Everything You Need To Know To Prepare For A New Puppy
Getting a new puppy is an incredibly exciting time. Whether you are a first time dog owner or have experience, there is always plenty that you need to know and do in order to prepare your life, home, and self for a new pet companion.
This puppy guide will cover all the essentials so that you can successfully prepare for the arrival of a new puppy. Here is all you need to know from bringing home a new puppy and includes a puppy feeding guide and a puppy training guide. Let’s begin.
Considerations When Getting a Puppy
The lifestyle changes and responsibilities that come when adding a puppy to your life and your home might be surprising. Owning a dog is just like having a child and you will need to give them your full care and attention, especially when they are young and growing. Although dogs are protectors, they need protection too. Some dogs lack the security instinct of others. Hence, the type of breed that you get will determine how much care and security you need to give them.
For example, Rhodesian Ridgebacks and German Shepherds have a combination of natural instincts, temperament and physical strength required to protect their surroundings and owner. Many smaller breeds are fantastic watch dogs and will help alert you to strangers at your door.
There is a lot to consider when owning a dog, especially as not all breeds have the same characteristics.
However, irrespective of the type of dog you have, owning a puppy will require the same amount of lifestyle changes and responsibilities, as all puppies require training, feeding, care, and more.
Choosing a Dog Breed
Depending on the breed of dog you choose, the care, feeding, and training requirements may differ. Although all puppies will require some level of each, the amount of time and effort for each aspect might differ. Don’t forget that crossbreed dogs also make excellent companions and should also be considered.
A few examples of things to take into consideration:
Food - all dogs require a balanced diet, however, larger dogs will eat more than small dogs and more active dogs will eat more than sedentary breeds.
Health concerns - some breeds come with the potential for health concerns and you may need to consider a special diet and additional health care for them.
Hair or coat - the type of coat or hair that a dog has will affect the amount of grooming required - daily versus weekly versus monthly.
When looking for a new puppy, there is the option to adopt as well as buy from an owner or breeder. The option to adopt means that you can give a dog in need a new home. Although you may not be able to find a very young puppy, you may be surprised - so it is worth checking with local animal welfare, rescue and rehoming organisations. Giving a dog in need a home is a wonderful thing to do.
How to Actually Find a Puppy
When looking for a new puppy, the first place to start your research is online. There, you will be able to look into what is available. This will help you decide whether to adopt a puppy from a rescue organisation or buy one from a registered breeder.
It is always a good idea to visit the breeder or the rescue organisation before making your decision. You will want to ensure that the puppy is fit and healthy to bring home. When visiting a breeder you may be able to meet the parents of the puppy and other dogs that they have bred.
New Puppy Checklist
Every soon-to-be puppy owner will need the ultimate puppy checklist so that they are prepared for their arrival and the first few weeks of getting used to a new companion.
Below is everything you need to tick off to prepare for a new puppy.
Puppy Proofing the Home: every new puppy will be playful and curious about its new surroundings. They are likely to play with anything in their sight, chew on them, and pull them around. Therefore, make sure to puppy-proof the home so that your belongings and the puppy is safe from danger.
Puppy Food: puppy food is essential as every puppy requires the correct nutrition to grow.
Puppy Treats: puppy training is easiest with treats in your pocket. Therefore, along with their food, consider getting some treats so that you can reward their good behaviour.
Puppy Dental Care: just like humans, puppies need their teeth and gums cleaned. The right dental care will ensure that their teeth grow properly and that their gums are healthy. A good dental care routine will help prevent disease later in life.
Puppy Bathing & Grooming: no matter if your puppy loves playing in the mud or running around with other animals, a regular bath and grooming session is essential to keep them clean, happy, and healthy.
Puppy Beds & Crates: a puppy requires its own place to sleep. Otherwise, they might develop bad sleeping habits (like sleeping with you)!
Puppy Toilet Training materials: puppies are likely to go to the toilet wherever they feel comfortable, especially when they are very young. This might mean puddles in the kitchen or on the stairs. Make sure you have read up on efficient toilet training and have all the tools. That way you will soon help them understand where it is acceptable to go to the toilet.
Puppy Exercise & Walking: every puppy and adult dog requires plenty of exercise and training, for optimal growth and good behaviour. Hence, you will need to prepare yourself and make time for daily walks and training activities.
Puppy Toys & Boredom Busters: puppies are playful animals and will require lots of attention. To ensure that you do not have to be the one giving them attention all day long, a toy or boredom buster will ensure to keep them entertained.
With this checklist in mind, let’s get into detail about what each part entails.
