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A Dog is for Life…..

We all know the old saying but it really is true (at any time of year) …if you are welcoming a new dog to your family over the festive period, here are some My Fairy Dogmother hints and tips for setting you and your dog up for success and a lifetime of happiness.

 

Pick wisely……..

I would highly recommend spending a bit of time researching the right breed for you and your lifestyle before you jump in and commit. Just like us, different breeds have different personalities, some are introverts and like their own space and calm surroundings (maybe not ideal if you have small children) whereas others are gregarious and will interact with everything and everyone (which brings its own challenges!)

Some like lots of exercise whereas others are happy to potter and then curl up for a snooze.

If you get the wrong match it can lead to frustration for you and your dog and it is so easily avoided.

If you aren’t sure please do get in touch at hello@myfairydogmother.co.uk and I would be happy to help you choose your perfect match.

Once you’ve made the decision on the breed, it is vital you use a reputable breeder or rescue centre. The Kennel Club is a great place to start looking for a breeder (www.thekennelclub.org.uk). Don’t be tempted by cheap prices or ‘too good to be true’ offers as it’s likely you will be feeding the puppy farm industry. Ensure you see Mum with her pups (and ideally Dad) and observe their living environment. Any breeder worth their salt will no doubt interview you to ensure their pups are going to a suitable home!

If you do have the right living circumstances and environment to welcome a rescue dog then please do consider it, they make amazing companions and deserve their forever home.

Settle down…

So, you’ve made your decision and it’s not long until you welcome your new addition, here are a few things worth considering in preparation for their arrival

Create a safe place – it’s hugely important not to overwhelm your new dog when they first arrive home. Remember it’s a new and scary experience for them and they need space to explore and gain confidence. Allow them to sniff and smell their surroundings, their sense of smell is a huge information source and helps them ‘suss things out’

I would recommend investing in a crate which can be your new dogs ‘den’. Pop in a soft bed, a few blankets and some toys and you are (nearly) ready. When you introduce your dog to the crate is important to create a positive association with it so it’s a place they want to retreat to and you’re not forcing them in. This is easily done, keep some tasty treats in your hand and give them one every time they interact with the crate (look at it, sniff it etc), eventually start to pop treats inside the crate to tempt them, DO NOT shut the crate door behind them, let them have the choice to come out again if they wish and try not to rush it, patience and giving choice is key.

First night nerves….

It’s completely normal for dogs to cry when left alone for the first few nights in strange surroundings. It’s ok to comfort them, this doesn’t reinforce the crying, it simply ensures they start to understand ‘you have their back’. If you would prefer they slept in a crate in your room or you sleep with them downstairs that’s perfectly fine.

Privacy please….

Puppies will need to eliminate regularly and its advisable to get them into a routine very early on to ensure effective toilet training as soon as possible. Take them into the garden (ideally on a lead once you have positively introduced them to a collar/harness and lead – lots of treats as you slowly introduce them to these weird looking contraptions) and as soon as they eliminate give them praise and a reward. Keep repeating this until they start to understand going into the garden to do their business brings them good stuff.

It is of course natural that accidents will happen, do try and keep an eye out for signs they may be about to do something (sniffing the floor, circling etc) so that you can try and get them into the garden in time.   If you do run out of time and there is a mishap don’t make a fuss (certainly don’t shout at them as tempting as this can be or, even worse, rub their nose in it) and hygienically clean it up so that there is no remaining smell.

Exploring the world…

As soon as you welcome your pup home, it is vital you start exposing them to new things as you’re more likely at this age to elicit a positive response. Here are a few top tips

  • Humans – whilst you don’t want to overwhelm you puppy with lots of new people all at once, letting friends/family/children round to visit is very important. Ask them to approach the pup with a tasty treat so they associate people with good things but don’t let people over fuss or pet as not all dogs like this and it can have a negative effect.
  • The vacuum cleaner – ask someone to start vacuuming in another room with the door shut whilst you give pup some nice treats will start building up a positive association with the hoover. Gradually build this up so that you can hoover in the same room with no issues
  • Traffic – there’s no reason why you can’t take your pup for a little jaunt down the road whist they are still waiting on their vaccinations – just keep them in your arms with a supply of treats so they enjoy the noises and views
  • The doorbell – similarly to the vacuum cleaner, start introducing the doorbell at low volume and pairing with tasty treats (or may ask them to go and settle on a bed) so that they understand it’s nothing to get worried about
  • Other dogs….as soon as they can socialise I would highly recommend you join a puppy class or attend a party puppy to help your dog to learn to socialise with other dogs in an appropriate manner. You will also learn lots of other useful basic training skills in these classes.

If you are welcoming an adult dog into your home, I would suggest some 121 training if there are some training needs.

At My Fairy Dogmother we offer a variety of services which are based on positive reward based methods only:

  • Group puppy classes
  • Puppy 121 training packages
  • Private 121 training
  • Recall remedies
  • Pulling pains

Please visit www.myfairydogmother.co.uk for more details or drop me an email at hello@myfairydogmother.co.uk and I’d be glad to help.