This is the big moment! It is a good idea to take a small carton with you to the kennels, in which to bring your precious puppy home. If the weather is cold, line the carton thickly with folded newspaper, but be sure to leave air holes at the top. Over this lining, put a lot of torn-up shreds of newspaper. Carry the puppy in this box, whether you take him home by car, bus, train, or subway. He may get scared and become carsick, and it will be much easier to clean the box than to clean your clothes!
Puppy’s First Night in Your Home:
Of course you will have a bed all ready for your pup when you bring him home. This can be an old wooden chair with a back and the legs sawed off to about three inches from the floor, or a shiny new dog bed right from a store. Or it can be a bed you’ve made yourself from a box or crate, with three high sides, an open front, and, if you can manage it, small legs to keep it off the drafty floor.
Its mattress can be one you bought at a pet shop, or a scrap of clean old rug folded over several times, or a lot of shredded newspaper. It had better be something that the pup can’t chew up too easily. A burlap sack filled with cedar shavings will discourage fleas and keep your dog smelling as fresh as a newly sharpened pencil. Any mattress or blanket for a dog should be aired at least once a week. And don’t think a mattress will make a “softy” of your petl The reason for a mattress is to keep him from catching cold and to prevent the hair from being worn off the back of his legs. Both can happen if he sleeps on bare wood.
Once you have a bed and mattress, you must then decide where to put them. Even if you live in the country and get a dog of a large breed that will eventually stay outdoors in his own doghouse, the chances are that he will sleep in your house while he is still a small puppy. So be sure to put his bed in a place that is out of drafts. NOT in the basement; NOT at the top of a flight of stairs; and NOT right next to a hot radiator. If your kitchen is large enough, a corner there is a good place. Be sure there is no rat or roach poison anywhere in the house where the puppy can get at it, unless you are positive it is a kind that won’t harm animals. And also be sure the pup can’t get into the garbage pail or any place where food is kept.
If it is possible to fence off a small space in one room, where your pup can run and have his bed and drinkingwater bowl, this will save much wear and tear on the rest of the house. At least until the pup is housebroken!
Well, let’s say you have his bed in the kitchen, with a bowl of fresh water near. Next spread newspapers over the floor as the pup’s temporary toilet . . . more about this in the Housebreaking Section. And here you come through the door, carton in arms, to introduce your puppy to his new home!
Now, you must remember that this new member of your family will be frightened and bewildered by his strange surroundings. So take him out of the box very gently. NOT by the nape of the neck, like a kitten. And NOT by his two front legs. The correct way to pick up a puppy is to put one hand under his chest and front legs, the other between his hind legs and under his belly. Then let him rest on one forearm against your body, so he won’t fall. Keep a firm hold on him in case he wriggles.
Place him on his bed. Let him get up and wander around his corner, sniffing at the newspapers. Make him stay on them until he urinates. Then you can let him examine the rest of the house, but keep a sharp eye out to see he doesn’t get into mischief. He is still too young to know what is right and proper.
Don’t pick him up or pet him much just yet. Don’t let your family or friends crowd around him making a lot of loud noises. Watch the puppy carefully, talking to him in a low voice to tell him everything is all right. Give him a toy, such as an old rag knotted together or a hard rubber bone, and let him play a while. Then give him a drink of water and some of the food he had been used to eating at the kennels. If he curls up on his bed and goes to sleep, leave him alone. This is a good sign that he is getting used to his new home.
But no matter how thoughtful you have been, nor what you have done to make him comfortable, you can be pretty sure that your puppy will be miserable on his first night in his new home. And he will let you know itl He will whine, cry, and maybe even howl, because he is homesick. After all, this is the first time he’s ever been away from his mother and his brothers and sisters. The world will seem like a terribly big, dark, and lonely place. If you have ever been homesick, you will know exactly how a puppy feels.
Take him in your arms and comfort him once or twice. But no more, or he will quickly get the idea that he can make you come to him if he whines long and loudly enough. Instead of going to him all through the night, try these two tricks to keep him quiet:
Take an old-fashioned earthenware jug and fill it with hot water. Cork it tightly and wrap it carefully in an old bath towel. Put this in a corner of the puppy’s bed. He will curl up next to it, as if it were his mother’s warm body. If you haven’t such a jug, a warm brick is good. But a regular hot-water bottle is dangerous, as he may chew right through the rubber and get burned by the hot water.
Then take an alarm clock and put it under the blanket or mattress. Its ticking will sound like the beating hearts of his brothers and sisters.
But if he cries in spite of these comforts, let him sleep in your room (out of drafts) for one or two nights only. After that, he should be so used to his own bed that he will go quietly to sleep there. If he doesn’t, you’ll have to be firm and let him howl until he gets tired. Your family may complain, but you can assure them the temporary noise is worth putting up with in order to have a welltrained dog.
Puppy’s First Months in Your Home:
When you read these next pages, you may suspect that you’re going to be awfully busy with this wetting, chewing, hungry little animal that you’ve brought into your house. Well, the truth is that until he’s full-grown, you will be. But this busyness will also be fun, if you take the problems one by one. Don’t try to learn to do everything at once.
Most important, don’t become frightened or nervous if you should forget to do a few of the things suggested here. Raising a dog should be a pleasure, not a burden. Your puppy is healthy, and he’s very happy with you. If you skip one of his meals, or forget to give him a dose of cod-liver oil, don’t worry too much. He may be a little hungry, but he won’t get sick. However, don’t make a practice over a long period of time of forgetting too many things, or your pup will not grow up to be the strong dog you want him to be.
You Give Him a Name:
Every dog has to have a name. Suppose we call your puppy “Beans,” because he comes from Boston, he’s full of life, and it’s a nice, short name that will be easy for him to recognize. If you go about teaching him correctly, he should learn his name within two days. Here’s how to teach it to him:
One person in the family should do the teaching, so Beans doesn’t get confused. Since he’s your dog, that person should be you. Don’t let everyone start to scream “Beansl” at the poor pup. Instead, you pet him, saying “Good little Beans” as you do so. Call “Here, Beansl Here, Beansl” when you feed him his dinner. Give him one end of a toy to pull while you pull the other, saying “That’s it, Beans! Pull, Beansl” The trick is to say his name every time you do anything with or for your pup. Take a bit of biscuit in your hand and hold it out, calling “Beans!” at the same time. When he comes to you, give him this biscuit right away as a reward. Make a fuss over him. Call him by his name every time you praise him, or every time you have to scold him. But don’t yell. A dog’s hearing is much sharper than ours. A loud voice only frightens a puppy. He will get the idea that you are either praising or scolding him from the tone of your voice, not from how loud it is. This is an important thing to remember for all future training.
Once the pup begins to come to you every time you call his name, you can stop giving him the biscuit as a reward. You may be surprised at how quickly he has learned that he is “Beans:”