Our Fijian neighbor’s dog had a litter of pups recently. They knew we wanted what the locals call “sausage dogs”–they look like a mix between a corgi and a dachshund–so when one of their sausages had babies, they kindly gave us a puppy.
We got the pup at about four weeks old. She’s a tiny thing; about a foot long when we first got her.
We’ve had her 1.5 weeks now, and she’s growing by the day.
This is the first very young puppy I’ve ever had. We got our other dog, Guthrie, when he was almost full grown. Being just a few weeks old, there is much more training required for our new pup, including potty training.
The first week was key to set the tone for her as our pet. Here are some things I learned that might be useful if you want to raise a pup.
1. Be Consistent
It’s good to have a regular daily schedule and stick to it. This helps create a bond of trust between you and your puppy.
For example, soon after I wake up, I take the pup out to the yard so she can pee and poop. This also gives her a chance to get some exercise. I repeat this after lunch and dinner.
Accidents are inevitable in the home when you have a pup, but the quicker you establish a schedule, the quicker your pup will understand the rhythms of the day. Our pup understood within a few days that when I set her down on the lawn, it’s time to do her business.
I work from home, so it’s easier for me to be present for the pup in my daily routine. If you can’t be home during the day, you can still set a schedule for your pup in the mornings and evenings so the pup knows what to expect.
2. Start Basic Training
When I take the pup out to the yard, one of our activities is to walk around the whole yard a few times so I can start teaching her to follow me during walks.
I put a collar on her when she first arrived at our house. It’s loose enough so it won’t interfere with her growth, and it lets me introduce her to the leash. I do a max of three short training sessions a day with the leash.
Naturally, the pup will rebel against the restriction. I stay patient and tug gently at the leash. My pup whimpers in protest, but she gets the point and gets excited to move forward again. It’s stop and start, and I only use the leash for a max of 3 times around the yard per training session.
When her attention strays, I look at her and say, “C’mon,” and she usually starts following me again, whether on or off leash.
3. Set Boundaries
When the pup is not eating meals or engaging in play time or training, I keep her in a crate; nothing special–basically a milk crate. She’s growing and getting smarter by the day, so I turn it bottom side up to create a makeshift enclosed space. I put a mat in there for the floor, and she’s got a blanket and some toys to chew on.
I’m letting her explore the house and yard, but when she gets too rowdy, I put her back in the crate so she knows play time is over.
4. Socialize, If Possible
Guthrie is about 1.5 years old. He alternates between being scared of the pup and wanting to play with her when she makes a move to play with him. These moments of interaction are good to start training the pup to socialize with other dogs. Guthrie loves to play, so when the pup gets bigger, I expect the two to get along swimmingly.