Puppy Proofing the Home
Before the puppy comes home, it is essential to puppy-proof the home. The following essentials are needed in order to efficiently puppy-proof the home.
- Cleaning Products, Medications, Aromatherapy Oils: All dogs, young or old, are curious creatures. When a puppy arrives in new surroundings, it will likely play with anything and everything in sight. Therefore, it is essential to store away any cleaning products, medications, or other harmful ingredients. If a puppy gets into contact with a harmful ingredient, it could become seriously ill. The best place to store these items is in high cupboards that dogs cannot reach. Or, in a locked cupboard.
- Cables and Cords: Cables and cords are safety hazards for dogs, especially puppies as they like to chew. If they come across a loose cable, they will be susceptible to chewing through it. This could either cause serious harm to them or damage your belongings. Either way, keep cables and cords out of sight and reach of a new puppy so that they cannot hurt themselves (or your things).
- Cover Plug Sockets: It is important to also cover your plug sockets. This will ensure that they cannot lick at them or play with them.
- Furniture: Puppies will enjoy chewing things, furniture included. Therefore, make sure you tuck away or add covers to any good furniture until your puppy has learnt the right behaviour in your home. Likewise, any furniture that is high up and your puppy could jump up onto and fall off should be kept in rooms that the puppy cannot use.
- Pick up off the Floor: Anything that the puppy sees on the floor, they will likely pick up, play with, chew, or eat. Therefore, ensure to pick up anything off of the floor ahead of their arrival and throughout the younger years until they are trained.
- House Plants & Gardens: Many plants can be harmful to dogs. If your puppy chews on a plant that contains toxic chemicals, they could become ill. Therefore, go through your house plants and any in the garden to make sure that they are not harmful to dogs. Remember, your puppy could easily chew a plant when you are not looking.
- Playpens, Sleeping Areas & Gates: All puppies should have their own sleeping area. It will teach them where they sleep at night, where they rest, and will also give them a sense of their own space. Without a sleeping area, they may try to sleep with you or other areas in the home. This could disrupt your sleep or theirs. When your puppy is up and about, but you cannot give them your full attention for half an hour or so, a playpen is a great idea. This will make sure they have boundaries and cannot escape or do anything that could harm them. Adding toys and boredom busters will make sure that they are satisfied in the pen. Furthermore, you will need to enhance the security of your home ahead of their arrival. Any loose gates or holes in the fences could encourage your puppy to flee the home. The better your fences and gates are guarded, the safer your puppy will be.
- Areas of Open Water: Whether or not your puppy is a good swimmer, they will likely be encouraged to get into any body of open water. Therefore, if you have a pond or pool in your garden, you should ensure that it is fenced so that your puppy cannot fall or jump in it. They could potentially drown.
- Bin Lids: Puppies will happily jump up and open the lid of a bin if they can smell yummy leftover food. Although the food might not harm them, any other chemicals or toxins in the bin can. Hence, ensure to have protective bin lids so that your puppy cannot get into the bin when you are not looking. Likewise, if you have external bins, ensure that they are safe too. A compost bin can also cause harm to your dog. Therefore, make sure to place a secure and lockable lid so that your puppy cannot get access to those tempting smells while playing in the garden.
- Remove Bait Stations: If you currently have bait stations around the home or in the garden to prevent rodents, then you will want to remove these as they could cause harm to your puppy if he was to get caught investigating the bait station.
- Get Chew Toys Ready: Your new puppy will want to chew on everything in sight. Therefore, getting chew toys ready and having them available in every space they are allowed access to will ensure that they chew their toy and not your things. Don’t forget they will love to chew things that smell like you - so you will still need to pick up after yourself as well.
- Place Your Bags Out Of Sight: Most people will have a bag that they place in an easy-to-grab position, such as a handbag or work backpack. These bags could contain things that could cause harm to your puppy. Whether you have lipstick or an easy to swallow pair of headphones in your bag, your puppy could get ill from the contents of what’s inside. Not to mention some of these things are expensive to replace.
- Lock Away Batteries: There are often battery-powered items around the home, from the TV remote control to the gaming console. Either way, they should be kept out of reach as batteries can be seriously harmful to dogs.
- A Feeding Spot: It is good for your puppy to have a dedicated feeding spot. Feeding them on your sofa or at the table does not encourage good eating behaviour. They might want to eat your food instead of eating theirs, which will cause problems as they become older. So dedicate a spot where only their food and water sits. This will ensure that they only eat what is safe for them and what they should be eating.
