Let’s suppose that you have just acquired your first puppy. You bring him home; you take him indoors and set him down. He is only eight to twelve weeks old, remember, and it’s quite understandable if he is completely bewildered by all these new sights and faces. Perhaps you brought him home in your car. He had been bounced and jounced, or at least had butter flies in his stomach from the unaccustomed motion of riding in an automobile. All gone is that delightful playfulness he showed when you picked him out at the kennel or shop. Don’t be surprised if he looks like a wilted bouquet.
Puppies are not all alike, however. Even at this tender age they are individuals. While one puppy will seem utterly crushed by the strangeness of new surroundings, another will trot about boldly as if anxious to investigate this charming place and all these lovely people. Whatever the pup’s reaction to this new scene, there are three important
DON’TS: 1. Don’t reach down quickly and make sudden grabs at him.
2. Don’t permit children to tease or handle him roughly.
3. Don’t let children shriek over him in their delight. Sudden movements, rough handling, and unaccustomed loud noises frighten puppies. And uncontrollable, running children may accidentally step or fall on the puppy and injure him. Your role is to gain his confidence. When you get that, it will serve you all of your dog’s life: in obedience, in training, in whatever you want him to do or be. Talk to the new pup. He won’t understand a word at this point, but he will understand a friendly tone of voice and there is nothing more successful in creating confidence.
All of a sudden you are astonished at yourself for daring to bring home such a very young puppy. You feel so inadequate to cope with the problem. Hesitantly he comes toward you and looks up as if you were all in the whole world he could depend on. That does it! You pick him up in your arms and hold him close. He’s yours and you are going to do the best you can.
You will, too. You are just as able to take on this job of puppy raising as anyone else. It’s a wonderfully rewarding job and not at all hard to do. You can learn it, step by step, as the puppy grows. That you love him already and have anticipated his coming is proved by the fact that you have prepared for him.