Caring for a puppy is a costly, time-consuming responsibility – but it’s also a huge amount of fun and there’s much satisfaction in setting up your dog’s life in the right way. Here are a few things to think about in the first days.
Health & insurance
Register your pup with a vet as soon as possible, and arrange for an initial check-up and to start your puppy’s vaccination schedule. If any problems arise, immediately get in touch with your breeder or the shelter you got your puppy from. Pet insurance is a good idea, as vets bills can soon mount up for long conditions and any emergencies can be very costly. Shop around for the best deal, but always read the small print and look out for your excess amount.
Puppies should be given food appropriate for their age and development. Webbox has a number of puppy specific food products, specially tailored to give your pup everything he needs as he steps out into the big, wide world. Always make sure your puppy has access to fresh, clean water and be sure not to overfeed him!
Puppy proofing your home
Your home contains many potentially harmful objects and lots of valuable things that are so tempting to chew! If you don’t want him to have it, move it! Be sure to check the garden for poisonous substances and for any holes in fences.
The first days
Arriving in a new home opens up a puppy to lots of new experiences. Cars, being left alone, meeting new people can be frightening situations. Situate your puppy’s bed in a warm, quiet place away from draughts and ensure he has plenty of toys – play is important!
Your puppy may whimper in the first few nights. Give him lots of play before bed to tire him out and let him out to go to the toilet (more on house training shortly). You could take him into your bedroom for the first few nights (in a high box so he can’t get out) to give some comfort.
The key to house training your pup is to take him to where you would like him to do his business, take him there often and then making a huge fuss of him when he ‘performs’.
Accidents will happen, so don’t be angry and never shout or hit. Just keep reinforcing good behaviour and it will soon become second nature. A puppy crate can help the process, as puppies won’t ‘go’ where they sleep, but the only equipment you realistically need is lots of old newspapers to line the floor!
Chewing is natural behaviour and should be encouraged – just make sure it’s with objects you choose. Give him food chews, toys or large biscuits and if he does start to chew something you really don’t want him to, simply distract him and offer a more desirable alternative.
Training and behaviour
Ensure you pup gets into good habits that will last a lifetime by good, positive training from an early age. This should always be reward-based and never involve shouting and hitting. Most dogs end up in rescue shelters due to poor training, so it really is beneficial for you and your dog.
Socialising your puppy is a vital part of being a happy, well-adjusted dog. This involves being exposed to lots of different experiences and noises so that they get used to them instead of being scared or over-excited.
As soon as you puppy is adequately protected from disease by his vaccinations, he should start learning to get on with other dogs. Take him out as much as possible and slowly introduce him to lots of different animals. He also needs to get used to being around new people and children, but ensure people realise that the puppy is not a toy. Teach the puppy not to jump up or nip during play.
Consider neutering your dog to prevent unwanted puppies or behaviour. Be sure to regularly groom your pup and look after his teeth with chews or regular brushing. Also, microchipping your dog is always a good idea and is very cheap. Consult your vet for advice on all these matters.