Puppy Care: The Complete Guide to Loving a New Pooch

Puppy care…you’ve just picked up the puppy. As expected, it’s love at first snuggle. After all of the hours of research and browsing adoption sites, you’ve picked the perfect breed and you’re ready to finally welcome the little furball to the family.

With the pup in tow, you swing open the front door to welcome the little nugget to his new home. He trembles slightly, wiggling that adorable little nose, and looking up at you with those big, beautiful puppy dog eyes when…a little puddle appears, spreading ever so slowly beneath his tiny back paws…

Just breathe…accidents happen! And there will surely be more to follow, but when it comes to puppies, love conquers all.

Of course, love is sometimes stronger with wisdom. There are steps you can take to make sure your transition into puppy parenthood is as smooth as possible. So we’ve created a guide to new-parent puppy care and loving your new pooch.

Proper Puppy Care Starts with Home

A Keeshond-Sibirian Husky (puppy care

A Keeshond-Sibirian Husky puppy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you haven’t already, puppy-proof your home. Much like small children, puppies are prone to getting into trouble–often out of pure curiosity. So before the trouble has a chance to unfold, take a few precautionary measures:

  • Eliminate hazards and/or things apt to being chewedDon’t leave your shoes lying around–that’s just asking for trouble. But, more importantly, be sure to pick up any loose items or potentially dangerous “chewables” like electrical cords to avoid opportunities for choking or being shocked.They chew because they’re teething, not to ruin your favorite paperback, so collect the loose or chewable items before a problem develops.
  • Keep toilet lids closedBecause–bacteria. There’s a good chance toilet water won’t bode well for the puppy tummy.
  • Use replacement theoryIf you catch the little cutie chewing on something that’s off limits (a.k.a. your slippers–again), take the forbidden item(s) away and replace with something meant for chewing, like a chew toy.No need to punish, just replace.
  • Have a collar and tags ready and waitingWhen the little guy gets home, be sure to bedazzle him with a collar and tags containing all of your contact info. If you want his name included too, think about grabbing these on the way home, once he’s been appropriately identified.While you’re at it, stock up on any other essentials you may not already be equipped with like treats (you’ll need a solid supply of these for training purposes), food (do your due diligence in finding the right one for your puppy’s needs), toys, training tools, a leash, etc.

More Puppy Care at Home Thoughts

In addition to making your home a safe space for your new pooch, you should also make a point to establish a place in the home that your pup can own, so to speak. Whether a crate or a comfy bed–or both–create a cozy space that only the puppy gets to take advantage of. This will make for an easier transition as he adjusts to being away from his mother and the comfort of the litter.

On the same note, make sure the space is small and can be made to feel super dark and snuggly–chances he’ll rest easier through the night and while you’re gone during the day.

Consistency with puppy care is key

Start a bathroom routine, put a training regimen into place, establish a vocabulary, and don’t feed him human food!

The more consistent you are with timing, communication, and general household rules, the faster the learning process will be (for you and the pooch). Expect fewer accidents and more “your dog is so smart!” comments.

Praise Goes a Long Way

When your pooch behaves correctly, or learns a new trick, reward him with treats, of course, but maybe more importantly, tell him just how good he’s been. Recent studies have concluded that dogs respond exceptionally well to praise and certain word/intonation combinations. Not only do they associate intonation with praise, they also seem to recognize commonly used words.

So speak up, he’ll be on his best behavior next time, seeking your most loving “Good Boy!”s.

Love Them by Leaving Them

Leave them alone… sometimes.

It’s not always easy, but it is necessary to leave your puppy alone every once in awhile. Don’t go running every time he starts to cry, or yelp, or bark. You’ll feel a little sad inside the first few times, but trust us when we say he will be just fine.

The more often you cave, the more likely the behavior is to continue.

Stay strong.

There’s an adjustment period, but it won’t be long before your pup is happy living the crate life for a few hours during the day. (We all learn to love nap time eventually).

Puppy Care Also Means Caring for Their Health

Keeping your puppy healthy will make life easier on everyone.

So before too many days go by, find yourself a vet and take your puppy in for a full check up… Likely, he will need vaccination and deworming procedures–ask about heartworm precautions and how to control fleas (which can be a problem when a puppy leaves the litter) too.

On that note, you should plan to bathe your little buddy

However, you’ll want to keep in mind that a puppy’s skin is much different than human skin, or even a full-grown dog’s, so don’t over-bathe. Bathe him when he’s noticeably dirty or smelly, but not more than that.

Finally, instill good social skills. Play!

Your new pooch will require exercise so make play a regular part of each day, but also introduce him to other dogs. The earlier these interactions take place, the more social your dog will become.

Be Prepared for the Tough Parts of Parenting

When the little guy swallows a few Aspirin that fell from your purse, or finds his way into the freshly baked batch of cookies, make sure you’re ready to take immediate action.

  1. Have your vet’s name and number easily accessible. And…
  2. Consider having a first aid kit ready and waiting, should the worst occur.

In so many ways, love simply equals looking-out-for, so plan ahead. In the unfortunate event that an emergency situation would arise, you’ll thank yourself for thinking ahead.

At the end of the day, loving your new pooch will come quite naturally. And if it doesn’t, we’re here to help. Contact us if you have any questions, and feel free to post in the comments section if you have tips for new puppy parents that aren’t mentioned here.

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