The all important first day
A lot will be learned by you and your pup on the first day you meet, the goal is to make as much of that learned experience good.
An example will be that most puppies in the first 24 hours will find some reason to whine. Perhaps when put out to the toilet, when hungry and not ready for bed. What we really need to avoid is giving a response to this that the puppy finds appeasing.
You will only reinforce (make stronger) this behaviour.
Another example might be that the puppy toilets on the carpet in your lounge room. A few things happen at this time: –
- The puppy feels relief after toileting and this is a positive reinforcer.
- The carpet has a urine smell that will stimulate the pup to go there in the future
- You may have yelled “NO!” in the process and the pup pairs that fear with you.
You might do worse things than yell no.
These are just two of many things that can go two ways and we need to manage them very well in the beginning. I like to run a “template” that will indicate and set the pups expectations. So if I take some time off when puppy arrives, I do not spend all day every day with my pup.
I personally would spend some extra time with my existing dogs so I do not create some upset to the existing harmony.
Now I am going to give you a set of steps that I do any time I have had a pup come to live with me, these have worked great and made that “All Important First Day” a great experience for us all.
12.00 Midday – Arrive home with puppy
As soon as I arrive I get puppy from car with harness and long line fitted. Puppy is placed onto the grass outside my house. We will not play with the pup, talk to him or her or go inside until the puppy goes to the toilet.
Once the puppy has toileted I will take the pup inside my home and allow the puppy to smell my house and get acquainted with the inside of each room etc. All my existing dogs (if any) are put away at this time.
I head out the back yard on my own and place a brisket bone or chicken wing a few metres from my back door.
I come inside and then take the puppy into my secure back yard and leave the puppy outside by his or herself. Know that the puppy will whine, maybe even scream. This is OK.
Do not in any way respond, sooth or punish the pup, just let it be. Your pup is learning that sometimes he or she will be alone and sometimes thats ok, and there is no point to making noise.
Here is what will happen next: –
- The pup will give up and locate the chicken wing, if this happens I will go out and sit next to the pup whilst he or she east it.
- The pup will become distressed, if this happens I will walk out without any eye contact to the pup and walk around the yard for a minute, then walk back and stand near the chicken wing without any communication. Pup starts eating wing I go inside and come back out in 5 seconds and sit with the pup.
- The pup will not scream at all, I go out after pup settles and point out the wing.
The purpose of this is that, the first time the pup is left alone it will probably scream. It is best if we cover that ground at midday rather than mid night where we have other people (including us) trying to sleep.
Once pup has finished with wing, I will play with my pup, have it chase me around the back yard and all the family can get involved. I will use small tasty food rewards to strengthen this relationship.
I have been playing with my pup now and feeding food rewards for some time, its about now I am looking for the puppy to toilet, pups will toilet after rest, exercise or eating so were in the ball park.
As soon as I see my pup toilet I will take him inside and put him in the ex pen with some cool stimulating toys so that he can relax inside and so can I. I set my phone alarm to ring in 2 hours.
I don’t leave the room much unless pup falls asleep, which is due mind you.
If nothing happens it’s time to take the pup outside again, two hourly toilet breaks are my template right now.
I walk out the back pup is on long line and harness, I stand still where I want pup to toilet. I wont let pup engage me, I won’t play, I’m just a post.
Two things will happen
- Pup toilets – Yes and I am again coming with the food rewards. Play for 10 – 15 minutes and back to the exc pen. Reset phone for 2 hours.
- The pup does not toilet in 10 minutes. Back to the ex pen and I set my phone for 15 minutes and try then again.
This goes on through the day and the pup is learning many good things.
- I toilet outside
- You have great food
- You are a great guy to play with
- I will spend some time in ex pen by myself
- It is good to rest between play sessions.
- Whining is useless
- Patience is gold.
The day passes but I avoid letting the pup sleep after 4.00 pm.
7 – 8 pm
I prepare the pup the staple daily bowl fed meal. This includes: –
- K9 Puppy Gold
- Bone of some description (chicken neck, turkey neck, chicken frame or brisket bone)
- Fish (sardines from can)
- Vitamin E gel cap squeezed over food
- 1 Teaspoon of Coconut oil over food
- 1 raw egg inc shell.
- Mixed together
This is given to pup inside the dog crate and pup is given access to water.
Once pup is finished (this takes some time as there is bone) I remove bowl and water, no more water is given tonight.
Pup will usually be relaxed now and if you like may sit with you on the couch if this is a behaviour you will allow later.
I will play with the pup inside and go outside frequently, I am looking for the pup to toilet solids now.
I will activate Snuggle Puppy Heartbeat and heat pack and place it in crate. There is nothing else in crate including bedding.
I put puppy into crate and close door. I then cover the crate with a heavy blanket. This will make the crate warm, quite and dark.
I have a tired puppy from a very full on day.
I have a puppy that learned that whining at midday had no desirable effect.
I have a puppy that has toileted.
I have a puppy that is not hungry and thirsty
I have a puppy in a dark room, with a heartbeat.
I have no reason to go to that pup until morning.
Some pups will still whine, scream or act out, it is their nature, but giving in to them now is a really bad idea.
In the morning I will wake up and remove cover from pup, two things will happen: –
- The pup has toileted in crate – leave puppy there for 10 more minutes.
- The pup has not toileted – Good, have a coffee and let pup out after 5 minutes
- Leaving pup in wee.
The aversive of wee going cold is the method in which i want to teach pup not to toilet in crate.
- Leaving dry pup for 5 more minutes.
This is because I want to teach pup the moment I get up is no signal that your getting out.
Enjoy day two!