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Realistic Expectations

You go to the breeder’s home. The pups are social. They are quiet in the pen. All looks amazing and you bring your puppy home. Then reality hits. The puppy may cry in the crate for the first few nights making you tired and agitated. The happy social puppy is refusing to greet the half dozen overly excited friends you invited over to see your new puppy. The puppy refuses to walk on a leash. Many are wondering “how did my perfect puppy turn into a nightmare.”

So, let’s discuss realistic expectations of when a puppy goes home. First, the puppy has been in the breeder’s home since birth. They had their mother and often littermates. They had their routine, were taught expectations and were completely in their comfort zone.

Now, suddenly they are taken to a totally new environment. Picture yourself being dropped into an unknown country, often in a different part of the world. You know only a few words of their language. Different trees, animals, smells, temperature and people. Now in the middle of this we are switching up your routine, decide to have a party with people you don’t know, and ask you to do jobs you have no idea how to do. Overwhelming to say the least.

This is what every puppy goes through when going to their new home. Stress manifests in different forms: Not eating; reluctance to play and greet people; being apprehensive at the vet’s office or as strangers reach for them; Diarrhea, vomiting or depression can occur.

What can you as a new owner do to help your little one acclimate?

- Most pups take 3-4 weeks to acclimate to their new home. THREE to FOUR WEEKS! Not a 1-2 days. I can’t stress this enough about how much time is needed for a dog to feel comfortable in their new home!

- Limit guests during the first week. We understand you are excited to show off your new baby, but they need time to adjust. Plan on waiting 1-2 weeks before inviting people over.

- Ask guests to sit on the ground and let the puppy approach them. No squealing and grabbing the puppy.

- Set up a good routine, staying as close to possible to what is familiar to them.

- Restrict the pup to a small area of the house. This not only reduces them being overwhelmed but also allows you to watch them.

- Don’t expect the pup to walk on a leash. Instead work at home with a leash where they are comfortable. Let them drag the leash, use treats to encourage them to walk with you.

- If your puppy is refusing to walk give them time.  Move when they initiate the movement as they need time to take in the different environment.

- Understand your pup needs time to see you as family. Expecting an immediate bond is unrealistic.

- Train your pup - even if the pup knows commands.  Positive training group classes are best.  This not only helps you to bond but the pup to look to you for direction and input.

- Be patient.  Nothing occurs overnight.

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