- Window Locks: Although your puppy might not always go near windows and try to open them, there could be a small chance that this could happen. Hence, using window locks will reduce the chance of this happening at all. Keeping all windows locked, as well as doors will provide the utmost protection for your puppy, especially if you live in an apartment above ground level.
- Keep Your Grass Trimmed: Ticks, fleas, and other harmful creatures can live among long grass. Therefore, you can puppy-proof your garden by trimming the grass regularly.
- Outdoor Shelter: It is essential to keep your puppy cool and out of extreme heat. They will want to be outside and playing in the garden, especially when the weather is warm and more people are outside. Therefore, ensure to create plenty of shelter and shade so that they are not in the heat for too long. If you get your puppy in the summer or live somewhere hot, then it is essential to implement this before their arrival.
Puppy Tips for the First Few Days
After puppy-proofing your entire home and garden ahead of their arrival, you will then need to know how to care for your puppy during their first few days. The first few days might be the hardest for them and for you, as it is new to you both.
Some top tips for the first 48 hours with a new puppy include:
Getting them used to other pets: if you have other pets, then you will want to introduce them when the new puppy arrives. Either animal could react and therefore, you need to ensure to keep a safe distance between them, at least for the first few days. If either animal gets irritated or angry, make sure to redirect them and try again until they are used to one another.
Creating rules and setting boundaries: from the minute your new puppy arrives home, you need to create rules and set boundaries. For example, if they chew the chairs, tell them “no”. If they try to climb the stairs, add a gate. Small boundaries will help them get used to what they are and aren’t allowed to do, and where they are allowed to go.
Start a routine: all animals require a routine, especially dogs. For a new puppy, it is important to start a routine as soon as they get home and stick to the routine. This should include meal times, sleep times, walk times, and playtimes. Sticking to the same routine will help them familiarise themselves and know what to expect and also, what you expect of them.
Limit their access: your puppy will likely want to explore the entire home and garden. However, it might not be safe for them too. For the first few days in the home, it is best to limit their access so that you can keep a watchful eye on them. Likewise, it will help them understand that there are boundaries to abide by.
Choose a toilet spot: your puppy will likely not know where to go to the toilet. So, making a safe spot for them will help them understand. The best idea is close to your back door or a potty not far from their bed.
What Food to Feed a Puppy
Puppies grow very rapidly and they require the right nutrition for the best growth and good health. Here is everything that you need to know about feeding your puppy from introducing them to new foods and when to start with solids. Be sure to check out our separate blog dedicated entirely to the best puppy food for your puppy.
How to introduce a puppy to new food
When your puppy arrives home, the food that you give them might be different to what their previous carers did. If introducing our puppy to a new food be sure that you introduce the food slowly so that you don’t upset their tummy. To do this, mix the food they were previously eating with the new food over a period of 7 days gradually increasing the amount of the new food and decreasing the amount of the old food.
When your puppy is very small you may need to soften the dry puppy food that you want it to eat. Follow these steps when first feeding your puppy:
Start by pouring it into a shallow feeding dish
Pour hot water over the food and allow it to soak for around 15 minutes, or when it becomes soggy
Call the puppy to the dish and let them sniff and figure out the food
Slowly sample the food into their mouth if they do not reach for it
When all food has been eaten, reward the puppy with love and clean the dish
Repeat three times a day as young puppies are required to be fed this much
When can puppies start to eat solid food?
Generally, puppies can start to eat solid foods when they become mobile, at around 3 or 4 weeks old.
When your puppy starts to eat solid foods, you will likely want to use a combination of dry puppy food and canned or wet puppy food. Both will provide the right balanced nutrition and flavour so that your puppy enjoys mealtime.
Dry and wet puppy food should contain adequate protein and fat, as growing puppies require plenty of both. There are meat options as well as fish options. Switching up the flavours will help you discour the flavour your puppy prefers.
The amount of food that you give your puppy will vary depending on their size and breed . Follow the directions on the packaging for your puppies age and weight. Puppies have tiny tummies so you will need to divide their daily quantity of food up into 3 - 4 meals at the start. As your puppy grows you can move towards three and then two times a day feeding. If you purchase your puppy from a registered breeder they will probably provide you with a detailed feeding guide and a small quantity of food to get started on your first few meals.
When your puppy does a good thing, it is important to reward them. It will encourage them to keep up the good behaviour. Rewards can be praise and pats - and food treats.
To understand more about puppy treats, read these FAQs below.
Can you give a puppy treats?
Yes, puppies are allowed treats. They shouldn’t be in replacement as a meal or food but more of a dog snack. They should be given as a reward for good behaviour or for correctly performing the right behaviour.
When can you give a puppy treats for training?
