Puppy Heebie Jeebies

Baby Mick

Last in a series

Be ready for your excellent new pupster’s grand entrance. Have a covered crate for nighttime sleeping, food-dispensing toys, and a drag line (6 foot leash the kid will drag from her collar). Puppy food and a water bowl will also come in handy.

These little tykes are not born knowing how stay safe or come when called, so bring a leash and a collar (no prongs or chokers, please) on adoption day. Just like people enduring a stressful time, canine babies need gentle handling and connectedness when facing the overwhelming changes of leaving the only lives they’ve ever known. Their tiny heads are spinning. She’ll be confused and easily wigged-out; a warm lap will ease the shock of leaving Mom and littermates behind. Bring a side kick to ride shotgun and avoid the perils of distracted driving.

How necessary is the leash your puppy drags when she’s inside? It’ll take a while for your fuzzy hellion to learn what to chew, to wait for permission to enter or exit a doorway, and when to dive head-first onto a food toy. Control your wild child anytime by grabbing the drag line. You can start leash training by leading her a few steps and then dropping the drag line and trying again later. Forget reprimands and bellowing “NO!”. Just lead him away from a crime scene and then quietly tell him he’s good when he’s not perpetrating mayhem. You’ll be the benevolent leader who maintains control, not a tyrant who sets up a sting and then busts the repeat offender red-handed.

Your family, friends, and people you’ve never met will want to pick up and hug your new cuddle bunny. Look out for the kid’s wellbeing. She may be on the edge of fear even when wagging and cavorting. A human of any age or description can trigger a puppy to freak-out just by reaching for her. Allow your little one to choose when she feels safe enough to approach and connect with people. Calm, low-key interactions lead to long-term trust and confidence.
For help with behavior problems, you can sign-up for a Zoom Group Conference on my website, drjeffnichol.com.

Dr. Jeff Nichol is a residency-trained veterinary behaviorist. He provides consultations in-person and in groups by Zoom (505-792-5131). Each week he shares a blog and a Facebook Live video to help bring out the best in pets and their people. Sign up at no charge at drjeffnichol.com. Post pet behavioral or physical questions on facebook.com/drjeffnichol or by US Post to 4000 Montgomery Blvd. NE, Albuq, NM 87109.