Hi, I’m Emily and this is my puppy Pip.
I’ve always had family dogs and have spent my whole life around dogs, so I thought I knew everything I needed to for getting my own puppy. Turns out, I wasn’t quite right! So here’s 5 things I wish I’d known before bringing Pip home.
- Toilet training – what to say and when
Pip had done some toilet training when we brought him home, but a new environment also meant new learning, so for me, plenty of cleaning stuff was a must! A good carpet cleaner or deodorising spray and lots of kitchen roll were my best friends for a while.
One thing I found really helpful was picking my trigger word ahead of time so I didn’t panic and could start training from the off, I went with “be clean” as we’d used this with my other dogs too. Learning his signals that he needed the toilet took time – now he gives signs: going to the back door, barking at me or sniffing and circling. These were really subtle at first so they took a while for me to recognise, so I started out by taking him out every hour to avoid an accident.
And don’t forget to be kind to yourself. Accidents happen, Pip definitely had his fair share and it took time but when we got there I was so proud!
- To crate or not to crate
Our other 2 dogs are a bit older and are allowed upstairs with us when we go to bed – our bed is theirs really. But for Pip, I didn’t fancy waking up to tread in any… accidents. So I kept him in a crate at night or when I left the house for short periods, for his own safety and security. I found this video on crate training with tails.com behaviourist Carolyn really helpful for knowing where to start.
I was a little nervous at first, but he settled into it really well and now sees it as his own space, and he goes in as he chooses throughout the day. I also feed Pip his meals in there too, which has been so helpful stopping him eating the other dogs’ food.
- Training. The never-ending journey
I always knew that training the basics was super important, not only for your peace of mind but for your pup’s safety too. But I didn’t realise just how long training would take and that it’s a continuous thing, there isn’t really a “done, completed it” point.
I found puppy training classes really helpful for guided learning and socialisation, but this Tips For Training Your Puppy blog was also really helpful to learn the basics before we got there. Not to mention Pip was a huge fan of the Good Dog Treats and Duck Rewards he got when he nailed it!
- Teething. It doesn’t have to be a painful process
I knew kids went through teething but I didn’t realise puppies did too and it was a bit of a shock at first!
Pip got a bit nippy and finding his first tooth was a bit terrifying, but on a friend’s recommendation I tried some soothing chews and plenty of toys to keep him busy – this was a big help! Frozen carrot sticks were also a winner for when we were outside.
- Going out out: getting your dog used to the big wide world
I knew I wanted to have a well-socialised pup and needed to get him used to being in different scenarios with me, as I’ve always loved a Sunday lunch out with our other dogs.
I started off with short trips locally alongside lots of positive reinforcement which was a great first step for Pip. Then I built things up gradually, beginning with visiting a local dog-friendly café for a bite to eat, then looking at visiting pet shops and parks. I was undeniably nervous about these trips to start off, but found the more confident I was, the more confident Pip was too. I must say lots of positive fuss was given during and after each trip so he knew how good he had been and had positive associations with trips out too.
I hope my tips and journey with Pip will help you and your pup too!
Just remember this is just the start of your journey together, the best is yet to come… if we can do it so can you, just keep at it.