Kitto Katsu is two years old, and there is SO MUCH to share. Inflicting story order on it creates a bit of a writer’s block for me. I’ve decided to be a leaf in the wind about it. “Short posts more often” feels just about perfect! – Tom
Our family is all excited because Iris the Alaskan Klee Kai comes home to her family the first week of April, so we asked ourselves; “What are our top recommendations for the first weekend with an Alaskan Klee Kai puppy?”
Remind the family to take slow, deep breaths and stay calm.
Move slowly with your Giant Grabby Hands. Shuffle your Giant Clumsy Feet. Keep the noise down and board up the doors to keep out well-meaning visitors. The tiny canine unicorn you’re about to meet IS sparkly and magical, but remember that it is just a baby. It appreciates these first patient, gentle, quiet hours with you very much.
The Main Caregiver is the person who will usually feed and hang out with the puppy. Leash the puppy with a carabiner to the MC’s belt loop for the first couple of days to help you bond. A 9 week old puppy can go overnight without a potty break, but the MC will take the puppy out once an hour on the first day to help it learn where and when to go. Being leashed together helps you recognize the puppy’s body language and timing.
Be sure to pass the leash around so that the puppy bonds with each family member.
Lower your first-weekend expectations so you can relax and enjoy being in each others’ presence.
Don’t push yourselves or the puppy to be Perfect. Aim for “Happy.” Your puppy will tell you what she likes, and how smart she is, and the pace she likes to learn at. Bonding comes before learning. Practice “Look At Me!” and catch her eye with food if you want to, and use her name. Leave formal training for later.
Use body language (and a training clicker if you have one already). Wiggle more and be excited to encourage. Pet, play and/or feed behavior you want to see more of. Ignore behaviors you don’t want to encourage. [Especially mouthing/biting. Alaskan Klee Kai are wicked smart, and your reactions are ALL interesting and fun for awhile until she learns what “Ouch!” means. If your puppy goes for toes, ignore her until she stops out of boredom (TOTALLY NOT KIDDING) and then go hide your toes with socks. If it goes for socks, ignore again, and then put on shoes later. Rinse and repeat for other behaviors.]
Family members should all watch for good behaviors and reward with attention and with the puppy’s food. Take food straight from her bowl and hand her a kibble/tiny gross squishy bit. Then set her bowl back down where it normally is. Let her watch everyone put food IN the bowl sometimes, and take it out only to give to her. Never tease her, and never make her uncomfortable about a person, place, or thing in her environment. She will get comfortable with anything if you understand that she has her own sense of identity, personal space, and fears. She’ll get over early anxieties with time as long as you are there to help her.
The whole family should feed the puppy, pet her, be excited and dance, and make up goofy songs. Everywhere. All the time. She’ll learn to like you because you like her, and she’ll learn to like her new home because you are happy and warm everywhere she goes with you.
Don’t forget to take lots of pictures!
Fill up your phone, back up the photos to your computer and fill up your phone again. Take a video when you first see them and when you first get them home, their first bath, their first visit with the neighbors dog, capture everything–they grow up so fast!
Enjoy your new family member ❤
Buy the extra toy, give into the occasional table scrap treat, and take them with you when you run errands (quite a few places allow dogs such as Lowes and Home Depot and some Barnes & Nobles), throw them birthday parties, bake special homemade dog treats, and spoil your pooch! You are their entire world, make it a great one.