Puppy: The First Three Days
My first three days with a puppy looks much like my first 3 days with a new dog. If you remember in July when we brought Toad home, everyone was on a rotation schedule. For Toad, he spent some time in his kennel when he was not being supervised, and when the other dogs were out. We wanted to give him some time to decompress from the shelter, and give my dogs time to get to know the smell of the newcomer before asking them to be friends. This is the same way the first few days with puppy will be. The only difference is we will have a playpen set up for puppy to hang out while everyone gets used to each other.
Time with puppy is going to be primarily without the other dogs. I want pup to start to develop a relationship with me and begin to look to me for information. There will be plenty of playtime with the other dogs so no need to rush that. I also need to monitor playtime for potty accidents. Keeping everyone separated for a bit will help me create good habits. We are going to begin to establish my routine of when I am working, when Pixie is out of her kennel and when it is playtime. I already have this routine established with the other dogs so we will begin the process of teaching the puppy how to rest quietly in his kennel.
In the first 3 days we are going to concentrate on puppy getting to know the immediate family. There will be no huge puppy parties or inviting everyone we know to meet the puppy. I want the first few days to be as calm as possible to create positive experiences being in the new house. Teaching puppy the foundation of clicker training, and marker cues also starts as soon as he comes home. We will start some toy play inside the house so we can build on that as puppy grows. I want to begin to teach puppy to look for me for information and have him trust that I will be there with the information that will keep him successful.
Building a life
Puppy will have big paws to fill. I want to spend as much time as I can creating many of the same experiences in the first few days that Cargo had. This way we get started off on a lifetime of great times together. As I raised Cargo, I found a few holes in our training that I could have been better about when she was younger. I have these holes in mind as I create a training plan for puppy. Also keeping in mind that every puppy is going to be different and this one will create new challenges just like Cargo did. I am not in a hurry to teach puppy as many things as possible before they are 6 months old. We are not in a race to be the youngest Malinois to do anything. We will concentrate on the important foundation skills that will last his whole life. I want puppy hood to be as carefree and enjoyable as possible.
As frustrating as puppies can be, it passes too quickly. Although, the cold weather can pass quickly!