Our Puppy Professionals Have Spoken!
Everything You Need to Know About Caring For Your New Pup.
With so much time at home these days, more people are deciding to adopt and foster puppies. Getting a dog is no small undertaking. There is a lot to learn to make sure that your newest fur baby and you have the best possible future.
New puppies are a handful, but with the right tricks up your sleeve, you’ll have an established routine and unbreakable bond in no time.
To help guide all of our new puppy owners out there, we put together some of our Pawfect puppy tips to ensure that you will be ready. If you already have your pup, then these new puppy tips will be a must for implementing right away! Save yourself the headache of figuring all of this out alone. We’re here to help.
|Before we dig into our top puppy tips, we want to cover one important topic. When you decide to adopt a dog of any age, they depend on you for the rest of their lives. So, before you bring a dog into your home and invite them into your family, be sure that you can care for them adequately. Ask yourself if you can give them the care they need even after “stay at home” orders are lifted. Just because we have extra time now, doesn’t mean it will always be that way. Adopt a dog when you’re ready, not just because you’re bored right now.|
Tips for New Puppy Owners
In our list of tips for new puppy owners, we are going to skip over the list of supplies you should get. We are going to assume that you already are physically prepared to care for them. Our focus is primarily on behavior and your interactions with your new puppy.
Develop a Routine
Routines help dogs just as much as they help us to be productive and less anxious. Puppies need to get into a good routine right away. Building the routine may take some trial and error, but in a few week’s time, you should have something that works for both of you.
Try to build their schedule around potty breaks and feeding times. You can also integrate a routine around training and playtime. These routines will directly establish their expected behavior during certain times of the day. Dogs understand routine exceptionally well, and it will help you to keep firm boundaries.
If you live with roommates or have a family, make sure that everyone is on board with these routines for the pup. You want to avoid confusing your puppy as this will lead to a feeling of insecurity and could cause them to act out.
Train Them Early
Moving right off of establishing a routine is enforcing a training schedule. Training is essential if you want your dog to respect and listen to you. I am a firm believer that there are no bad dogs, only bad owners. So, right off the bat, you need to set up boundaries they can understand.
Training that should start day one:
- Potty Training
- Barking — is it okay or not?
- Kennel Training
- Jumping on furniture — yes or no?
- Leash Training
- Mealtime behavior
- General Commands — sit, stay, etc.
The easiest way to make sure your dog will understand expectations is to set up boundaries that are consistent and firm right away. So, if they aren’t allowed on the furniture, don’t ever let them up! If your pup is barking and you don’t want them to enforce this by telling them “shhh” or “quiet” and reward good behavior.
Anytime you are training, it is best always to try to stick to positive reinforcement. You may get frustrated when they aren’t responding or listening to you right away, but the more consistent you are, the better.
As always, the internet is an excellent resource for puppy training tips and care information. Sometimes having a go-to guide is helpful too. Check out our favorite puppy training manual to have on hand at home.
Establish What’s Okay to Chew
As a part of puppy training and establishing boundaries, you will have to let them know what they can and cannot chew. Most puppies will chew everything and anything they can get their sharp puppy teeth on, so be warned!
Have a few toys or bones that you give your puppy specifically to chew. They will try to go for anything that is lying around on the floor, so you need to be vigilant about only leaving their toys down, nothing else. Things like shoes, socks, or even books can easily catch the eye of a puppy.
It can be helpful to get down on the ground and look at the room from your puppy’s point of view as well. What can you see? Did you miss anything they could chew? Electrical cords are something frequently missed as well as cleaning supplies in low cupboards. Trash cans should have closed lids, and if possible, kept in a closable closet space.
Puppies are such curious creatures, so if they can get into it, they will. You may need to puppy proof some areas of the house or even invest in some puppy gates to keep them contained.
If you have a backyard, you should take note of hazards back there as well. Puppies will chew plants and eat most things they find. So, make sure all of your plants indoors and outdoors are safe for pets.