A puppy should start with training after they are adequately mobile at around 6 weeks old.
How many treats can you give a puppy?
Around one to four treats a day is moderate and more than enough for a puppy. Only offer them as a reward.
Can puppy treats cause diarrhoea?
Too much food or a sudden change to a new food can cause diarrhoea and the same can be said for treats. Puppies can experience diarrhoea for a number of reasons though, not just from food or treats..
What are some good puppy treats?
Good puppy treats are any that are nutritious. Although they are a treat, they still need to include the essential nutrients and vitamins that a dog needs. A vitamin stick treat is an example of a good puppy treat. It combines a nutritious snack to enhance their health and a reward all in one.
Microchipping & Registration
In all Australian states except the Northern Territory it is compulsory to have your dog microchipped. The tiny microchip is about the size of a grain or rice and is placed under the skin between your dog's shoulder blades on the back of their neck. The electronic code in this microchip can be detected with a special scanner. This code is matched with a database which contains information about you and your puppy so that if he is lost you can be contacted. Your puppy may already have a microchip when you take him home, but be sure to check the requirements for your state as they age and rules vary between states.
If the breeder or previous owner has already microchipped your puppy make sure you have his details transferred into your name.
Every new puppy should be signed up to a local vet so that you have somewhere to take them when they need medical assistance.
It is a good idea to take your puppy to the vet when you first get them so that the vet can do a health check, add them to their database and let you know what to expect over the next few months.
The initial examination of your puppy will include a check of their weight, temperature, heart and lungs, eyes, ears, nose, feet, and genitalia as well as an assessment of their overall development.
Your puppy will need vaccines to protect their health. Your puppy should have had at least one vaccination prior to arrival with you and there is a schedule of further vaccinations over the next few months. See more information further down in this blog.
Your vet will also advise you on parasite control for your puppy.
Protection against intestinal worms and heartworm.
Protection against fleas and ticks
It is a good idea to visit your vet once or twice a year. This is to keep an eye on their health.
Should your dog experience symptoms of an illness, or an emergency, then make sure to take them to see the vet immediately.
How to handle your puppies first vet visit
Some new puppies might be fine and playful during their first vet visit. However, some puppies might be frightened. Therefore, it is good to remember some tips for how to handle your puppies first vet visit.
Travel with a crate: so that your puppy is safe and well-behaved on the journey to the vet, it can help to travel with them in a crate. This can be either in your boot or on the seat.
Keep your puppy on a lead: this will keep them close to you and away from other dogs, and encourage them to be well-behaved.
Use treats: You can use puppy treats to keep them calm and attentive, in the waiting room and on the examination table.
Puppy Worming & Parasite Treatments
Your puppy will require worming and parasite treatments to prevent and/or treat parasites. Any type of worm can cause your puppy to become unwell. So regular worming is essential for good health.
Your puppies first worming treatment should occur at around 2 weeks old. Thereafter, worming treatments should occur at 4, 8, and 12 weeks old.
Some further FAQs about worming and parasite treatments are below:
How often should I worm my puppy?
After your puppy is three months old, they should be wormed for intestinal worms every three months to keep up good health. There are a variety of heartworm preventions available - most involve a monthly treatment.
Which wormer is best for my puppy?
The best (and more convenient) wormers are those which include treatments or ingredients that can kill fleas, control ticks, prevent heartworm, treat and control roundworm, hookworm and whipworm. Any that are soft and easy to chew will ensure that your dog can eat them easily. Your vet can show you how to give your puppy a tablet if you would like to use tablets to protect them from parasites. There are also spot on treatments that are easy to apply to the back of the neck
Signs and symptoms of worms
Should you notice the following symptoms in your puppy, it could indicate that they have worms.
Failure to grow
Stools that contain blood or spaghetti-like worms
At around 3 weeks, a puppy will begin teething. This will last until the puppy is 6 - 8 months old and it has all its adult teeth.
The teething process for pups is similar to that of a human baby. The primary or deciduous teeth grow first. These teeth are pointed and very sharp. If a pup nibbles on your finger, the feeling can be more pronounced than an adult dog. Once the deciduous teeth fall out, the adult teeth emerge.
On occasion, you may notice a deciduous tooth on the floor around your home. However, it is more common for the puppy to swallow the teeth while eating. You may notice some bleeding when this occurs but it should be minimal and it’s nothing to worry about.
Signs Of Teething
The most common sign of teething is a puppy that starts chewing everything around them. This is one of the ways that they understand the world and also helps ease their sore gums. Some breeds are more likely to chew than others. To deal with this, you should provide them with something like a Kong puppy teething dental stick. This is great for encouraging acceptable chewing behaviour.
