You and your new Puppy
- Choosing your new friend. Choosing a puppy or dog as a new companion for you and your family is an important decision and a responsibility for life. ...more
It is very tempting to fall for a puppy just by looking at it, they all look adorable.
Your focus however should be on the adult dog, the fact whether he or she will fit your environment and your lifestyle.
Carefully consider your living circumstances and be honest about it. If you live in an apartment it is probably best to have a small or medium sized breed. If you have a big terrain and the dog can be outside a lot, a large sporting dog can be an option.
When you have or plan a family, you have to make sure the breed of your choice is known to be kind with children.
Knowing what you expect from an adult dog will help you pick a breed and find the right puppy. Do you want a dog that is at ease with you in the home or do you want to make long walks in nature? Will the dog have to watch the house or play with the children? Are you planning to show the dog?
Any of these features can be found in both purebred and mixed breeds. With the choice for a purebred you are certain of the breed characteristics but it is not meant to say that a mixed breed cannot be a wonderful companion.
Type of dog
A smaller dog is suitable for smaller living conditions and households with children. A large dog might knock them over easily but might be the right choice if you plan outside activities that include your dog.
Dogs with longer coats need more maintenance than shorthaired dogs. Keep in mind that some breeds have oily coats to protect them in the water, which can cause the characteristic dog smell.
Also take the climate into consideration: a Bernese mountain dog will easily support walks under severe winter conditions but will suffer in tropical summers.
Females are usually smaller than male dogs and this might be one of your criteria. Take into consideration that she will have heat periods twice a year, generally in spring and autumn, which might cause some inconvenience.
Once you have a breed in mind, talk to people who already own the breed and ask them about their experiences, specifically in the areas of training, aggression and health. Your veterinarian will be able to give you advice and let you know which breeds have a tendency to inherit certain health-related conditions.
Where to find your puppy
A purebred dog can be best bought from a registered breeder.
When you visit the litter, pay special attention to the mother and ask if it is possible to see the father. If possible, visit several times to see how mother and puppies behave. Are they nervous; do they seem healthy; are they growing up well?
Make sure that the puppies are being raised in similar circumstances as their future environment so they are used to household noises, smells, other people etc.
Do you prefer a crossbreed?
Your local vet, animal shelters or rescue organisations might be a good way to start your search. Animal shelters always want to make sure that the animal is well placed so prepare yourself for a home visit!
- Welcoming your new pet in the home. Bringing home a puppy can be a stressful time for your pup. He’ll be in a strange environment away from his littermates and mother for the first time. There’ll be new people and new expectations. That is why it is important to take enough time to prepare for the life with your new puppy. ...more
The first day
The best time to bring your puppy home is at the beginning of a weekend. If possible, take a few days off to really have the time to acquaint your puppy with its new home and begin housetraining and other training. Make sure there are no stressful events, such as birthdays, visits etc in the first days
If this is the puppy’s first trip in a car, the strange sights, sounds, and smells can be frightening. Take the time to let your new puppy get accustomed to the car. Make sure you are at least with 2 persons in the car.
Cover your lap and car seat with a towel or sheet and keep the car ride quiet and relaxed. If your puppy whines or cries, don’t punish him or be overly affectionate. This will only reinforce the behaviour. Pet him softly and just wait until he calms down. If your puppy gets too noisy or uncontrollable, set him on the floor at your feet. This area is den-like and the vibrations from the road may soothe him.
Remember that a puppy is a baby and the body is still very fragile. Avoid picking up your puppy unless absolutely necessary. If you must, be careful and place one hand under your puppy's rump, and place your other hand under his chest.
The puppy should be welcomed in the house with kindness so it will be reassured, but keep in mind that it is a dog and therefore a pack animal. To avoid problems in the future make sure from day one that he knows that you are the leader of the pack so also approach him with firmness, making clear what is and what is not allowed.
Your puppy will need a few naps each day. Create a confined area somewhere close by to keep an eye on him. If you’re bench training your puppy, put the bench in this area with some comfortable bedding. Don’t force him to enter; he’ll go in when he’s ready. Check on him often and when he wakes up take him outside to eliminate.
The first night will be difficult for both the puppy and your family. Give his last food and drink around seven and play with him before bedtime to make him tired. To avoid that he feels lonely and starts whining it is best you spent the first night with him but don’t take him into your bed. It might become a habit that is hard to break later on.
The days after
When you bring home a new puppy, there inevitably needs to be some time for adjustment. In this first week you can lay the foundation for a long and happy life together and make the transition as easy as possible for everyone involved. These first few days will offer lots of opportunities to praise good behaviour and establish you as pack leader. One of the most important things to remember is not to punish your puppy. It is too soon to discipline for any behaviour. Your puppy has no idea what you expect of him and punishing him will only create confusion and stress.
Let your puppy explore his new environment on his own (but supervised) for a while. If he gets into something he shouldn’t or chews on an object that’s off-limits, don’t punish him. Simply exchange the object for something you’ve designated as chewable, such as a rawhide or nylon bone.
