Getting a new puppy is an exciting time, whether the puppy is your first, or a new addition to your canine family.
A young puppy is very vulnerable and will be completely reliant on you for the first few months of his or her life. Here are some tips to help make the transition from mother or shelter to your home as easy as possible.
Get Your Puppy Settled in at Home
Everyone in your family is going to be excited to meet your puppy for the first time but remember to allow his time to adjust to his new environment.
Let him explore your home at his own pace and make sure he has a safe place to retreat when he’s feeling tired or overwhelmed. It’s a good idea to restrict his area at first, you can do this using a stair gate.
This can also make toilet training easier. Introduce him to his bed and make sure he always has access to fresh water.
Schedule Feeding Times
Young puppies have special nutritional needs, so you should choose puppy food which is high in calories and a good source of protein and calcium. Feeding times should be set to a schedule so that your puppy knows when it’s time to eat.
Puppies should be fed several times per day:
(Do not feed your puppy human food! Pic just for awws)
- 8-12 weeks: 4 meals/day
- 3-6 months: 3 meals /day
- 6-12 months: 2 meals/day
Toilet Train Your Puppy
You can begin "toilet training" as soon as you bring your puppy home.
The best way to do this is by establishing a bathroom routine, which will require patience, persistence and positive reinforcement. Accidents will happen initially, so have a clean-up routine in place.
Find a safe place outside for your puppy to go to the bathroom, one where he feels safe. Good times to take your new puppy to potty include:
- As soon as you wake up
- Right before you go to bed
- Immediately after your puppy has eaten or drank a lot of water
- When your puppy wakes from a nap
- During and after playing, exercise, or training
Do reward your puppy each time he goes to the bathroom successfully as this will reinforce good behavior.
Find a Good Vet
The first place that you and your new puppy should visit together is your vet so that he can get a checkup.
This will ensure your new fur baby is in good health and help him to understand that the veterinary office is a safe and friendly place. Though all pet owners hope the worst will never happen, you need to be prepared for an emergency.
If your puppy gets sick or hurt outside of your vet’s regular hours you need to have a plan B. Wouldn’t it be great to talk to a vet wherever you are whatever time of day it is? Well now you can, with the help of the free airVet app. The app is available for iPhone and Android and enables you to reach your own vet or another fully licensed in-network veterinarian 24/7.
Teach Your Puppy to be Obedient
It’s important to teach your puppy good manners, that way you’ll be able to take him anywhere with you. Obedience training also helps you form a strong bond with your pet.
Teach your dog basic commands such as sit, down, stay, and come.
These will ensure that you can keep your dog under control in any potentially dangerous situation. If you have little or no experience training a dog, you may want to take him to obedience classes.
Socialize Your Puppy
Proper ("prupper", hehe) socialization is just as important for your puppy as is obedience training. It will help them to behave well around other dogs and other people, and it will help you avoid problems down the road.
Your pup should be ready to accept new people, places and other animals around 2-4 months of age.
Leaving them isolated longer, or not allowing them to play with others, can make it harder for them to adjust to new situations.
Your puppy is going to continue being a valued member of your family. Use these tips to help you take care of your new new dog and you’ll be able to form a relationship with your pooch that will last a lifetime.
Visit Dr. Jeff Werber’s Instagram account (@werbs_dvm) to view and submit questions and answers on weekly AMAs – or call and leave a voicemail at 424-835-0576. Your call will be returned posthaste. For emergencies, download Dr. Jeff Werber’s app , a video-chat option for veterinary needs at any time of day or night!