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Good Health

One of the first, and most important, on the list of new 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:

      Parasite prevention

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.

      Heartworm Prevention

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.

Good Nutrition

Puppy kibble

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.

Good Hygiene

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 healthy.

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 recommended!

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 destructive chewing and is great for dogs who suffer from seperation anxiety.

Crate Training

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 habits.

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 eliminated.

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 control. 

All family members should participate in the puppy training. 

Rules and responsibilities should be setup and agreed upon, e.g. when to play, what to feed, who to clean up. It is also important to know that anyone giving in to the puppy's vulnerability or too much love will spoil the puppy and will make future training attempts difficult. Moreover, retraining any bad habits will take more time, thereby causing enthusiasm to drop and frustration may set in. That is why everybody should be committed and consistent in the daily training program and no exceptions should be given even if you have friends or guests around. From this point of view, your puppy will start to identify and recognize authority and obey the simple commands, developing desirable habits and behavior.

How to Start your Puppy Basic Training 

House training activities may take a month or less in order to ensure
the routine. Designating the toilet, eating and sleeping areas are important in the training process of a puppy. These areas should remain consistent especially during the first month so that your puppy can familiarize itself to the environment and develop good habits quickly. 

A clear schedule of walking your puppy outside, playing, feeding and training time should also be clearly established. Food and water should be particularly supervised as too much of either one would result in your puppy's inability to "hold" and you would find unpleasant minor "accidents" at home. 

Leash and collar are a good idea to use on your puppy during periods when nobody is at home so as to prevent any accidents that might result from your puppy's curious exploration around the house. 

Supervise your puppy training and allow for early socialization with humans and other species. Do not confine your puppy frequently in confined areas as it can easily develop into behavioral issues such as barking, aggression, separation anxiety, excessive fear and general unruliness. 

Puppies learn very quickly with proper encouragements and correction techniques and especially so during the first few months. Give immediate rewards when your puppy perform the correct behavior or action with food treats or gentle stroking. 

Avoid giving in to your puppy’s every desire. Rewards should only be given for desired or correct behavior, and not because he or she gives you the cute look. 

Observing your puppy’s behavior will prevent any common mistakes of punishing your puppy with no clear reasons. Never use harsh reprimands or physical violence on your puppy. Any aggression against your puppy might lead to future developments of aggressive behaviors in your dog. 

Determinationdiscipline and patience are usually all that is needed to correct any bad habits. 

The other concerns of the first month basic puppy training are the bonding and time spent together with your puppy. Hug, touch, stroke and talk to your puppy often. This will help establish you as the alpha leader and develop trust with your puppy during the puppy training process. 

Modify your puppy’s training methods as and when necessary, but remember to always keep it enjoyable, short and fun. In the end, the most essential ingredients for any successful basic puppy training are still patience, attention and love.