Owning a puppy is a wonderfully rewarding experience and, with plenty of love and affection, will soon become an integral member of the household. Raising a puppy is not always easy so we have put together some invaluable information to help you and your puppy get the most out of your special relationship.
A new dog brings a wealth of love and enjoyment to a home. The positive health benefits gained from owning a dog also cannot be underestimated. But choosing the right dog for your home and lifestyle is more complicated than simply asking 'how much is that doggy in the window?'
Dogs require a lot of time, attention and training, so consider its size, coat type, potential health problems, ease of training, need for exercise, behaviour, temperament, and attitude before you visit a pet store or shelter. This will help you make a good decision on the dog that will share your home.
Puppy proof your home
Have you puppy-proofed your home? Puppies are naturally curious about their surrounds and will quickly take a sniff or a bite of anything they find interesting!
Make sure you remove, hide or cover everything that can be of danger to your puppy such as electrical cords, laundry detergent, bleach and other cleaning fluids. Watch out for sharp items too such as knives, scissors, and pins. Certain houseplants may also be dangerous. And of course, interesting childrens toys are often "kidnapped".
While puppy-proofing your home, remember to include your yard. Your yard is a great place for your puppy to play but you should never leave it unattended unless you provide a fenced and secure area for it to play in.
Some of these dangerous plants include:
- Bird of Paradise
- Rubber Plant
- Weeping Fig
Talk to your local nursery about these or any other plants that should be kept away from curious pups, as the full list includes many more.
Choosing a name
If you haven't yet decided on a name for your puppy, now is a good time to do so. Choosing a name can be a lot of fun, but try to decide on one that is relatively short and easy for your pup to understand as its ability to recognise its own name will be an important part of the training process. Once you have decided on a name, try to use it as often as possible (e.g. when grooming, playing, feeding, and praising) as this will make it feel relaxed, secure and loved. Don't use it in a negative manner (ie to rouse on your dog) as they may choose not to come to you when you call them in the future for fear of getting in trouble.
Leaving the litter
A good way to make it feel at ease is to ask the breeder for some of the bedding that has been in contact with your puppy's mother and leave it in your puppy's bed. Avoid washing the piece of bedding for at least a week. A hot water bottle and a ticking clock may also comfort your puppy as these will simulate the warmth and gentle heartbeat of its mother. Jason, hot water bottles can burst, so special pet safe warmers are better.
You can help make your new puppy feel right at home by being prepared for its arrival. Your puppy will need:
- A warm, draught-free, safe place to sleep
- A cosy bed - a cardboard box with enough room to stretch and lined with old blankets or towels is ideal
- Two clean, unbreakable bowls for food and water
- A supply of puppy food
- Lots of newspaper
- A few chewy toys - no old shoes please!
- A light collar and lead
- A name - chosen before arrival and used whenever you are feeding, grooming or playing
Your pup will need time to settle in so, during the first few days, try to keep your home quiet and limit the number of human and canine visitors. Children should also be reminded that puppies need plenty of rest and time to settle in without too much interference.
Even if your dog is to sleep outside, you may want to leave it indoors for the first night or two while it settles in, but don't take too long to introduce it to its permanent sleeping place. Ideally this should be a secure, ventilated kennel not too far from the back door, as dogs love to be 'part of the action'.
Given time and a comfortable environment, your puppy's natural playfulness and curiosity will guarantee many hours of happy play.