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I got a New Puppy… Now what?

My sister is no stranger to having dogs. She has always had a dog. But more recently, she got a…

New Puppy Care – We’re Here to Help

My sister is no stranger to having dogs. She has always had a dog. But more recently, she got a new puppy! It was her first puppy in many years and this puppy presented many challenges: Potty training, getting him to eat, training issues, till one day in exasperation she said, “What was I thinking?!?” Getting a new puppy is kind-of like having a baby…. it’s all ooooh and ahhhh and then when you bring the baby home, panic sets in and you think, “What do I do now?!” Getting a puppy is kind-of like that. Even bringing home an adult rescue dog can be scary, but relax, it’s much easier than having a new baby! We can help.

Raising a Puppy: Where to start?

That is the question, right? It starts before you even bring your new puppy home! First of all, you need to get some supplies ready to have waiting for your puppy. They will need a bed, a crate, a collar, an ID tag for their collar, a leash, a food bowl, a water bowl, poop bags, chew toys, other toys, grooming supplies, food, and treats. You will also need some kind of travel carrier to bring your pup home safely. You may even think about getting an enzyme cleaner to have on hand for dealing with “accidents”.

Get the house ready too. Your new puppy will want to “taste”, bite, or chew on nearly everything they see. With that in mind, secure electrical cords and wires. Place chemicals such as cleaning supplies out of reach. You may even consider putting your shoes up high for a while. Take a look around your house and consider any object that your puppy could come in contact with and move it from its reach.

It is a good idea to have a little family meeting to lay some groundwork before you bring a puppy home. Go over some general puppy rules. What will the puppy be allowed to do and not allowed to do? Where can it go in the house and where is off-limits? Is the puppy going to be allowed on the furniture? Can it get in the beds? Who is responsible for feeding and when? Where will the puppy sleep? Who is responsible for walking and how often? It is important that everyone in the family is on the same page.

If you have young children, now is the time to teach them how to handle their new pet. Teach them how to lift a puppy safely so that it doesn’t hurt them. Teach your children not to pull the puppy’s tail, tease him, or play too rough.

Welcome home, little one!

The big day arrives, and you get to bring this little fluff ball into your home! Your new family member is probably just as anxious as you are. It’s all new to them too! Make sure your puppy takes care of its business before you take it into your house.

While on a leash, show your new puppy around the house. It is best to introduce them to a few rooms at a time, as all this space can be overwhelming. Designate a more confined area just for them in the first few days at home. In the beginning, you will need to keep an eye on your puppy, and they will feel more secure in a smaller area too. Gate off or shut the doors to the areas that you do not want them to enter. Let the puppy sniff and look around. Then take him outside and let them explore its new yard.

Keep it calm. As we have already said, it’s not only overwhelming for your new puppy, but it can be downright scary. Introductions to home and family should be as stress-free as possible. Speak softly. Move somewhat slower. If you have children, they will want their friends to see their new puppy but save that for another day until your puppy has acclimated to a family environment.

Show your puppy its things. Have water waiting in their water bowl and make sure they can get to it easily. Put blankets in their crate and leave it open. Show it to the puppy, but don’t have them get in it at first (If they do, it’s fine, but don’t encourage it at this point). Show them their bed. Sit with them in their area and offer them their new toys. A treat or two would be nice too!

Meeting other household pets

The only socialization your puppy has likely had is in relation to its litter-mates. And that was a free-for-all! Bringing a new puppy home to another dog does not always go smoothly as the puppy is usually not all that well accepted by other household dogs in the beginning. Your older dog(s) will probably find the new puppy annoying. Always supervise and “referee” the introductions. If possible, introduce the dogs in a “neutral” territory before proceeding into your existing dog’s territory – your home!

Growling or snarling at the puppy by the adult dog is not always a bad thing. It’s their way of communicating that something the puppy is doing is “unacceptable”. Your older dog may just ignore the puppy (and hope it goes away!). Either way, give it time, and intervene only when body language and doggie communication becomes harmful. Let them establish their own “rapport”. Stay with your dogs anytime they interact within the first month, at least, correcting the puppy when they are being “inappropriate”, and making sure your adult dogs do not become irritated. Give your older dogs an escape route – someplace to go to get away from the puppy. This could reduce the chance of a dangerously escalating situation, plus just give your current dog(s) some peace and quiet from their exasperating new sibling!

