It has been about six months since we adopted our dachshund puppy, Oscar, from the animal shelter. We did a lot of research about puppies before adopting because this was our first adoption as adults. We both had pets growing up and we currently have a cat but we weren’t the ones adopting the animals before now.
I went into puppy motherhood knowing that there would be accidents, chewing, and lots of early morning bathrooms breaks. I really talked the whole puppy thing up in my head and made it more difficult than it is. Having a puppy is hard work but it is so worth it. When we rescued Oscar he was underweight and ecstatic to finally have a home of his own. It has brought Brett and I so much joy to give him the love that he deserves. Yes, sometimes it’s annoying when he shreds his brand new toy or has an accident in the house. But it’s 100% worth it when he’s cuddled up with Lucy and we feel that our little family is complete (for now).
Here are a few first time puppy tips and tricks that I learned along the way!
1. Set a schedule and stick to it! This is easy for me because I wake up at the same time Monday through Friday and have trouble sleeping in on the weekends. Oscar is used to waking up at the same time everyday, going outside, and eating breakfast. At night he gets to lay in bed with Brett while I take a shower and then he’s happy to go to his crate to sleep.
2. Decide early on if you want your dog to be crate trained. Some people are very anti-crate but the dogs that I have had in my life have always had a positive relationship with their crates. For Oscar, I put in a memory foam bed, a cozy blanket, and a couple of toys in his crate. The first night we brought him home he went right in his crate at bedtime and fell asleep. His crate is in our bedroom and it feels like he views it at his own personal space. When he gets tired he goes in and falls asleep. Starting him in his crate right away really helped the transition and got him used to it.
3. Take your puppy outside every two hours in the beginning. This might seem like overkill but your puppy is still getting used to his or her new environment. There are so many new smells and it may take time for your puppy to feel comfortable going to the bathroom. We have a fenced in yard but we took Oscar out on a leash for the first week or so to get him comfortable.
4. Positive affirmations are key! Oscar loves a good tummy rub when he does the right thing. He’s not super into treats and would much rather hear that he’s a good boy. I talk to him a lot and he seems to know whether or not he’s being good based on my tone. Dogs seem to want to please their owners so it’s important to let them know when they do!
5. Have lots of things for your puppy to chew on. Oscar was teething when we got him and he wanted to chew on everything. So far he hasn’t chewed anything that isn’t his but I think that’s because we keep him busy with non rawhide bones and puppy teething rings. If he wasn’t busy with his toys I’m sure he would get into way more trouble.
Adopting an animal is super rewarding but is also a huge responsibility! It’s important to go in knowing that there will be challenges.
Do you have any puppy training tips?
Thanks for reading!