Whenever your puppy focuses his attention on you, either by looking up at you or following you, say his name. This connects his name to paying attention to you and marks you as pack leader, which is extremely important for obedience training.
Introduction to the other animals in the home
Introduce your new pet to the other household pets in controlled situations.
Dogs are pack animals with a dominance hierarchy. One dog leads and the others fall in rank behind him. If you’re introducing a new puppy to your dog or other pets, he’ll need to find his place in the pack and you can help him out.
It’s best to introduce a new puppy to your adult dog in a place that’s new to both of them. Dogs are territorial by nature so you want them to meet on neutral terrain rather than on your original dog’s home turf. If possible, have other people help out by handling your dog and puppy for you. You don’t want either of them to think you’re playing favourites. Let them sniff around and check each other out while you talk to them softly. If you notice any aggressive behaviour, distract the dogs and lead them away from each other. Let them cool off and introduce them again a little later.
Always be present to supervise your dog(s) when they’re with your new puppy. If you can’t be around, separate them or put them in their crates. Allow at least a month before you allow them to be alone together.
Introducing a new puppy to your cat is fairly simple; you should allow the cat to determine the nature of the meeting. Designate areas that are off-limits to your puppy. This will give your cat “safe zones” and keep her from feeling evicted by your puppy. Don’t leave them unsupervised until you are very sure they get along. Watch for any aggressive behaviour by either animal.
There are many potential dangers for a puppy. Even though he sleeps a lot, you’d better keep an eye on him, and when you have to be absent for a while place him in a room where’s there’s no danger. Staircases with risks of falls, children’s bedrooms with toys, which may be nibbled at or swallowed up, are some of the places to which you’d better forbid him access.
Playful and intelligent puppies investigate objects by touching, chewing and tasting them. Growing puppies love to explore, but need protection from household items that are dangerous if swallowed.
• .. Put away floor plants, decorations, shoes, and clothing. • Keep loose articles off the floor. • Secure tablecloths or other hanging material. A quick pull on one of these can bring everything from the table down on your puppy. • Puppies can and will put their paws on things until they’re properly trained. Put away anything breakable, particularly if it’s at tail level. Tails wag. Expensive things get broken. • Lock up cupboards and secure dangerous materials. This includes stowing cleaning products, medicines and anything that could be poisonous to your puppy. • Hide all trailing electrical cables securely under carpets, or tape them to the floor or wall. Or use a cable protector. • Have children put away toys and any parts or accessories. If the item is smaller than your puppy, it should be put away. • Keep toilet lids down so your puppy can't fall in or drink from the bowl. • Remove toxic houseplants, including philodendron, mistletoe and poinsettia.
- Eating area. When your new puppy arrives at your house, he might well be a little disoriented, confused, and worried because he was recently taken from his mother and siblings. Dogs are social creatures, so this separation can be distressing to a young puppy. ...more
When your new puppy arrives at your house, he might well be a little disoriented, confused, and worried because he was recently taken from his mother and siblings. Dogs are social creatures, so this separation can be distressing to a young puppy. By making sure he gets a lot of attention from your family and is successfully introduced to and accepted by any other household pets, you can help him to adjust more quickly.
For the puppy and your comfort it is very important that you think beforehand on where to feed it.
Always place the food bowls away from everyone else.
Make sure that his dining area is quiet during feeding times. It is difficult for a puppy to concentrate on eating when there are lots of household noises and people are walking back and forth.
If other pets in the household are showing aggression or jealousy against your new puppy, keep them out of his eating area until he has finished eating.
Place the bowls where it is easy for your puppy to get to. An ideal situation would be to have a special area just for the puppy, which at the same time is close to the main living areas where everyone else is. Once you have established the puppy’s eating area don’t move it again unless absolutely necessary.
Your puppy-shopping list should include quality dishes for food and water. There are a wide variety of materials and styles to choose from. You should pick bowls that work with the physical characteristics of your dog such as an elevated dish for bigger dogs or a tapered bowl for those with long ears.
- Sleeping area. The first night home with your new puppy can be a trying experience for both of you. It is the first time your puppy has spent the night away from his mother, brothers and sisters. ...more
The first night home with your new puppy can be a trying experience for both of you. It is the first time your puppy has spent the night away from his mother, brothers and sisters.
Just like baby’s, puppy’s need their sleep.
It is therefore very important to have a warm, quiet place where they can rest both during the day and at night
Family life can be pretty intimidating for a young puppy so it needs time to itself once in a while. Therefore it is important that the sleeping area is in a confined place where it feels at ease and safe.
A puppy bench is a good choice. With a soft underground (towel, cushion or blanket) you make it a safe place where the pup can retreat when he needs his peace and quiet.
The bench should be big enough for your dog to stand up to his full height, turn around, lie down, and stretch out comfortably. He shouldn’t have to curl up to fit, but you don’t want it to be so big your dog can soil one side and sleep on the other.