Puppy training – Welcoming a puppy into the family

I have to admit that when I see a puppy my insides do turn to mush. There is just something about that puppy smell, big innocent eyes… Ahhhhh if only they could stay puppies forever – but they don’t and they grow up really quickly! I know this only too well as my own ‘puppy’ is no longer a puppy! I don’t know where that time went!

Speaking to as many clients and colleagues as I do and watching their puppies develop made me reflect back on how I raised my youngest dog and question myself as to if I could do it all again would I have done anything differently? As a professional trainer, it was my top priority to ‘practice what I preach’. So what did I do?

Let’s start from the beginning…..

Choices, choices, choices…. Choosing my puppy.

All my previous dogs have come from rescue and have kind of ‘fallen in my lap’ for a variety of reasons. My current dog is my first ‘intentionally sourced’ puppy. Purchasing a puppy can be a really exciting and nerve-wracking time! After all, a puppy is up to an 18-year commitment………. I needed to be certain that I found the perfect puppy for me as well as for my lifestyle and family.

The following was my checklist:

After much research, I decided on the breed and breeder I wanted. The breeder was a fellow trainer who I had worked with in the past and knew the temperament of dog I needed and wanted. Together we chose the mating that was going to produce my new puppy….. however, I had to wait!

I waited for 9 months. Waiting for the perfect puppy was the best thing I ever did! Far too often purchasing a puppy is done on impulse and I see many owners who regret doing so.

She’s HERE!

I started visiting my puppies litter as soon as the breeder told me I could. The breeder chose my puppy for me as it was her that was spending every day with them and she had a very clear idea of what ‘temperament’ I wanted –  this was really HARD as every time I visited I saw a change in the puppies behaviour and each time I was drawn to a different puppy! It is important to have full faith with the breeder making the end decision as she knew her dogs and her breed.

At 6 weeks the breeder had chosen my puppy…. And she was (and still is) the perfect match for me.

To ease the transition and set my puppy up for success, I put an Adaptil collar on my pup at 6 weeks which both soothed my puppy during her departure from the litter at 8 weeks as well as helped her settle into her new home.


Let the fun begin – Coming home!

This can be an overwhelming time for any puppy, however, coming into a new home with other animals and people can be quite stressful. So how did I do it?


Socialisation time – out and about.

I began to socialise my pup at 8.5 weeks. No, she was not fully vaccinated however puppies have a socialisation window that closes at 12-16 weeks so correct socialisation is not something we can ‘do later’. Once that window closes there is no turning back. In saying this I did not take her to any ‘high risk’ areas such as dog parks or beaches.

So where did I take my puppy? Anywhere that is not frequented by other dogs regularly; Hardware stores, cafes, schools, ice rink, local shopping centres, horse yards….. you name it I went there!  Every day I introduced my puppy to new people, places and experiences. Correctly socialising a puppy is a full-time job!

Puppy Training? What training?

You would possibly think that as a professional trainer this would be the first thing on my agenda, right? WRONG! Puppy training starts with teaching her to be a dog – life skills!  Allowing and encouraging her to play, think, explore, make good and not so good choices (safely) and building a bond between us.

Certainly, I taught her; name, leave it, come back when called (recall) and LOTS of tricks. Above all, for the first year of her life I just taught her how to learn and focused on building value for me – most of this was done through play! Similar to the way we raise our children; early education should be based on play!


And now I’m here …

So are there things I would do differently or will do with my next puppy? Yes of course! The industry of professional reward based training is always evolving and as we do we will always improve, hence the reason it is important that you seek the best advice you possibly can when raising your own puppy.


We’re here to help!



Puppy Social Education

Puppy socialisation program

Kalmpets 5 Steps to puppy raising:

Safe Place Training

Healthy body healthy mind

How to understand my puppy

Getting a puppy to understand what you want

Starting off on the right paw with puppy

Dog Day Care

What issues are you
having with your pet?

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