What do I do before I get my puppy home?

Write two lists. Hey I’m a Life Coach. Lists, plans and intentions will follow my occupation wherever I go and this will really help you when you bring your new puppy home in your house.

List 1 is all the things that you would like your puppy to be when it is grown up. This will shape the training you are best to get stuck into when he/she arrives home.

List 2 is all the things you can expose puppy to between the weeks of 8-16, before the final vaccinations are administered. Weeks 8-16 are crucial for desensitisation and confidence. I would have exposed your furbaby to lots of things here between weeks 5-8 to help with family noise, chooks, cats and other dogs. There are heaps of things you can show your furry baby without them walking around at risk of parvo virus.

You can find a list of desensitization ideas in my article here.

What do I do before I get my puppy home?

When puppy is grown up I want her to be…

“A couch snuggler and bed hogger? or a couch snuggler… but it would be great if they slept on the floor next to our bed”. Your baby will have a big body and take up a fair bit of room – and if you want your pupper to listen to you long term in regards to all sorts of other respect things – then you are really best to keep them off your bed to sleep.

Here is why.

Your dog is looking for a leader or he will run the roost for you, as dogs need someone to lead. So it’s them or you. 25kg-35kg of furchild is not who you want to lead. A leader in a pack of dogs  sleeps separately to the rest of the team. They will be on ‘pride rock’ and watching over the others in the group. To help them emanate this behaviour at home as in the wild, I have higher platforms in their dog gardens so the head of the group at the time can exercise their right of sleeping elevated. To help them listen and respect me in my day-to-day I don’t let them sleep in/on my bed by rule of thumb (on the odd occasion I have – I know! I love it too but on the whole you really shouldn’t or you will struggle for their respect. They won’t respect you as have confused them as to who is leader).

Leadership with dogs also starts with who can do what first.

This is really easy as a pattern to follow. Always get them to do a task first like wait or sit and wait/lie and wait, before they are allowed to do their next move. This applies to everything. You must walk through the door first, not your doggie. Make them wait before getting out of their crate, out of the car, into the car, through into another room and definitely wait until after you greet a stranger first. If they are pulling at the end of the lead then stop and walk no further. Turn in the opposite direction if they are pulling you along for a walk. Have them turning in circles and getting nowhere until they change their behaviour.

Again, never let them sleep on your bed. If you do now. You can change it.

Respect is earned with dogs and they are very forgiving of our mistakes. If you slip up, then just start a fresh. For example, if they get on the bed after you have been allowing them – push them off or pull them off by their collar. They will get up over and over and you will push/pull them off over and over until you win. You will win. They will listen and they will be grateful for your setting the boundaries. You don’t need to get loud or intimidating. Just repeat what you want over and over again.

You know when you have leadership right is when the chaos with your dogs settles.

Every time people come to Bellawai to meet our dogs, whether it’s friends, doggie clients, the council or whoever comes by; their first comments are that it’s so quite here… most of the time that is. The second thing they usually mention is how quietly I talk to our pack of dogs to get them to wait, move or call them through a gate separately. I learned this from my dogs and it’s one of the valuable leadership lessons I want you to take on. When we lower our energy but insist on them waiting, they will listen more intently.

As my dog pack grew I noticed that the dogs don’t make a lot of noise to get each other to listen to them. They would use body language by moving confidently towards another dog. Look them in the eye and the dog with less hierarchy would look away. They would play for hours and move off doing their own things and all mostly on the quiet. I quickly learned that to have them listen to me, I needed to make less noise. A louder and quick “no” or “argh” is only used if someone is in danger or making it unsafe for someone else.

Making a decision now to have a different relationship with your dog or a positive experience training your puppy will help you have a life bond which is really special. You won’t regret the foundation you will set.

If you would like to know more or have a question you’d like answered please contact us.