Wally has the best temperament and personality, and when I picked him up I felt overwhelmed with love and excitement.
Then I took him home.
He wasn't with me 24 hours before he started chewing on everything, I mean literally EVERYTHING! Anything that was remotely near his mouth was fair game. To add to the chaos he never stopped moving, and when he was tired he got worse before finally crashing into a peaceful sleep that made me briefly remember how stinkin' cute he could be when not tearing the house down.
Of course, all of this is to be expected from a puppy. So, what can you do to get through the puppy months without having to replace all your belongings while still keeping your sanity? I can't cover everything in this article, but here are a few things to help get you started on the right track.
One of the best things you can do for you and your puppy is crate training. Properly training a puppy (or dog) can have many benefits. I personally have Wally sleep in his crate at night and I use it for when I can't monitor what he is doing. When trained correctly, with positive reinforcement, dogs come to love their crate and often use it on their own for a place to go for a nap or quiet time. I leave the door to Wally's crate open all the time so that he has access to it whenever he wants. He often uses it for daytime napping and on occasion puts himself in for bed at night after his last trip outside to potty. By using a crate you can eliminate much of the unwanted behavior seen in puppies such as destructive chewing. Crate training can also be helpful in the event your puppy or dog needs to stay at the vet's office. Already being accustomed to a crate will make the event less stressful.
Another great thing you can do for your puppy is make sure they have appropriate items to chew on. Puppies like to chew in general but at around 4 months of age your puppy will start losing their puppy teeth and their adult teeth will start coming in. Providing chews such as bully sticks gives them something to chew on instead of your shoes. You can also use toys from Kong, West Paw, Planet Dog and others, for them to chew on. Many of these can be stuffed with food treats to help keep your puppy interested and busy. When they are actively teething you can use toys that can be frozen to help ease the pain. With Wally, I even gave him a frozen bully when he was losing a couple of baby teeth per day. This gave him something tasty to chew while also providing something cool for his sore gums.
Want more ideas on how to raise and manage a wild puppy? Then stay tuned for more information in future issues of The Loop!
Canine Creek is located at 798 Tucker Rd., Ste. 5 in Tehachapi. They can be reached at (661) 822-0307.