HOW TO PREPARE FOR A NEW PUPPY
The first weeks of your new puppy’s life with you will be busy and demanding. There may be times when you wonder if getting a puppy was such a good idea. Things will go better if you have patience and keep your sense of humor. Remember that puppyhood only happens once. The extra effort you put into it now will pay off in the future.
PLAN FOR WHAT YOU NEED AHEAD OF TIME:
What you’ll need
Get the supplies and equipment you’ll need. Here’s a list:
- Wire or plastic dog crate
- Easily washable, hard-to-destroy bedding material, imitation sheepskin works well and tip-proof, stainless steel or hard plastic food & water dishes.
- Adjustable puppy collar & leash
- ID Tag with your phone number to wear on the collar
- A collection of high quality, safe chew toys: Puppy Nylabones and sturdy stuffed squeak toys.
- Grooming supplies
- A quality brand of dry puppy food.
- “Bitter Apple”, a safe spray-on product to discourage chewing on inappropriate objects.
- A wire, wooden or plastic “baby gate” for blocking doorways.
- A reliable pet sitter on standby for days that keep you away from home for over 2 hours. For a guide in choosing a pet sitter, please visit our Pet Sitting FAQ page
PUPPY PROOF YOUR HOME !
Raising a puppy is a lot like raising small children — they get into everything! Some of what they get into can be hazardous to their health or to your possessions. You can make life safer for the puppy and your furniture by getting rid of hazards and temptations ahead of time.
To a puppy, the world is brand new and fascinating! He’s seeing it all for the very first time and absolutely everything must be thoroughly investigated. Puppies do most of their investigating with their mouths — “Look at this! What is it? Something to eat? Something to play with?” Murphy’s Law says that a puppy will be most attracted to the things he should least have — electrical cords, the fringe on your expensive oriental rug, your brand new running shoes, etc.
Preventing destructive and dangerous chewing is easier than trying to correct the puppy every second. Look around your home. What objects could be put up out of the way of a curious puppy? Bitter Apple spray can be applied to furniture legs, woodwork and other immovable items. Are there rooms your puppy should be restricted from entering until he’s better trained and more reliable? Install a baby gate or keep the doors to those rooms closed.
Take a walk around your yard looking for potential hazards. If your yard is fenced, check the boundaries and gates for openings that could be potential escape routes. Puppies can get through smaller places than an adult dog. If your yard’s not fenced, make a resolution right now that your puppy will never be allowed to run off lead without close supervision. He won’t ever know enough to look both ways before crossing the street to chase a squirrel. Keep him safe by keeping him on leash!
CREATE A SCHEDULE FOR SUCCESSFUL POTTY TRAINING
Work out a schedule for you and the puppy. House training is much easier when the puppy’s meals, exercise and play times are on a regular schedule throughout the day. It is important to remain consistent throughout the process so your puppy can learn the habit.
If your work or school schedule keeps you away from the home for more than 2 hours, consider hiring a pet sitter to help care for your new puppy. A Pet Sitter can come to your home and provide a potty break, walk, playtime, feed and water your puppy and give him that extra love and attention he needs ! Visit our Pet Sitting Services for more information.
Housebreaking can be a time-consuming process. A puppy should be taken outside every two hours, up to six times a day, particularly after meals. Crate training or limited roaming access in a small, gated area works well, as puppies usually don’t soil where they sleep. Look for signs, such as circling, that your puppy has to go. Don’t punish him for soiling after the fact. If you don’t catch him in the act then he won’t understand why you are correcting him five minutes or more after an incident. Consistency is key in whatever housebreaking method you choose.
Once your new puppy has successfully gone outside, it is important to reward the good behavior. It doesn’t have to be a big, loud celebration, but a simple quiet approval or a treat can get the message across of a job well done.
Crate training provides your puppy with a secure, safe area where he can retreat when he’s tired. Put in some soft bedding and even a treat to help coax him in at first so he learns it is a good place to be. A crate is not to be used for discipline or punishment. Have an open door policy and allow him to spend time in there with the door open. Create positive associations with the crate, such as always offering treats to enter the crate.
EVERYBODY NEEDS THEIR OWN PLACE
Decide where to put the dog crate, and have it set up and ready for his arrival. Where to keep the crate will depend on what’s most convenient for you as well as the puppy’s response. Many puppies don’t like to be isolated in one part of the house while their family is in another but some puppies won’t settled down in their crates if there’s too much activity going on around them. You might have to experiment with different locations until you learn what works best for both you and the puppy.
BE THE PACK LEADER
Puppies are naturally hard-wired to follow a pack leader. A pack leader is, by definition, strong, stable, and consistent; traits many new puppy owners forget. Many of my clients are strong leaders in their jobs, but when they come home, they turn to mush with their dogs.
Puppies sense our confidence levels and will take control if they perceive us as weak. When this happens, bad behaviors, such as excessive barking, chewing, leash-pulling, or anxiety, will develop.
The most important thing you can do is become your puppy’s pack leader. This role doesn’t begin when your dog is six months old or when he’s bad; it should be maintained throughout the entire dog training experience. For your new puppy to grow into a healthy, balanced dog, you must demonstrate leadership from day one!
Please find safe ways to exercise your puppy too! As your puppy’s pack leader, you must help to expend their energy in a productive way. For all dogs, this means a daily walk.
Reinforce your role as pack leader by always walking in front of your new puppy. Conversely, if your dog controls you on the walk, he’s the pack leader. You should be the first one out the door and the first one in. Your puppy should be beside or behind you during the walk.
Have your puppy learn the basic commands such as sit, and always reinforce this behavior by asking them to sit before a walk, providing food, or treats.
VISIT TO THE VETERINARIAN
One of the cornerstones of good health for your puppy is regular veterinary care. It is crucial that your puppy maintains a nutritional diet and exercise routine to stay healthy and balanced. Plus, your vet can advise on heartworm, and flea and tick preventative care. While a lot goes into keeping your puppy in good health, it all begins with the first visit to the vet. Consider a microchip ID implant and if there’s a possibility of future international relocation, opt for the ISO compatible microchip which can be read in most countries.
Charlotte Pet Services/Continental Pet Relocation