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New Puppy

28/06/2021 - Puppies

Feeling Safe

When you first bring your puppy home, remember that their world has been turned upside down. They are in a new house, with new people and lots of different sounds and smells. Your puppy has been taken away from everything they have ever known.

The first thing you should do is make sure your new puppy feels safe. It means staying with them all the time - yes, even at night! They will grow in confidence and become more independent but only once they feel secure and safe. A cosy place like a crate and/or a pen can be beneficial as it gives puppies a hideaway that they can take themselves to if they feel a little overwhelmed. You must ensure no humans bother them in this space, especially children.


You need to build up a good relationship with your puppy so that they trust you.  If you always trick them into doing things, you always take things away from them or you force them into situations they are not happy with then your puppy will become wary of you, and sometimes take things into their own paws (and teeth!)

“My puppy growls when I try to take things off him”

Guardians can panic when pups pick things up they shouldn’t have and quickly snatch things away or worse - they may have read in some outdated literature that they should show pup who is boss and force things off them.  Unfortunately, the trust will be broken and your puppy will start to feel that when he/she has something special and a human comes near them they are going to lose it, and they are right, as that is what you have been doing so they begin to get cross about it!

From day one you need to help them feel better about giving things up – don’t take anything from them unless you have to! Then if you really have to make sure you swap it for something equally as good or even better. For example, if they steal your sock, swap it for a game of tuggy with their favourite toy or give them something super tasty like a piece of chicken or hotdog.

“My puppy doesn’t like being brushed, dried, nails being clipped, teeth being brushed etc."

If you “force” your pup into having to have things done to them they don’t enjoy, it is very likely that this will become more difficult as time goes on. They are very unlikely to just "get used" to it, and it's more likely they will enjoy it less and less. Trust will be broken, and they will either start running away at the sight of the equipment or become aggressive when you try to do something to them.

Take your time and go at your puppy’s pace. To help your dog feel happier about any equipment or being handled, spend some time gently introducing them - for example, with nail clippers you can simply show them to your dog and follow this with a treat. Once they are happy with this you can progress to touching their nails with the clippers and follow this with a treat – this needs to be built up over multiple sessions, and only progressing once your dog is happy. The treat should always follow the touching, so the touching becomes a predictor of great things. There is no tricking involved with this – it is all about TRUST.  I am going to do this to you and you get a nice big of sausage in return.

Teach them their name

  • Get eight tasty pieces of food (small and soft, not big and crunchy!)
  • Say their name – “FIDO” and feed them one of the pieces regardless of whether they look towards you or acknowledge you. Repeat 7 times.
  • Say their Name – “FIDO” and just withhold the treat for a moment to see if they look in your direction (this is the exact response you are looking for). If they do, reward them with a fuss and your last treat. If they don’t, just go back to the start and repeat again.
  • Once they are responding well to their name, try it in lots of different places and environments.
  • Always say their name in a happy tone so they will always be glad to come and see what you want them for.

For more advice and support with your new puppy, head over to the Training Tails Facebook group or contact us for more details of our puppy classes and 121s.

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