Becoming a pup parent is a lot of responsibility that you want to ensure you’re doing right. Bringing your new furry family member home is an exciting experience but can also be stressful. You want to ensure your pooch has everything they need, and they feel comfortable in their new forever home. To help bring you some peace of mind and give you fewer things to worry about, here are some tips on helping your new lab feel right at home.
The first thing you’ll want to is ensure you new canine companion has a known safe space they can retreat to. If ever your pup is feeling overwhelmed, frightened, or just wants some alone time, they should know there’s a special place in the house they can always go to. A dog’s safe space can be created using a crate, bed, or designating off an entire room/part of the house. Kitchens or laundry rooms tend to be popular locations when creating a designated “puppy space” because the flooring makes for easy cleanup.
Now that you’ve chosen a spot, ensure you show it to your pup as soon as you bring them home. Adding a cozy bed and a few toys should reinforce the idea that this isn’t a “timeout” or “bad spot” but instead a calm place, they can retreat to whenever needed. Continue to encourage your lil pooch to sleep, eat, and rest in this area, and they’ll eventually start to gravitate to it. Many pet parents also use this “safe space” as a containment area that your pup can rest in when you leave the house or need to contain them for some reason. Don’t use this space as a punishment. You don’t want to send your pooch away to their spot after they’ve been bad or to scold them. That can create a negative association with their area that they won’t see as a place they can retreat to.
If your new puppy isn’t acclimating well to their safe space, consider buying pheromones, such as Adaptil, that will mimic the pheromones their mother released. This smell will help reduce and stress or anxiety they may be feeling, and start to associate their area with a calm and safe feeling.
Your puppy’s teeth will likely be sore as their new adult teeth start to push out their baby ones. Because of this, your lil pooch is going to plenty of chew toys. It’s important to do this early, so your furry friend doesn’t start chewing up shoes and furniture. If they do, immediately give them a chewie or chew toy to show them the proper replacement.
If you have any other pets in the home, you must introduce your new puppy to them carefully and correctly. Don’t try to force them into the same room immediately or else it can frighten both animals. Instead, let the other animals in the house get used to this new puppy’s scent, as well as introducing the other animal’s scents to your puppy. Also, don’t allow the other animals access to your puppy’s safe space, this will completely destroy the idea that they can retreat whenever needed – especially when meeting new pets they might fear at first.
You want to get your new lab off on the right paw, so starting training while they’re a puppy is critical. As your new pup’s mind is developing, you want to implement a foundation of obedience that’ll make everyone’s life in the house easier. Learning house rules from the beginning, and having a structured and consistent daily schedule will help with all this. Whenever your furry friend messes up, avoid aggressive behavior such as yelling – this will only confuse and frighten your small puppy who needs time to learn. Instead, use gentle redirection and ensure you’re praising any good behavior.
The world is a gigantic place for a puppy, so you’ll want to introduce them to it slowly. Expanding their access to the house and adventures to other locations should all be done in small increments. Following all these steps, though, will help your new little pup feel loved and safe in their new home.
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