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Top 10 Things to Do When Getting a New Puppy

January 3, 2009

1. Choose a name. It’s important to name your new friend as early as possible so your puppy can get used to its new name and start responding to it. Some experts suggest that dogs can most easily her and respond best to names that have 2 syllables with a strong sound breaking up the syllables. For instance “Toby” – the “b” sound in the middle breaks up the first and second syllable.

2. Plan Ahead. Have a spots picked out for your new puppy to sleep and before you pick him or her up. The key with puppies is to be consistent, so you need to send a clear message about what’s acceptable from day one

3. Do Your Homework. Spend some time researching the breed (or breeds) your dog is, as there may be breed traits that you can be aware of before puppy arrives home. It is important to know how much exercise and attention your dog will be wanting to be happy.

4. Take Time Off. Try to organise to pick puppy up at a time when you can be at home with puppy while he or she gets used to the new surroundings. Times such as Easter, Christmas school holidays or just some of your annual leave would be ideal.

5. Puppy-Proof Your Home. Ensure that any potential threats are removed. Critical things to think about include toxic substances such as rat-bait, anti-freeze (anti-freeze tastes very sweet and is highly toxic to dogs). Other things to thing about are valuable items such as ornaments and shoes and clothes that are within puppy’s reach. The best way to puppy proof your house is to get down on all fours and go around the house at puppy level to see exactly what could possibly be destroyed!!

6. Stock up. Decide what your puppy will be eating and get some supplies ready in the cupboard. A good idea is to find out what the pet shop or breeder has been feeding the puppy, this way you can keep the diet consistent and puppy wont feel too homesick.

7. Choose a vet. Make an appointment with the local vet to get puppy vaccinated and checked over. Also make sure you ask the vet about worming your dog, as many puppies have worms which are transmissible to humans

8. Book in to Puppy Obedience Classes. This is a very important one – especially for first time dog owners. The instructors at the class will be able to help you give clear and consistent messages to your puppy to ensure that he or she is a lovely, well-mannered, good-natured friend when he or she grows up

9. Be Patient but Firm. Puppies are like toddlers, they are eager to learn, but are quick to pick up on inconsistencies and will spend a great deal of time trying to push the boundaries with their owners. If you tell your dog to do something NEVER let it get away with not obeying the command. Continue to work firmly and calmly with the dog until it obeys the command and then follow with praise. This is the best way to ensure that you have a great, mutually respectful relationship with your puppy.

10. Go Shopping. Basic requirements for a new puppy are as follows:
• Food and water bowls
• An expandable collar
• A leash
• A kennel if puppy is to sleep outside
• A dog bed for inside
• Toys (some chewable ones are a good idea for young puppies)
• A brush for grooming
• Some old towels (to clean dirty puppies)
• A nametag with puppy’s name and your phone number(s) on it

2 Comments leave one →
  1. angel66 permalink
    January 4, 2009 8:52 pm

    Hi, Dr caroline. I have a new puppy who seems intent on digging holes in the garden. Have you got any suggestions on how I can stop this problem?


    • drcaroline permalink*
      January 14, 2009 10:25 pm

      Hi angel66.

      Great question! One of my dogs was exactly the same as a puppy and the good news is that most dogs grow out of this behaviour. In the mean time a good suggestion is to try burying some orange peel or some of your dog’s own faeces (poo) in the holes before filling them in. Dogs find the smell of citrus fruits quite unappealing and sometimes this is enough to stop them digging up the garden and won’t harm your puppy at all.

      Good luck,

      Dr Caroline

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