The First Few Days

The first few days after you bring home your puppy are going to be tough, no doubt about it. Your puppy or dog is going to have no idea where he is and who you are. A puppy is going to miss his mom and littermates, and an older puppy or dog is going to feel alone and scared. Therefore, it's important to keep things calm and quiet. This is not the time to invite the neighbors in to see your new friend; that can wait. Right now Fido (to use a generic name) needs to get to know you and your family.

Show Fido where his toys are and play a little, but don't get him so excited that he's growling and biting. Calm is the key right now. Petting and cuddling should be calm and gentle, and playtime fun but not too rough. He needs to learn to trust you and your family members; if things are too rough, he could become scared and fearful, or he may feel that he has to fight back. You want to build trust, cooperation, and compliance with your new dog, not a sense of having to fight you.

Fido also needs to learn his way around, especially where to go to relieve himself. For the first few days, you can pick up your puppy to take him outside, especially if he's tiny, but as soon as possible, encourage him to walk to the door to go outside. He needs to learn where to go and will not learn it by being carried. Outside, take him to the area where you would like him to relieve himself. Don't play with him right now; just be quiet. When he relieves himself, praise him— "Good boy to go potty!"—using, of course, the phrase you wish to use. Some people say "Get busy!" or "Find a spot," both of which are fine. When he's awake, he will need to go outside hourly at first and after waking up from a nap, after eating, and after playtimes. Newly adopted older puppies and dogs will be able to control themselves longer much more rapidly than a baby puppy, but in the beginning, get him outside often, too, to prevent potential problems.

After your puppy has relieved himself, let him wander around for a little while. He's going to want to explore, and as he does, you can see if you've missed anything in your puppy-proofing of the backyard. After he's explored a little, get him to exercise: encourage him to follow you, praising him when he does, or gently toss a ball or dog toy for him to chase. See chapter 7 for more housetraining information, including housetraining problems.

When he's ready for a nap, put Fido back in his crate. Toss a biscuit in ahead of him and then when he's in, close the door and walk away. Don't let him out if he's barking or crying. Teach him

Using (and Abusing) a Crate

A crate is a wonderful training tool when used correctly. It gives the dog a place he can call his own; he can take a nap in the crate, retreat to the crate when the household is too noisy or busy, and hide his favorite toys in the crate. With the crate, he uses his instincts to keep his bed clean and therefore develops bowel and bladder control. When the puppy is confined when not supervised, he is prevented from getting into other trouble, such as chewing on the furniture or raiding the trash cans.

He can (and should) spend all night in the crate. He can also spend a couple of hours in the crate twice a day, perhaps two hours in the morning and two hours in the afternoon. He should NOT spend all night in the crate and then all day, too. He needs to be able to run and play, roll around, stretch his legs, and interact with the world. If he's in the crate for so many hours, he can't do that.

If you work during the day and the puppy must be alone, you will need to make plans other than locking the puppy in the crate. Perhaps set up a safe, sheltered dog run in the backyard, or have a neighbor come over a couple of times a day to take Fido outside for a potty break, playtime, and a walk.

that he comes out when he's calm and quiet, when you are ready to let him out. He can spend a couple of hours in the crate a couple times during the day and all night. At night, he may cry and howl; don't give in and bring him up into your bed! That's setting a bad precedent. Instead, give him a warm towel, a stuffed toy, or a ticking clock to make him feel less alone.

If you already have a dog at home, introduce the resident dog to the new dog or puppy in a neutral place. Have someone bring the new dog to a park or yard where your resident dog has never been and introduce the dogs to each other on leash. Don't expect them to be immediate fast friends; just be calm and quiet and let them both move around, sniffing and getting to know each other. Plan on spending at least an hour at the park so that they can get to know each other. If all is well, then take them both home.

Once at home, keep both on leash, even in the house, for an hour or so as you determine whether the resident dog is going to accept the newcomer. Even if all seems okay, don't leave both dogs home alone without separating them. Put the newcomer in the crate, if you can, or leave one inside and one outside for a while.

If you have an older resident dog and are bringing home a puppy, all should be okay. Most older dogs will accept a young, nonthreatening puppy. If you're bringing home an adult dog, acceptance could take a little time and patience.

Pit Bulls as Pets

Pit Bulls as Pets

Are You Under The Negative Influence Of Hyped Media Stereotypes When It Comes To Your Knowledge Of Pit Bulls? What is the image that immediately comes into your mind when you think of the words Pit Bull? I can almost guarantee that they would be somewhere close to fierce, ferouscious, vicious, killer, unstoppable, uncontrollable, or locking jawed man-eaters.

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