The following is an excerpt from "The Complete Guide to Pomeranians" by Vanessa Richie. For more information visit the books Amazon Page.
Author Credit: Vanessa RichieThe first week with your Pomeranian is going to be incredible, tiring, and all kinds of entertaining and frustrating. It will be very similar to that first week after you bring a newborn home, with many of the same things to make you smile and to keep you up at night. Years later, you are still going to remember what it was like when your puppy first arrived. You probably won’t remember as much about later in the week as you find that you are getting less sleep. Your Pomeranian is going to be so adorable and cuddly that you will quickly realize that you don’t want to return to a time before your puppy was there. The work is more than worth it.
Final Preparations and Planning
Make sure you have taken time off of work or that you will be 100% at home during at least the first 24 hours, if not the first 48 hours to a week. Your new puppy is going to need you, so as much time as you can dedicate in those first few days will be best for your newest family member.
You’ve already seen that there are a lot of plans and preparations that need to be made, but preparing the house is just one of the important tasks. To ensure you finish everything, create a couple of checklists, including one to review just before bringing your puppy home. Once your puppy is in your home, you really are not going to have time to do anything apart from taking care of your puppy.
From the puppy area to puppy supplies, you want to make sure you have everything you need several days before the puppy’s arrival. The following are essentials, though you can add anything else you feel you should buy so that you don’t have to run out and buy them last minute or after your puppy is already getting familiar with the home:
- Water and food dishes
All of these items should be set up and ready for use before the puppy arrives. You aren’t going to have time to do anything besides taking care of that puppy.
You also should have a checklist for inspecting your home to make sure there are no dangers just before your puppy arrives. Set time to go over the inspection checklist a couple of hours before the arrival. That will help you better enjoy your time with your newest family addition.
If you plan to have a fence to keep the puppy penned into a specific area of the home, have the gates set up and verify that they cannot be knocked over or circumvented. Your Pomeranian is probably going to try to make a break for it if there are any weaknesses or holes in the fencing around his designated area. A playpen will actually be easier and your puppy isn’t going to mind.
Set up a schedule for the puppy’s care. Know that the plans are going to change, but you need to have a starting point. This will ensure that people complete their assigned tasks and help to make your puppy feel safe – dogs prefer structure, so schedules are a great source of security for them. Tweak the schedule as it becomes clear that changes are needed, but try to keep it as close to the original schedule as possible. Having a schedule in place before the puppy arrives will make it a lot easier than if you try to establish something after the arrival. The canine is going to have more than enough energy to keep you busy, making it difficult to make a plan after his arrival.
The schedule should include a bathroom break after every meal. There is a good chance your puppy will need to go then, and this will help establish where the right places are to use the bathroom.
Have a final meeting with all of the family members to make sure all of the rules are remembered and understood before the puppy is a distraction. Children will need special training in how to handle the puppy, and you are going to need to be very strict in making sure they aren’t too rough with the pup. Verify that your children understand that they are not allowed to play with the puppy unless there is an adult supervising them. Determine who is going to be responsible for primary puppy care, including who will be the primary trainer. To help teach younger children about responsibility, a parent can pair with a child to manage the puppy’s care. The child will be responsible for things like keeping the water bowl filled and feeding the puppy, and a parent can oversee the tasks.
Puppy training happens from the moment your Pomeranian is under your care. The rules and hierarchy should start to be established from that first car ride home.
As tempting as it is to cuddle and try to make the ride comfortable, using a crate for the ride is both safer and more comfortable – you cannot start by making an exception. Your puppy is learning from the very beginning. Remember, this is a breed that has been living alongside humans for a very long time, and they know how to take cues from you. Anything that they can do to make you drop your guard and let them get away with stuff, they are going to use later. As difficult as it will be, you will need to be firm and consistent with your Pomeranian.
The Ride Home
Before leaving, make sure you have everything you need prepared.
- The crate should be anchored with a cushion to make the trip safe.
- Call to make sure everything is still on schedule and make sure the puppy is ready.
- Ask, if you haven’t already, if you can get the mother to leave her scent on a blanket to help make the puppy’s transition more comfortable.
- Make sure your other adult remembers and will be on time to head to the pickup destination.
- If you have dogs, make sure that all adults know what to do and where to go for that first neutral meeting.
Two adults should be present on the first trip. Ask the breeder if the puppy has been in a car before, and, if not, it is especially important to have someone who can give the puppy attention while the other person drives. The puppy will be in the crate, but someone can still provide comfort. It will definitely be scary because the puppy no longer has mom, siblings, or known people around, so having someone present to talk to the puppy will make it a little less of an ordeal for the little guy. Pomeranians may not be a fearful breed, but that doesn’t mean they don’t get scared when they are young.
This is the time to start teaching your puppy that car trips are enjoyable. This means making sure that the crate is secure instead of being loose to be moved around during the drive. You don’t want to terrify the puppy by letting the crate slide around while the puppy is inside it, sitting helplessly. This kind of jostling will teach your canine that cars are terrifying instead of making them feel safe.
First Night Frights
That first night is going to be incredibly scary to your little Pomeranian puppy. Away from mommy and any siblings, as well as the humans the puppy has come to know at the old home, it is understandable if the puppy is terrified. As understandable as this may be, there is only so much comfort you can give your new family member. Just like with a baby, the more you respond to cries and whimpering, the more you are teaching a puppy that negative behaviors will provide the desired results. You will need to be prepared for a balancing act to provide reassurance that things will be all right while keeping your puppy from learning that crying gets your attention.
