Bringing a new puppy into your home is a fun, new, exciting experience. One of the happiest feelings in the world is seeing your newest furry addition run and trip over their big feet, or having them cuddle up in your lap. Even though it is easy to see the fun in getting a new puppy, we often forget the work that we need to put into raising one. With these tips, you can be on your way to raising the perfect puppy with very little stress.
Potty training your new puppy is the first step for you and your furry friend. Puppies, just like children, need a strict schedule. By teaching your pup that there are certain times to “go potty”, they can begin to understand how they are supposed to behave. First begin this 10 to 16 week process by creating a comfy environment for the puppy. Puppies need to feel secure in their environment. Give them the right sized, plastic kennel (not too much space for them to potty in, but enough to comfortable relax), keep the kennel in the same space, and show them that this is where they eat and sleep. Your puppy will most likely not have an accident in the place where they sleep and eat, making it easier for you to potty train them. If and when your puppy starts to whine in the kennel: ignore, ignore, ignore. If you cater to your puppy’s every whine or whimper, they will learn that this is all they have to do to get your attention. With their safe place (kennel) being established, now you can potty train them. Puppies need to go to the bathroom very often. Take them first thing in the morning, after they eat, after they have playtime or go for a walk, whenever they get excited, and before they go to bed. If you let them out often enough, and praise them every time they go outside, your puppy will soon become potty trained.
The next thing your puppy needs is to get used to other people and dogs. As soon as your puppy gets home, introduce them to all kinds of people: old, young, boys, and girls. They need to know that they are safe around these people, and they have nothing to worry about. Along with introducing them to people, your puppy needs to get used to other dogs. Make sure you allow them time in a safe environment with healthy dogs to socialize with. Once they have formed these relationships and had all of their shots, they can go to an obedience class. When you take your puppy to this class, they will learn some basic commands, but also have another chance to socialize. Good socialization is key to raising a confident, comfortable dog.
Thirdly, make sure your puppy is getting exercise. You don’t want to stress their little bodies too much, but it is important that they get out some energy and learn how to play the right way. Puppies’ bones aren’t quite ready for vigorous play until about six months; so until then, take it easy on your little guy and stick to the basics.
A big step to raising the perfect puppy is to make sure they are used to being groomed and handled in certain areas. If you don’t regularly brush your puppy or give them a bath, they will be too scared and nervous to act rationally when it comes time to be groomed. Make sure you handle their tail, ears, feet, and legs regularly so that they are comfortable being handled there; and also clip their nails and brush their teeth often so they don’t feel threatened by this later.
When you bring your puppy home, they are most likely not going to be on the best food. Do not abruptly change their food. Instead, wean them off of their food slowly over the course of one to two weeks. At first, they will need to be fed three times a day, but by three to four months they need to begin the transition to two feedings a day. When you are feeding your puppy, fist make sure they are eating in their kennel, then handle their food bowl in front of them and reward them with a treat in order to avoid food aggression as they get older. Have every member of your family do this so they understand that they cannot growl or bite if their food is messed with while they are eating.
The last thing you need to do to make a perfect puppy is desensitize them to odd sounds and different experiences. Run the vacuum where you dog can hear, ring the doorbell, knock on the door, and help them understand that these are not bad things, just something to get used to. Also familiarize your puppy to the car. Slowly acclimate them to the car, beginning with just sitting with them, and eventually have them in their crate while riding in the car. Take them out to new places and help them comfortably explore new environments. This will help your dog have a healthy understanding of the outside world.
Although bringing a new puppy home can be an exciting time, keep these six tips in mind. By following these steps, you can be on your way to having the perfect puppy.