The ideal situation is that you and the whole family can go and pick up the pup together but that is not often the case especially if you have selected a breeder that lives several states away from you. I must tell we have traveled 1,000 miles to pick up a pup and we have imported pups from Europe and not seen the pups until they arrived at John F. Kennedy Airport. We have had mostly good experiences. What to avoid with air shipment of a pup is the transfer from one airplane to a connecting flight. When it comes to air transport try to arrange it to use a direct flight. This may mean that the breeder has to drive to a more distant airport and you to another to meet the pup. In all the years of owning dogs we have only had one bad experience and that was when one of our dogs didn’t make the connection in London Heathrow Airport and it sat there in all that noise for a couple of days. It was a surprise that the pup survived the experience.
The First Period in His New Home
Is it a wonder the pup needs a little peace and quiet after he has abruptly been taken from his mother and his littermates and the only environment that he knows? He was comfortable in the whelping area and there was always somebody to play with. He is now in a totally new place, with different smells, sounds, sights and no playmates. How would you feel? So it can take a little while before he feel secure in his new environment. A well-bred pup will in a couple of days begin to feel comfortable and start showing happiness in his new home. It happens quickest if the first couple of days are filled with calm and love. Wait to invite family and neighbors into the house for a couple of days, let the pup acclimate himself before he is exposed to the extended “family.”
Bring the dog into a new home at Christmas can cause trouble because nobody will have the time to concentrate on the pup and he will not have the calm in the home that will make for a good transition from whelping box to the new home.
Demand for Comfort and Calm
An 8-week old pup has an instinctive need for comfort and calm. His mother was the symbol of comfort and he needs to find a replacement for that comfort in a new “mother.” The “reserve mother” should be available and not disappear because the pup needs her. The pup doesn’t know that it is safe within the four walls of the new house and may be frightened that he will be left behind if you leave the house.
If a pup becomes frightened and lonely he will in accordance with his nature cry and whimper to call his mother. If there is no one there to console the pup it may cause this pup to be more uncertain about himself and he will take longer to be content as is good for a happy life. It can result in the dog as an adult will bark and whimper and destroy things if he is left alone in the house for any length of time.
It is better to avoid such a situation than trying to solve it after it has become a habit. This means spending the time with the pup when he is young. Place him in the crate after a good long walk when he is tired. Take him out when he wakes up. When you use the crate as “a safe haven” for the pup he learns that it is the place to nap and be undisturbed. Leaving the pup for short periods of time in the beginning teaches the pup that your leaving is not a forever proposition. My dogs doesn’t leave my side whenever I am in the house but they know from when they were pups that I can leave the house and I will come back so they have the run of the house while I am away and they don’t do any damage. But when I am writing on the computer as I am today I have two dogs at my feet. If I go into the kitchen for a cup of coffee they will follow me and when I have the coffee and I walk back towards my office they will often lead because they know where I am going and they want to be there as part of the pack. That makes them feel comfortable. If I take on street clothes they just lay around while if I take outdoors clothes on they are the first at the door to get out. They know the routine seemingly better than I.
When the pups are young we have them in a wire crate in the bedroom with us. The pup will not feel lonely and if he should whimper during the night all I do is stick a hand into the wire crate and he can lick my fingers and feel comfortable and not alone. After two or three nights the pup will sleep throughout the whole night and I can move the crate to its normal location away from the bed. Some people give in the first couple of nights of whimper and take the pup up into the bed. The pup will sleep like an angel right away. Be aware though you have just accepted a bedfellow for the next 12 – 14 years.
Paul Jensen has been involved in raising, training, showing, judging, and breeding bird dogs for more than 30 years. He hunts both birds as well as white tail deer in New England. To learn more about his passion for cooking wild game please go to http://www.wildgamecook.us where you will also find tips on dog training, hunting stories, etc.