Surviving Your Dog’s First Year!
Welcoming a new puppy is such an exciting love-filled time! There is nothing quite like a tiny canine furball. However, they are not without their challenges. There will be times when you stop and think: “Was this a mistake?” Relax, most people who get a new puppy have those thoughts now and then, especially when your fur baby chews your favorite pair of shoes or a table leg! It can be frustrating, and at times you may feel at your wit’s end. Hang in there; these thoughts will pass (and so will puppy behavior)!
If you start on the right foot, you’ll have an easier time of it. Remember, before you got your puppy, he was able to cuddle with mom, play fight with his littermates, chew, sniff, bite, and jump! Then the cute little guy goes home with you, and everything is different. There are rules and expectations! Keep your expectations low with a brand new puppy, he’s trying as hard as he can to figure out the rules and make you happy, but it will take some time.
First, be sure to puppy-proof your home so your new buddy can’t get into trouble. Don’t leave your favorite pair of shoes out, they are just too tempting. Make sure there are no obvious electrical cords for him to chew on, no toxic plants, and balconies or decks that he can fall off of. Close the bathroom, put away chemicals, and lock up medicines. It may just be easier to block off dangerous rooms with a baby gate.
Make sure your pup has all sorts of toys to play with. Keep in mind that until you got your puppy, he was probably never alone. He always had the company of his mom or his brothers and sisters. Now, he only has you, so make sure you spend a lot of time with him. Plenty of exercise is key for bonding and overall health. When you can’t keep an eye on your pup, be sure he’s in a secure room or his crate to keep him safe.
Reward your puppy with praise and treats when he does something right! Keep in mind that leash training and housebreaking will take some time. Again praise and treats will help a lot; punishment won’t.
Find a veterinarian that you like, and once your puppy is fully vaccinated, it is a great idea to expose him to all sorts of new situations. Take him for many walks, rides in the car, and consider signing up for a puppy class. In class, he will get to meet a lot of other pups, learn some basic manners, and you can get tips from the trainer on puppy behavior.
Puppies require a considerable time investment and a lot of patience, but he’ll be worth every minute. Remember, you and your pup are taking the first step on a journey that will last for years! If your pup needs extra walks or playtime, give us a call!