Getting a puppy for the first time can be incredibly daunting. But with a few simple tips, it doesn’t have to be quite so overwhelming. You and your pup will be on your way to a long and happy future together.
Prioritize Your Dog’s Health – Starting With Spaying or Neutering
One of the first things you should do when you get a puppy is spay or neuter them. This is just one step that you can take to prioritize their future health. Getting your pup spayed or neutered reduces the risk of future issues with their reproductive organs. It also helps reduce the number of unwanted dogs on the streets or in shelters.
Make sure your puppy is up to date with their vaccinations while you are at it. This is also a good time to plan for your dog’s future. Consider the best pet insurance for dogs so you don’t have to worry about your budget when dealing with future health issues.
Ask the Vet About Your Pup’s Diet
While you are at the vet for your dog’s first checkup and shots, ask about diet recommendations. Puppies need a carefully balanced diet to grow and thrive. Your vet will likely have suggestions as to which food to feed your new pup.
In the meantime, you can give him whatever food he was eating before he met you. Remember that if you change your dog’s food, you should do it gradually over the course of a few days to a week. Otherwise, he may develop diarrhea.
Get a Collar and Microchip
You want to make sure that if your dog ever gets accidentally separated from you, you will be reunited. There are two important steps to this.
During that initial vet appointment, have your dog microchipped. Complement this by getting him a nametag with your contact information on it. These are simple steps that can make a big difference and give you peace of mind.
Puppy Proof Your House – Or At Least a Few Rooms
Puppies are adventurous and mischievous. They want to explore, and that can lead to destruction. They may also have some accidents while you are potty training them. To avoid damage to your house or possessions, take the time to puppy-proof at least part of your house before you bring the pup home.
Remember that you can’t realistically supervise him 24/7. Baby gates are incredibly convenient when puppy-proofing areas. You may also want to lay out puppy pads in case of accidents. Don’t forget to move anything breakable or potentially dangerous.
Work on Crate Training
Crate training your dog as a puppy will pay off when he is older. Your dog will be comfortable in his crate, even overnight or if you are gone for a few hours. This can help with separation anxiety and even destructive behavior.
Just remember that you need to start slowly with crate training. Puppies that are under 16 weeks old should only stay in the crate for about an hour at a time. The only exception is overnight, and even then, you don’t want to leave them in for longer than six hours in a row.
The idea here is that you slowly get your pup used to the crate. He will start to think of it as a safe and cozy spot with toys and soft blankets.
Start Potty Training
Potty training your puppy will take consistent effort, and the sooner you start, the better. While he is still learning, make it a point to take your pup outside every two or so hours, as well as after every meal. Give him plenty of praise after he goes potty outside.
Potty training also tends to go better if you create a routine. You also need to be realistic about your expectations. Remember that a one-month-old puppy can go up to one hour between potty breaks, and a three-month-old puppy can hold it for three hours. This continues to increase by an hour for each month of age.