Puppy Schedule: Structuring your Puppy’s life

Dogs like routine. It seems to be hard-wired into them. They want to know that they will be fed at a certain time, and that they will be let out to go potty at certain intervals. Dogs want to know what they can count on when they get up in the morning, and what the evening will bring. They like predictability when it comes to anything relating to their safety or survival. Structuring your dog’s life will reduce stress and frustration. Once your pup understands what to expect, then it can relax.

I find that once a structure has been established, a dog will naturally become more flexible. They will adapt to the fact that dinner didn’t come at 5:00 because you had to work late. It will be okay when you sleep in and their morning walk is at 8:30 instead of 7. While your dog is a puppy, however, try to adhere to a more rigid, consistent schedule until they learn the ropes.

Consistency is important in so many areas of your pup’s life, but particularly as they are learning. If you would rather your dog not “beg” while your family is dining, then don’t let anyone feed them from the table – ever. And if the puppy is doing something you don’t want them to do, use the same correction each time, such as “no”… not “stop it”, or “quit”. Being consistent makes you a strong leader in your pup’s mind. They will look to you because they understand you.

Puppy Meal Time

Providing good nutrition to your puppy is the best way to ensure proper growth and development. Puppies have different needs than adult dogs. They cannot eat what your adult dogs eat. There is a science behind their nutritional needs, but if you buy the best quality pet food you can afford, specifically formulated for your puppy, and by a reputable company, you should be able to trust them to decipher the science. This blog will help you choose the very best pet food.

A puppy eats more often than adult dogs too. They’re growing and their little bodies need as much nourishment as we can give them! The following chart by PetMD provides a good schedule for feeding your puppy:

The number of feedings a day depends on your pup’s age:

  • 2 to 3 months old: 4 meals a day
  • 3 to 6 months: 3 meals a day
  • 6 to 12 months (up to 24 months for the largest breeds): 2 meals a day

And, of course, always have fresh water available.

Be careful when choosing treats for your puppy too. Many treats will upset your puppy’s little tummy. Also, we don’t want to overfeed a puppy, and it’s easy to do that when treats are a regular part of their diet. They will probably act like they’re starving all the time but becoming overweight as a puppy can affect their health even later in life. Chances are, that little puppy metabolism will burn up excess calories, but just keep an eye on it.

Housebreaking Puppies

Teaching your pup when and where to potty is at the forefront of every new puppy owner’s mind. Nobody wants that mess in their house. Being proactive is key to housebreaking your puppy. Puppies have tiny bladders and little control. Take them out at least every hour in the beginning and praise them when they potty outside. Always take them outside within 30 minutes of eating and/or drinking too. We have a blog on potty training your new puppy that you will find useful.

Crate Training Puppies

Crate training goes hand in hand with potty training. You will find potty training is easier when you crate train. For many people, putting your dog in a crate sounds mean. But have you ever noticed how a little puppy will often go to a corner or snuggle under a blanket when they are tired? They like that kind of closed-in space. It feels secure and safe. A crate gives them a place of solitude and comfort. Properly introducing your pup to a crate is of utmost importance. It should be presented as a pleasant and happy thing. It’s their retreat…their “happy place”!

By now, your pup should be accustomed to it’s “designated area”, in which, as we mentioned early-on, the crate exists. Your pup should be used to it and may have even gone inside the crate now and then. That’s great! When they are uncertain, toss a few treats inside and see if it will get them to go in. The puppy may be hesitant and that’s okay. Try again later. If they are still not interested in going after the treats, maybe place a toy that they are particularly fond of inside.

Make it their idea to go inside their crate, with your encouragement, and of course, rewards for doing so. Soft blankets, your t-shirt, and maybe even a crate cover will make their space particularly appealing. If you are having a difficult time getting your dog to spend time in its crate, some people choose to feed them their meals inside. Mealtime is the best time of the day! The puppy will begin to associate good feelings when it comes to their crate.

