In this article we take you through the first important steps of puppy ownership.
Preparing for puppy
Bringing home a puppy is like bringing home a baby. There are a number of things you can get ready before you pick puppy up, like preparing his bed, food bowls and a special collar. This is also a good time to decide if you would like to crate-train your puppy. Crates provide a special, safe place for your dog. Find out what the puppies are currently eating, so you can stock up on the right food. It’s also essential that you puppy-proof your home. If you work during the day and there is no one at home, consider puppy ‘daycare’ with a pet sitter or friend. Get everyone in the family together and set some ground rules. Everyone should know the rules. If you don’t want puppy on the couch, don’t put him there as a baby.
First night at home
When you pick up your puppy remember to ask for your puppy’s vet card. It is important that you have a signed record that his first vaccination was done and know when the next one is due. Introduce him to human family members only on the first day. Let him meet the canine and feline household members on the subsequent days. Puppy should be quite tired when you put him down for the night. Give puppy some water and take him outside for a toilet break before you put him in his bed. You can allow him to sleep inside his basket or crate in your room if you like. If he wakes up in the early hours of the morning and won’t settle, pop him outside for a toilet break. Avoid the temptation to put him in your bed.
Establishing a good routine can help puppy find some order and learn familiar things. Schedule set times for meals, toilet breaks and playtime. Now is the time for puppy to meet his canine companions and other pets in the home. If you need to introduce him to a cat, take your time. Don’t force your cat to take notice of the pup if she clearly isn’t interested. If puppy gets too rowdy, the cat may discipline him with a hiss and a swat.
5 tips for housetraining
1. Take him outdoors. While your pup gets the hang of housebreaking, remember to take him outdoors after meals, after his daytime naps and when he wakes up in the morning.
2. Monitor him. He’ll likely give you a few good clues that he needs to go.
3. Keep it positive. If he gets it right, give him a small treat as a reward.
4. Clean up smartly. If your puppy does have an accident in the home, clean up the mess quickly with soap and warm water.
5. Night training. Take puppy out at night just before you go to bed.
Meeting the resident dog
Take the new introductions slowly. It’s also not fair on your old dog if all your attention is on the puppy. Remember to spend time with both of them. Meet in a neutral place. Have another adult on hand to help out. Don’t hold the puppy in your arms. Rather place him on the floor or grass. If you aren’t sure how your other dog will react, rather have him on lead. The puppy may jump up and try to lick the older dog in the face. They’ll probably give each other a good sniff. Speak gently to your older dog and reassure him. Don’t leave them alone in a room together.
– A comfortable bed of his own.
– A well-fitting collar or harness and a lead.
– Food and water bowls.
– Toys and chews.
– Good quality dog shampoo, nail clippers, a bristle brush and a comb.
– A crate if you regularly travel with your pup (a crate can also serve as his ‘safe haven’ at home).