Thinking of adding a new four-legged addition to the family? Here are a few tips below to help with preparing your life for a new puppy!
Prepare your home for having a puppy
Before deciding to get a puppy make sure you evaluate your schedule. Training a puppy requires a lot of time and is a lot of responsibility. Having a puppy is like having a child. They get into things you don’t want them to and they don’t listen very well because they’re still learning. The first thing you must do is “puppy-proof” your home. Anything that can be harmful to them must be put away - puppies will chew and swallow almost anything! Provide a spot just for them. Food and water bowls, a bed or crate, toys and potty pads are just a few things that can make your puppy comfortable in their new home. It’s also important to get them chipped and have an identification collar because accidents happen and your puppy will not be used to the surrounding area.
Make sure the entire family is on the same page. Vocabulary is an important factor when it comes to training you new addition. When Mom says “down” when your new pup climbs onto the couch, Dad says “down” when he wants him to sit down, and your child says “sit down” then expects the dog to sit, this creates a very confused pup. Another thing to remember is sticking to a schedule when it comes to daily walks, playtime, feeding, potty breaks and bedtime. Consistency is a key factor when it comes to successful training.
Find a veterinarian you trust
Between shots, check-ups and the occasional sickness, you’ll become very familiar with your local animal hospital. It’s important to find a doctor you trust and stick with them. Frequent visits allow your doctor to recognize and get to know your pet which will make them familiar with their medical history. Pay attention to your furbaby. You know them better than anyone. Changes in diet, behavior or energy are just some signs that it may be time for a visit to your veterinarian. It’s important to bring your furbaby in for a check-up at least every six months to keep them happy and healthy.
Socialize your pup
Exposing your new puppy to people and can make a huge impact on their future personality and how they’ll react to certain situations as an adult. You want your puppy to become accustomed to sights, smells and sounds in a positive way. Praise and treats to associate experiencing something new as fun. When you’re a puppy, everything is exciting and new! Remember, everything they encounter is an opportunity to create a positive experience.
Establish a bathroom routine
As soon as you wake up, take your puppy out. If they’re small enough to pick up, you may pick your pup up and take them outside to prevent them from urinating on the way out. Next up is breakfast. Take your puppy out to relieve themselves about 15-30 minutes after their meal. The younger your puppy is, the sooner you’ll need to take them out after eating. Puppies don’t have bladder control like adults so a routine after each meal will help the potty training process. Anytime you leave the house, it is important to take your puppy out for a “last call”. You can calculate how long your new friend can hold their potty breaks. Take the age of your puppy in months then add one. This will give you the approximate hours your puppy will be able to hold their bladder comfortably. Having a consistent schedule will help in having success with potty training.
Don’t get discouraged - training a puppy takes a lot of time and patience. Do not use harsh discipline methods with your pup as this will only make them resent you. Positive reinforcement and praise goes a long way. And most importantly - enjoy your puppy!