When your dog is happy coming and going from its open crate, it’s time to try shutting the door. Start by doing so only briefly. Shut the door of the crate when your puppy is resting comfortably inside, but awake. Go to the other room – out of sight – and stay away for about a minute. Return and watch your pup for a reaction. If they could care less, then they are comfortable with it being closed. If they are standing and looking a bit anxious, open it up and let them out. Then try again later. It takes a while to crate train most puppies. Hang in there. We have a great blog with helpful hints to crate training your puppy.

First Veterinary Visit

Your pup’s first visit to the veterinary hospital should be scheduled right away after bringing them home. The goal is to keep your healthy pup healthy, and if any health issues exist, to get started with treatment right away.

With your encouragement, you can make that first visit a new and exciting adventure for your pup. New smells, new people, a new place are all very fun for a puppy. Play off of that! Meeting the Veterinarian should be a happy introduction too. Vaccinations are not pleasant, but if the initial meeting is fun otherwise, your pup will soon forget about the shots.

There is a lot to cover in this first meeting with your Veterinarian. Vaccinations are one of many. Make a list! You need to talk to your vet about flea and tick prevention, heart-worm prevention, spaying and neutering, dental care and micro-chipping. You may also discuss recommended foods, and any other concerns you have based on what you have observed in your pup thus far. Then schedule your pup’s booster shots before leaving. One of the worst mistakes new dog owners can make is not to finish the series of vaccinations that a puppy needs. The AKC has a great guide to a puppy’s first year vaccinations.

Training Puppies

Training is sometimes put off by new owners, and that’s not a good idea. Professional Dog Training should  begin just after your puppy has completed all its vaccinations, however, our Trainers can begin home lessons before that time. If your very young puppy is particularly active, bold or perhaps overly confident, don’t hesitate giving us a call. Communication with your puppy is crucial to a lifetime of understanding and trust. Like children, dogs need direction. They will look to you for guidance. A dog with proper training understands their world and what is expected of them. They are confident. Without training, they can become anxious, sometimes fearful, or destructive. Having your dog trained is not just so you can keep them from doing what you don’t want them to do, but it is for them so they can live successfully in our human lives.

The Professional Dog Training Program at Holiday Barn Pet Resorts will structure a program just for you and your dog. In addition to basic obedience, we will work with you to customize your dog’s training goals and help you build a strong bond with your furchild. We have a variety of ways to work your dog’s training comfortably into your life, whether it be boarding your pup while training, dropping them off daily to “school”, or meeting you at your home.

Here is something else you may not have thought of… A dog will come to Holiday Barn Pet Resorts as a puppy, usually for Training. He becomes familiar with the facility, its smells, its people, and is comfortable here. Then for a lifetime, you have somewhere to take your dog when you need to go away. You can do this guilt-free because you know they are happy here. It’s a great added benefit to training or any of our services.

Puppy Socialization

Socialization at an early age is critical to assure your puppy will grow up to be a happy, well-adjusted dog. While training at Holiday Barn Pet Resorts, we will help your puppy have only positive associations with other dogs. We will teach your puppy how to interact with other dogs, play safely, and become a confident part of society.

My sister’s puppy is around two years old now and is a perfect little man. He knows to potty outside, he finally started eating better and has gained to a more healthy weight, and he listens to his mommy – sometimes reluctantly – like any adolescent, but nonetheless, he does what she asks. And he is her little soul mate! She adores this little man. Maybe the effort to get him to where he is today has somehow strengthened their relationship. And if you’d ask her, she will tell you it was totally worth it!

How to Raise a Puppy Summary Checklist

  1. Buy pet supplies in advance of getting your new puppy
  2. Puppy-proof your home
  3. Lay some groundwork with your family
  4. Make calm introductions
  5. Get a crate to prepare for crate training
  6. Establish a schedule for your puppy’s new life
  7. Prepare your potting training schedule
  8. Schedule your pup’s first vet visit
  9. Enroll your pup into professional dog training
  10. Find opportunities for your pup to socialize

    Ask for Help with your Puppy

    If you need help with your new puppy, don’t be afraid to ask. Feel free to reach out to the Professional Dog Trainers at Holiday Barn Pet Resorts at either of our locations to learn how we can help.

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