Happy Doggy Fast Running On GrassThose first few weeks of having a new puppy at home can be a little chaotic. Never fear, though, the staff at Oakland Veterinary Referral Services are here to help. Read through our puppy owner guide to be sure that your first week at home with your new puppy is a breeze!

Come Prepared

Preparing yourself and your home for the new addition is half the battle. The more you plan, the better off you will be. Try to bring your new puppy home at a time when you are going to have some free energy to concentrate on his or her care. If you’re adding a new four-legged family member around busy times, such as the holiday season, try to do it when you’ll have time off at home.

There are a few basics you should have before bringing your new dog home. Be sure to carefully research and choose:

  • Fitted collar or harness
  • Flat lead
  • Food and water bowls
  • Quality puppy food
  • Plenty of chew toys
  • Dog crate
  • Bed
  • Training treats
  • Basic grooming supplies for your dog’s coat type

Taking a few minutes to puppy-proof your home is important, too. Get down on the ground and view any temptations from a dog’s view. Electrical cords, small toys, and food items can make dangerous playthings for curious mouths.

Make certain that other pets have a retreat from an overly exuberant puppy and that children in the home are informed on how they need to behave around their new four-legged sibling.

Training Your New Puppy

Puppies are sponges, soaking up the world around them, and are eager to learn. It is your job to help them do so. From housetraining to socialization, training your new puppy is important.

Housebreaking – Take your puppy outside often. Every time he or she wakes, eats, or plays, a potty break is in order. A consistent feeding schedule will be important to helping with housetraining. Pick a spot outside to take him or her, so that elimination becomes associated with this area. It’s also smart to pick a word that your puppy will associate with “going to the bathroom”.

Crate training Crates are a safe place for dogs and mimic a natural den-like environment. Your dog’s crate should be just big enough to lie down and turn around in (you may need to block off an area with a wire divider or non-chewable barrier until your dog grows). Your pup should be crated any time he or she is not able to be supervised to aid in housebreaking and to keep him or her safe.

Socialization – Between six and sixteen weeks is the most important time for pups to learn about the world around them. Exposing them to good experiences, such as friendly people and pets, is important. This is also a good time to teach them about strange noises and being touched.

Basic manners – You’ll want to teach your dog about wearing a collar, walking on a leash, not jumping or nipping, and how to respond to basic commands. Enrolling in a puppy training class can be very helpful.

Don’t forget that positive reinforcement is the most effective way to get your pup’s attention. Find out what makes your new dog tick, be it treats, toys, or even your attention, and use it liberally when he or she shows the behaviors you want. There are excellent training resources in our area.

Care Basics

Knowing what to expect with new puppy care is important as well. Besides a feeding schedule and potty breaks, your furry friend will need some basic medical care. Expect to visit your regular veterinarian a lot in this first year of life.

It is important to bring your pet in for a visit within a few days of welcoming him or her home. This allows your veterinarian to get to know him or her, detect signs of trouble early, be sure that medical care is on course, and answer any questions you might have.

Besides a general checkup, puppies will need to have a series of vaccinations through about five months of age. Fecal screening tests and strategic deworming are also conducted, as parasites are a common puppy problem. Your puppy will need to start a parasite prevention program for heartworms, fleas, ticks, and intestinal parasites, too.

Bringing a new puppy home can be so exciting. Getting started on the right foot sets a solid foundation for a great relationship between you and your dog. It is important that you are prepared to care for your new best friend. Planning ahead for what you need to do is an important part of this process.