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10 Tips for new Puppy owners

Bringing home a new puppy is an exciting and joyous occasion, but it also comes with a set of challenges and responsibilities. As a new puppy owner, you want to ensure that your furry friend gets the best possible start in life so you book onto your local Puppy School course but it doesn’t start for a few weeks! To help you navigate the next few weeks of your journey, here are my top ten tricks and tips for new puppy owners!

  1. Prepare Your Home

Before bringing your puppy home, puppy-proof your house. Pay attention to hazards such as electrical cords and keep harmful substances out of reach. Create a designated space for your puppy with a comfortable bed, water, and plenty of soft toys. Plan for a little naughtiness i.e. if you are getting a larger breed, make sure that there is nothing they can steal on the coffee table and set them up for success.

  1. Choose the Right Food

Your breeder has probably given you a recommendation of what to feed your dog but it’s still best to do your own research into what is and isn’t good for puppies and how a poor diet can affect behaviour. Our pups are already going to be energetic enough as it is so be careful that we are not giving anything with too high a carbohydrate content as these are your slow release energy foods with carbs being converted into sugars. Instead aim for something high protein, low carb and utilise meal times for training and enrichment. Feed wet and raw food on a lickimat or similar and hand feed your dogs kibble. This is great for bond building! Check out if you would like to compare foods.

  1. Teach your dog to follow a food lure

While you’re hand feeding your dog, teach them to follow a lure. Pinch the treat between your thumb and fingers and see if you can get the dog to follow the food for a few steps before rewarding. Use this to move your dog rather than physical manipulation

  1. Toilet Training

Be patient when it comes to toilet training. Establish a consistent routine for bathroom breaks and reward your puppy when they do their business outside. I tend to recommend pups go out at least once per hour but also take them out immediately following naps, periods of play and meals. Accidents will happen, but positive and proactive approach is the key to successful toilet training!

  1. Socialisation

Early socialization is essential for your puppy's well-being. Expose them to various people, animals, and environments to help them grow up to be well-adjusted and confident dogs. Carry your dog places until they are fully vaccinated and let them start to see the world in all it’s glory! You can also play with them at home getting them to explore unfamiliar surfaces and climb on low level objects. This will help to teach them a bit more special awareness

  1. Exercise and Play

Puppies have a lot of energy and need regular exercise and playtime. Provide plenty of long, soft toys and engage in interactive play to keep them physically and mentally stimulated. A tired puppy is a well-behaved puppy but it’s not all about running ragged in the park. As a guide, we recommend 5 minutes of exercise per month of age so we need to fill those gaps with plenty of sniffing, exploration and enrichment too.

  1. Handling and Grooming

Depending on your puppy's breed, grooming requirements can vary. Regular handling and grooming from an early age can teach the dog to accept this as normal as well as building a trusting, consent-based relationship and prepare them for vet / grooming visits later in life. Take your time and gradually introduce them to their collar and harness, lead, towel and brush. You may have some weeks until your pup can go on their first walk but if we use this time to make nice associations with the lead and collar then they will feel nice and comfortable when they go on their first walk.

  1. Sleep

Sleep is so important to young puppies and overtiredness manifests itself as a dog with plenty of energy still to give. Your pup should be sleeping between 16 and 18 hours per day at this age so making plenty of time to settle and nap throughout the day is vital. Diet and exercise levels are huge players when it comes to your pups ability to nap so make sure you’ve got those right. We have seen good results with Adaptil collars for excitable dogs. This calming pheromone can help your dog to relax if they are still acclimatising to their new surroundings. 

  1. Patience and Positivity

Puppies are like sponges, absorbing everything around them. Reward good behaviour and avoid punishment as they don’t really understand what they have done wrong. If you find your puppy doing something undesirable, ask yourself what you would rather they were doing and teach that instead. Patience is key as your puppy learns and grows. Plan for the times that you need to do other things such as shower or prepare meals and settle your pup with a nice appropriate chew to keep them happy and occupied in the mean time

  1. Love and Bonding

Most importantly, shower your puppy with love and attention. Building a strong bond with your furry friend is essential for a happy and well-adjusted adult dog. Spend quality time together, train little and often, cuddle, and enjoy the journey of watching your puppy grow.

In conclusion, being a new puppy owner is a rewarding experience, but it comes with its own set of challenges. By following these ten essential tips, you’ll be well on your way to raising a happy, healthy and well-behaved pup. Remember that every puppy is unique so be sure to adapt these tips to suit your pups individual needs and enjoy the incredible journey of puppy parenthood!

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