Routine care included daily brushing, as a precursor to her first grooming appointment. As a poodle mix, Sommer has hair which can mat quickly if not brushed out. We did the occasional bath if she got muddy from playing outside (baths are not a favorite activity of hers, as it turns out) and started a routine of daily exercise. Oh, exercise! I soon discovered that exercise was key to a happy life with a pup. Every time I became irritated at her for barking, or constantly wanting to go outside, I realized she hadn’t gotten enough exercise that day. Point taken! We began a routine of going to the park to run in an enclosed field because at this young age, she still wasn’t adept at walking on a leash.
Our puppy training and socialization class were one of the best things we did in Sommer’s first months home. We learned everything from “sit” and “down” to come when called, and how to teach her to calm herself when the inevitable puppy energy got out of hand. Mostly, it was fun to observe other pups and their owners, and all the different temperaments. We learned how to redirect her away from destructive chewing with do-it-yourself projects like a paper towel roll, filled with some treats and sealed with masking tape. We learned the “drop it” command, by placing a treat on her nose. Worked like a charm every time she took a sock!
Next Entry: Puppy Firsts – Summer’s First Firsts
“The Puppy Diaries” is an ongoing series that explores the journey of pet parenthood, from making the decision to get a puppy, to bringing a puppy home, to the joys and struggles of training, and beyond. Laura Tiebert is an experienced nonfiction writer and first-time puppy parent who lives in Minnesota with her husband, two sons and a new puppy.
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My Top Tips: 8-12 Weeks: What to Expect When Acclimating to and Caring For Your Young Pup
- During this age span, your pup is still in the process of being housebroken. Keep to a predictable schedule to ensure your success! Your pup will be able to hold her bladder about four hours, meaning you need to take her out at least that often (and perhaps much sooner, if she’s recently been eating or drinking).
- Her daily focus remains eating, drinking, sleeping, eliminating and playing. She will sleep about 18-20 hours a day.
- Pups this age have their baby teeth but will begin to lose them soon, to be replaced by their adult teeth. The teething process will drive an even greater need to chew, so as your pup enters this age, make sure to have lots of safe chewing toys available.
- Make sure to stay on the schedule of vaccinations recommended by your vet, and give heartworm and flea/tick medication as directed.
- Join a puppy training class and practice at home daily. Pups thrive on the mental stimulation of working together on training, and the praise they receive for a job well done will build their confidence and your bond together.