Training yourself before training your puppy
It’s a soft toy your heart cries out. The favourite one ever from now to forever, says your excited child. But your mind knows better. This mewling, quivering bundle of joy, which is making your heart melt is possibly your biggest challenge ever.
Instinctively one knows how to hold a human baby. We’ve all had a much younger sibling or cousin whom one cradled tentatively in our arms and then confidently swung in the air in no time. For most families in India however, bringing a pet home is a first time experience. The high pitched crying as the puppy misses the warmth and comfort of its mother’s body and the boisterous assurance of its litter mates can melt the hardest of hearts. The tiny kitten doesn’t have enough hair, it seems to need its tail to balance itself as it ambles around looking for something or someone familiar. This goes on through the first few nights and given that pet parents find really small pets the cutest, the babies have more often than not been pulled away from their mother’s teat much sooner than is advisable.
In India, superstition dictates that no baby goods are to be bought till the baby is safely delivered. The family machinery then swiftly takes over and before mom and child are home, the baby’s world is set up. In the case of buying or adopting a pet, the focus is only on getting the cutest one as seen in some movie or reel. When the baby is home is when the scramble for pet supplies begins. Till then the puppy has peed, pooped and possibly vomited all over the house. Hardly the dream sequence entry the most ardent advocate of puppies in the house imagined. The enormity of the responsibility dawns on the most responsible person of the house, who more often than not, has been vocal about not being responsible for the critter.
Many nervous families go into panic mode resulting in pets being abandoned or returned. This is not what they thought they had signed up for. Here are the few things that one can do to avoid a traumatic experience for the family and the pet.
- Be very sure that you and the family are up for the challenge and the responsibility.
- Buy the following before the pet comes home:
- Mountains of Pee pads and wet wipes
- Rivers of tissue rolls
- Floor and bathroom sanitizers
- Air freshners
- Pet food which is age appropriate
- Tiny food and water bowls
- Droppers for medicines and liquified food if needed. Bottle feeding is necessary for babies less than 5 weeks
- Heating or cooling pads as needed to make the sleeping box cozy which need not be store bought.
- A place where the pet and you can sit cosy which is not the bed if that’s what you want ultimately
- A dog pen or crate if that’s the way you think it will work better for you and the pet
- Keep the number of more than one local vets near you
- Have a pet parenting mentor. Have more than one if you can
- Get in touch with a dog trainer before who will guide your personally and then take up pet training once the timing is right
- Read extensively online, including following this blog.
There is a lot more to share, which I’ll do soon