One of the first, and most important, on the list
puppy care information is to make sure your puppy is healthy, and to keep him
that way. Many puppy owners worry about their new puppy's behavior during the
first few days after they get them home. They are often concerned about the
possibility that their pup is sick, due to the fact that he/she seems to sleep
a lot, isn't very hungry, and may seem 'sad or depressed'.
Although these symptoms can be early signs of some serious
illnesses or diseases, even Parvo, a puppy can exhibit these behaviors due to
the stress of leaving his canine family and joining yours.
A new pup may sleep a lot as a way of 'shutting out' what is
making him feel scared, and the loss of appetite can be due to anxiety. If your
puppy has periods of happy activity during the day, isn't suffering from
recurring diarrhea and/or vomiting, and shows interest in his toys, treats and
so on, chances are he will soon be the active, playful puppy you expected. The
adjustment period usually only lasts for a few days, to a week or so at most.
However, if your puppy seems sick in any way, is showing any
of the symptoms of illness mentioned above, or even if you're just concerned,
always check with your veterinarian. It's much better to be safe than sorry.
In order to keep your new puppy healthy and happy, follow
the guidelines below, and all should be well.
Regular health check-ups
As soon as you bring your puppy home for the first time,
make sure you take him to your veterinarian for a thorough check-up.
Approved puppy vaccination schedule
A vital part of new puppy care is making sure that your
puppy keeps up to date with all his shots. There are several very dangerous,
and potentially fatal, puppy illnesses that can easily be prevented by
following a recommended vaccination schedule. Ask your vet about:
There are a whole host of parasites such as puppy worms and
fleas and ticks that can make your puppy's life miserable if they get the
chance. Follow the de-worming schedule recommended by your vet. As soon as your
puppy is old enough, use a flea and tick preventative, such as Frontline Plus,
on a regular basis.
Heartworms are parasites that are deadly to your dog, and
unfortunately by the time your dog shows signs of infestation, he's already
very, very sick. So, Heartworm prevention is really essential.
One of the most important things you can when taking care of
a new puppy, is to make sure that you give him a quality dog food.
What you feed your puppy during those early, fast-growing
months, has a direct impact on his future growth and development.
Be absolutely certain to choose a well balanced, highly
nutritious, and breed-appropriate puppy kibble.
New puppy care can involve the occasional bath and always
requires some degree of grooming.
Keeping your puppy clean and his fur from getting snarled or
tangled is important. It helps to keep him free of parasites, and his skin
Another important part of grooming is cutting those little
puppy nails on a regular basis.
Good behavior and training
New puppy care doesn't just involve the physical stuff
either. Being a responsible puppy parent means teaching your puppy how to be a
well-behaved member of the family.
The first task you'll want to tackle is
housebreaking/potty-training. An untrained puppy, and eventually dog, is not
pleasant to share your home with, so put this at the top of your 'to do' list.
Crate training is the simplest and quickest way to housebreak a puppy...highly
You want your puppy to grow up to be a friendly, confident
dog - one you can take anywhere with you. This won't just happen by itself
though! To help your puppy mature into a sociable, well-mannered adult you'll
need to provide him with plenty of positive socialization experiences.
As soon as he's had all his puppy shots, start taking him
out with you on errands, to the park, to play-dates with other vaccinated dogs,
to puppy classes etc. Make these outings fun for him and you'll be rewarded
with a sociable family pet in the years to come.
Make good decisions
Taking care of a new puppy involves lots of decision-making.
Some of them are pretty straightforward, others a little less so.
Once you've picked out your new puppy, knowing what to
expect when you first bring him home will make the transition much easier.
You'll need lots of dog toys to keep your puppy busy and
entertained. Puppies may be small, but they can be a lot stronger than they
look. You'll be surprised at the damage those little teeth can cause. For
safety reasons, any large-breed puppy needs super-strong, durable toys that
will stand up to his powerful jaws.
