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Is There a Need for Pawternity Leave?

3:00 a.m. – ‘Here we go’ you say to yourself yet again.

In a zombie-like trance, you make your way out of bed. It’s the after bedtime, but before your alarm, bathroom break.

Looking down at your new pup, any trace of annoyance fades. Still, nights like this make you wish for extra time away from work. This parenting thing is so new and your puppy’s not the only one who needs to adjust.  You do too.

Dog lovers appreciate the joys and challenges puppies bring and for years, it was left to the dog lover to ensure a proper transition home.  But this year, new puppy parents received a remarkable acknowledgment. A Scottish brewery introduced paw-ternity leave which allows a week of paid leave for employees with new puppies or rescue dogs.

BrewDog brewery, opening near Columbus, Ohio, is the first United States company to offer such benefits. BrewDog says the leave will ensure owners can help their puppies adapt to their new home. What’s more, the dog-friendly environment lets parents bring their pup to work.

You can be sure BrewDogs announcement of their paw-ternity leave received its share of criticism. Some argue it takes puppy parenting too far. Although dogs today are more like family
members, this doesn’t make them human. Bringing home a new pet should not be comparable to a new baby.
It’s true: newborn pups are not little humans. But like babies, new pups are stressful. As such, UK companies were first to offer paw-ternity leave. Now, almost 20% of workers are given time off to help their new pets get settled.  Today leaves range from a few hours to several weeks and may be used toward training and vet appointments.

So what should one really expect during the first week? 

  • Introduce your new puppy to his crate. Make him feel comfortable and secure. The crate will serve as his bed, his place to retreat, and an important training tool throughout puppyhood.
  • Survive the first few nights with a pup who’s apprehensive of a brand new environment. The pup will sleep better if you place the crate (or what you’ve chosen for a bed) next to yours.
  • Start housetraining. This means close supervision as your pup explores his new home. Establish a routine for bathroom breaks, meal time and walks. Reward your pup with treats to reinforce good behavior.
  • Teach your puppy their name. 
  • Choose a vet. It’s important the first visit goes well so your puppy learns not to be afraid.
  • Play! Show plenty of love and affection.  Get to know your puppy’s personality, likes, and dislikes.

Whether you’re on puppy leave or still juggling time at work, be sure to take advantage of your first days together.  Begin making memories immediately, and ensure your puppy the welcome of a lifetime.  Remember, you’ll never have these first days again so have fun making them special.

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