Bring a puppy home
It is exciting to bring a puppy into your home. But before you do, make sure that you are ready for the responsibility of a new pet.
A new puppy becomes an old dog
Depending on the breed, most healthy dogs have a life expectancy of around 14 years. So, as exciting as it is to bring a puppy into your home, the puppy stage only lasts for a few months. If you are getting a puppy you are actually getting a dog, and as obvious as this sounds, people forget that puppies do not stay puppies for long.
Prepare children (and some adults) to avoid the puppy being injured
Most puppies are ready to be adopted between 6 and 10 weeks. However, at this age they are still fragile and should be handled with care. As soon as you bring puppy home, teach children to sit when they pick up the puppy. And of course, don’t leave the puppy alone on a high bed or sofa.
It is also essential for puppy to build a sense of security and confidence. For this reason, the puppy should not be pushed around or played with in an aggressive manner.
Your puppy will do well with a routine. Feed your puppy at same time and place every day. Most puppies will eat in the morning as well as in the evening. If you have other dogs in the home, let puppy eat from his own bowl so that he learns which is his.
Part of routine building is potty training, which should start as soon as you bring puppy home. Your puppy will want to potty after waking, eating and playing. Remember that younger puppies cannot control their bladders, so ‘disciplining’ them when they make a mistake in the house is not advised. When your puppy wakes or is done eating, take them outside and place them on the grass. Wait for them to finish potty and praise them when they are done. Immediately after they have both urinated and defecated, take them inside so that they learn why they were outside in the first place.
When your puppy is a little older, say around 4 months, they would have picked up that the place to potty is outside. If you have an older dog that is well trained, puppy will actually learn this from the older dog. If your puppy makes a mistake in the house, clap your hands and say “Uh-Uh”. Then, take them outside to finish and wait till they are done, no matter how long this takes. Be consistent with this routine and your puppy will learn pretty fast. Always clean the mistake spot with vinegar or bleach to remove the smell completely. Cleaning the spot will prevent puppy and your other dogs from using the spot again.
Prepare the home before you bring puppy into his new environment
It is important to ensure that your puppy’s new home is safe before bringing him in. Remove objects that puppy can reach and potentially choke on. For example, remove small ornaments from low level racks, move cables away from low sockets and so on. Toys for puppies are available at almost every general and vet store. Puppies enjoy pulling at things and biting, so a rope toy, teddy and chew toy are all good ideas.
Puppies of up to one year are well known for having natural socialization skills. However, when puppy reaches adulthood he might not enjoy attention from strangers or other dogs anymore. It is therefore important to keep puppy well socialized into adulthood. If you are not confident in your training skills, look for a trainer that specialises in training puppies. Or, a puppy training school is also a good alternative that will benefit both you and your new puppy.
When you bring a puppy home to extend the fur-family
If you are extending your fur-family when bringing a puppy into a new home, you need to make sure that puppy will be accepted by the pack. Do not leave puppy alone with an older dog until he or she has fully accepted the new addition. Ensure that attention is equally divided with no change in routine for the dogs already living in your household.
Find the right vet before you bring puppy home
Immunizations and sterilization, as well as deworming is essential for any puppy. It is important to find a licensed veterinarian as soon as puppy enters your home. Veterinarians will also be able to advise you on proper nutrition for your puppy’s life stage and potential risk factors for the breed. Your vet will also assess whether there are any congenital anomalies of concern.