Proactive Primtive Puppy Primer
Bringing a Couch Wolf into your household is a no brainer for most of us. You either love them or you don’t, so if you’re planning to bring one home, you certainly belong to the first category. That being said, it is of the utmost importance that you prepare for your puppy’s arrival. Hopefully you’ve read our article on how to go about getting a primitive puppy and now you’re just counting the days till they come home. Or if you’re still just looking, that is fine to. The important thing is to plan ahead. Proactivity will prevent a lot of problems that can crop up.
Where is your puppy going to hang out all day? Where are they going to sleep. If you answered, “wherever they want” then you are going to have a terrible time housetraining and preventing destructive behaviors. Containment is key. Talk to your breeder or rescue about if the puppy has ever been in a crate and their success with it. If the puppy is good or learning to use a crate, continue with this. If they have never used a crate, start with an ex-pen or a kitchen or laundry room separated with baby gates from the rest of the house.
Talk to your breeder, rescue, and vet about food. Then do some research on your own with a website like dogfoodadvisor so that you have their food picked out and ready for them. Try to choose a protein their are used to at first to help keep your puppy’s poops solid after their first few meals.
If you want to be a superstar puppy parent, don’t use a bowl to feed your puppy. Use a feeding toy instead. Feeding toys stimulate foraging behaviors and help your puppy relax and burn off energy.
Schedule Your First Vet Appointment
Vet offices are busy places and some book up weeks in advance. It is important that your puppy see a vet within the first 7 days they are with you. So book your appointment before your puppy arrives. This will help ensure that your puppy is properly protected from diseases and is in good health from the start.
This is also an invaluable opportunity to start a cooperative care practice. Bring plenty of treats and feed your puppy throughout the appointment so that they associate it with a party and not a scary pokey visit.
Book Your Spot in School
Contact three to five local trainers/training schools and go watch a puppy class. If they won’t let you watch, scratch them off the list and find another. Pick a school that requires proof of vaccinations, uses lots of treats, and plays a lot with the puppies. Do not choose a school that uses choke, prong, or e-collars on any of the dogs. This goes for the puppy classes and the adult classes. Be cautious of schools that have puppy socialization with the other puppies. Make sure any socialization is controlled and structured, not a free-for-all.
Once you’ve made your choice, talk to the school about your puppies planned arrival and first vet appointment and schedule the class that fits best with this timetable. If your puppy is too fearful to attend a class ask the trainers if they can do structured private instruction to help your puppy get through this rough patch.
You don’t need anything too fancy because your puppy is going to grow. The best advice is just to start with a flat collar, a martingale collar, or a harness. You will also need a leash. 6-10 foot is ideal. Do not use a retractable leash. They are dangerous, especially with puppies. Also stay away from choke collars, slip collars, prong collars, e-collars, or any other collar that claims to “assist in training”. All these collars cause pain and will cause your puppy to have a very bad associations with the world.
Make sure to have a water dish or bucket for your puppy and secure so they don’t knock it over. Have plenty of food dispensing toys, and other toys your puppy can sink their teeth into. Make sure when your puppy arrives to watch them with each kind of toy to ensure they don’t accidentally swallow something.
Grab a fancy whiteboard, an app, a calendar, or even a simple piece of paper and make a chart to follow your successes and failures with housetraining, manners training, meals etc. You can even track your puppy’s socialization on it. This record will be vital in problem solving in the future. It is also worthwhile to check this plan against your schedule ti make sure you have enough help if you’re going to be at work or traveling during the first few months after your puppy arrives.
Check your patience. Are you a patient person? Can you laugh off frustration? If so, great! If no, think about how you will deal with accidents, destruction, biting, and anything else that might come your way. If you’re the type to get mad, have a plan for how to take breaks from your puppy either by having other family members take over, or by having a pet sitter or friend take on some of the burden. Talk to these people ahead of time and make sure they know your plan and are all on board.
Love the journey! You’re about to venture on an amazing relationship that will shape both your lives. Enjoy!