Thinking About Getting a New Puppy? - Jim Burwell’s Petiquette

New PuppyNew puppy on your mind?  I know it’s hard to believe – and it’s the last thing you want to think about right now but……Christmas is just a few months away and I am always reminded of the thousands of Christmas Puppies (probably even more) that will be snuggled up in Santa’s big ol’ bag waiting to go to a new home this coming Christmas Eve.

More importantly, their wish is that they get a home where they will be taken care of and not forgotten. Raising a puppy is like raising a child. The difference is that kids grow up and eventually leave the nest. Puppies on the other hand, stay with you forever. So it is important to plan your lifetime with your new puppy. Think about the following before you get your new puppy:

If buying a pure breed puppy, make sure you buy from a reputable breeder.  They usually guarantee eyes, hips and heart. Good breeders also begin desensitizing all the puppies to noise, human handling and all things that go “bump in the night.”

While most breeders release their new puppies at around 7-8 weeks of age, critical socialization extends through 14 weeks of age. This important uninterrupted time with their litter mates and Mom helps them to become better puppies and well adjusted dogs. This gives them time enough to learn their social graces like bite inhibition and how to play nicely
with other dogs.  So wait as long as you can before taking your new puppy.

When getting your new puppy from a shelter, you may not have the luxury of knowing the puppies’ past. Remember that the window of socialization closes between the ages of 3 ½ to 5 months of age.

This means that to the extent that you can, desensitize and socialize you pup to as many new distractions as you can to assure that he will be okay with people, noises, things, etc…You can do that even if they have not received all their shots.  Have people come over with their “good dogs” have the puppy around repairment, yard guys, kids etc.

Whether you get a pure breed puppy or a rescue puppy of questionable heritage, they all still need the same rules, routines, expectations and boundaries.

The second you bring your new puppy home you should gently guide him through your rule book.

Let him know where he can and cannot go. Setting rules and boundaries immediately will help him feel very secure in his sense of place. You do this with leadership – nothing harsh at all.

Plan on devoting enough necessary time for potty training – this takes times.  Be sure to set your puppy up to succeed at this and not continue to set him up to fail.  Also begin  fun puppy obedience training which will allow him to earn the things he wants by giving you a sit.

Later, once your new puppy has had all his shots, join an obedience class and begin his more formal training and socialization with other dogs.

You can keep it very simple by consistently providing your puppy with an “earn-to-learn” program that will keep his expectations in the correct perspective – he works for you, you don’t work for him 🙂

Everything he gets from you requires a sit and down. This will help to balance his work for the love and affection you will be giving him now and in the years to come.

Be as comfortable with the trainer of your dog as you are with the teacher of your children.

“Together we can raise a happy an obedient dog.”


Jim BurwellJim Burwell is a “thanks for making the impossible, possible” professional dog trainer having trained 20,000+ dogs and counting and serving more than 7,000clients.  Jim’s easy to follow, common sense, and positive methods have made him the “dog trainer of choice” for 30 years. 
One of his clients says it best:

There are people who are so good at, and passionate about, what they do, that in their presence, one can’t help thinking that they have found their true calling and are doing exactly what they should be doing on this earth. Jim is one of these rare people. His quiet and understated manner, his effective technique for training dogs (and their families) is something which I feel fortunate to have witnessed and in which to have been an active participant.

Jim’s  Nose to Tail Puppy Training is the culmination of these years of training into an easy, step-by-step process so that your puppy understands what you expect of him because you know how to teach him.  You empower him to be able to give you the behavior you want and you empower him to be successful at living in a human home.  The result – one awesome puppy and one happy family. 

© 2011 Jim Burwell Inc.