If you’re a new dog owner, taking care of a puppy can be quite overwhelming. Getting the right food, taking them to the vet, finding an obedience class. The list goes on and on.
Although raising a dog will always be a lot of effort, there are some easy steps you can take to make the process a whole lot easier.
To make your life easier, you need to be prepared before your puppy comes home. Here are some steps you can take before they arrive, as well as how you can take care of them once they’re settled at home.
Before you bring your new puppy home, you need to make sure that your house is safe.
Puppies are curious creatures, but they’re not always the most coordinated. They’ll stumble around and bump into just about anything. That’s why you need to make sure nothing heavy can fall on your puppy.
Keep all electrical cables and any chewable objects out of your puppy’s reach. Also make sure that they can’t get into the pantry or open the trash can.
You should also make sure that you have your puppy’s vet care set up in advance. Ask friends and family for a recommendation, and check online reviews to find the best vets in the area.
Once you’ve set up an appointment, make a list of questions to ask the vet. You’ll need to check your dog’s immunizations to see if they have all of the vaccines they need.
Your vet should also check for parasites and make sure that your puppy is growing at a healthy rate.
Many dog owners buy a large crate, hoping to save money by buying one that their puppy will grow into. But you should get a crate that fits your puppy’s size.
If your dog has some extra room to explore in their crate, they may turn it into a bathroom. This can make it quite difficult to potty train your potty and teach them to only go outside.
When you get your puppy a crate with just enough space to comfortably lie down, they won’t want to use it to do their business.
When you bring your puppy home, they’re going to want to explore. Although this natural instinct is healthy, it can lead to quite the mess around the house, especially if your dog is not potty trained.
Buy a few puppy gates so that you can keep your puppy from roaming around the house. Even if you have a closed off room to keep your puppy, gates are often a better option.
Your puppy can see through them, and they won’t get separation anxiety every time you leave the room.
It can take some experimenting to find the right food for your new puppy. When you first bring them home, try to feed them the same food that they were getting at the breeder. If you want to switch them to another food, slowly transition between the two.
In addition to a crate and food, you’ll need plenty of other dog supplies. Here’s a short list of what you should get:
You can buy most of these in advance. However, don’t get too carried away with buying toys right away. Try out a few and see what your dog likes, and then buy more of these.
When your puppy is happily settled in your new home, it’s time to start training. Obedience classes are a great way of quickly teaching your dog basic commands, as well as exposing them to other dogs.
Puppy obedience classes vary a lot in terms of cost and time commitment. Some are quick, weekend classes where your dog learns basic commands. Others are more time intensive commitments, but your dog will learn more.
To avoid a big mess around the house, get started on potty training as early as possible. Remember, it can be a long process, and there will be plenty of accidents. Try to stay patient and not get angry at your puppy.
To help the potty training process, keep your puppy on a regular feeding schedule. This makes it easier for them to know when there next potty break will be. Instead of doing their business on your rugs, they might hold their bladder.
Also make sure you have plenty of odor and stain removers around. Even the best puppy will have some accidents, and the best way to prevent stains and odors is to clean up as soon as possible.
Some puppies will have no problems with humans touching them. But others will be much more sensitive, and won’t like when you touch their paws or face.
To make grooming easier, try to slowly get your dog used to your touch. Gently hold their paws and pet their head to show them that you mean no harm. Give them plenty of praise, as well as treats.
Grooming needs will vary by breed. But no matter the breed, you should get your dog used to the grooming process while they’re young. Puppies adjust more easily to the process, and they are much easier to hold in place as you groom.
Try to brush your puppy a few times a week. If they are sensitive, start slowly and gently brush only one area at a time.
You should also try trimming your puppy’s nails. A lot of dogs hate this process, and it’s much easier down the road if they learn to tolerate it when they’re young.
Always be patient when trimming nails. Make small cuts and take frequent breaks to give your dog some room to breath.
Puppies are happiest when around people and other dogs. Early socialization is also where a puppy learns how to get along with other dogs. It’s even more important if they were separated from their mother and siblings at an early age.
Once your dog has the proper immunizations, try to introduce them to plenty of other dogs. You should also have them meet people in different settings so that you can teach them how to respond appropriately.
If your puppy has any behavioral issues, you can identify them while they’re still young and small.
Walks are an important part of a dog’s daily exercise routine. Try to teach them the right way to walk on a leash while they’re still young.
It can take a while for puppies to control their enthusiasm while walking and not tug. If your dog pulls, stop and ask them to come to you. This teaches them that pulling on the leash won’t be productive.
It can take some time for an older dog to adjust to a puppy. Dogs have a pack mentality, and a new puppy disrupts the established hierarchy.
Some older dogs may act aggressively to show the puppy who’s in charge. Keep an eye on the two of them at first, and separate them if you notice any signs of hostility.
Introduce the puppy to the older dog in small doses so that the young dog’s energy isn’t too overwhelming. Use a crate or a gate to keep the puppy separated for part of the day. This will make the older dog feel like their space is being respected.
No one likes looking through their puppy’s poop. But it’s important that you check for any parasites that may be living in your dog’s digestive tract.
Puppies who come from breeders are at a greater risk of parasites, as they are exposed to a large number of dogs. When your puppy arrives home, you should get a stool sample so that your vet can check to see if your dog is parasite free.
It takes a lot of effort to raise a puppy, and it’s always helpful if you have family members to give you a hand. However, you should make sure that everyone in the family is on the same page when it comes to raising your dog.
Puppies do best when they have a regular schedule. This makes them less anxious, easier to train, and less likely to misbehave. If your family members all have their own schedules for the puppy, this can confuse them.
Make sure that everyone in the house knows how much to feed your puppy, when to feed them, and how often they need to go outside.
You should also use the same training commands, as your puppy may get confused if you use different words.
If you have a cat in the house, you need to be careful when introducing your puppy. Many dogs will instinctively chase after cats, sometimes playfully and sometimes not.
Start off slowly by keeping your dog on a leash around your cat, observing how they both react. If they get along well, let them hang out, but keep an eye on them.
When puppies are young, they will often bark to get your attention. They may be bored, lonely, hungry, or need to pee.
Although most dogs will continue to bark throughout their life, you can train them to only bark when necessary. Early on, try to teach your dog that barking won’t be met with a reward.
For example, running to let your puppy out of the cage every time they bark teaches them that barking makes you show up. As hard as it may be, try to ignore their barking and not reward it.
Puppies can be quite frustrating, especially for first time dog owners. They’re energetic, needy, and can leave quite the mess around the house. That’s just part of being a puppy.
Always remember that any puppy will take plenty of time to grow up. If you expect them to be perfect from the first day, raising them will be a headache.
Many puppies will arrive home and think that it’s their own castle. While it may be cute to watch your puppy leap onto the bed or couch, these behaviors can become a problem when they grow up.
Try to establish boundaries early on so that your puppy knows what’s allowed. If you don’t want your puppy to sleep in the bed, then make this clear from the beginning.
You should also be consistent. If you reward your dog one day for sitting on the couch and then punish them the next, they’ll get confused and anxious.
Every dog will grow at their pace. But you should make sure that your puppy is putting on weight at a healthy rate. Monitor their weight, or take them to the vet to check how they’re doing.
You should also make sure that your puppy is protected from pests. Speak to your vet about the best flea and tick medication for your dog’s age and breed.
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