Having a new puppy is a time of great excitement. After all the months of dreaming, puppy planning and preparation, you are bringing home a new family member who is going to be in your life for upwards of twelve years. But there are a few things you need to know when getting a puppy, so that the both of you can have the best start at a life together.
You will no doubt have spent time thinking about your new arrival and how to turn them into the dog of your dreams – but just for a moment, stop and think how you can become the owner your puppy would choose. We want our dogs to be our best friends, and us to be theirs. But because we speak a different language it can be difficult to understand what they are trying to tell us.
So, here are a few things to know when getting a puppy.
What is my puppy trying to tell me?
When you get your puppy home, and you start your life together, there are a few things along the way, that you need to understand a learn from your puppy. Here are just a few things that your puppy may wished you knew - if only they could talk!
1. My Family
“Have you seen my mum? Isn’t she awesome? Now you’ve met her, you know that I’ve been well-bred, kept in the home with her and my siblings – and inherited some of her fabulous temperament. Even better, you know what breed she is – and know who my dad was too. That means you’ll already know what I am going to grow into, what games I am going to love to play, how much exercise I need, what things I really need to do to be happy and healthy, what I will be good at – and what I might need more help with.”
“When you bring me home, I’m still a baby and you are taking me away from everything I’ve ever known. You’re taking me away from my mum and my brothers and sisters – and I’ve never been on my own before. Suddenly my life has changed, and everything is different.
You are strange people that I don’t know and don’t trust yet. All the sights and sounds and smells are different. And I don’t know where I am or what I am supposed to be doing. Please be patient and understanding with me and gently help me learn about this new world I am in.”
3. I will make mistakes!
“No matter how much I want to please you, I am not toilet trained yet. My mum used to make sure I didn’t go to the toilet in the bit of the puppy pen where we slept, and the human I used to live with would give me a treat when I went outside – so that must be good – but I can’t go all the way through the night, as I’m just not developed enough. Please make it clear where I should go to the toilet by taking me there when I need to go and giving me treats when I get it right so I understand what you want but please also remember that until I am a bit older, I can’t hold on all through the night – so please take me out at least once so I am not uncomfortable or go to the toilet in the wrong place.”
4. Please don’t hug me
“I know I am cute and gorgeous but please don’t give me big hugs and cuddles. We dogs don’t hug and so don’t understand it. Sometimes it can be really scary – as even if I don’t like it, I am so tiny I can’t get away and just have to put up with it, which makes it even worse. I’ve heard that some dogs dislike it so much that they wait until there are bigger and stronger and then make sure everyone knows how much they don’t like it and really, I don’t want to have to do that.”
“While some people think they should pat me on the head, I can find it scary. Please either stroke me on my chest, side or on my chin and around my ears. I quite like bottom scratches too.”
“In these first few weeks with you, everything is going to be new for me – and I know you’ll be wanting me to meet all the things that are going to be part of my life when I grow up. These are things that you know are safe – but I don’t yet. Please let me approach these in my own time and find out for myself that these things are fun and exciting and not worrying and scary.”
“You might think you are helping when you pull me over to new stuff or even bribe me with yummy treats to come closer but sometimes this just makes them even more scary – especially because I am not big enough or strong enough to move away. All you will teach me is that thing or experience isn’t very nice – and I will remember that when I’m older.”
6. Please don’t tell me off
“I really want to please you and be a good dog. Sometimes I will make mistakes and get things wrong because I don’t know any better or because I don’t understand what you want. Please don’t shout at me or hit me, instead guide me and show me what you want me to do. When I understand what you want, I will try my best. And I will always love you.”
Those are just a few things your puppy may be trying to tell you, and on top of that, they are all good things to know before getting a puppy. If you want to understand your puppy that little bit more, then have a read through our article about your puppy’s first day home.