Dental Problems In Puppies
Dental problems during the teething process are rare for young dogs. However, it is possible for some smaller breeds to retain their deciduous teeth. This can lead to issues with the jaw not closing correctly or teeth that are misaligned. Food can also get trapped between the teeth which could lead to periodontal disease. Treats such as Whimzees Puppy Dental Bones can help keep your puppy's teeth healthy. These are available in varieties suitable for both smaller and larger breeds alike. These treats also help keep your pup’s breath minty fresh, saving you from some unpleasant odours.
Tackling Problems With Pups Chewing
One of the most common problems with puppies’ teething is that they ignore their toys and continue to focus their attention on something in your home. This could be table legs or anything they find that looks intriguing. To deal with this, you may need to make a toy more enticing. Kong Easy Treat Paste Puppy Recipe is a great option because you can use it to fill a toy or spread it across the outer surface.
Bathing and Grooming
Your puppy will get dirty on occasion and need bathing or grooming. While some breeds require more bathing than others, it’s necessary to keep in mind that too many baths will reduce the levels of natural oils in their coat and dry out the skin.
When Should You First Bathe Your Pup?
A puppy should not be bathed until they are at least four weeks old. However, closer to eight weeks is recommended. The reason for this is that like babies, pups have trouble regulating their temperature. So, it can be dangerous to get them too cold. If your puppy becomes dirty and you need to bathe them, make sure the water is warm and you thoroughly dry them and keep them warm afterwards.
Bathing And Coat Requirements
How many baths your pup needs will depend on their coat and what they get up to. A poodle coat needs the most bath time and should be completed around every two months. Double-coated breeds such as german shepherds need a bath a couple of times each year and smooth coats may only need one bath annually. Of course this changes if you have a dog that is swimming or playing in the mud.
If your pup is starting to smell and you are worried about over bathing them, then you can try a dry bath product.
Choosing The Right Bath Products
You need to choose products that are specifically designed for puppies like Natures Garden Organics Fragrance Aromatherapy puppy shampoo. One of the key benefits of this shampoo is that it’s designed for sensitive dogs with a tearless formula. Watch out for products that provide additional benefits including a delightful smell and ingredients that will help improve the health of your pup’s coat.
Just like dogs need to be groomed, pups need brushing too. For long hair pups, it’s important to brush them regularly to avoid issues with knots and help keep their coat healthy. Even short-haired breeds and dogs with smooth coats require regular brushing. Similar to bathing, the amount of brushing required will depend on the type of coat. However, you should aim to brush your puppy at least once a week. It’s best to get started at an early age so they can get used to this process. The good news is that you can’t over brush a puppy and it can be a wonderful bonding activity.
However, you do need to be careful about the item that you use to brush them. Shear Magic Slicker Brush Puppy is a great choice because it helps to remove loose hair as well as debris and is suitable for all coat types.
Most puppies will race around the home and seem like a ball of energy, constantly raring to go. However, puppies probably require more sleep than you realise. Their sleep time to active time ratio is quite surprising.
How Long Do Puppies Sleep For?
Puppies will typically sleep between eighteen and twenty hours per day. When they’re awake a pup will burn off a lot of energy so they will need sleep time to recover. Sleep helps ensure that they develop the right way, supporting their muscles, brain and immune system. It also powers the crazy growth spurts pups experience.
Where Should A Puppy Sleep?
Most puppies will sleep best in a crate. Crates are useful because it provides a place for your pup to chill when you can’t watch over them. It also provides boundaries and dogs need boundaries to become well behaved. You can choose a wire style plate or a plastic crate that is more enclosed. A crate needs to be large enough for a puppy to stand and turn around. However, it shouldn’t be big enough that a dog has a potty place. A pup will not go to the toilet where they sleep unless they are desperate. You can make your puppy's crate more comfortable and practical with something like Yours Droolly Water Resistant Bed Crate Mat. This will make things easier if they do have an accident.
It’s important to note that a sleeping crate is not the same as an exercise pen. A Droolly Puppy and Dog Exercise Pen is great for training your dog’s behaviour through the day but it may be too large for them to sleep in.
How To Get A Puppy To Sleep At Night
Getting your puppy to sleep at night can be a challenge at first. Your pup is likely highly sociable and will constantly want company. Crate training can help but you should also consider the environment that your puppy was used to before you brought them home. Your pup likely slept snuggled into their mother. That’s why something like an AFP Little Buddy Heart Beat Sheep Comfort Toy can help your puppy sleep soundly. It mimics a heartbeat your puppy can listen to while they snooze.
