Tips on Caring for a New Puppy


If you’ve been lucky enough to get a new puppy this month, there are a few things that can make your life — and that of your new bundle of furry joy — a little easier.

  • If possible, dog-proof your house before your new puppy arrives. Little dogs like to chew and shred, so electrical cords, expensive couch pillows and other dangerous or easily destroyed trinkets should be put away.
  • On the day of your puppy’s arrival, take off from work; if possible, take several days. Your new family member will be curious, anxious and a little confused, so you can be a huge comfort to it by being there for help and support.
  • When your puppy does arrive, let it sniff around freely under your supervision. There will be hundreds of new smells for it to check out and get used to.
  • Name your puppy as soon as possible and use its name often when you speak.
  • Start off by feeding your puppy the same food it was being fed when you got it, and then slowly switch it to what you’d like it to eat. If you have other pets, make sure your new puppy has its own water and food bowl so it doesn’t feel threatened while it eats.
  • Look for indestructible toys so your puppy can chew while teething. Cute stuffed animals may be fun to purchase, but they are impractical for puppies. You want something your new pet can’t destroy or accidentally swallow.
  • Buy a large crate and make half of it a bed. The crate will give your puppy its own place to feel safe, and it’ll also give you a place for your pet to stay when you can’t keep a careful eye on it. Put an old sheet or old towels in its bed so it has an extra-soft, warm place to snooze.
  • While it is in a crate, your new pet may whimper at night. A ticking clock wrapped in a towel can be a calming thing to place in the crate. Just make sure your puppy can’t chew through it or eat it.
  • Before letting your pup out in your yard, do a thorough check for holes where the puppy may be able to dig or crawl under a fence and get loose. Be sure you have no poisonous plants or other dangerous items it may eat.
  • Start house-training immediately. Take it outside first thing in the morning and several times a day. Place your puppy in one spot in the yard and stay with it until it does its duty, then praise and pet it. Your puppy will learn the spot and what it’s supposed to do there.
  • Don’t scold your new puppy, even if it does something bad. It’s likely confused and getting used to its surroundings. Scolding could make it learn to fear you.
  • Before teaching your puppy to perform tricks, start with teaching it to recognize its name and the command “No.” Then move on to simple one-word commands with different vowel sounds so there is little confusion. “Heel,” “Sit,” “Stay” and “Down” are four basic ones. Reward your puppy with tons of affection when it does well!
  • Most importantly, have your puppy checked out by a veterinarian within a couple of days of bringing it home. Be sure it stays up-to-date with its vaccinations, is neutered and gets the regular checkups it needs as it grows.

And last but not least, have fun with your new bundle of joy!

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