Your essential starter pack for puppies.
Ok. So if you are anything like me, when you get your new puppy, you will bring them home and for the first couple of hours (ok, maybe 4 hours for me!) you are just completely mesmerised by just how stinking cute they are. But then you quickly realise you need a few essentials to 1) keep your puppy healthy and safe and 2) stop your home being destroyed immediately. If you can relate to this then here is a basic puppy starter checklist you should have.
At this stage, your puppy will not know where he or she can go to the toilet so you will want to teach them that there are certain areas they can go. Lay puppy pads down in this area and when they do go on the pad, reward them with a treat to positively reinforce that behaviour. With consistent training, you will be able to move the pad closer to the precise area you would like them to go (for my dog, that was outside in the garden) and eventually be able to remove the pad completely.
Treats are going to become your best friend! They are essentially canine currency and make a great reward when you are training your dog. You want to have treats close by, especially whilst they are puppies, because you want to reward them for good behaviour. This teaches the dog that what they have just done is good behaviour and they will get a tasty treat if they do that again. There are plenty of different types of dog treats and I would always recommend getting ones catered for puppies.
Crate and bedding
Puppies like to have secure, comfy spots that they see as their sanctuary. You can orchestrate this to be their crate. Now, first things first, please make sure you get a crate big enough for your dog and whilst they are growing keep an eye on the space they have as you may need to re-size as they grow. Kit out their crate with bedding, blankets and toys, and slowly introduce them to it. You could even use treats to entice them into their dog crate. Please don't force your puppy into the crate or close them in until they are ready – this will have the opposite effect and they wont want to go into their crate at all.
Chews and chew toys
If you have had a puppy before, you will know that their puppy teeth are like tiny daggers and they will want to nip and bite on everything, even you! This is for a few reasons. Firstly, puppies explore the world through their mouths. They instinctively want to pick things up, taste it, get the texture and the smell of it in order to register this information. This is completely normal behaviour at this age. Secondly, they could be teething and it's painful. At this stage, the puppy’s adult teeth may be starting to push through and this can be painful, so they will bite to help relieve some of that pain. Lastly, they know biting/nipping will get them attention. If a puppy is bored or frustrated, they will look for attention, even if it is for the wrong reason. Puppies are smart: they will nip and bite because they know this will cause their owners to interact with them, therefore getting their desired outcome. This is when you need to redirect their biting/nipping to something else… enter the chew toy! The more you train them to bite on a toy rather than your hand, the more they will make the connection that biting you, your hands or the furniture is not acceptable behaviour.
There is no sugar coating it, puppies are hard work. It takes a lot of time, patience and consistency to train your pup but the short term pain is very much worth the long term gain of a gorgeous furry companion!