Updated: May 10
You thought the breeder socialized your puppy, you watched the Instagram feed and it all looked so great but now your puppy seems to be afraid of everything and isn't interested in you at all. Here are 2 vital ingredients that will help your puppy transition to a new home without being traumatized for life.
Everything is new...again.
Don't forget, 8 weeks is a critical stage for your puppy. It is a stage in which fear raises it's ugly head again. Things your puppy was confident about can seem scary all over again. Two things you MUST give your puppy right now. The gift of your own self composure and space for your puppy to retreat and regroup.
1. Self Comopsure
Your puppy will take it's cues from you. If you are afraid, if you expect a terrible outcome, if you make a big deal out of things or get tense...your puppy will do the same. Breathe deeply, calm yourself and your puppy will reflect your self composure. Of course, don't put your puppy in extremely new, distinct or stressful situations either, especially between weeks 8 and 9 1/2. It is advisible to keep week 8 interesting with the already known variables. Your 8 week old puppy is already undertaking a huge transition from being with it's siblings 24/7 to being one his/her own in the human world. You are introducing a new routine, crate training, potty training, new people, a new house, new smells, all of which your puppy can handle...if you stay composed yourself. However, try not to add anything else that is terribly new between week 8 and 9.
2. Retreat and Regroup
Be sure your puppy can advance and retreat as he/she sees fit. When you introduce new experiences, people, pets, or whatever, be sure to do it so little by little. When new people come around tell them to ignore your puppy and let your puppy decide when it wants to interact. When you introduce a new pet, be sure both pets have ample space and somewhere they can retreat to while still being in the same vaccinity. For instance, older pets should be able to jump up on something to get away for overly anxious and rambunctious puppies and puppies should be able to scoot under a chair or table where a larger pet cannot go. Expect your puppy to adapt but give her/him time to do so. A little at a time is the key to having a confident, happy dog for years and years to come. So, put in the time now, it will be worth it.