About Your New Puppy

Understanding the newest member of your family—and why they do they things they do—makes a big difference.

In the humdrum of changes you’re suddenly immersed in, it’s often easy to forget that your new friend is experiencing something quite similar (and that he/she didn’t have any say in the matter). In the case of a puppy, your dog has only had 8 weeks of life to draw information from–the majority of which was spent with their eyes closed (whether from age or from sleeping). In short, the transition is at least as difficult for your dog as it is for you.

What does your puppy want?

Puppies and humans are, in a lot of ways, quite similar. Both want to feel safe, both want to eat, and both want to understand the world around them. The problem, in these cases, is that there’s a great deal lost in translation.

Chewing on your new sofa, for instance, is likely just your dog’s way of learning more about your living room. Additionally, it may serve as a teething device for extremely uncomfortable gums (just remember how frustrated human babies get during this time). And, finally, your couch likely smells quite a bit like you and your family—your dog may be chewing on it as a way to feel close when you’re away.

Identifying what your puppy hopes to get out of his or her actions is crucial to preventing them. In many cases the issue is simply one of curiosity; if you can help expose your puppy to something in a safe way, it may help them move past an otherwise annoying behavior.

What do YOU want from your dog?

Just as important, here, is recognizing your expectations for a new puppy. Set goals, and celebrate when you reach them. Sample milestones may include:

  • A day without an accident
  • Sleeping through the night
  • Learning to sit on command

The key to fighting anxiety is usually in identifying progress as your puppy makes it. Rather than focusing on all your dog NEEDS to learn, focus on what they ARE doing right.