You should have a sleeping area established for the puppy prior to the arrival. It should include a bed, and probably a crate or pen. The entire area should be blocked off so that no one can get into it (and the puppy cannot get out) during the night. It should also be close to where people sleep so that the puppy does not feel abandoned.
Things like sounds may attract your puppy’s attention, and those unfamiliar sounds can be scary. If you can minimize the number of noises, this could help make the first night a little less terrifying. These noises may not be as noticeable to you, but dogs have a much better sense of hearing.
If you were able to get a blanket or pillow that smells like the mother, you will want to make sure this is in your puppy’s space, particularly at night. The best way to get an item that smells familiar to the puppy is for you to send a blanket along that the breeder can place with the mother for a few days before the puppy comes home. The blanket can then also travel with the puppy in the car on the way to your place.
Your puppy is certainly going to make noises over the course of the night, and you cannot think of them as an inconvenience (no matter how tired you are). The puppy is sad and scared, so you will just need to endure it. Do not move the puppy away from you, even if the whimpering keeps you awake. Being moved away from people will only scare the puppy more, reinforcing the anxiety and fear of your home. Doing this on the first night will make the wrong impression, starting things off on the wrong footing. Over time, simply being close to you at night will be enough to reassure your puppy that everything will be all right.
Not getting much sleep should be something you expect during that first week or so (just like with an infant), but especially that first night. Make sure you don’t have work or anything pressing the next day so that the lack of sleep isn’t too disruptive. Losing sleep is part of the deal of bringing a puppy into your home. Fortunately, it doesn’t take as long to get a puppy acclimated as it takes with a human infant, so your normal schedule can resume more quickly.
You will need to learn to ignore the whining, but that will get easier over time so that the puppy doesn’t learn to do this every night. If you give in, over time the whimpering, whining, and crying will get louder. Spare yourself the trouble later by teaching the puppy that it won’t work.
Do not let your puppy into your bed that first night – or any other night until they are fully housetrained. Once a Pomeranian learns that the bed is accessible, you cannot train them not to hop on it. If they are not housetrained, you are going to need a new bed in the very near future.
The last thing that is going to cut into your sleep is the need for regular bathroom breaks. You can set up something in the puppy’s space, or you can plan for trips outside every few hours (depending on how you plan to train your puppy). Whatever housetraining path you use, you are going to need to keep to a schedule even during the night to train your puppy where to use the bathroom. Puppies will need to go to the bathroom every two to three hours, and you will need to get up during the night to make sure they understand that they are to always go to the bathroom either outside or on the wee pad. If you let it go at night, you are going to have a difficult time training them that they cannot go in the house later.
First Vet Visit
This is going to be a difficult task because you may feel a bit like you are betraying your puppy (especially with the looks your puppy will give you during shots and the following visits to the vet). However, it is necessary to do this within the first day or two of your puppy’s arrival. You need to establish a baseline for the puppy’s health so that the vet can track progress and monitor the puppy to ensure everything is going well as your Pomeranian develops and ages. It also creates a rapport between your Pomeranian and the vet, which can help too. The initial assessment gives you more information about your puppy, as well as giving you a chance to ask the vet questions and get advice.
It is certain to be an emotional trip for your Pomeranian, although it could be exciting in the beginning. Wanting to explore and greet everyone and everything is going to be something that your puppy is very likely to want to do. Both people and other pets are likely to attract your puppy’s attention. This is a chance for you to work on socializing the puppy, though you will need to be careful. Always ask the person if it is all right for your puppy to meet any other pet, and wait for approval before letting your puppy move forward with meeting other animals. Pets at the vet’s office are very likely to not be feeling great, which means they may not be very affable. You don’t want a grumpy older dog or a sick animal to nip, hurt, or scare your puppy. Nor do you want your puppy to be exposed to anything potentially dangerous while still going through the shots. You want the other animal to be happy about the meeting (though not too excited) so that it is a positive experience for your puppy.
Having a positive first experience with other animals can make the visit to see the vet less of a scary experience, and something that your Pomeranian can enjoy, at least a little. This can help your puppy feel more at ease during the visits.
Depending on what the vet does during the first visit, you may want to be prepared to comfort your puppy. It probably won’t involve shots, but even without them, vets can be overwhelming and scary for puppies. The first vet visit really should not include shots as your puppy is a new arrival, and shots will make your puppy feel less than comfortable.
The Start of Training
As mentioned, training starts from the moment your Pomeranian becomes your responsibility, and that will be true for the entire life of your pooch. The first few weeks are going to be intense when it comes to training because you are establishing yourself as the alpha and trying to learn the best way to train your Pomeranian. It will be the foundation for all of the training, so this is when you need to start taking a firm and consistent approach, not later when your puppy is a bit older. This will be difficult, and firm isn’t the same as mean. It will be an interesting training time for you as much as for puppy.
The focus during these first few weeks is to minimize undesirable behavior. You can start considering what kinds of training you would like for your puppy to have, but you should not be taking your puppy out to any classes or training during this first week. Most puppies have not had all of the necessary shots, and good trainers will not allow them in classes until the full first round of shots are complete.
To read more from "The Complete Guide to Pomeranians" by Vanessa Richie, or purchase on Amazon, visit the link below: