PUPPY CARE 101

 

  • Invest in a Crate or Kennel.  It can serve many functions within your household such as assisting with potty training or serving as a quiet getaway from overactive small children. It is never used as a punishment, but more of a haven that satisfies your dog’s natural denning instinct. Tuck in a nice cuddly blanket and your pup will think he’s in heaven. Start with very short sessions in his crate and give him the treat to entice him in. He will probably whine, howl or scream at first. Do NOT react. To a puppy, ANY attention, even a stern ‘No!’ is good attention. After a minute or so of resting quietly, let him out and tell him how wonderful he is and treat him again. Continue to lengthen the amount of time you leave him in his crate and pretty soon he will be running to get into it, and as often happens with dogs who are properly crate trained, he will start crawling in there when the door is left open if he wants some peace and quiet. Crates also offer better protection and safety when traveling in the car.

  • Let your puppy sleep in your bedroom, at least for the first few nights. This whole experience is scary for a pup. Don’t make him sleep in the laundry room. Put the crate next to your bed so you can reassure him.

  • Baby gates are your friend. Use them to keep the puppy out of places you don’t want them to destroy.

  • Supervise, supervise, supervise. If you cannot watch him like a hawk, he needs to be in his crate or in his “room,” see below.

  • Set up a puppy room for when you can’t supervise. Pick a small area like the bathroom or kitchen, block it off with baby gates. Add a bed in one corner and pee pads or a dog “toilet” in another.

  • Pick a potty spot. If you don’t want Sparky pooping all over the yard as an adult, pick one area and take him directly there when it’s potty time.

  • Set a daily routine. House training can proceed more smoothly if your puppy knows what to expect from her day.

  • Enroll in a puppy class. Your pup will learn some basic obedience, but the real benefit of puppy classes is socialization with other puppies and people.

  • Remember that your puppy is a baby – don’t ask too much of her. Don’t worry about whether she’ll perform a perfect sit/stay or heel. Plenty of time for that when she’s older. Focus on socialization and having fun.

  • Make sure everyone is on the same page. Discuss the puppy rules with your whole family. Figure out who will do what when. Pick one set of training cues and stick with them.

  • Don’t encourage behavior that you’ll regret when he gets big. Jumping up is cute when he weighs ten pounds, it won’t be cute when he’s 60 pounds.

  • Get your pup used to handling from day one, touching feet, nails, tail, ears, mouth, teeth, and belly with love. Your vet will thank you.

  • Start grooming early on. For the same reason as above.

  • Let your puppy meet (friendly and gentle) people -this encourages human trust:

    • Take your puppy to the pet store. Great socialization opportunity. Hold her in your arms and off the floor until she’s had all her puppy shots.

    • Introduce your pup to all kinds of novel things. People in funny hats. Remote control cars. Kids playing. Agility equipment. Balloons. Cats. Car rides.

    • Invite friends and family to meet-the-puppy.

  • Frozen wet washcloths and baby carrots make great chews for teething puppies.

  • Reward good behavior, don’t wait for bad behavior. Reward the puppy when you see him doing something you like. Don’t wait until he’s misbehaving to give him attention.

  • Avoid the dog park. If your pup is not fully vaccinated. In addition to putting your under-vaccinated puppy at risk for disease, most dogs at the dog park are quite rude by canine standards. A couple of bad experiences could ruin your puppy’s opinion of her own species.

  • Feed 2-3 small meals per day. Don’t leave food out for her to graze on.

  • Pick up anything you don’t want to be destroyed. If it’s on the floor, it WILL be chewed.

  • Get your puppy microchipped. It’s your best chance of being reunited with your dog if he ever gets lost.

  • Focus on what you want, not what you don’t want. For example, teach your puppy to sit when greeting people. Don’t just yell at her for jumping up.

  • Watch your puppy’s poops. Disgusting? Yes. But it could save your puppy’s life. If you notice anything like diarrhea or blood, take your puppy for a vet visit ASAP.

  • Provide lots of toys. Get a variety to see what kind your puppy likes best.

  • Provide lots of delicious chews. Things like bully sticks, pig ears, and rawhide bones. These will satisfy your pup’s need to chew and make her less likely to chew on your valuables.

  • Rotate through the dog toys. Let your puppy have two or three toys at a time. Changing up the toy selection will keep Sparky interested.

  • If you think your puppy needs to go potty at all, don’t hesitate to take him outside! You’d be surprised how often puppies need to go sometimes.

  • Practice separation. As tempting as it is, don’t let Sparky be glued to your side all day. Letting your puppy have time to himself in his crate or room will help prevent separation anxiety.

  • Hellos and Goodbyes should be no big deal. Don’t make a fuss over your pup when you leave or come home. Again, prevents separation anxiety.

  • Don’t freak out when your puppy chews on you. Puppies Bite! Sometimes painfully! But it’s NOT aggression.

  • Don’t use ammonia-based cleaners. Your puppy will think it smells like urine and it will encourage her to pee there again. Use an enzymatic cleaner like Nature’s Miracle.

  • Visit the vet. Take your pup for a visit when she doesn’t have an appointment. Bring some treats and ask the office staff to give her some. Make the vet’s office a fun place! (call ahead first to make sure this is OK)

  • Generally, the number of hours a puppy can “hold it” is his age in months plus one. So, a two-month-old puppy should be crated for a maximum of three hours at a time (during the day). When they are sleeping, they can sometimes hold it for longer.

  • Leave the TV or radio on when you leave your puppy home alone.  So, they don’t feel (as)lonely!

  • Teach good leash manners early. Better to teach your puppy to walk nicely on a leash than to teach your adult dog to stop pulling on the leash.

  • Take lots of pictures. Puppyhood goes by SO fast

  •  LOVE!!!