Happy National Puppy Day! What a happy day! Who doesn’t want to celebrate those cute little balls of fur and love. For most of us, our dogs will be our little puppy their whole lives– even when they’re 12 years old. For those who may be bringing home a puppy for the first time, the idea of it all could seem overwhelming at first. Even if your a veteran pet owner, it could be years since you last brought a 10 week old puppy home. Here are some things to do and consider when bringing home a new best friend.
- Find a vet. You can start looking for a vet before you even bring your puppy home. Interview some of them– call and ask questions. You need to find a vet you can trust with your new baby. Sometimes there are specialty vets for specific breeds. For example, Bulldogs are a breed that can have some specific problems. You may feel more comfortable bringing your Bulldog to a vet who specializes in Bulldogs and have treated those specific problems over and over again. Most importantly, find a vet who is helpful, considerate and trustworthy.
- Buy the puppy basics. Make sure you have all that your puppy will need in his new home. First and foremost, find a food you like and believe will be healthy for your pup. As you feed, make sure you have another bag on hand before you run out. At Chew on This we try our hardest to keep all foods in stock, but sometimes you may need a bag that someone just bought the last one of. It may take a week or so before we get the bag back in stock. Don’t leave yourself and your pup stranded without food. What are the other puppy basics? Bowls for food and fresh water (always have fresh water available), a collar with tags, a leash, teething toys & chews (puppies love to chew), toys to keep them entertained (a bored puppy can be a destructive one), a comfy bed, a crate, training treats, stain and odor removing cleaners (puppies WILL have accidents. I personally love Eco-88 at Chew on This), and possibly some baby gates.
- Puppy proof your home. Create a temporary living space for your puppy where there is nothing they can get into, chew, eat or destroy. Keep them in this space when you aren’t with them and know that this space will probably have accidents that will need to be cleaned up. Make sure this space is near the center of main activity for the family so your dog doesn’t feel isolated.
- Introduce your dog to his crate. It’s important that the crate is a safe, happy place for your dog. Never put your puppy in his crate as punishment. Give them treats when they’re in there, you can provide them with chews and toys and make sure there’s a bowl of fresh water. Eventually, the crate can become a dog’s safe spot, where they go to feel secure and comfortable. If you have a puppy that becomes scared during thunderstorms, it will be a good way for them to feel safe. The crate can also be beneficial in house-training. Puppies don’t want to relieve themselves in the place they are sitting and laying. They will be able to hold it a little longer if they know they’ll be going outside soon. Which brings me to my next point…
- Set up a routine. A routine will be very reassuring for your puppy and will help them become house-trained quicker. When puppies get used to going out at a certain time, they may be able to hold their bladder a bit. If they are unsure of the next time they will be able to go out, they may relieve themselves. When a dog gets used to a routine they won’t act out to get food, because they know it will be coming, etc. It may help with training as well. If your puppy knows that after walks is when you do training, they will be able to get into the right frame of mind on the walks and prepare for training. (Fun tip: When training it’s best to do it BEFORE they eat. This way, treats will be more enticing.)
- Finally, start your training. When your dog is used to his crate, and adjusted to your routine, their brain will be ready for training. Important commands for your dog to know include stay, sit, and come. (Another fun tip: if your puppy runs off and you say come but they don’t listen right away, and you keep saying come. DO NOT punish them when they finally come to you, even if they ran off or didn’t come right away. They want to know coming to you is a good thing, not something they will be punished for).
Puppies bring so much joy, soul, and love to your life and you bring the same to their life. Puppies definitely deserved to be celebrated and I’m so excited to celebrate National Puppy Day with you. Have fun with your pup and let them know you love them no matter what their age!!