A First Time Owner’s Guide to Caring for a New Puppy

Are you about to get a new puppy? If it is your first time, then you have to learn a lot about puppy care. The little pal will surely entertain you, but you have to care for his health and wellness as well. No wonder, puppies are just like babies – and they can even give us the puppy blues (like the baby blues).

Find the Ideal Puppy

There are hundreds of breeds to choose from. Each breed has differences in characteristics and behavior. So, it is important to know the breed before you choose your puppy. Some of the top breeds include-

  1. Beagle.
  2. Pug.
  3. Bulldog.
  4. French Bulldog.
  5. German Shepherd.
  6. Labrador retriever.
  7. Golden retriever.
  8. Rottweiler.
  9. Yorkshire Terrier
  10. Bichon Frise.
  11. Pomeranian.
  12. Dachshund.
  13. Siberian Husky.
  14. Border Collie.
  15. Bernese Mountain dog.
  16. Maltese.
  17. Shih Tzu.
  18. Sheltie.
  19. Havanese Dog.
  20. St. Bernard.

Being a puppy owner, you must get to know all about the dog breed – their temperament, any health concerns, coat type and care needed etc.. There are a lot more breeds other than the twenty above. You can find more information on the internet or through a dog expert.

Equipment

You have to invest in some equipment before the puppy is at home. The common equipment includes stainless steel or ceramic food and water bowl, a soft leash and collar band, kennel, and some hygiene products like puppy pee pads, shampoos, and stain removing solution. Other than that, you can buy brush and comb, dog beds, crates, treats( an important part of training), and toys. 

Purchase or Adopt

You can try either way. If you are purchasing, then it is critical to research your breeder so you stay away from puppy mills and get your puppy from a reputable breeder. You should also try to get to know more about your dog from the breeder. Adoption is another popular choice – as so many thousands of puppies are often rejected and left at shelters.. In such a case, know the breed, the puppy’s age, medical information and any insights into its behavior. Be sure to take all contact information of the shelter or the breeder so you can stay in touch with them for ongoing progress.. 

Puppy Food

Which food is best for puppies? Puppies need minerals, vitamins, fats, and proteins for a balanced diet. Almost all brands have a puppy formula food to help optimize the nutrition requirement for a growing puppy. . Also, you will find brands for specific breeds. You can join communities of other dog owners and support groups to seek advice on what has been the best brands for their puppies. Asking friends and family with puppy experience also helps. Also, seek professional advice from your vet for the best puppy food

In case you are giving wet dog food, please check the expiration dates clearly. The canned food spoils quickly after opening because of short shelf life. Also, you cannot freeze them over two days. So, serve it fresh and integrate wet dog foods with the dry ones. 

Puppy Safe Room

Puppies are always curious, like toddlers. They can chew anything and damage your belongings. So, you have to puppy proof some of your rooms. Try to keep all medicine and cleaning stuff in a locked cupboard and shoes in the closet. Other than that, tie all electric cords beyond his reach. Shoes, electronic cables and clothing are some of the favourite things for puppies to chew. 

Puppies are attracted to food smells. Make sure you put the lid over the garbage can and secure it. You can also use barricades like exercise gates and baby gates to restrict his movement to a limited area. Give your puppy some toys so that he keeps busy with that and learns to entertain with toys appropriate for him.  This will keep damages to your belongings at a minimum.

It is impossible to make your entire house puppy proof, rather choose the areas that are most vulnerable to damage and restrict the puppy to certain areas of the house. You have to inspect the backyard for toxic plants in it. Also, look for holes that might hurt your puppy. It would be better if you look at your house from a puppy’s point of view to create safe zones.

Register with a Vet  

Find a reputable and recommended vet who will be in charge of your dog’s health and medical wellbeing. Schedule your puppy in for dog health checkup and start him on a vaccination schedule as soon as you get the puppy. Make sure the vet is near to your residence and offers comprehensive medical support and emergency care. So, register to a vet and note the emergency numbers. Puppies will often require immediate attention so be sure to set these vet and emergency systems up for the puppy.

A quality veterinary medical center will offer some standard services like  parasite prevention, deworming, spaying/neutering, and pet vaccination. There are packages where it covers all tests and meds for your puppy’s health and lifestyle. 

Puppy Insurance

Puppies will need insurance just like us. Get a good comprehensive dog insurance for his injuries, illness, and wellness care. Puppy insurance allows you to maintain a separate emergency fund. Other than that, make sure it does cover all common conditions for any particular breed. Insurance will ensure you are covered from sudden large medical expenses for your puppy,  The small cost of insurance premiums are well worth the policy. Be sure to check the policy coverage and familiarize yourself with the policy.

Puppy Training

Puppies need training to learn good behaviors and avoid bad behaviors.. You should get them on a training regiment as soon as you have the vet’s green light of clean health. The sooner you train them when they are young the better. Start the potty training from day one. During training, there will be mistakes, learn how to deal with the mishaps, and be sure to clean up the mess with a good enzymatic urine cleaner.

Other than potty training, you need to teach basic behavioral commands like sit down, watch me, come here, etc. There is a puppy kindergarten that teaches these basics and makes him more adaptive to your community. 

A critical aspect of training is rewarding. Reward the puppy with treats and praise once he finishes the task successfully. Puppies are very motivated with positive reinforcements. Training also helps in establishing pack hierarchy so he learns that you are in charge and he is to follow you.  

Put ID Tag to Collar

You can put a microchip or an ID tag to the puppy’s collar. That will help to find the puppy if he gets lost. Also, it makes it easy to identify when there are similar puppies in a group. This goes without saying, you need to name your puppy and start getting him used to respond to his name. This will help him to recognize your commands clearly. 

Socialize Your Puppy

Introduce your puppy to your local community and other dogs and puppies in the area. As an owner, you should give him a daily walk around your neighbourhood and the parks to get him to familiarize his local area better.

It is easy to get carried away with cuddling with the bundles of joy. Remember, too much cuddling can frustrate the puppy. Instead get him acclimatized to his surrounding areas and get him to adapt to new situations quickly. If you take public transit, take him on the bus so he is not afraid if you have to travel with him. Take him to any public place you would frequent or could take your dog to.

Stop Puppy From Barking

Puppy barking can annoy you and your neighbours So, train the puppy to minimize barking.. You can use stern voice commands to get them to stop, and reward them only if they are not barking.. 

While some breeds are more prone to barking, all dogs can be trained to only minimal barking. You can distract the puppy with toys when he starts barking. When there is a toy in his mouth, it just minimizes the chance of barking. So that is a neat trick to get him to stop barking.

Owning a puppy for the first time can be daunting. You have to train him to adapt to an enjoyable life with you. If you follow the above tips, then life can be much easier with a puppy. Enjoy the puppy training journey, and cherish all the beautiful memories with your dog.