Adding a furry new addition to the family is always an exciting time. The next few months will fly by as your puppy matures into an adolescent dog, so take steps now to ensure that your puppy grows up healthy, strong, and well-behaved.
1. Prepare A Space
Set up a restricted area for your puppy, including a crate, bed, and a toy or two. You may also want to get bathroom pads to protect your home from any accidents. Your puppy’s space should be clear of any potential hazards, such as electrical cords, household cleaners, or anything breakable. You may want to use a pet gate to create a safe space that your puppy can’t escape, or use a small room.
Establish care with a reputable vet. A good relationship with a veterinarian can help you make decisions regarding vaccinations, spaying or neutering, and other preventative health care choices. Your vet will also help you set a baseline for your puppy’s health and provide advice to keep your new dog healthy throughout your years together.
3. Provide The Right Food
A complete and balanced diet provides all the vitamins, minerals, and protein your puppy needs to be healthy and strong. Rotating their proteins provides the best mix of nutrients and can prevent pickiness from developing in the future.
4. Focus On Dental Health Now
More than 80% of dogs develop gum disease by age three. To keep your pupper’s chompers healthy, start thinking about their dental health now. A healthy diet rich in moisture & enzymes and low in carbohydrates helps to prevent dental disease and gingivitis from developing. Even young dogs can enjoy a raw bone, which helps to scrape and clean their teeth. Just make sure to supervise them while they chew on it. When your new puppy has a bone or a toy to chew on, they’re also less likely to chew on your things.
5. Begin A Training Regimen
Start using your puppy’s name regularly and begin to train your dog. Have treats on hand to reward good behavior, which can be something as simple as when your puppy uses the bathroom outside, and apply rules (like no handouts from the table) at all times. Dogs also respond well to hand signals and clicker training, so do some exploring to find what works for you and your puppy. Positive reinforcement is much more effective for training your dog than negative reinforcement, like yelling or rubbing their nose after a mistake. Training your puppy is critical–the behavior you allow now will be much harder to change later. You may also consider having your dog attend an obedience class.
6. Be Patient!
Your puppy is getting used to its new life and the world around it. Make sure to consistently reward good behavior. If you get frustrated, it’s ok to put your puppy in their safe space and take a minute to yourself. Using physical force is never a good idea with a dog–it will only teach your puppy to fear you.
7. Exercise & Play
Your new friend will likely have a lot of energy. Be sure to get in regular walks and play with them frequently. Not only does this help to get all the wiggles out, it’s also a great opportunity for you and your puppy to bond.
8. Get Identification
Make sure your new dog has a collar and identification tags with your phone number and address on them. It can also be helpful to get a microchip. Be sure to check your local regulations regarding licensing to make sure that your pet is covered.
9. Socialize & Expose
If you want a friendly dog, introduce them to a variety of people, other dogs, and other animals early. Expose them to a variety of situations as well, like busy cities, car traveling, and outdoor environments. Giving your dog these experiences will help them adjust to any situation and will help them to be less fearful or reactive later in life.