Some puppies also respond well to music however this will depend on the unique personality of your furry friend.
Puppies pee quite often. Indeed, the average puppy may go to the toilet as many as 12 times per day. As such, you will undoubtedly want to ensure that they are toilet trained as quickly as possible.
Unfortunately, it may take at least six months before your puppy is fully house trained. The time it takes to train a pup to go to the toilet in the right place depends on the breed, their ability to learn and their age when you start training. Earlier is better and if you start as quickly as possible, some pups will learn in just a couple of weeks.
When Can You Start Training?
You can start training a puppy when they are between 12 and 16 weeks old. This is the age when they have enough control over their bowel and bladder to hold on. Young puppies have weaker bladders so are more difficult to train because they might need to be taken out to go to the toilet every twenty minutes.
How To Toilet Train Your Puppy
To toilet train your puppy, you should take them out as soon as they wake up and just after eating. You need to provide them with an area to go to the toilet. This can be outside or you can use something like Yours Droolly Toilet Training Pads for Puppy and Dogs. These are great for training your dog inside and getting them used to a designated location.
Training pads are also useful for helping your dog understand a specific place where they can go to the toilet outside. An extra way to encourage this is by using bark chips in the toilet area to ensure that an area of your garden feels or smells different. Dogs often enjoy scratching after they have gone to the toilet and bark chips are ideal for this. Having the toilet area covered with something other than grass can also help your puppy from mistakenly going to the toilet in other areas of your garden.
Similarly, you can use something like Yours Droolly No More Marking And Weeing spray to mark areas that puppies have used before and you don’t want them to revisit. This can act as a fantastic deterrent.
The Importance Of Treats
When your pup does their business in the right area, you need to reward them with a treat and plenty of praise. Since you will need to reward them regularly, a healthy treat like Vitapet Milky Sticks is a good option.
As well as providing them with a treat your puppy also needs praise and encouragement. In contrast, you should never punish your dog for going to the wrong place. Instead, use deterrents like the spray mentioned above to combat negative behaviour. Consistent positive reinforcement and lots of opportunity to go to the toilet throughout the day are both essential for successful toilet training.
Exercise & Walking
Even the most inactive dog breeds will require regular walks when they are younger. In terms of how much exercise specifically, the best rule of thumb is to provide five minutes of exercise for each month of age, up to twice a day. So, if a dog is three months old, then they would need 15 minutes of walking. By six months, they need 30 minutes. Once they are fully grown, you can exercise your dog for far longer but when they are younger, you need to be careful of overexercising.
Different breeds require different amounts of exercise, so check with the breeder ro your veterinarian if you are not sure about what is best for your puppy.
You can start walking your puppy once they have received their last vaccination booster. However, before this, you can walk them around the garden to get them used to being on a lead or using a collar and harness.
When you start walking a puppy, it’s best to use a harness. There are a couple of reasons why something like a Kazoo Active Soft Walking Harness is the best choice. It provides more back support and avoids you causing discomfort when you tug on their lead or they do. A harness will also provide more control when guiding your puppy.
Choosing between a collar or harness is a personal preference. It is a good idea that your puppy is also used to wearing a collar and you can add identity tags to a collar easily. Most harnesses have room for a collar so your puppy can wear both and you can attach the lead to the harness for walking. Collars can be left on at all times however harnesses should be removed after exercise to keep your puppy comfortable.
You may like to also consider a behaviour and training collar like the Adaptil Junior Puppy Collar. This collar is worn under a normal collar and is kept on at all times and can comfort puppies and help support their training.
When And Where To Walk Your Puppy
You can choose to exercise your puppy across several walks or one longer one. Most owners will exercise their puppy a few times each day, often in the morning, afternoon and evening. An evening walk is a great idea to tire your pup out before bed. Do note that breed does impact the amount of time a dog needs walking. Long walks are more difficult for certain breeds like French Bulldogs. As such, exercise should be restricted to just fifteen minutes per day.
One of the best places to walk your puppy is a dog park. This provides you with the most safety and security as well as providing opportunities to socialise your puppy. Regardless of where you take your puppy, make sure to check for signs that show whether your puppy is welcome on or off their lead.
Training Your Dog To Walk
To train your puppy to walk with you, you’ll need a collar or a harness and a lead. Extender leads are fine for older dogs but with a puppy, it is best to use a normal lead. These come in all sorts of designs including True Love Floral Poppy Red and provide the right level of control.
You can train your puppy to walk on a lead by using treats and praise, encouraging them to stay at your pace.
