3 Days, 3 Weeks, 3 Months

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Over the last few years the title of this blog post has become almost a mantra for rescue groups to say to new families and  homes for their dogs :

Not a dog nerd, and have no idea what I am talking about?

When you take in a new rescue dog/pup the dog will experience …………..

3 Days of feeling overwhelmed and nervous

3 Weeks of settling in

3 months of building trust and bonding with you

Working with dogs for such a long time, I really do like this, its gives new dog owners , rescue or not, a type of guideline to understand what their new pup or adult dog may be feeling when brought home for the first time.

But… what happens when YOU, the care giver are feeling the same emotions that you have read your new family pet is feeling?

First things first, you are not alone. I have lost count over the years of how many people have said to me “what have I done” in regards to getting a new dog. The first few days can be overwhelming as much for the human family as for the dogs!

Lets talk puppies.

Your normal wake up time if you have a puppy becomes 2-3 hours earlier to help with the house training, your normally clean house is now littered with dogs toys, treats and puppy pads. Your normal popping to the local coffee shop to meet friends is now a conundrum of can I/should I bring the pup, how long can I be gone for? Will they cry? Should I keep the crate ( if I got one ) open or closed? Is it safe to leave them with a chew treats? Your internet search history become a smorgasbord of trying to decipher what food to use, what trainers can help, should I take the advice of the vets or the behaviour experts to make sure my puppy is happy or healthy? One person in the pet shop said I should “do this” another said “do that”?

So my answers to the most common questions I have been asked over the last almost 13 years at PDT. These are general tips, get in touch if you are having issues that are more complex.

  • Homecoming for the pup, be prepared! Ask the rescue or breeder what food the pup is currently on, you can change it later when pup settles in. Go shopping before the pup is home, get your crate or pen ( I like pens better) and have it set up in position you are happy with. What to buy? Food, treats, some puppy suitable toys, bowls, slow feeder, enrichment stuff. Do you have kids in the house? If so set boundaries and baby gates in advance and set puppy and your kids up for success. Do get your new pup when you can spend some time at home settling them in, do not get a pup when the household is busy and you are on a massive time sensitive project for work.
  • Puppy Pads for toilet training? – for me this is a no, why train your pup to pee/poop to toilet indoors from when they arrive when you can do outdoor toileting from day 1? Live in an apartment and do not have access to outdoor quickly? Get an apartment toilet or a piece of astro turn and train from day 1 on that.
  • What toys to buy to start off with? For me its easy enough, 1 x soft toy, 1 x rubber based toy like a puppy Kong or K9 Connectable set, 1 x rope based toy. YOU will add to this trip quickly but this will kickstart your pup.
  • What appointment to make first? – I am a big fan of all puppies whether a rescue or bought from a breeder, to get a vet check. Your vet will talk to you about vaccinations and next steps in making sure your pup is as healthy as it can be, an unhealthy pup will cause heartache and expense.
  • Socialisation – so important!!! I can not emphasis this enough. Even before your pup is fully vaccinated you can expose them safely to so many environments and outdoor sounds, smells, surfaces etc safely. Go to your local pet shop and get a puppy sling or even better, make one yourself out of an old scarf,  and expose them to every type of environment that you frequent safely and with feet off the ground. Bring them in the car with you and get them used to that, go to shops, vets, beach, parks and school runs and let them experience the life that they will be living with you and your family.
  • “I need sleep” – yep, and so does your pup. Set a schedule that is workable for all. Remember, your pups bladder and bowel are small so for successful toilet training be aware that your pups can’t hold their xxxx for hours on end. This changes as they grow and mature.
  • Training -when to start? Group classes as soon as fully vaccinated, 121 training, as soon as pup is home, looking for help and tips, call a good trainer as soon, or before you get your pup.
  • Take a breath – self-explanatory in one way but its important to know you are not alone In feeling overwhelmed when you add a new 4 legged centre of attention to your home. Reach out to people who work professionally with dogs, trainers, behaviourists, your local vet and they will only be too happy to hear from you and help.


Want more information email us on info@positivedogtraining.ie or call us on 01 901318

Looking for an independently accredited trainer in your area? See below

Institute of Modern Dog Trainers Ireland – https://www.imdt.uk.com/find-a-qualified-imdt-trainer

Association of Pet Dog Trainers Ireland –  https://www.apdt.ie/find-a-trainer







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