A new friend
A new friend
Every now and again we get to meet new puppies here at MyWaggyTails. And we all get very excited and doe-eyed.
And what do we nearly always do that we shouldn’t? Bend down, pick them up and hug them. And that’s really quite stressful for a new puppy who is struggling to come to terms with lots of new experiences. Even some adult dogs get stressed by big hugs with arms wrapped around their necks. It’s much better we get down on the ground, whether sitting or kneeling and play with them at their level.
Here are some other thoughts for your new puppy..
- Expose your pup to the experience of walking on 8 types of surfaces: carpet, concrete, wood, vinyl, grass, dirt, gravel, and wood chips and of course snow when you can. Each different texture will have its own lessons, most importantly that different footing is needed and nothing should be feared by a variety of textures under the pads of their paws.
- Offer different types of play objects for a variety of stimulation: big balls, small balls, soft fabric toys, fuzzy toys, squeaky toys, paper or cardboard (toilet paper/paper towel centres are perfect), metal items (without sharp edges) and pieces of hose. Remember that all playtime with toys should be supervised to assure your puppy’s safety.
- Please don’t encourage your dog to play with sticks. I didn’t know this one until relatively recently but, it can be fatal! Do read my separate blog post on ‘The dangers of sticks’.
- Include different environment/surroundings in exposing your puppy to different experiences: garden, kitchen, car, garage, laundry room and bathroom. You’ll want your new little friend to know that all of these places are safe and fun, so make sure to offer pleasant experiences in each.
- Introduce your pup to different types of new people: babies, children under 3, older children, seniors, people with canes, walkers, or wheelchairs, people in uniforms, people wearing hats, and men with beards.
- Provide different challenges for your pup to work his problem-solving skills: climb around inside a box, climb off the top of a box, go through a tunnel, climb up steps, climb down steps, climb over obstacles, play hide an seek, go in and out of a doorway with a step up or down, run around a fence and of course, find the treat. You’ll be able to find even more challenges like these. Each will teach your new friend lots of ways to solve new problems.
- Offer meals in a variety of different containers: metal, plastic, china, cardboard, paper, pie plate and a frying pan. Don’t forget to also use food-dispensing balls for a slower way to serve a meal, while your dog learns to push the ball around the house to retrieve his dinner.
- In addition to these ways to eat, your pup should learn that eating in a variety of locations is also a good thing: crate, yard, kitchen, laundry room, living room, bathroom and even the boot or back of the car. The lesson is clear; wherever you offer food to your pup, it’s still yummy! But don’t give them food at the same time as your own.
- Exposure to as many different types of noises will help your pup learn that sound is not a scary thing. Include as much variety as possible, focusing on things like banging pots, thunder, loud music eg the 1812 Overture (turned progressively louder over a few months), traffic, sirens, vacuums, landscaping equipment, fireworks, dog parks, and crowds.
What are your ideas and experiences for helping a new puppy to get off to a good start? Do share, please, in the Comments section.