Did your family get a new puppy for Christmas?
Those cute little paws, puppy snores, and the fluffy fur are all so endearing! However, now that you’ve had your puppy for a few weeks, you’ve seen how much work it is!
Dealing with biting, potty training, the endless chewing, whining, and constant supervision are just a few of the woes of a new puppy. You feel like you did everything right by crate training, setting a daily routine, and vaccinating. But there’s so much more to taking care of a puppy (as you’ve found out!).
It takes planning to care for a puppy. Who will let the puppy out to potty and feed him in the middle of the day? Who takes the puppy for walks and cleans up their many messes? Family planning is one step that most new puppy parents fail to comprehend completely, especially if both parents work outside the home.
Whether you purchased an eight-week old puppy from a breeder or adopted a puppy from an animal shelter or rescue, we’re giving you some tips to help you survive the first few months!
Your new puppy is learning how to be a dog and how they fit into your family while your family is learning to be puppy parents, brothers, and sisters. It’s a HUGE adjustment for everyone, so patience is key.
If you failed to talk about roles, now is the time to do so
Set some ground rules on who is responsible for what, and get your kids involved. Even if you DID set a plan in place, now might be a good time to re-evaluate and see what’s working and what’s not working.
Puppy proof your home if you haven’t already
Puppies are curious! The want to explore, and they need some freedom to do so but in a way that is safe for them. Baby gates are wonderful for keeping your puppy out of areas that are unsafe or contain tempting “chew toys” like shoes or expensive furniture. Consider giving them a bit more freedom expanding their space in your home as they grow and become trained.
Start good habits early
Feed your puppy at the same time every day and in a location that is hers. Feeding your puppy from the table (I know it’s tempting!) is a bad habit that is hard to break once you start. Plus, human foods are generally bad for dogs, especially sensitive puppy tummies. Another good habit to start early is walking. Get them used to a leash and walk them daily. Puppies need to expend energy otherwise the energy will manifest to getting into trouble in the house like chewing shoes, or destroying toys.
Keep an eye out for health issues and signs that they might have ingested something they shouldn’t have
Again, puppies are curious…and hungry! Be on the lookout for signs that your puppy may have eaten a harmful substance. If their poop looks runny or has any blood in it, or your puppy isn’t acting right, take them to the vet.
Curb biting and jumping
The biting and jumping is enough to drive puppy parents crazy! You can start thinking about obedience training to get the biting and jumping under control. Jumping on people and furniture might be cute now, but it’s not when your dog grows to 100 pounds!
A socialized puppy is a happy puppy
Expose him to other people outside of your family and to places outside of your home. Many dog parks often have special areas for puppies. The more new positive experiences you can give him, the less fearful he will be later in life.
If you haven’t left your puppy alone yet, now is a good time to start. Begin with small timed increments, gradually increasing the time. You may even enlist the help of a dog sitter to help with the process!
Start grooming habits now
We’re not saying that you have to have them professionally groomed this early, however, touch their paws, teeth, ears, and nails on a regular basis to decrease the sensitivity of these areas. This will help making grooming a positive experience.
Having a new puppy is hard! But the rewards of patience and practicing good habits early are a well-behaved dog and a true companion and family member for life.