Kong X-treme Large Dog Toy
(Black) "World's Strongest
Dog Toy!" Made from exclusive carbon Black Ultra-Flex™ rubber, these
are perfect for large power-chewers and professional dogs - you
know, those dogs that destroy every toy known to man in under an
hour! Can be stuffed with food or
treats for added play value. Puncture-resistant and non-toxic.
Kong Extreme Goodie Bone
Dog Toy All Kongs are made from
extra-tough, durable rubber, and this toy is especially suitable for
aggressive chewers. Can hold toys/treats for added fun! Can help curb
and is great for dogs who suffer from seperation anxiety.
The single most important aspect of dog and puppy training
is that you reward and praise your dog or puppy each and every time he does the
right thing. For example: praise him when he chews his own toys instead of the
couch or eliminates outside instead of in the house. The more time you spend
with your puppy or dog, the quicker and easier it will be to train him.
The key to house training is to establish a routine that
increases the chances that your dog will eliminate in the right place in your
presence, so that he can be praised and rewarded; and decreases the chances
that your dog will eliminate in the wrong place so that he will not develop bad
It is important that you make provisions for your dog when you
are not home. Until your dog is house trained, he should not be allowed free run
of your house. Otherwise, he will develop a habit of leaving piles and puddles
anywhere and everywhere. Confine him to a small area such as a kitchen,
bathroom or utility room that has water/stain resistant floors. Confinement is
NOT crate training.
What is Crate Training?
Crate training can be an efficient and effective way to
house train a dog. Dogs do not like to soil their resting/sleeping quarters if
given adequate opportunity to eliminate elsewhere. Temporarily confining your
dog to a small area strongly inhibits the tendency to urinate and defecate.
However, there is still a far more important aspect of crate training.
If your dog does not eliminate
while he is confined, then he will need to eliminate when he is released, i.e.,
he eliminates when you are present to reward and praise him.
Be sure to understand the
difference between temporarily confining your dog to a crate and long-term
confinement when you are not home. The major purpose of confinement when you
are not home is to restrict mistakes to a small, protected area. The purpose of
crate training is the opposite.
Short-term confinement to a crate is intended to inhibit your dog from
eliminating when confined, so that he will want to eliminate when released from
confinement and taken to an appropriate area. Crate training also helps teach
your dog to have bladder and bowel control. Instead of going whenever he feels
like it, he learns to hold it and go at convenient scheduled times.
The crate is not intended
as a place to lock up the dog and forget him for extended periods of time. If
your dog soils his crate because you left him there too long, the house
training process will be set back several weeks, if not months.
Your dog should only be
confined to a crate when you are at home. Except at night, give your dog an
opportunity to relieve himself every hour. Each time you let him out, put him
on a leash and immediately take him outside. Once outside, give him about three
to five minutes to produce. If he does not eliminate within the allotted time
period, simply return him to his crate. If he does perform, then immediately
reward him with praise, food treats, affection, play, an extended walk and
permission to run around and play in your house for a couple of hours. For
young pups, after 45 minutes to an hour, take him to his toilet area again.
Never give your dog free run of your home unless you know without a doubt that
his bowels and bladder are empty.
During this crate training
procedure, keep a diary of when your dog eliminates. If you have him on a
regular feeding schedule, he should soon adopt a corresponding elimination
schedule. Once you know what time of day he usually needs to eliminate, you can
begin taking him out only at those times instead of every hour. After he has
eliminated, he can have free, but supervised, run of your house. About one hour
before he needs to eliminate (as calculated by your diary) put him in his
crate. This will prevent him from going earlier than you had planned. With your
consistency and abundance of rewards and praise for eliminating outside, he
will become more reliable about holding it until you take him out. Then the
amount of time you confine him before his scheduled outing can be reduced, then
Mistakes and Accidents During Training
If you ever find an accident in the house, just clean it up.
Do not punish your dog. All this means is that you have given him unsupervised
access to your house too soon. Until he can be trusted, don't give him
unsupervised free run of your house. If mistakes and accidents occur, it is
best to go back to the crate training. You need to more accurately predict when
your dog needs to eliminate and he needs more time to develop bladder and bowel