Introducing Your New Puppy To The World
Bringing a new puppy home is such an exciting moment for your family, and it’s exciting for him too! There is so much to soak in, plenty to learn and some new routines to become familiar with. As soon as your puppy is vaccinated, he should be introduced to people, other dogs and the rest of the outside world as soon as possible. Between 8-10 weeks, puppies tend to go into a “fear period,” so you will want to make sure they have been exposed to people that will become normal for him as part of your family. (Hold off on any other outside people, animals and environments until after vaccinations are complete). Check out these quick tips for making sure all this learning goes smoothly when introducing your new puppy to the world!
Socializing Your Puppy
Socializing your puppy means introducing your puppy to new experiences, people and other animals early on so they feel calm around new things and don’t develop unhealthy anxiety, distrust or some other common antisocial habit. When first socializing your puppy, it’s important to start in a calm environment, too much stimulation will be overwhelming and it might terrify him or provoke a negative reaction from him.
At this stage, it’s important to teach your dog that jumping onto others is not OK. While it can be downright adorable for a puppy to place his paws up on you in “hello, nice to meet you!” manner, when they are adults this can become a major problem, especially with strangers or house guests. Offering the command “sit” whenever he is being introduced to someone new will help him stay calm, improve listening with his new commands, and also develop a habit of sitting when meeting someone new (upon your command, of course!)
Puppy, Meet The Kids!
When introducing your puppy to your human puppies (your kiddos), let the puppy be in charge of proximity. Kids like to run up and hold and hug and love quickly, but before all the love can happen, your puppy needs to feel comfortable and in personal control. Let him nose his way up to your kids at his own pace. This will allow him to gauge the situation and prevent a jump or biting reaction from him. Teaching your kids that dogs have comfort zones, just like people, will help them understand how to give their new family member space.
Puppies And Your Other Pets
It can be a real adventure introducing your puppy to other animals, whether those animals are your other pets, fellow park goers, or even animals you come across on a hike. Be very cautious during your puppy’s first meeting with your older pets. We strongly recommend keeping them both on their leashes. The goal is to have a calm, enjoyable first meeting without any jumping or over-excitement leading to any harm.
Introducing your puppy to cats early on will lessen the chances of them chasing them or getting over-excited around them. If you have a cat, give her an escape option by placing a mesh gate in between them during their first few meetings. Just set it up in a doorway. As you may well know, cats take their sweet time learning someone knew, and on their terms. So don’t be alarmed if friendliness–or tolerance, from the cat’s perspective–takes a long time to develop.
Puppy’s First Plaything
Whether it’s for teething, treats, snuggles or squeaks, puppies LOVE their toys. Whatever toy you choose for him, make sure it’s durable and an appropriate size. Make his “Welcome to your new home” arrival even more exciting and set up his new toys and kennel beforehand!
Get Ready For Nature
Vaccinations can take some time to finish up, and your puppy might be a month or two old before he can safely go for hikes, walks, or down to the beach. That’s plenty of time for a puppy to develop bad habits, so it’s a great idea to get him used to leashes, commands and walking indoors before you venture out into the big wide world.
And In A Few Months …
After a a few months (about 4), your puppy will be old enough to enjoy her first hike! But before you take her to the trailhead, make sure you’ve covered the essentials:
1. Vaccinations – No exceptions!
2. Tag – Rabies tag, ID Tag, all of them!
3. Conditioning – Is she physically ready? Condition her to have longer walks each week so she is in peak condition for this outdoors doozy!
4. Apply flea and tick medicine.
5. Bring LOTS of water – She will want to take plenty of breaks this firs go-round.
If your puppy is vaccinated and ready to learn some lifelong habits, sign up for DGA Board And Train. Learn More About our 10-Day Board and Train here.