Did you just get a new puppy and now are saying “Wow, a puppy is a lot of work!” Or “I have not had a puppy in a long time. They sure do bite a lot.” Join the club! A puppy IS lot of work and requires a lot of attention. Of course, this is somewhat like having a new baby. They are a lot of work, too. But both are very enjoyable and will give you years of enjoyment –and grief--but mostly joy!
Now I am not trying to say that you treat children and dogs the same. Dogs listen better. But it is funny how we do certain thing with an infant that we think are cruel for a puppy.
For example, when you come home with a new baby you have a crib or some type of safe comfortable place for the baby. Yet when you bring home that new puppy, some people think it is cruel to put it in a crate. Instead, they let it wander all over the place, peeing, pooping and chewing. Why? Don’t you want your puppy to be in a safe place? Of course, you do. Will cry and whine? Yes, it will. But did your new baby come home and sleep in its crib without crying? Of course not. (Unless you have a miracle child).
But eventually, babies learn to fall asleep on their own in a crib. In some cases that may take years to accomplish. However, a puppy will learns much faster. The crate is a safe place. After only a few days, a puppy learns not to cry or whine. In fact, in many cases, the puppy will enjoy going in the crate as a haven and resting place. The crate also is a great tool for potty training.
Speaking of potty training, did you let your infant crawl all over the floor without a diaper? Probably not. I don’t recommend letting a puppy roam at will either. Unless you want to diaper a dog, which, I have seen people do, potty training a puppy is critical. A baby needs a diaper and a puppy needs a schedule to be taken to their potty area consistently.
When you first get that pup, it should be taken out every hour. Once it gets a little older you can stretch than out to every couple of hours. How long should it take to potty train a dog? In some cases, it could take up to a year. But I think that is the rare case. In a few weeks to several months, a puppy should be able to be in your home without accidents if you take them out regularly. If the dog has been drinking more frequently or playing a lot, they may need an earlier potty break. Better safe than sorry. Just like children every dog is different. I have one grandchild that was potty trained at 2 and another that is 2 and does not show any interest in learning.
Now let’s talk about giving a puppy free rein of the house. When your child was under a year old, did you let them wander through the house to get into things, chewing on electric cords or eating anything they can put in their mouths? No of course not. You wanted to keep them safe, as well as protect your home from damage. So, they were either in a swing or in your arms, their crib, or a playpen.
So why not protect your puppy and your home the same way? While the dog is not an infant, it is a baby. Unfortunately, it is much faster and can get into a lot more trouble quicker than a human baby can. And remember they are not wearing a diaper!
What do you do? There are several safe ways to protect your puppy and your home. For one you can keep it crated with lots of toys to play with. Just like you would do with an infant. You can put up gates to keep it contained in a certain area. You could get an exercise pen and keep it contained there. Just like you would have a playpen for your infant stocked with toys and things they can chew on. Puppies teeth just like infants do. Of course, unlike children puppies, start off with razor sharp Piranha teeth that can inflict great pain on any part of the body they touch.
A puppy is a lot of fun and I get great enjoyment out of watching them play with my other dogs and you will too. Just remember they are babies and need to be protected and nurtured and trained.
A well-trained puppy will grow into a wonderful companion for years to come. Oh! And they sass you, ask for the car keys or keep you up all night after missing curfew.