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This sweet little rough collie boy will be coming home with me on Wednesday!! I have spent the past few weeks scouring the far reaches of the internet for any scrap of information that I can possibly learn about raising puppies...he's not my first, but I want to do it right! It's been years since I had a tiny pup. Videos, shopping lists, articles...I've recently run pretty well out of new information and I've still got five days to go before I get to see my boy...all I can do now is wait impatiently haha! 903tLtn.jpg
 

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Well upon this posting, you've probably just picked him up. And don't have any free time to read these Posts! LOL! Potty training and crate training are the most important. It's so easy to get caught up in the "magic" of a puppy. How to enjoy every minute of the joy that puppy brings. But it's important to keep in mind long term strategy as well. A puppy is a life long commitment, so habits formed early are critical.

It will depend on your lifestyle (obviously). But determine early who's in charge. Don't let the pup's "personality" (cute, sweet, adorable, etc.) distract you from routine, boundaries and what is going to work for YOUR family. It is larger than the puppy him (or her) self.

Probably, getting through those first nights is difficult. Often makes an owner feel guilty that the pup is in distress. (They're not, just a change in environment). So transition is key. I'd ask the breeder for some familiar scents (towel, toy) to take away with him. To transplant to his new bedding area. Whatever you choose, be consistent. Pups (dogs) thrive on routine. That's their security. Most dogs love a "den" and that's what a crate is. They are not prisons. And shouldn't be used as punishment. So make it warm, comfy, a good place to go to. Plenty of potty breaks so it's never a matter of tension or distress. And I PROMISE you that kind of training will pay off.

Potty training, decide if the pup needs to be trained to always going outside (vs inside). If so then follow a routine to that purpose. You can NOT mix both kinds of training. Sometimes on a PeePee pad, sometimes outside. A pup can NOT distinguish between your preferences of the moment. And training to outside, seems so hard at first, but really pays off in the future. Otherwise, make the PeePee area very specific within the boundaries of the pup. Using an x-pen is VERY helpful. Always do the potty routine within 20 minutes of feeding, first thing AM, as late as you can make it, PM. Probably needs an overnight Potty as well.

Never give into whining and fussing, a pup will learn to manipulate you with that ploy.

Provide plenty of SAFE chewys (Kongs are great) and distract him with his own stuff, so he doesn't start chewing on other things. But you'll have to puppy proof is area of freedom, just like a kid's.

Train to a lead, early on. It would be nice if he learns to be a follower, rather than a puller. Some people train their pups to follow them all around, and that helps, as long as you are in a very safe area.

Start "marker" training early. Pups learn as early as 8 weeks. You want to build that relationship as soon as possible. I encourage you to reviews some DVDs on "marker" training. A very positive approach to catching a pup's desirable behavior, and marking it. When the pup comes, or sits .... "mark" it with an enthusiastic "yes!" And reward with a treat or special affection.

Essentially you want that pup to learn to think you are "god" in his life! Because you want him to trust you for giving him direction and structure. What happens wrong, is when people think their puppy is SO cute, that it can do whatever it wants. But instinctively, a puppy is ALWAYS learning. As it is establishing its place in the pack (within your family dynamic). This is instinct. So read as much as you can about the natural proclivities of how dogs mature, and structure your life (with him) accordingly.

Don't forget about taking your pup to school. They start very early. And every pup can learn basic "good citizenship" manners. Sit, stay, come, wait, down. But they learn to interact with other dogs under supervised circumstances. It is a GREAT way to bond with your dog!

And finally, determine the kind of "play" the dog enjoys. Anything from "fetch" to "seek" to "tug." Whatever your family enjoys, but teach the pup "gentle" play. That "you" start and end the games. Reduce his tendency towards possessiveness. Remind him, that you "own" everything, and he is subservient to you.

Those are the basics!
 
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