Toys & Boredom Busters
Puppy’s need regular attention and opportunities to play. Playtime is separate from exercise time. On average a puppy will need about twenty minutes of play per day. You’ll need to fit this into their busy sleep schedule.
To keep your puppy entertained, you should provide them with different types of toys to play with. These toys should have different textures and designs to ensure they are as interesting and engaging as possible.
A common misconception is that it is pointless getting puppies toys that are different colours because they are colour blind. However, this is a simplification and puppies do benefit from different colours and shades of toys. Something like Kong Puppy Rubber Toys are great because you can fill them with treats. This can provide an additional level of play and engagement because they need to work out how to get the treat out of the toy.
Other toys that are great for busting boredom include tugging toys such as the Kong Puppy Wubba. These are available in various different colours and are durable enough for large and small dogs. Puppies love tugging back and forth or playing fetch with the same toy.
Of course, you also need toys that are suitable for solo play. These will keep your pup entertained when you are busy or preoccupied. Puppies respond well to toys that make noises and respond to their play. When a puppy hears a toy squeak, you’ll notice that they immediately become more excited and entertained. Kazoo Furries Long Eared Toys are great for this and also fun for your pup to carry around or even lie against.
Remember, providing your puppy with a variety of different toys to play with isn’t just important because it will keep them engaged. It will also ensure that you remain engaged and ensure that you look forward to playing with them each time. That’s crucial as it will mean that you don’t try and avoid the playtime that your puppy requires.
It is a good idea to rotate the toys that your puppy plays with to help keep them stimulated and engaged. Their favourite bedtime or comfort toy however should stay the same. It is a good idea to have a spare of their comfort toy in case of destruction and to allow for washing.
Signs Your Pup Isn’t Getting Enough Play
A puppy that doesn’t get the right level of play will become bored quite quickly. They may display negative forms of behaviour including destroying your property. In some cases, a bored puppy may also whine more than usual and you could find that you struggle to get them to sleep at night. This will be because they haven’t been provided with enough activities throughout the day.
Training At Home & Puppy School
You can start training your puppy at any age. However, as we have already mentioned, the earlier you can begin, the easier it will be to reinforce positive behaviour.
You might be wondering whether you should train your dog at home or enrol them in a puppy school. The answer depends on the amount of time that you have when training your dog and how confident you are that you’ll get them to listen. Some dog breeds are harder to train than others.
Larger puppies in particular are often more troublesome during the training process. If you don’t have much time or you are struggling to get your pup to pay attention to lessons, then puppy school can be the answer. If you are new to dogs then puppy school is a good idea.
At puppy school, your pup can learn a range of lessons including:
Basic training - sit, down, drop, stay, come, wait, leave it, give
Walking off a leash
Being comfortable when handled by different individuals
Puppy training will also be useful for providing you as the learner with the information you need. This includes tips on keeping your pup safe, health concerns to look out for and the best food options.
Benefits Of Puppy School Training
There are certain benefits to training your pup by using a professional puppy school. One of the key advantages is that it teaches them to socialise with other dogs and humans at an early age. If you leave this too late, then it’s more difficult to get a puppy to feel comfortable around other dogs. This can lead to negative behaviours that may even be dangerous including aggression.
Finding The Right Puppy School
When looking for the right puppy school for your dog, make sure that you look at the type of training that they offer. It’s best to focus on finding a school that uses reward-based dog training. Unwanted behaviours are ignored rather than being punished or asserting dominance over the puppy.
Deciding When To Take Your Puppy To School
Your pup can attend a puppy school at between eight and sixteen weeks of age. They just need to be in good health and fully vaccinated. The aim here is to ensure that dangerous diseases are not spread around a dog population.
You can train your dog without support from puppy school, but these classes do provide lots of hints and tips and additional support for you - and new friends for your puppy.
Desexing is a surgery that involves removing the reproductive organs of dogs which prevents them from breeding permanently. It is referred to as castration for male dogs and spaying for female dogs.
Are There Health Benefits?
There are health benefits of Desexing a puppy. Research shows that it can significantly reduce the chances of a female dog developing mammary (breast) cancer and helps prevent infections of the uterus. Studies also support the idea that Desexing can reduce the possibility that a male dog will develop testicular cancer or prostate disease later in life.
Does It Change Your Puppy’s Behaviour?
Desexing is commonly used as a way to reduce or prevent a number of negative behaviours that may become more noticeable as puppies get older. In some cases, these behaviours can even lead to dogs needing to be rehomed. Some of the negative behaviours that will be reduced through desexing include ‘mounting’ and urine marking. Female dogs will not come into heat and have the associated bloody discharge. As such, desexing your puppy can make them easier to care for overall.
