You've decided to get a puppy or maybe you already have. The toys have been purchased, the dog food and
water dishes set up and you even have a comfy new bed for your soon
to be furry new family member. Bringing your puppy home will be a day of excitement but there may also be some frustration Being prepared and knowing what to expect can help you and your puppy make a smooth transition to a long, loving and healthy companionship.
Find a Vet
Maintain the immediate and long-term health of your new
pet by locating a practicing veterinarian in your area. Your puppy will need an initial check up as well as a series of vaccines within the first few months of his or her life. After the initial appointment your dog will require regular check ups as the years go by. Having an existing relationship with a vet is also beneficial should any spur of the moment problems occur.
Finding the best vet may not always be easy. If you find yourself overwhelmed by choices, consult with pet own-ing friends or turn to the internet
for information and reviews on any potential candidates.
Puppy Proof Your Home
Those adorable balls of fur may win your affection in
seconds but you will find that they can also get into trouble in the same
amount of time. Puppies are curious by nature and are often too young to know
better. Before you bring your puppy home
or introduce him or her to a new room, clear the area of anything that you do not want your puppy to get into.
Electrical cords, small objects such as toy parts or jewelry, shoes, and
even small devices such as cell phones or iPods can turn into a chew toy and
potential problem for you and your pooch. Remove all of these things from your puppies reach to ensure the safety of your puppy as well as your possessions. As part of your puppy proofing routine, become aware of any place your puppy could crawl into
or under such as under reclining chairs or behind entertainment centers.
Now that you know how to prepare, it's important to know what to expect once you bring your puppy home. By knowing what to expect you will be better able to handle situations that will arise making this a time of joy as opposed to one of frustration.
Do Your Homework
Going into any situation with the proper information can
increase the likelihood of a positive experience. Before you bring home your
barking bundle of joy do a little research to find out what you can expect in
the first weeks, months or years. Friends that own dogs, useful articles online or your veterinarian are all great resources to help you while you prepare for a smooth welcome. When possible, take your research one step
further and learn about characteristics and issues common
among specific breeds.
- Your puppy will cry! When you leave for work or when it’s
time for bed, your puppy will most likely spend some time crying or whimpering
in your absence. Much like you, the
puppy is adjusting to new settings and may not be accustomed to an environment without
his or her mother and litter mates.
Though it’s perfectly fine to check on your puppy or
occasionally offer support, it’s best to let your puppy cope with this time
alone. Gradually your puppy will learn
that you will come back or that bed time is quiet time. Constantly catering to crying will only exacerbate
the problem and result in a negative pattern of behavior. If night time is a particular or ongoing
problem, consider bringing the puppy’s kennel into your bedroom and placing it
next to your bed where your puppy can feel your presence without becoming
accustomed to sleeping on the bed.
- Chewing is natural! Puppies have a natural inclination to chew and this will
most likely increase during teething.
Puppy proofing your home can help save possessions but it’s also
important to offer your puppy chewing alternatives. During this time, refrain from aggressive
punishment or yelling as your puppy is only acting on instinct. Instead, offer
your puppy chewing alternatives such as Kong toys that can satisfy the need to chew
and alleviate any teething pains.
- Biting and nipping will happen! Those tiny teeth will get a lot of exercise and sometimes
they manage to chomp down on the hands and feet of innocent bystanders or
playmates. Much like chewing, biting is
perfectly natural and with the right reinforcement will subside with age. Keep your puppy from becoming a piranha by
offering a firm “no” followed by a chewing replacement or an end to play time.
- House training does not happen over night! One of the main concerns new puppy owners have is house
training. One day your dog will run to
the back door or grab the leash to signify the need to go outside, but that day may not be today. It is normal for your
puppy to have several accidents during potty training so be patient and be
prepared to wipe or mop up a few messes. When you begin to house train your puppy be
sure to set a consistent routine, let
him or her out often and offer a reward with each success.
Preparing for your puppy's arrival doesn't end with a fresh bag of puppy food and some new dog toys. By locating a vet, puppy proofing your home and researching the needs of your furry little friend, you will be able to help your puppy make a smooth transition into your home. As you begin to bond with your puppy be sure to be patient and understanding as he or she learns, matures and becomes your loyal companion.