Preparing Your Home
Bringing home a new puppy is similar to having a new toddler running around the house. New puppies are curious and may require you to “puppy proof” your home. Be sure your puppy has a safe place to be confined when he cannot be watched. At first, keep your puppy off balconies and porches or decks where he may be able to fall through. Keep dangerous chemicals and items off the floor and out of the puppy’s reach. Ensure none of your houseplants are dangerous for your new puppy. Keep your puppy away from electrical cords or anything you do not want accidentally chewed. Before bringing the puppy home, do a sweep of your home and ensure there is nothing small enough to fit in the puppy’s mouth. If it is small enough to fit in the puppy’s mouth, it is likely small enough for him to swallow. During teething especially, ensure the puppy has access to things you want him to chew so he doesn’t find his own things!
Introduce your new puppy to his home one room at a time. The house can be overwhelming for your new family member. Take time and reassure the puppy with a calm voice. It is usually easiest to start with the area where your puppy will be crated and/or where the food and water will be kept. Respect your puppy’s need for resting, sleeping or eating. Ensure that your family understands proper care and introducing your puppy to new things and people slowly and calmly. Introduce your puppy to other animals one at a time when both are calm and you have an extra set of hands/leashes for each animal. Sometimes it is best to do introductions while each animal is crated to allow time for them to get used to each other in a safe setting.
Training your puppy to have good manners starts early. Decide if your puppy will be allowed on furniture, gently push him down and say no when he attempts to jump up onto things. Similarly, do not let the puppy jump on people. Start to teach him to “sit” and have a treat ready as a reward. Encourage guests not to pet your puppy until he has sat and remains sitting. This will help your puppy learn to meet new people and accept praise calmly. If your puppy is chewing something not meant to be chewed, gently remove the item while telling him “no”. Replace it with something appropriate for chewing. Ensure your puppy has access to appropriate toys and bones.
Establish a Schedule
It is easiest to train a new puppy if you stick to a set schedule. For example, puppies usually eat three meals a day. Pay attention to the correct amount of food to feed your puppy. This information is listed on your puppy’s food bag. Feeding your puppy at the same time will encourage effective house training. Typically, your puppy will need to eliminate about thirty minutes after eating or drinking and right after he wakes from a nap. Taking him outside, through the same door, and to the same place will get your puppy used to going potty outside. Your puppy should soon head straight for the door when it is time to go potty. Consistency is key- consistent supervision, consistent feeding/schedule, consistent spot to potty, and consistent praise. A puppy should never be confined for more than one hour plus his number of months. For example, a three month old puppy should not be confined for more than four hours without a potty break.
Get to Know Your Vet
Establishing a good relationship with your veterinarian will ensure your puppy has a long, healthy, happy life. It is important to get on a regular schedule for vaccinations, worming, and maintenance visits. By building a strong relationship with your vet, they will get to know your puppy and be better able to recognize if your puppy starts to act out of the ordinary. Never bring your puppy around other animals unless he is up to date on all his vaccinations and dewormings.
There is nothing cuter than a freshly groomed puppy. If you decide not to professionally groom your puppy, or have long stretches of time between grooming sessions, be sure you still have regular nail trimmings done. You will also need to brush your puppy to ensure his hair does not become matted or tangled. Getting your puppy used to being handled early will ensure successful visits throughout his life. He should allow you to inspect his teeth, ears, body, and feet without aggression or pulling away.