At nine weeks old, most puppies are settling in to their new homes. This is the point at which new owners often have a lot of questions. We’ll take a look at them one by one.
Some people worry that their puppy is not sleeping enough – or that he/she is sleeping too much! Most puppies are still sleeping a lot at this age. Eighteen to twenty hours a day is not unusual. Puppies don’t normally need to be shut away to have a nap, they’ll drop off to sleep quite happily in a basket or crate while family life goes on all around them. There are situations however, where you may need to help your puppy sleep. If you have young children for example, or another young dog, you may have to step in from time to time, to make sure your puppy can nap when he needs to.
Sleep is very precious, and however adorable your little chap is, you probably don’t want to play with him at 3am. Many puppies are sleeping through the night at nine weeks, at least from midnight to around 6am, which I do appreciate is still night time to some of you. However, many pups are not quite there yet. Hang on in there, it will come. Probably in the next few days. You can help by keeping night time trips to the garden very brief, and very businesslike. No playing, no chatting, keep the lights dimmed. Out, wee, back to bed.
Puppy weights vary quite considerably between individuals from the same litter. But as a rough guide, many 9 week old puppies will weigh between 15-20lbs or a couple of pounds either side of this. Your best guide to whether or not your puppy is growing properly is how he behaves and feels, rather than what the scales say.
You are taking your puppy outside every hour, after every meal, and every time he wakes up, but he is still making puddles all over the house. So what is going on? Nine week old pups have very poor bladder control, and short memories. He is still very much a baby and will need your help in this department for some time to come. Your role is to restrict his access to areas where mistakes are most likely to happen, through the use of baby gates or some other kind of temporary barrier. You will also need to take him outside before his bladder is overflowing (which might be every twenty minutes at certain times of the day) and to generally ensure that every wee goes in the right place.
Many puppies are very greedy and wolf down every morsel you provide for them. But not all. Some puppies are quite picky, and this will get worse if you indulge them. But if he is quite happy to eat an alternative menu, he is simply exercising his right to an opinion. I strongly recommend you ignore this, and simply take his bowl away. You can offer the same meal later when the puppy is more hungry.
So you had his first walk all planned. The collar and leash is on, but the puppy won’t budge! He/She just sits there resolutely on his bottom and refuses to move. What are you to do? Well, fortunately this is not a problem at all, because a nine week old puppy does not need a walk. In fact, he won’t need a walk for several months. What he needs is space to trot about and play. And your backyard is suitable for this. In addition, you can’t yet put your puppy down on the ground outside your home, because he is not fully immunized. So, you have all the time in the world, in which to introduce your puppy to his collar and lead. Let him/her wear a collar for a short while each day. Clip the lead on from time to time and let it trail. Distract him with food and cuddles. Occasionally pick up the end and encourage him to follow you. Make it ‘no big deal’ and he/she will too.
Let us know what your concerns are. And don’t forget to have fun, this stage passes all too quickly, and he will soon be too big to sit on your lap and carry around in your arms!
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