Five Things First-Time Puppy Owners Need to Remember

Congratulations! You just brought your new puppy home, and you’re excited about spending your life with your new companion. While your puppy will make a wonderful friend, there’s a lot you’ll need to teach him while he grows up. If you’re a first-time puppy owner, it can be easy to lose sight of the big picture. It’s important to remember these five things when you’re raising your puppy.

Puppies are Essentially Babies

Puppies and babies are a lot alike; they are both entirely dependent on you to meet their needs. Your puppy depends on you for food, water, exercise, regular veterinary care, and bathroom breaks. Additionally, you’ll need to observe your puppy, as he’ll get into anything he can, just like an infant.

Like babies, puppies will interrupt your sleep. They’re up at all hours of the night and may whine or whimper if you try to train them to sleep in a crate. Puppies, like infants, dirty a lot of laundry. Until they are house trained, puppies will urinate and defecate wherever they are when they need to go.

Your puppy won’t know how to be obedient or respond to your commands, either. Puppyhood is the time to begin training your puppy to obey fundamental commands. Be patient. When your dog is driving you crazy because he won’t listen to you and obey your commands, eliminates inside the house, and wakes you up at all hours of the night, remember that he is just a baby and that he’ll learn how to be an obedient, house-trained dog as he grows up.

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Puppy-Proofing Your Home

Puppies get into everything, so it’s essential to puppy-proof your home. Preventive Vet asserts it’s important to cover and secure your trash can. If your puppy gets into the trash, he could swallow something, which could cause an intestinal obstruction. Protect your dog from being electrocuted or suffering mouth burns by using deterrent sprays or cord covers on all of your electrical cords and chargers.

Many human medications are toxic to dogs. Protect your dog by storing all of your medications and supplements in secure cabinets. Store cleaning products in secure cabinets, and be mindful of using household cleaners around your dog.

The American Kennel Club recommends keeping all small objects, such as rubber bands, paper clips, thumb tacks, and coins out of your puppy’s reach so that he doesn’t accidentally ingest them.

Many household plants are dangerous for dogs to ingest. Make sure any plants you have in your home aren’t harmful to your puppy. As part of taking care of your plants, if you put your puppy outside in the yard, make sure you have adequate shade and that trees are large enough that the puppy won’t chew up its base. It’s generally recommended that you not feed your dog table scraps, but if you choose to do so, ensure that what you are feeding your dog is safe. Many human foods are toxic to dogs.

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House Training Takes Time

WebMD asserts that the time to begin house training your puppy is when he’s 12 to 16 weeks of age. You can use these tips to help you house train your dog. Put your puppy on a regular feeding schedule. Take him outside first thing in the morning, every 30 to 60 minutes throughout the day, after meals and naps, and right before he goes to bed. Take your puppy to the same spot every time you go outside. According to WebMD, your puppy’s scent will prompt him to do his business. When your puppy eliminates outside, reward him with a treat or praise.

Your puppy is likely to have accidents inside your home until he is house trained. Remember that house training takes time. Be patient.

Your Puppy Needs Special Food

Your puppy needs particular food formulated for puppies. Puppy food contains nutrients your growing puppy needs. Feeding your puppy adult dog food will deprive him of the nutrition he needs as he grows. The American Kennel Club recommends feeding your dog puppy food four times a day when he is six to 12 weeks old. Feed puppy food three times each day when your puppy is three to six months old.

Once your dog reaches six months of age, you can begin feeding him twice a day. If you have a small breed, switch him from puppy to adult food when he is seven to nine months old. If you have a large breed dog, switch him to adult food when he’s 12 to 14 months of age.

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Socialization is Important

According to Rover, the best time to socialize a puppy is when he is between three and 12 weeks of age. Taking your dog to puppy classes is a great way to start working on basic commands and gives your dog a chance to socialize with other people and puppies in a safe place. When going on walks, dog parks and pet stores are also good places to socialize your dog. If you personally don’t have time for long walks as those, you might want to consider a dog walker (which will also help the socialization process). Any time you dog displays positive social behavior, praise him and give him a treat. Try to make any meetings with new people and puppies as confident as you can to encourage your dog to continue to socialize as he ages.

As a first-time puppy owner, you may feel a little anxious about raising your dog. There’s a lot to learn to be a good dog parent, and there’s a lot to teach your puppy as he grows. Remembering the five things in this article will help you be a great puppy parent to your new companion.

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