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Meredith Holt, Published March 22 2012

5 Things Friday: Five ways to help a new puppy adjust

Editor’s note: “5 Things Friday” is a weekly feature in SheSays that will run on – you guessed it – Fridays. It will focus on quick tips, ideas, activities and more – all in bunches of five. If you have a “5 Things Friday” suggestion, contact us at shesays@forumcomm.com.

FARGO – Bringing home a new puppy is not unlike bringing home a newborn baby: Be prepared to give up some sleep.

Puppies require patience and persistence. They have to be taught what to expect and how to behave. Proper training takes time and effort.

To mark National Puppy Day today, here are five ways to help a puppy adjust to his or her new home:

  1. Stage the environment. Start getting your home ready for your new addition several weeks in advance, advises Heidi Ganahl, CEO and founder of national pet-care franchise Camp Bow Wow.

    Arrange distinct areas for activities such as eating and sleeping, says Lindsay Stordahl, owner of Run That Mutt, a Fargo-based dog-running and pet-sitting business.

    Remember, puppies don’t stay puppies for long, so if you don’t want your full-grown dog sleeping on your bed at night, don’t allow your puppy to do so.

  2. Prevent separation anxiety. “It’s almost guaranteed that the puppy will cry the first night,” Stordahl says. What’s the best way to handle whining? Ignore it, she says.

    Dogs need to learn early on that it’s OK to be alone and that you will return. “Coddling a puppy only creates an insecure dog,” Stordahl says.

    Instead of waiting for your dog to start crying, set your alarm to let him or her out a couple times during the night.

  3. Establish routines. Puppies need a daily routine to learn what is expected of them in their new environment.

    “It’s important to establish a routine right away because it prevents bad habits from forming and helps your puppy feel secure,” Stordahl says.

  4. Start training from Day One. Set the rules immediately, and stick to them. It’s easier to stop bad behaviors before they start.

    Train your puppy to act how you want him or her to act as an adult. For example, don’t let your puppy pull on the leash unless you want your adult dog to pull on the leash, Stordahl explains.

    Be consistent, and make sure everyone in the household enforces the rules, Ganahl says.

  5. Encourage socialization. If you have other pets, introduce your puppy to them slowly. However, exposure to new people and situations can begin quickly.

    “Allow her to be around adults, kids of all ages, babies, old people in wheelchairs, students wearing backpacks and people in hats,” Stordahl says.

    Of course, Ganahl says, get your veterinarian’s OK before taking your new puppy anywhere.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Meredith Holt at (701) 241-5590