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I have a new Puppy! Now What???

By Robin Morgan CPDT-KA, Local Resident

When you bring your new puppy home at 8-9 weeks old, there’s much excitement and confusion for a new
puppy in a new home. They’ve never been separated from their mother and littermates and have no idea what’s happened in their once small world.


I’d like to share with you what a day in the life of one of my puppies would look like and why I do things this way.

At night, my puppy sleeps in their crate next to my bed. They can see and hear me throughout the night. Allowing your pup to sleep in a crate in your room offers them the comfort of having other beings close by Much like when they were with their mother and litter- mates. It lessens their anxiety.

In the morning, I let my other dogs out while the puppy waits in their crate. I open the crate door, put on the leash, and carry my pup outside to the designated spot to establish desired morning potty routines.

One thing I should note: If your puppy wakes you up during the night, it’s possible they need to eliminate. Sometimes, this is also just worry and anxiety. I ALWAYS assume they need to potty and will carry them out, go to the potty area and give them a few minutes to go. I don’t engage with them or make it fun by playing any games. It’s business only. Once they’ve relieved themselves, I carry them back in and put them back in their crate, quietly. If it’s potty they need to do, great. If not, they soon learn that going out in the nighttime isn’t very fun or rewarding.

After our morning potty, we spend some time playing tug games or other fun things that are age appropriate. My pup then goes into an ex-pen near me while I take care of breakfast for myself and the other dogs. Anytime I can’t directly supervise my puppy, they are in their ex-pen for safety and success. I usually have several ex-pens set up in areas that I go to. It’s not about leaving them by themselves, it’s about setting them up for success in a controlled environment keep- ing them safe and out of trouble.

At breakfast time when I have the puppy near me in their ex-pen, anytime they choose to go in their bed, I praise and toss cookies where he can reach them without having to get up and leave the bed – Practice your throw! My puppy learns very early that it’s a good thing to be on the bed!

After breakfast, I do some fun training games that are quick and easy for the pup to earn part of his breakfast. This starts to build confidence to learn new things. After he’s had breakfast, I will put him back in his crate for a short 15-30 minutes and then out for a potty break. He then gets to have some supervised time hanging around the house. I then put my pup into an ex-pen that’s close by depend- ing on what we’re doing.

Mid-Morning/Lunchtime

Mid-morning, my pup will get a short training session and a walk outside, then back to his crate or ex-pen. They usually take a nap at this point until lunch. Once awake, I take my pup out for a potty and then play some games to burn off some energy. I will use part of my pup’s lunch in a short training session as reinforcement for good choices. Some of my other dogs are good with puppies and I will let them have playtime for a bit and some time with me, supervised, in the room I’m in. Then back to their ex-pen.

Afternoon/Evening

Mid-afternoon, I will get my puppy out, have a potty break and another short training session, then some time with me while I get ready for dinnertime. My puppy goes back to his ex-pen while I eat and again, earns rewards for being in his bed.

After dinner, we have a super fun session using part of his dinner as reward. Throughout the day we have worked on staying on his bed by reinforcing him each time he goes there. This is building skills for the future that will help him to learn to relax while I do other things, while the TV is on or I’m reading.

After dinner is over, a bit of exercise outside is a priority; allowing my puppy to sniff and explore. Then we practice some recall skills and play some tugging games.

In the evening, I let the puppy play with my older dogs that like puppies, as well as some playtime with me. One last trip outside for potty and off to bed!

That’s a typical day for my pups along with many adventures along the way.

Leave me a comment at delany2000@gmail.com and let me know what your puppy is up to.

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