Expecting a Dog! What to Do first?
The day is coming: you’re getting a new puppy! You can’t wait to snuggle with your fluffball and feel that wonderful puppy breath as you get tons of kisses and nibbles.
Although you might be daydreaming about your new furry friend, there are a few things you should know before it gets to their new home. This way, owning a puppy won’t be a challenge nor a source of stress. Instead, it will be everything you’ve dreamed of – and more.
Here’s a list of the most important things you should keep in mind before your puppy’s arrival.
Be Sure to Keep Your Puppy Close to You – At Least For the First Few Weeks
Especially if your puppy used to be part of a big litter or has just been separated from its mother, it will suffer from separation anxiety. Know that it will whimper at night and require a lot of attention throughout the day. Remember: it’s just a baby!
This may raise some confusion for new pet owners. After all, won’t being around a puppy all day “spoil” their development and independence?
The answer is no. At first, everything will be new to your pup: the environment, any other pets you may own, and even you. Being with them for as long as you can will help them bond with you. As a result, this solid connection will help you raise a more confident dog.
Another reason to keep your furbaby close to you is this: puppies need to pee and poop. A lot. That’s because, until they’re 16-weeks old, they have no control over their bladder. And whenever they feel the need to go potty, they’ll go – it doesn’t matter if that’s a brand new carpet.
Whether the proper location is outside or on leak-proof pads, you’ll need to teach your puppy about the importance of doing their business in the right places. The earlier they start potty training, the easier it will be to avoid stinky accidents down the road.
As a general rule of thumb, pups can only hold their needs for the number of hours equivalent to their age (in months) plus one. So, if your puppy is 5-months-old, it will be able to hold it in for six hours. Here’s a handy formula:
Still, becoming acquainted with your pooch’s potty routine is the best way to avoid any slip-ups– particularly if you don’t know its age in months. The following routine is a great starting point:
As soon as you wake up. You go to the bathroom as soon as you wake up. So should your pup!
After meals. Take it to go potty soon after their meals. When it comes to puppies, even water breaks should be included as meals.
Before bed. To avoid waking up to a surprise, take the puppy out to the potty before bedtime.
Don’t forget to add positive reinforcement to the potty routine. Because dogs learn by association, showering your puppy with treats and love after a successful potty break will help it repeat the behavior.
Invest in Chewy Toys
We all know how painful puppy bites can be. While puppy biting is normal behavior as their teeth are coming in, some of them will bite because they’re anxious or scared.
If your furry friend doesn’t have any toys to bite into, it will bite pillows, their bed, your clothes, or anything they can find on their way. It’s wrong to call them “bad dogs” when they don’t have the appropriate toys to teach them how to behave.
However, not all chew toys are suitable for every puppy. Although painfully sharp, their teeth are also sensitive. Ideally, you’d give them toys that aren’t soft enough to be destroyed with their first bite, yet not hard enough to hurt their teeth and gums.
Invest in High-Quality Puppy Food
Just because the dog food label features a cute puppy and tiny kibbles, that doesn’t mean it’s the right food for your pup. Truth is, several brands feature ingredients no dog should ever eat.
If you see any of the following ingredients in your dog’s food label, cross it off your list.
- Ethoxyquin, a food preservative.
- Monosodium glutamate, a flavor enhancer.
- Propylene Glycol, used as an antifreeze chemical.
- BHT/BHA, two cancer-causing preservatives.
- Corn syrup, a sugary additive.
- Artificial Colors, as they don’t add any benefit to your dog’s health.
As Your Puppy Grows, It Will Need to Socialize
Once the homesick phase passes and your furball is at least 7 to 8 weeks old, it’s ready to start socializing. During that time, it should have already gone through its first round of vaccinations.
Yes, socialization matters. When puppies are constantly introduced to new environments and friends, they become more well-behaved and relaxed. Not to mention, they don’t resort to aggressive behavior around other puppies. A dog that feels safe is a happy dog!
So, how can you start socializing your puppy when the time comes?
You can either do it at home or in dedicated doggy daycares. For busy and inexperienced pet owners, the latter is by far the best option. Not only will your pup make new friends, but their good behavior will be reinforced with love, treats, and lots of snuggles.
Even if you decide to train your puppy at home, some days will be busier than others. Don’t worry – just drop them off at one of our three dog training centers at Bonita Springs, Stuart, or Naples. We’ll make sure your pup has the time of its life, and that you come home to a very, very good dog.