New Puppy Hints & Tips
Buying a new puppy is an exciting time but it can also be challenging and not knowing what is best for your puppy is a common problem around new dog owners. A few things that should be considered are making sure you are buying your puppy from a place where they have already had a happy and healthy start with their breeders or from a professional licensed rehoming company, as well as things such as socialisation, training, feeding and your puppy’s health!
It is strongly recommended that you do not buy or rehome a puppy that is no younger than 8 weeks of age, any younger puppies are at risk of increased distress and health issues. Alternatively, puppies that leave their mother at a late time (16-24) weeks can also show signs of behavioural issues. Also it is important to take into consideration where you are buying your puppy from; puppies from pet shops or puppy farms as well as puppies that suffered from early illness tend to have more problems in adulthood than puppy’s from breeders or other reputable sellers or sources.
Between 3-12 weeks, your puppy will be going through the socialisation period where he/she learns to interact with their mother, siblings, people and surroundings. This happens rapidly and it is therefore important that you allow time for positive interaction and exploring to prevent any environmental issues having a greater effect on behaviour in adulthood. The more positive experiences and encounters the puppy has during this stage, the more emotionally stable they will be. Optimum time for socialisation is between 6-8 weeks. Teach the puppy to socialise with humans and other animals as soon as possible. Puppy classes are a good way to help socialise your puppy and begin teaching them behaviours and skills. It also helps to speak to other people who also have new puppies for advice.
It can be very scary for a new puppy to be taken away from its mother and siblings into a completely new environment at such a young age therefore you should try ease the process for your puppy adapting to their new home by having as many similarities to the old home as possible. Usually, the breeder will give you a toy and a blanket they have had with them since birth, so they have something familiar with them. It seems obvious but at this point It is important to spend time with them getting to know your puppy and allowing them to get used to their new surroundings and showing them where to eat, sleep and go to the toilet.
The first 12 months are an important time for learning behaviours, its best to start out early with training so that the puppy can get used to different stimuli that they will likely encounter in everyday life. Try introducing them to as many different situations from as early as possible such as strange sounds, car journeys, other animals, traffic etc. Simple obedience and the discouragement of unwanted behaviour will help the puppy to respect you as their owner/ pack leader.
All training sessions should begin as soon as possible and should be frequent but brief due to puppy’s short attention span meaning the longer the training the more likely they are to become distracted or discouraged. Expect your puppy to begin to learn the commands ‘sit’ ‘down’ and ‘stay’ from as young as 7-8 weeks and always use positive reinforcement and a reward system to promote the learning and repetition of good behaviours (small pieces of food/treats or toys can be used for this.) Secondary reinforcement such as verbal praise and strokes should also be used during the training process. The more this is repeated the dog will begin to associate that obeying the command will get them a treat, which will eventually allow for the food treats to be slowly removed and replaced with praise alone which is why secondary praise is very important during training.
Toilet training can be a difficult process during your puppy’s training therefore it important to try and keep it is as simple and clear for them. A good tip is to provide paper or puppy pads around the house, keep one close to the door. If the puppy is using the appropriate places to go to the toilet then make sure to reward them. Accidents during toilet training are expected as often the puppy can get confused on where the correct place to go is within a new environment. Signs to look out for when you puppy needs to go; sniffing around the floor, circling, squatting, sneaking off or heading towards the door. However if the puppy is punished for going in the wrong place, they can begin to hide away from the owner when they need to go and will henceforth associate punishment with the owner. Rewards can be given to the puppy when they go to the toilet in the correct place to encourage them to repeat. Taking the dog regularly outside and staying with them is the best tip for toilet training.
A course of vaccinations will be needed for your puppy. These are usually given at around 9 and 12 weeks. Vaccination is an important part of raising a puppy, crucial for preventing your dog from becoming ill. All unvaccinated dogs are at risk from canine distemper, parvovirus, leptospirosis, infectious canine hepatitis and kennel cough. Worming should be done every month until the puppy is 6 months old and then again, every 3-6 months after. Get a good vet do your research and look at local reviews online.
Then they are ready for their first walk out into the real world. Make sure you have a well fitted collar, harness and lead and do not forget you will also need an ID tag. I remember Kimi’s first walk outside the garden, she was so fascinated with the sounds and the smells I had a tear in my eye. At first keep the walks brief but regular. Build the walks up over the weeks and before you know it, you will be able to take them to the park or the beach, but remember puppies tire easily so don’t overdo it.
As your puppy settles into family life, they will go through some physical changes very quickly. Teething can be intense and painful and will start around 6-8weeks old will usually last for up to 4-6 months. During this time, your puppy will want to chew, chew and chew, so be prepared and have plenty of puppy safe chewable toys and treats. Kong’s are great they can be frozen to help with gum inflammation. Once they start losing, they teeth and you may find what looks like a grain of rice lying around your home this is normal. By the age of 6 months your puppy should have all their adult teeth. Remember it is important to look after your puppy’s teeth and regular brush should be introduced early on. Some people use Pro Den Plaque off products and now you can buy food with it included Canagan Dental.
It is important right from the onset that you get your puppy on a high-quality food that suits them. No doubt your puppy came with a bag of food from the breeder. This is the best tool food manufactures have to get your puppy onto their brand of food. What I would say is do your research and don’t be fooled by big marketing brands. www.allaboutdogfood.co.uk gives you unbiased information. A high quality and highly digestible food that contains a controlled level of protein and fat will help your dog to grow at a normal, healthy rate. Try to keep feeding your puppy treats to a minimum as it could lead to overfeeding and weight problems when added with their daily feeds. If you are going to change brands then you will need to introduce them gradually and wean them onto the new brand over 1-2 weeks to avoid stomach upsets.
Try different ways to feed them such as activity balls or a Kong which make your puppy work for their food which stimulates their natural hunting instincts and of course it’s fun. Provide a warm, comfortable bedding area such as a bed or puppy crate where your puppy can safely rest and have time to themselves. Always provide fresh drinking water as well as toys, chews, and entertainment for your puppy. Remember to always supervise your puppy when giving them treats to avoid choking hazards. Ensure your puppy has plenty of exercise. Taking your puppy for walks allows them to burn off any excess energy allowing them to relax more when at home. Above all love your puppy because I guarantee you, you will fall in love with them. They are part of your family and will give you years of happiness and probably make you healthier too as you will be walking much more than you did before.
Kimi’s Pet Emporium is dog friendly so feel free to bring your new furry friend down for some treats and a little mooch or take a look at our website to see what we have to help your puppy settle into their new home! www.kimispetemporium.co.uk