Congratulations! Puppy parenthood is an exciting and crazy world. Preparations are in order and we’re here to help you through it.
You’ve made the big decision – you’re adopting a puppy or you have already taken it home. No matter if you are an experienced dog caretaker or a first time dog owner you can and should always plan what to do before your little pet puts their paws in their new home with the information provided below.
These steps can facilitate the initial period and lay the foundations for a balanced dog-owner relationship. This is a fragile time for both the little barker and owner.
But first, and this is not on the list, make sure you choose the right name for your new best friend through life, because, let’s face it, it is one of the most important things before everything else. Sure, one would think it’s an easy task to name the puppy, but it’s a difficult job, especially with all the everyday names we are being bombarded with. Make sure you choose one that won’t make every dog’s head turn in the dog-park when you call out to him.
#1: Bringing the Pup Home
By the time you get home with the pup, the whole family is probably already sitting on needles, waiting to finally get to know him. However, for the puppy, this can be very scary. It’s not enough that he was separated from his mother, his siblings, everything he knew until then, taken to a wild stranger, but even a bunch of unknown giants tower over and around him who want to poke, touch and cuddle him.
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Upon arrival, let’s put him down in the apartment and let it look around, get to know the new place, people at his own pace. We should also discuss this with the children, in advance.
Much like the arrival of a baby, your home needs to be prepared for the arrival of the pup. Why? You wouldn’t even imagine how much trouble the little one could cause and could get into. Therefore, it is very important to provide him with a safe and comfortable environment. Start by removing toxic plants and chemicals from his vicinity, get an electrical wire protector, and remove anything he could chew. Make sure to have as many safe chew toys at home as are enough for the little one not to destroy, for example – shoes.
#2: Visit the Vet
While in most shelters, caregivers do their best to get the puppies the care they need, unfortunately it is almost impossible to treat every single dog. One of the first things you should do after taking your puppy home is to visit the vet with him for a general health check-up.
At the vet you will receive important information about vaccinations, anthelmintics, ticks and flea repellents. If possible, drop the visit within the first two weeks, as it is not recommended to take the puppy into the community until you have a complete vaccination program. Your dog can’t get a rabies shot until at least 3 months old, and he won’t receive his final booster until 16 weeks, depending when you started the vaccination.
#3: Starting the Socialization
As part of socialization, the little bowwow gets to experience new places, things, people and other animals. If your pet has never seen a vacuum cleaner or umbrella up close, strange objects may seem scary to him at first, but with your calm, confident radiance, he’ll soon realize he has nothing to fear. In the same way, he can find countless novelties on the street during each walk, but with your guidance he will gradually get used to seeing them, accepting different sounds, so when he grows up, it will be completely natural for him, e.g. noise from city traffic or the presence of passers-by. During the walks you can meet not only puppies of similar age, but also older ones, your pet can learn a lot from this as well.
#4: The Walks
Your puppy may be full of energy – when he’s not sleeping that is.
Provide him with the right amount of exercise to contribute to his overall well-being and health. One of the best ways is to walk everyday, during which your puppy will have the opportunity to get used to the new stimulants, can gradually master the different commands, correct behavior, and meet strangers and dogs. And of course they could make friends!
Start off with introducing the collar and leash. Try slipping the collar on while the puppy is doing something positive such as playing with you or eating. The idea behind this is to get him associated with good things when wearing the collar and leash. In case he has a hard time getting used to it, you could always try getting him comfortable with food and toys.
#5: The Issue of House Training
It may take some time for your pup to learn where to go when nature calls. He will “go” approximately 6 times a day in the beginning, usually after feeding and sleeping. Watch the puppy, and if you see signs that he needs to go out, take him out, wait for him to do his thing, and praise him for it. Try to bring a system into teaching. If it is not possible to take him out at certain intervals, you can use a cage of the right size or limit his range of motion, e.g. with a grid, separate a place for him that is okay if he gets dirty (e.g. bathroom, hallway, possibly kitchen) and place a puppy diaper for him there.
Most dogs generally don’t do it on their beds unless they haven’t had a chance to go out for a very long time. Naturally, accidents happen, but don’t punish him because he won’t understand what he did wrong. If he has already done it, take him out at the predetermined time, so over time he will adjust to the system you have developed.
Staying consistent, whatever method we choose, is the key to our new pet understanding what we expect from him.
#6: Know Who You Can Trust!
If the pup is behaving strangely, the easiest way to find out what the problem might be is online. If he is injured or you just want general advice on something, the best idea is to turn to a reliable source with your questions. Book a visit at your veterinarian for an examination. The best thing would be if you would consistently visit the same vet, so the puppy would get used to the place and person from an early time on. Of course, it would help you, too, as the bond is with the owners as well. You need to trust the vet as much you need the pup to trust him.
#7: Reward the Right Behavior!
For the first few weeks, the puppy may seem to get up to more mischief than he is behaving well. Even so, it’s important to reward him every time he does something good. This will help him understand what the right behavior is, and it will also speed up the learning process. It is not advised for him to attract your attention with bad activity.
Using a positive reinforcement is the easiest way to train your dog. With this method you give the dog a reward for a job well done or just for being well behaved. Knowing which reward your dog responds to best can help reward-based training fun and interesting for both of you.
#8: Obedience from the Ground Up
While the beneficial effects of having a new puppy far outweigh any inconveniences, that doesn’t mean your every day will be perfectly hassle-free. In order for your dog to quickly learn what you expect from him and how to behave, try teaching him the basic commands: sit down for the reward bite, come to you when you call or go to his place when it’s time to rest. If your puppy has received all the vaccinations and is healthy, sign up for a puppy course around the age of 4 months. Here you can learn in a playful way, and last but not least, enjoy the company of four-legged puppies in safe conditions.
A puppy will grow up quickly, enjoy every moment of this young clown – even if he does annoying things at times. You did a great job of adopting a puppy and providing him with a loving home – enjoy the hours spent together. Take as many photos as you can, and it will be a pleasure to look back at the photos in the future.
This article was written by John Woods. John is the Founder of All Things Dogs and leads the editorial team as an Editor in Chief. John has also volunteered at multiple animal shelters, where he gained firsthand experience of rehabilitation and force-free positive reinforcement training methods.