Getting a new puppy?
Not owned a dog before?
First of all, it important to remember a new puppy needs special attention in the fist year of life. If you want to bring up a healthy dog that is easy to walk and is friendly towards people and also dogs, these are our personal Tips.
Rescue a puppy
I always recommend rescuing a new puppy. There are plenty of places you can register. However it may take a while if you want a puppy. Battersea Dogs Home and The Dogs Trust are ones I have had good experiences with, but there are many others. Just do your research first.
Do your Research
If you are going to buy a puppy, don’t buy it from internet adverts or newspapers. There are lots of people who mass produce puppies but try and hide the fact they do. Therefore do research into the breeder before you visit them.
Visit the puppies with the mother and see them interacting with the other pups and mother. I would recommend seeing it at least twice.
The pup has to be at least 8 weeks old before it can leave the mother.
Check to see if the puppies are interacting with people and experiencing everyday sights, sounds and smells.
Do check the home is clean and is lived in (not a rental they use to sell puppy farmed dogs).
However, if the puppies look sick, unwell don’t feel obliged to get the pup. You can always report bad breeders.
Find out what food the breeder feeds the puppy. Keep this the same when you first get home. If you do decide to change the food do it gradually over a number of weeks. Otherwise you may find that your pup develops an upset stomach, which is not fun for anyone.
Make your house safe
Puppies are escape artists. If you have a garden maker sure it’s secure and there are no gaps a little pup can squeeze under. Consider getting a baby gate to fence of an area for the puppy. If you have stairs it will be needed there longer term.
You will need a bed, toys (Ideally lots of different textures), chews for teething, and water / food bowls. Oh we all love a naughty new puppy.
With all new puppies, they can and will chew most things because this is how they experience the world and later on their teeth will hurt as the adult teeth grow. Because of this make sure they can get to electric cables, into cupboards (containing cleaning liquids, medicine)
I suggest to get some puppy training pads you will probably need them! There are some anti chew sprays that some people fine are useful. We have used a Bitter Apple spay with our dog which worked really well.
Health and Medical
When you agree to collect the new puppy, check what inoculations it has had and if it’s had any worming treatment.
Take your new puppy down to the vet and register it. The vet will check it over to make sure its healthy, complete its vaccinations and microchip it. Vets will advise when each of these should take place. Its a good time to talk about neutering and when it should be done.
Ask the vet about exercise time because pups muscles and bones grow together but too much exercise can damage a puppy. Ask your vet for advice.
The first few days
The first days home, let the new puppy have access to one room only.
It’s a big day for the puppy and it will be anxious and nervous as it will be first time it’s away from its mother and siblings. As it’s confidence grows let it have access to another room.
Broken legs and hips !
I have heard of so many new puppies breaking legs and hips through being dropped when they are young. Puppies can wriggle like crazy, and especially little round ones like pugs. I always suggest sitting on the floor when picking up puppies. Personally I would never let a child pick up a puppy.
Socialisation and Habituation
The first nine months of a puppies life is where they learn to be confident in new situations and experiences.
Most of all puppies must socialise from a very early age with many people and other dogs. They need controlled positive experiences.
Enrol in a puppy class and get out to local commons, cafes, parks and as many different places as you can.
Your puppy also needs to be exposed gradually to all the different stimuli it will come across in life. Traffic, thunder storms, rain, TV, vacuum , washing machines, the list goes on. I will add my suggestions in another blog. Email me for a complete list.
Letting your puppy off lead
Have a dog tag made with your phone number one side and the vets on the other. Do not print your home address or your dogs name on the tag.
I use puppy training leads at first with re-call. They trail along the ground behind the puppy. You can stand on them or ask someone else to if they run off.
Look for a secure park or sneak into a tennis court and have plenty of dog treats with you and a squeaky toy.
Because puppies and dogs read body language, they will pick up if you are anxious and they can become fearful.
If you are unsure of another dog, ask the owners if it’s friendly, if they say its okay, let them play. The dog may not be friendly, so cheerfully lead your puppy away.
Some dogs are on a lead as they are not friendly, so ask from a distance.
Never pick up your puppy around other dogs. Its a dominance thing and consequently it can make other dogs jump up at it.
Remember that puppies will play fight it’s fine, just like kids, a little yelp now and then is fine. They (Puppies not children… well in some cases children) learn how powerful their bites by nipping other dogs and a yelp is a warning that the bit is too much.
Start working on separation anxiety
Puppies must learn to be by themselves at a very early stage. The earlier you start the easier it is for your puppy and yourself. Start by building up time away from your puppy from day one. Build up five minutes at a time. Don’t make a fuss when you leave your dog and when you return. If your puppy does not learn this at am early stage if can get anxious, destructive or bark when you leave for longer periods.
I’m a huge believe of crate training. It’s a safe place for dogs to relax. In nature dogs would sleep in small caves.
Dog Walkers and Doggy Daycare
Many people work all day, so consider getting Dog Walker or Doggy Daycare.
Most adult dogs are fine with walks, doggy daycare can be good for pups at first until they are older. However, they must learn to be by themselves also. Ask the dog walker if you can join them on a walk to see how they are with dogs. If they come up with some excuse as to why you can’t, I personally would avoid them.
Most of all, get out at parks meeting other dog owners walking their dogs.
Start training your puppy from day one
The Dogs Trust has many free puppy training videos. They are great and teach you what you would learn at a puppy classes. However, I always recommend puppy classes of you can afford it.
Find a puppy socialisation group in your area you can take the puppy too.
I always tell new owners to call the receptionist at their vets if they have any concerns about the health of their puppy. It’s free to chat to reception and they are the best ones to advise you for things you can do yourself or if need be they will book you in to see a vet.
Get the puppy out there
Oh, did I say, get your puppy out at parks meeting as many other dogs as possible!
Have fun and love that puppy.
Finally, if you sign up with our doggy daycare or walking service, we offer free puppy consultation on making your home safe and can advise on bringing up healthy puppies.
There is much more information on puppies and bringing them up, just keep an eye on my blog for more information.