Realistic Expectations of a New Puppy
This page was written to help families understand that they must have realistic expectations of a new puppy and resist looking through rose-colored-glasses. Over the years we have found that some people are looking at adoption a little too one-sided--only focusing on what the puppy will do for them, not realizing the puppy also has needs that must be met, too. Yes, puppies bring us so much joy, but they do require work, patience and consistency....... and sometimes it is a little stressful! While most families are ready for this huge responsibility, some families have not raised a puppy and find themselves overwhelmed with this little bundle of fur that has invaded their tranquil life! We feel it is better to be honest and straight forward about a puppy and it's behavior BEFORE you bring it home to discover it is too much for you. I have said it once and I will say it again---my first priority is to match the correct family to our puppies, so, for our puppy's sake, I would much rather do this once! Believe it or not, we have only had a small handfull of families in the past 25 years that decide a puppy is too much for them after a few days----but even those few times are too many. I want to ensure every puppy has a forever home when we deliver it. This is why we hand deliver or have families pick up their puppy in person, so we can meet face to face and feel confident about the placement. One transition, one home, one family. That is my goal and WHY I work so hard to do all the pre-screening and maintaining this informational website. When I hand over that little baby to it's new owner it is very difficult for me to entrust that little life with someone we don't really know personally.......so we do expect families to have already done their soul searching and research before bringing home their Habibi. In most situations the transition goes quite well as we work very hard to find the best homes and families.
We always remind our families that the first few days it is pretty normal for your Habibi to cry, seem like it doesn't like it's pen or it's litter box, and be a little clingy. Remember, it is a little baby and away from it's home for the first time--a fish out of water, so to speak, so it needs love and kindness the first few days until it starts to settle in. While we are big believers in training and consistent communication, we really do feel the first few days it is important not to overwhelm a new puppy with lots of expectations. It is equally important to "tough it out" through this phase; be forgiving and understanding of your puppy as this is crucial in establishing your bond. Don't get frustrated and give up, because the best is yet to come! One day you will look back at these times and miss those cute little puppy antics. Enjoy the journey, it goes so fast! Remember, the mouthing on the hands, accidents on the floor, chewing up your favorite shoes and nipping at your feet will all be a thing of the past before you know it!
First let's discuss energy...
All puppies have an abundance of healthy energy. It is completely normal and to be expected for a puppy to need play time throughout the day, or it will be bored. Puppies have bursts of energy and then they need to sleep. The wake sleep cycle is typically one hour of wakefulness for three hours of downtime. They are babies still, so they tire easily. For families with children, it is important to allow puppy some recovery time alone in it's pen or crate to rest. I have a four week program for all of our Habibi Families to follow each step when they get home. The first lessons are Structuring your Day. FOLLOW THIS!
Teach children to respect the puppy and it's space, so puppy doesn't become overwhelmed and start snapping out of fear or over stimulation. Another thing to be aware of is children walking around holding the puppy constantly can make it motion sick. Please give your little Habibi Bear some needed down time amidst all the snuggles! On the other side of the coin, for families wanting the mellow lap dog, keep in mind you have to get through this puppy stage before it is the dog you want it to be. Do not expect even the mellowest puppy of a litter to just sit around all day at your feet. This is not realistic at all for ANY puppy, and if you are not able to handle the activity level of a puppy, we recommend adopting an older dog that has already gone through the puppy stage. It simply isn't fair for a little puppy to be placed in a home that cannot keep up with it or provide proper exercise. Even the mellow pups are quite playful and bouncy during play times---it takes some maturity for the pups to outgrow the normal puppy energy. A small dog will reach that mental maturity around a year old, some larger breeds take two years. In all litters we see some with more or less energy, but separately, even those little mellow pups have huge bursts of energy. If they did not, then we would be concerned. Energy is healthy and NORMAL and demonstrates the puppy is well-socialized and happy. We have dozens of families over the years that live in apartments and are able to manage their adult Habibi's energy level with daily walks and appropriate toys indoors. On the other side of the coin, our Habibi's are perfect for active families with children and lots of activity. Our puppy assessment will help me match the right puppy to YOUR situation. We are focused on placement by temperament first above all else. If anyone tells you all puppies adapt and it doesn't really matter, they do not understand puppy temperament and are not going to do right by their puppies. They all are very different and we are puppy-centric at Habibi Bears. We place for the puppy and honor it as the individual wonderful being that it is!
Chewing and nipping are another big puppy behavior...
Keep in mind, they are definitely NOT trying to be aggressive or mean, they are just being puppies. Puppies learn through mouthing everything, they are teething and need something to chew on. They do not understand that they are hurting you unless you communicate this appropriately. What do puppies do when they play with their littermates? They chew, and nip each other's ears and tails, and sometimes those little teeth hurt! So the litter mate will yelp, and mama will growl at the offensive little one to teach it boundaries. When a puppy goes to it's new home, it has no littermate to rough-house with, so it is going to transfer this play time with it's new humans. If there are children in the home, the puppy will treat THEM like littermates! Just as mama taught the puppy by growling, it is YOUR responsibility to teach it boundaries in your home with loving understandable communication. Loving. Consistent. Puppies read our body language, its not about what you say.. its what you do! Some families have a more difficult time than others in handling this, but it does get better as the puppy matures. For families that need a little guidance, we highly recommend our Habibi Pup Academy, as our trainer will work on bite inhibition and help your puppy get a good head start in their training!