The Pet Tree House - Where Pets Are Family Too : So You've Got Your New Puppy Home…Now What? Tips on Caring for Your New Puppy

Friday, April 10, 2015

So You've Got Your New Puppy Home…Now What? Tips on Caring for Your New Puppy

Welcoming a new puppy into your family is truly an exciting and rewarding time! However, it can lead to headache and unnecessary stress for you and your new four-legged friend if you aren’t fully prepared. 



Before the Big Day

Once household discussions have established that everyone wants a dog of a certain age and breed, where to get the pup-from a shelter or reputable breeder-is more or less determined. Now, family meetings should cover scheduling:

  • Who will take the pup to the papers or backyard and when?
  • Who will be in charge of feedings three to four times a day?
  • Who will make veterinary appointments for vaccinations and deworming?

Also, take time to create a vocabulary list everyone will use. If Mom says "down" when the puppy climbs on the couch, Dad says "down" when he wants him to lie down, and Junior utters "sit down" when he expects the pup's rear to hit the floor, the result will be one confused dog! Putting the schedule and vocabulary list in writing prevents confusion and will help dog walkers, nannies, and others involved in raising the puppy.


Next, draft a shopping list and purchase supplies: food and water bowls, chew toys, grooming supplies, bedding, collar and leash, identification tag, crate, gate, and odor neutralizer. Pre-puppy shopping allows you to order from wholesale catalogs or visit the pet superstore in the next county without the pressure of the puppy needing it right now.


You'll need to puppy-proof the area where the youngster will spend most of his time the first few months. This may mean taping loose electrical cords to baseboards; storing household chemicals on high shelves; removing plants, rugs, and breakables; setting up the crate; and installing gates. Once you think you've completely puppy-proofed, lie on the floor and look around once more to get a puppy's-eye view.

If you have children, hold one last meeting to lay down the rules: Don't overwhelm Puppy the first day, and don't fight over him.

Getting Off on the Right Paw


When you pick up your puppy, remember to ask what and when he was fed. Replicate that schedule for at least the first few days to avoid gastric distress. If you wish to switch to a different brand, do so over a period of about a week by adding one part new brand to three parts of the old for several days; then switch to equal parts; and then one part old to three parts new.

From the start, consistency is important. On the way home, Puppies should ride in the back seat, in a crate or carrier.

Once home, people who  plop the excited newcomer on the rug, and let the kids chase him will be mopping up in no time-and regretting the lesson they taught their new pup. 

Instead, take him to his toileting area immediately.

From there, carry out your schedule for feeding, toileting, napping, and play/exercise. From Day One, your pup will need family time and brief periods of solitary confinement. Solitude may be new to Puppies, so he may vocalize concern. Don't give in and comfort him or you may create a monster. The puppy thinks, "if making noise brought them running once, maybe more whimpering is needed to get their attention again," reasons the pup. Give him attention for good behavior, such as chewing on a toy or resting quietly.


They may be small, but new puppies can be big work. So much so, that the second you tell someone you’re getting a dog, the advice comes pouring in. “I think you get more advice when you walk down the street with a puppy than you do with a child,” says New York-based pet trainer and author, Andrea Arden. 

Five top tips for welcoming a new puppy into your home:


1. Get lots of toys
“A puppy, no matter what size, age or breed is going to have a lot of energy,” says Arden, who recommends having plenty of toys around the house to keep your pup busy and out of trouble. A toy that can be stuffed with food keeps puppies busy by encouraging them to hunt for their meals, and burns calories at the same time. Arden suggests keeping five to ten toys on hand. Remember, she says, “a nice tired puppy is a wonderful puppy.”




2. Create a confinement area
“There’s a misconception about crating or confining your pet,” says Arden. “It’s not cruel. We use confinement to keep pets safe, like we do with children. If you were a visitor at someone’s home, you wouldn’t want to be set free to explore the home to then be reprimanded for going somewhere or touching something you weren’t supposed to. It’s the same with your new dog.”




Arden advises puppy owners to purchase a crate that’s an appropriate size for your pooch to stand up in, lie down, and turn around comfortably. This is meant to be used as a short-term confinement area. If you need to leave your pup alone for a stretch of time, consider an exercise pen – similar to a baby pen. Such pens give puppies more room while keeping them in one place.




3. Forget the doggy bed, use a towel instead
New dog owners don’t necessarily need to invest in a doggy bed right away, says Arden, who recommends using an easy-to-clean towel during the first few months. “I usually offer a puppy bed when the dog is five or six months old.”




4. Get a (good) collar and leash
“Ideally, you’ll have one of three collars – a plain buckle nylon collar, a Martingale collar that’s fitted to your puppy’s collar (especially good for Italian Greyhounds) or an Easy Walk or SENSE-ation harness,” says Arden. The two harnesses have a front leash attachment design and don’t pull on your dog as much. For leashes, the trainer recommends a 3-to-6-foot nylon style. Retractable leashes are better suited for older dogs who have already been trained.




5. Groom early and often
Start good grooming habits early with your puppy. “Clip a nail a day just so he gets used to the sensation,” says Arden. Buy a toothbrush or rubber tip for your finger and brush your pup’s teeth every day with pet safe toothpaste. Arden also recommends using unscented baby wipes to clean his paws every time you come in from outside. And remember to bathe your new pup in pet-safe shampoo and conditioner every two to three weeks.

Doing things correctly from the start prevents confusion. Through puppy preparedness, you are one step closer to your Dream Dog.
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