How is it going with that puppy from Santa? 5 things you can do to survive the first few months with your new puppy

Christmas morning, 3 weeks ago almost to the day, there under the Christmas tree was the puppy that Santa left for the kids.

No doubt the morning was thrilled with hugs and kisses and squeals of joy. How are things going now? Has the reality set in that, on behalf of kids, mom and dad have made a 10-15 year commitment to another mouth to feed? Have you had buyer’s remorse? Has the thought of getting Santa to take the puppy back crossed your mind? It’s OK to answer “yes!” to both of these questions. Really, it is. Moments are regret, buyer’s remorse, mouthing “this was your idea! Why did I say yes to a puppy?!?!” to your spouse over a pool of puppy pee – the 5 th pool of puppy pee you have cleaned up today – are all normal responses to the stress that adding a puppy to your already busy home can do to an otherwise caring and loving parent. Relax, you can handle this. Don’t give up. You can do this.

This time of year rescues start getting calls from newly minted puppy owners at their wits end. Or the call doesn’t come and the puppy shows up on the breeder or shelter’s doorstep. By March the surrendering is in full force. But it doesn’t have to end this way.

5 things you can do to survive the first few months with your new puppy

  1. Sign up for a puppy class. Well run, safe puppy classes can be a great way to learn to communicate with and understand your new puppy. Teaching your puppy to sit, lie down, and walk on a leash will make living with your puppy much more pleasant and manageable. Puppy classes are also a great place to ask questions – lots of questions about housebreaking, crate training, barking, nipping, and jumping – all the things you are dealing with right now – and you can do it for the low price of puppy class admission!
  2. Put your puppy on a schedule – for potty breaks, meals, exercise and play. Dogs do much better when they have a routine and a schedule – and you will find you do too!
  3. Daycare – once your vet says your puppy has enough vaccinations on board, a safe, well-run daycare can be a great place for your puppy to get tired out (and learn great dog social skills) and you get a much-deserved break!
  4. Help your puppy get used to being left alone in his or her crate. One of the worst calls to get as a trainer is “my dog goes bananas when I leave him alone”. Separation anxiety, where your dog cannot tolerate you leaving him alone to the extent that he will hurt himself to get out of a crate to follow you, can be heartbreaking and frustrating for owners. The good news is almost all cases are preventable. It is not only OK to leave your puppy alone in the crate for short periods of time – it is a great thing to do! The sooner your puppy learns that you leaving is no big deal because you always come back the better!
  5. Have your puppy meet lots and lots of people! The more happy and positive encounters your dog has with people of all shapes and sizes as a puppy the more likely he or she will be to meet strangers throughout his or her life. Socializing your puppy is key to his or her – and your – long-term happiness together.

Now you have 5 things you can do to move past feelings of remorse for getting a puppy – get started on them today! The trainer you hire – either via a class or a private in home lesson – can mean the difference between 15 years of happiness with your dog and sad little faces in March when the puppy goes away. Please, ask for help.

Pepper’s Paws, LLC provides in home dog training in Chester County, PA. We also teach Basic to Advanced Manners classes and offer in house dog training at Dogtopia of Chester Springs.

Head trainer Deb Murray, CPDT-KA is certified by the Certification Council of Professional Dog Trainers, an AKC Evaluator, a Distinguished Graduate and Mentor Trainer of the Catch Canine Academy, and APDT C.L.A.S.S. Evaluator and Instructor.

Pepper’s Paws New Year’s Resolutions

2016 is here – what are your New Year’s Resolutions? What do you have planned for your dog?

Every year many of us make New Year’s Resolutions – to lose weight, exercise more, read more, watch less TV – the list is endless! As you make Resolutions for yourself, how about some for your dog? Training goals, one-on-one sessions, getting involved with dog sports, taking a group obedience class (or getting to the next level) are all great ways to get you and your dog moving and enjoying each other’s company like never before! We at Pepper’s Paws have some dog related goals and plans we’d like to share with you – and perhaps even inspire you too!

My family has 4 great dogs – and they don’t know it yet, but I have big plans for them in 2016!  We just added an Agility for Fun 1 class – click here for more info.  All 4 dogs will start to learn some basics of Agility.

Pepper
Pepper

Pepper:  Pepper is ball crazy and loves to play. Pepper started learning the Agility jumps today and had a blast!  She is about 10 years old but don’t let her age fool you – this year in addition to starting Agility and my goal is for her to finally get her Intermediate Trick Dog Title from DoMoreWithYourDog.com  (Stay tuned for more on Trick classes this year).

Shadow
Shadow

Shadow: Shadow isn’t quite as nimble as Pepper, but he will do anything for food.  We are going to work to improve his excitement when he sees other dogs and increase his overall activity level through Agility! Shadow already has his Intermediate Trick Dog Title and he’ll start on his Advanced title this year!

Bear
Bear

Bear: Bear is going to learn to do Agility as well as Nosework (Pepper’s Paws is planning to offer a Nosework class this year – look for more info on this soon!) And Bear will be helping me with private lessons – he is a calming influence and is great at not reacting to reactive dogs.

Sammy
Sammy

Sammy: Ah Sammy, my fearful, reactive, unsure little guy!  He is going to do Agility in private sessions with me as well as Nosework, and you may even see him attend a group class with us too! Sammy is already working on his Intermediate Trick Title.

Pepper’s Paws has new series of Agility for Fun classes and programs to kick off 2016.  We have tricks classes, dog sports training classes, advanced obedience and K9 Fit Club (for people and their dogs to work out together) planned for later this year. Click here to see our complete list of our next round classes. Will any of these classes and programs help you and your pup achieve your New Year’s resolutions? We hope so. What are your New Year’s Resolutions? Tell us in the comments below!

Pepper’s Paws, LLC provides in home dog training in Chester County, PA. We also teach Basic to Advanced Manners classes and offer in house dog training at Dogtopia of Chester Springs.

Head trainer Deb Murray, CPDT-KA is certified by the Certification Council of Professional Dog Trainers, an AKC Evaluator, a Distinguished Graduate and Mentor Trainer of the Catch Canine Academy, and APDT C.L.A.S.S. Evaluator and Instructor.