Preparing for your puppy

First night

Your puppy has just come from a place where he would have been with his litter mates and mom. They are bound to be frightened their first night away from mum and siblings so it’s best not to leave them to spend the night on their own. Have the puppy sleep in a bed or a crate in your bedroom or you should sleep in the lounge with the puppy. If you don’t want the puppy to sleep in your bedroom when he or she is an adult, then as the puppy grows in confidence, start gradually moving the crate further away from your bed each night until it is in the room you would like them to sleep in. If the puppy cries, bring them closer to you again.

Separation anxiety

Separation Anxiety is a very difficult behaviour problem to deal with in adult dogs so try your best to prevent it. When a puppy is upset at being left alone and is crying, please don’t ignore it. If you ignore it, the puppy might eventually stop crying but it’s likely due to the puppy giving up trying to get some help but they are still feeling distressed and having an awful experience. What the dog is learning is being on your own is a negative experience and this can lead to separation anxiety as an adult. An article about letting a dog ‘cry it out’: http://www.simplybehaviour.com/letting-dogcry-cause-permanentdamage/?fbclid=IwAR2oel7fGhojWOQzMesGXI7HSyUEQayr1ySdbVfkS7DmOC2-5s5UWWEz31c

Puppy classes

Puppy classes are recommended for puppies, they can learn some valuable life skills and you can always ask to the dog trainer for advice if you’re having any problems. There are a few good options for puppy classes in Jersey. It is advisable that you go and watch the puppy class and have a chat with the trainer before your puppy comes home to decide which suits you best.


Vaccinations are necessary to protect your dog from infectious diseases such as Canine distemper, parvovirus, Leptospirosis and Parainfluenza and to prevent them passing diseases onto other dogs. Speak to your veterinarian about the age at which the puppy should start vaccinations. Your breeder should be able to tell you what vaccinations they have started.


From birth, a puppy is learning about the world, a puppy that has experienced more variety of sights, sounds, environments and experiences is likely to be more confident and happy as he or she goes through life. All animals are fearful of anything novel, this is a survival strategy. But, animals can’t be afraid of everything novel from birth or else that would mean they would be scared of everything as everything in the beginning is new. There is a window in which a dog is not frightened of the new things they experience. During this window they need to be exposed to everything that they will need to be comfortable with in their life. So, for pet dogs, that is the home environment, different types of people, other dogs and perhaps other animals like cats or horses and different types of environments such as beaches or built up areas with lots of traffic. This window is called the socialisation period; it varies slightly between different breeds of dogs but
is generally from the age of 2-12 weeks of age. A dog spends a large part of this time with their breeder so it is crucial that the correct stimulation and socialisation was provided. It isn’t possible to introduce your dog to everything in this period but you can introduce them to a variety of things that help him to learn that noisy things are okay, things that move or wobble are okay and people wearing hats are okay. They can start to generalise things so if they meet a man wearing a hoodie, it’s okay because it’s similar to the man wearing a hat. Proper socialisation can equip them
with skills to deal with a variety of events. A lack of socialisation during this stage of a dog’s life can lead to behaviour problems. Unfortunately, negative experiences during this time can also lead to behaviour problems. You need to tailor the socialisation to your dog’s needs, try not to overwhelm them, try not to force them into any situations that they seem a little frightened of and do things at a pace they are comfortable with. Socialisation will not fix poor breeding although, if done properly, can help to improve the dog’s behaviour.

For socialisation advice, please see www.thepuppyplan.com

Toilet training

Toilet training a dog is all about teaching them where the right place is to go to the toilet…outside. To do this we want to ensure that each time they need to go to the toilet, we have taken them outside. With enough practice, they’ll associate going to the toilet with the outside. We also need to make sure we don’t let them have the opportunity to toilet indoors. This means we take them outside:

• When they wake
• After eating
• After taking a drink
• Before, during and after a period of activity
• When you come in
• Before you go out
• Before bedtime
• During the adverts
• And every twenty to thirty minutes in between unless they are asleep.

During periods of activity change that to every ten to twenty minutes. Stay outside with the dog and wait. Wait until they go to the toilet, this could take a while so be patient. After they have been to the toilet, praise them. You could play games with them after they have toileted. This might prevent the puppy from learning that they’ll go straight back inside after toileting which could lead to the puppy delaying going to the toilet so that they can stay outside for longer. Remember they may need to toilet again after playing! If they don’t toilet within 10-15 minutes, take them back inside
and try again in 5-10 minutes. If it’s raining or cold, they might not want to be outside. If they don’t toilet when you have them outside, bring them back in but place them in their crate or if small enough, hold them on your lap/ in your arms to prevent them toileting in the house. Some dogs have learnt to prefer toileting indoors so you need to prevent them from having any opportunity to do this while they learn that outside is where you toilet.

Once the dog is toileting outside, the time between being taken outside can gradually be made longer. Younger dogs have small bladders and need to be taken out more frequently. Try to get an idea of when your dog usually goes to the toilet so that you can take him outside at the times you expect him/her to go.

Avoid making these mistakes:
• Using puppy pads still teaches a dog to toilet indoors. Try to not use puppy pads or newspaper.
• Leaving the door open to give the dog the choice of going outside. This doesn’t teach the dog to go out. If the dog has already learnt that toileting indoors is the place to toilet then giving them a choice will only lead them to continue making the same choice of toileting indoors.
• Telling the dog off for toileting indoors! This applies to telling a dog off or any other punishment you might consider when toilet training, they won’t understand that they’re being told off for toileting indoors, all that they will see is you’re in a bad mood and coming across as scary. That ‘guilty’ look is probably a fearful response to your body language and facial expression. If you tell your dog off at the same time as them toileting indoors, how does he know the problem with what he is doing is the location, he might think the problem is actually the behaviour of going to the toilet. Will he think, I get shouted at in the kitchen, so I’ll try the lounge now, gets shouted at again, so he tries the bathroom, gets shouted at again so now he thinks you’re scary and the next
time, he makes sure he’s hiding from you when he goes to the toilet. Your relationship with your dog gradually breaks down as they become fearful to do a natural behaviour in front of you. The next time you’re outside waiting for him to pee and poop, he’s too scared to do it in front of you. This is not the easiest and most effective way of toilet training. Follow the guidelines above, you’ll get there in the end, just persevere.
• Don’t use bleach to clean up the mess. Accidents are best cleaned with a dilute solution of biological washing powder. Avoid using disinfectant as this contains ammonia and can encourage pup to pee there again.

Night time

• Be near the dog overnight, you might need to sleep near them or have them sleep in your bedroom next to your bed. When they wake up, take them outside to the toilet.
• Over time, their bladder will hold more and they’ll be able to get through the night.


• Dogs generally don’t want to toilet where they sleep so crates can be helpful when toilet training a dog but if you are going to use a crate, do not leave the dog in there to force them
to hold onto their poop or pee. You still need to follow the above guidelines.

Puppy mouthing

It is normal for puppies to bite things as they use their mouth to investigate and to play but it can be quite painful. When puppies are biting you, they are probably trying to get you to play with them. Have long tuggy toys readily available that you can redirect your puppy onto away from your arms that he or she can chew and bite.

Playing with your puppy is a great way of creating a strong bond with them. Provide puppy safe items to chew when you aren’t playing and they are looking for something to do.