Introduce Them to Other Dogs, Cats, and People
The first few days and even weeks can be a scary time for your new puppy. They will likely miss their dog family or previous human family while they get used to their new one with you. Give them the proper time to adjust to you and your family before you start to introduce them to other people.
Giving the puppy too many cuddles and too much attention right away can be stressful. Give them time to warm up to you. The same should be done when new people come around. Don’t let them overwhelm your pup and make interactions with new people and animals a rewarding experience.
If you have other household pets, you may need to introduce them right away. If you can, make sure they have appropriate space from one another. Keep in mind that not all dogs get along with other dogs, and not all dogs get along with cats.
Your cat will likely be able to set boundaries with the puppy themselves, but supervise the interactions to make sure no one gets hurt. Enforcing that chasing of the cat should not occur can help to ease some of the tension between the two animals.
If you have children, instruct them on how to interact with the puppy appropriately. They may not know how to hold them or play with them without hurting the dog, so be vigilant with this. If they accidentally harm the puppy, it can cause the dog to have aggressive behavior towards them.
During this time of social distancing, socialization with other dogs and people will be difficult and should be avoided. So, you will have to get creative with your puppy. Introduce them to other new things like sounds, toys, and surfaces.
Another essential tip about socialization is that you should not expose your pup to other dogs or public places until they have had all of their vaccinations. Most puppies won’t get them until they are 15-16 weeks old.
Only Kennel After Potty Training is Done
Keeping our pup in a kennel is a very popular option for when we leave our home, but you should avoid it until your pup is entirely out of their puppy stages. By puppy stages, I mean that they are done with their chewing and are fully potty trained. This is primarily for your puppy’s comfort and safety.
If you use a kennel or a crate in your own home when you are away, proper crate training needs to happen as soon as possible. Contrary to popular belief, crates should not be used as a punishment. They should be seen as a safe haven for the pup to fulfill their natural denning instincts.
Staying in the crate may be stressful or confusing to a puppy at first but cozy it up with some soft blankets and toys, and they’ll warm up to it. Starting with short periods in the crate is ideal and always reward them after they are done. You want a positive association with the kennel.
You should not keep your puppy in a crate for extended periods until they are potty trained. They need to understand that they do not go potty in the crate, or it can become an uncomfortable habit or nervous behavior.
|If you need a night off or someone to watch your puppy during the day, Pawfect is still offering boarding services. See our boarding and daycare options here.|
Wait on the Doggie Door
Doggie doors are great, but not for puppies. You may want to train them to use one for when they’re older, and this is fine to do. If you decide to put a doggie door in, make sure that it is closed when you are not supervising your puppy. They should only be using it during training sessions.
There are far too many predators outside, and a small puppy is the perfect prey. Now, especially with less human travel and more people at home, predators like coyotes are more prevalent in town. Large birds can also be a threat.
If you have a small dog, this can always be an issue. So, I recommend always supervising your puppy or toy dog when they are outside. As your puppy ages, you may be able to let them use a doggie door without supervision if they are a large or medium-sized dog.
Exercise is Important, but Sleep is Too
Although puppies seem very hyper and energetic, they do need their rest. Puppies, like human babies, need to sleep a lot to let their bodies grow and develop. It can be tempting to keep them playing, but you need to make sure that they have a quiet space to sleep.
If you have small children, you may need to crate train your puppy early to give them that safe space to rest away from stimulation. Too much exercise can be harmful to your dog’s development. Don’t let them overdo it!
Give Them an Afternoon Walk
Give your pup an afternoon walk for exercise or a potty break while you’re at work to prevent boredom. Pawfect is still offering their dog walking services amidst the COVID-19 crisis. Book a dog walking appointment for your new puppy as a great way to socialize with new people and to get out of the house!
If you have questions about how we are keeping your pets and our staff safe with social distancing, see our up-to-date protocol here.
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