Be ready for your excellent new pupster’s grand entrance. Have a covered crate for nighttime sleeping, food-dispensing toys and a drag line (a 6-foot leash the kid will drag from her collar). Puppy food and a water bowl will also come in handy.
These little tykes are not born knowing how to stay safe or come when called, so take a leash and a collar (no prongs or chokers, please) with you on adoption day. Just like people enduring a stressful time, canine babies need gentle handling and connectedness when facing the overwhelming changes of leaving the only lives they’ve ever known. Their tiny heads are spinning. She’ll be confused and easily wigged out; a warm lap will ease the shock of leaving Mom and littermates behind. Bring a sidekick to ride shotgun and avoid the perils of distracted driving.
How necessary is the drag line on your puppy when she’s inside? It’ll take a while for your fuzzy hellion to learn what to chew, to wait for permission to enter or exit a doorway, and when to dive onto a food toy. Control your wild child any time by grabbing the drag line. You can start leash training by leading her a few steps and then dropping the drag line and trying again later. Forget reprimands and bellowing “NO!” Just lead him away from a crime scene and then quietly tell him he’s good when he’s not perpetrating mayhem. You’ll be the benevolent leader who maintains control, not a tyrant who sets up a sting and then busts the repeat offender red-handed.
Your family, friends and people you’ve never met will want to pick up and hug your new cuddle bunny. But look out for the kid’s wellbeing; she may be on the edge of fear, even when wagging and cavorting. Any kind of human can trigger a puppy freak-out just by reaching for her. Allow your little one to choose when she feels safe enough to approach and connect with people. Calm, low-key interactions lead to long-term trust and confidence.
Get pet help: For help with behavior problems, you can sign up for a Zoom Group Conference on my website, drjeffnichol.com.
Dr. Jeff Nichol is a residency-trained veterinary behaviorist. He provides consultations in person and in groups via Zoom (505-792-5131). Each week, he shares a blog and a Facebook Live video to help bring out the best in pets and their people. Sign up at no charge at drjeffnichol.com Post pet behavioral or physical questions on facebook.com/drjeffnichol or by mail to 4000 Montgomery NE, Albuquerque, NM, 87109.