Rottweil Xpress / April 1991
Bringing a puppy into your life is a major commitment. Many changes may be necessary and many questions need to be asked and answered. But if it is a new experience for you, you may not know which questions to ask first! So, let’s try to answer a few…
First, let’s talk about actually picking up the pup. If you are getting your new puppy from its breeder, look and see where he was living and the environment he was used to. Note what kind of toys he played with – possibly the breeder will let you have one – so when you get him home he will play with the object he enjoys and recognizes, rather than your expensive shoes and furniture! Definitely do not let him run around the house unsupervised – almost without fail he will get into the things you love the most.
Have a crate or kennel ready for him to call “home”. If he is to live in the -house, it is very important for him to have his own “room” – a small flight kennel or metal enclosure is ideal. You can take him out to play when you desire and when it is time to nap he has his crate and his own little world to go back to. This is also instrumental in potty training your new pup – more about that in a future article. As time goes by you will find the puppy going into his crate by choice to rest – it will become a very secure place – for him.
If you pick the puppy up at the airport, make sure you take some necessities along with you. The first thing you want to remember is that the trip was a long and new – perhaps unsettling -experience for the pup. Be prepared – in his excitement the puppy may have soiled his crate and you will need to clean him up as quickly and easily as possible, for his comfort as much as your own. Have water for him to drink as soon as he gets off the plane for cargo areas are very dry. If he has not soiled the crate it is very likely he will have to go the bathroom almost immediately. Search out a likely and suitable location for this task in accordance with all property rules and regulations, and try to find a clean grassy area in which no other dogs have recently been exercised. But most of all, get him out of the kennel and hug him – after the traumatic experience of leaving mother, brothers and sisters and hurtling through the air in a plane, he will most want the comfort of a human being to bring him back to earth.
Eating can be a problem for a pup in a new home. If you picked him up from a breeder you will know what diet he’s been used to – you may also be able to pick up food for the first couple of days – it is wise to maintain the same diet through this transition period. (His brain will have a lot of adjusting to do – don’t make his stomach do the same.) In any case, find out from the breeder what kind of food and how it has been served – dry, mixed with water, topped with canned food, etc. – up to now. If you want to change his diet – fine, but do it gradually. Slowly mix the food he has been eating with the new food he will be eating – this way it is not such a drastic change.
The first night is very important in your pup’s adaptation to his new home. When it is time for you and the puppy to go to sleep it would be advisable to for him to be in the little kennel he will soon call home. You might want to have him close by your bed but this might not be the greatest idea for your sake – he might keep you up all night. Here’s an idea -have him with you while you are watching television or reading a book just before going to sleep and when it is time to go to bed simply put him into his kennel. He might cry for a while but he will soon get used to it. This will immediately establish the pattern by which you will both live for many years. And – after his long trip and acclimation to new surroundings – he will probably be very tired and will drop right off to sleep. You hope.
Remember that the puppy is just like a new baby – when he wakes up he will need to potty, and also after he eats. Take him out to go to the bathroom in each instance, thereby increasing housebreaking ease. (Do take this opportunity to do your own stool check – make sure it is firm, free of worms and note anything that looks strange to the eye. It is the responsibility of the breeder to make sure the puppy is healthy but it never hurts to check. A slightly loose stool is not unusual after his ordeal but don’t overlook any danger signals. Better safe than sorry.)
A responsible breeder will be at your disposal in case you have questions. Find a vet familiar with Rottweilers – and Rottweiler puppies – to answer the many questions you may have. But above all – do not think you are being a nuisance to anybody if you have questions – Ask! Of utmost importance is a healthy, happy puppy and his easy adjustment to his new life. He’s going to be with you for a long time, but your first hours are important. Make your first moments count.
Until next month, rrrrrrrring!