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  • Northern Illawarra Veterinary Hospital

NIVH New Puppy Tips

Unfortunately with the COVID lockdown, we had to put our puppy preschool on hold, however we are now super excited to be able to get our puppies back together at NIVH! In the meantime, with all the puppies being welcomed into people's families recently, our NIVH behaviour team have put together a few tips to help you settle your new pup into your household. Although these tips are not exhaustive, it does help provide a good foundation as to where to start in order to get your new pup into a good early routine.

Obviously a massive part of puppy preschool is early socialisation with other pups and people in a controlled environment, so these tips do not take away from booking your pup in for puppy preschool. But hopefully they may help you in the first few days of welcoming your new four-legged family member.

Tip No 1:

Firstly remember your new pup has been taken away from everything it has known and placed with strangers in a strange environment. You will not spoil your puppy by keeping them close by and giving them company for the first few days, until they have formed some kind of bond and trust with their new family.

Setting up a 'safe place' for your puppy such as a puppy pen, with food, water, puppy training pads, a comfy bed or crate and soft toys are a good start. Include things such as a blanket which has the smell of the puppy's mum and litter mates on it if possible, or even a worn t-shirt with your scent can help them to settle and will give them something to snuggle up to. Don't use this 'safe space' as a punishment for your pup, instead spend time with them in this area or sit close by and read a book or watch the TV, allowing them to entertain themselves but with you in close proximity. Products such as pheromone sprays, diffusers or collars (such as Adaptil), can also be useful to first settle your puppy. These can be purchased in the clinic.

Tip No 2:

Ensure the whole family are on the same page with rules set for the puppy. For example, if one member of the family does not want the pup to go onto the lounge, but other members of the family are allowing the pup to jump on all furniture, this will cause confusion and the pup will not know their set boundaries.

Tip No 3:

Have a predictable routine for your pup. This will allow your pup to settle quickly and set them up for success. For example, take your pup out after every meal to toilet in the preferred toiling area. Reward any successes with treats or playtime with a toy as positive reinforcement will aid for quicker training. Give cues to let your pup know if you need to leave them for short periods of time. For example, filling a kong with yummy treats and giving an audio cue such as "back soon" will allow them to pick up when you are leaving but will reassure them you will return.

Any initial parting from your puppy should be short, increasing the time away from them gradually. A good idea prior to leaving them would be to give them some playtime for 15-20 minutes, so they are more likely to sleep and be settled when you are gone. Also remembering to take them out to toilet before you leave to avoid any accidents.

Tip No 4:

Book into puppy preschool. As previously mentioned, early socialisation is a huge part of raising a well-rounded, calm and happy pup. We advise early socialisation to be in a controlled environment like a puppy preschool, with similar aged pups with controlled playtime. Boundaries should be set rather than extended play where bad doggie manners may be formed. We are so excited to be able to offer our puppy pre-school again which is run in conjunction with Sonia Says Sit.

To book into Puppy preschool at NIVH, please call the clinic or speak with one of our team during your consultation for further information. At our NIVH website, you will also find more general puppy information which can help you out with your new family member. We look forward to a puppy cuddle soon!


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