Dedexing reduces the territorial behaviour of dogs and can reduce roaming and wandering.
When Should Your Puppy Be Desexed?
Generally, dogs should be desexed between six to nine months of age. However, it does vary according to breed, so follow the guidance of your veterinarian about the best time for your pup. Often when adopting a puppy from a rescue organisation they are already dessexed. Desexing can be completed safely when a dog is eight weeks old but they must be at least 1kg.
Is Desexing Compulsory?
In some states desexing is compulsory and is required by law. Generally, if you do not plan on using your puppy to breed, desexing is recommended by experts. Desexing will also make it easier to train your dog. Council registration costs much less if your dog has been desexed.
One of the most important steps that you must take as a new dog owner is to vaccinate your puppy.
Typically speaking, puppies will receive their first vaccination between eight and ten weeks of age. Your puppy will require at least one booster after their initial vaccination howeverThe vaccination schedule for your puppy will vary depending on your puppies lifestyle and the type of vaccinations your veterinarian uses. Your vet can provide you with key information about the right timings for your pup.
Once the initial vaccinations are completed, your pup will also require booster vaccinations. It will be your responsibility to keep your puppy’s vaccinations up to date, but your vet will usually keep you informed and may send out reminders.
What Do Vaccinations Protect Against?
Puppy vaccinations will protect your pet from a range of dangerous and nasty diseases. These include:
Your vet can provide you with more detailed information about the different diseases that your puppy needs protection for.
Who Can Provide Vaccinations?
Your vet will complete the vaccinations that your puppy needs. To ensure that your puppy receives all the right vaccinations, you should register your pup with a local vet once you bring them home. As well as providing vaccinations, your vet will complete health checks and ensure that your puppy remains in fantastic health throughout its development.
How Long Are Vaccines Effective For?
The duration a vaccine will provide protection depends on the specific vaccination that is given to your puppy. Your vet will keep a record of all vaccinations and ensure that your puppy does not fall behind.
Some owners are worried about the cost of vaccinations. However, it’s important to note that the cost of this treatment is nothing compared to the cost required to fight the diseases that they protect a puppy from.
Before your puppy comes home, you should be thinking about puppy insurance. Some owners consider waiting until a puppy is older before they start exploring insurance options. However, it’s best to get insurance set up as early as possible.
The reason for this is that a puppy can develop health issues at any age. Some of these are more expensive than others and you need to make sure that you can afford the treatments that your puppy might need. The costs of petcare rise with inflation just like everything else. The average insurance claim for a puppy may be as high as $800.
Does Pet Insurance Cover Pre-Existing Conditions?
Many pet insurance policies will not include pre-existing health conditions. This is another reason why you should get pet insurance set up as quickly as possible. You may also be required to have your puppy checked by a vet prior to taking out a policy. Some policies have restrictions on the type of claims that can be made for specific breeds or may charge higher premiums for these breeds.
What Should You Think About When Choosing Puppy Insurance?
When you are choosing puppy insurance make sure that you research how much of your vet bills will be covered. There may also be a limit on how much of each procedure will be covered. You may also want to check the reviews of the option that you are considering and you can ask your friends and family about which companies they have found good to deal with. Ideally, you should look for a pet insurance company that provides an easy claims process.
You will often find pet insurance companies that provide different plans that are designed to match certain budgets. Make sure that you use one that fits with your financial limits. Some pet plans last the lifetime of the animal while others may only cover the first few years. As such, you might need to arrange another insurance option once your puppy is older.
Some of the benefits covered in the plan could include:
Death from illness
Death from injury
You may also want to explore other factors that could impact your coverage including waiting periods. Pet insurance plans may explain how long you will need to wait before you receive treatment for certain health conditions that your pup might need support for.
Remember, pet insurance isn’t just about your puppy’s health, you must plan for the future. There are many health conditions that become far more common as your puppy becomes an adult dog. You may want to research the health conditions that tend to impact the specific breed of your puppy before settling on a plan.
We hope this helps you understand everything that you need to know when preparing to bring a new puppy into your home and your family. Puppies are always going to bring plenty of joy, fun and excitement to your life, however, they are also a big responsibility. They must be cared for in the right way and require constant love and attention. Getting the right items and accessories will always help with the common challenges from training to helping your pup sleep and ensuring that they are eating the right food. You can learn more by searching some of our other blog posts. If you ever find yourself struggling with the first few months, make sure to contact a professional. Your vet or an expert puppy trainer will be able to help you and your new furry friend bond, grow and develop together.