Shiba Shake blog, which I just discovered and adore, did a post on appropriate and supervised peer socialization. I really appreciated it. I have heard negative things about dog parks and will stay away.
Getting into the Car
When you place the puppy in the car on your way home, don’t just place the puppy in the box and carry the box to the car. Take the puppy to the car, put the front two feet down and the brain will automatically want to put four feet wherever the other two landed. If you wait for that moment, the puppy will be able to figure out how to be on a human lap, in an automobile or in a new environment. By introducing a puppy to new places the way the mother would, the puppy instinctually understand, “Okay, this makes me feel the way I used to feel at home.” You become the puppy’s last link to this mom, or first pack.
*He will want to explore first with his body and then with his nose.
*If you want to transport him in his kennel, lure him in with food.
Getting into the House
Place the puppy just outside the apartment door and wait for him to follow you inside.
*Patience is key. (hesitancy is normal – don’t force the puppy)
*Keep calm and assertive energy.
Once inside, watch to see how the puppy adapts.
*Some will look around and begin to whine, they are saying, “I’m not familiar with this place!”
*Some may cautiously explore in a small space. (remember you MUST go first. If the puppy tries to go ahead of you, block him with your foot)
*Some puppies may come in and immediately shut down out of fear and confusion. Do NOT feel sorry for him, stand nearby, remain calm and assertive, and let the uppy go through the transition period on his own (this is how he builds self-confidence). If you pick him up right away to pet and comfort him, you are thwarting him from developing the necessary self-esteem he’ll need to be able to handle new situations in the future.
*Use scent and food to get him to follow you and to unlock the brain when it shuts down. Lead the upppy to where you want him to go both by your presence and by waving food in front of the nose. Once the puppy moves forward towards the scent, you give him the food, and quickly he will realize that if he follows that scent, he gets fed. You area lso making the association between moving forward and a safe, positive pleasant experience.
Introduce Him to the House
If he is confident and happy, lead him around the room with food until he gets tired. Then, introduce him to his kennel with food/treats. If he’s already tired, lure him into his kennel right away. DO NOT just pick him UP!
Advice for Happy Sleeping
Keep a strong pack leader in close physical proximity to the puppy.
Include scents of his litter mates, us (the new parents) and the cats.
Look into a beating heart toy or a clock to put in the bed.
Tire him out before bed
Ian Dunbar's amazing e-book, After You Get Your Puppy (I will most likely write a review later), recommends using chew toys to dispense your puppy's daily amount of food for the first few days at home. He wants your dog to become obsessed with chewing their toy (instead of your shoes, furniture, etc.)
My husband and I are embarking on a new journey in our life - we are getting a dog!