Puppy Care and Training
Getting a new puppy is an exciting event. It can also often be overwhelming and stressful for both you and your puppy. Here are some tips to help you both adjust.
Electrical cords should be hidden or wrapped. Other objects your puppy may be tempted to chew on should be removed or moved to a place your puppy can’t access. Poisonous household products should also be kept out of the puppy’s reach.
For outdoors, make sure any lawn chemicals are out of reach, and inspect your fence for holes your puppy could escape through. Finally, make sure to ask your veterinarian about what kinds of plants may be poisonous to your dog, and remove any that are present in your home or yard.
For additional information about which plants present a poisonous risk to your pet, visit the ASPCA website.
It’s important to take your new puppy for an initial checkup with a veterinarian. We recommend carefully selecting a veterinarian and making an appointment for your puppy in advance of bringing him home.
Here are some tips for selecting a veterinarian:
- Meet the veterinarian to ensure you feel comfortable with them and their staff.
- Choose a veterinarian that is close to your home. This is not only an issue of convenience, but it will allow you to get there quickly in case of emergency.
- Ensure the veterinarian you select has office hours that coincide with your typical day-to-day schedule.
If you are interested in finding a veterinarian near you,visit our Veterinarian Locator.
A few basic supplies can make a big difference when it comes to helping your new puppy adjust to his new home:
- Stainless steel food and water bowls
- A crate, puppy bed or other designated sleeping area where your puppy can go to relax
- Leash and collar
- Identification tag
- Brush and comb
- Rubber toys made especially for puppies
If you are interested in finding a pet specialty retail store new you, visit our Retailer Locator.
Introducing a puppy into a household with children should be taken very seriously. Children don’t often understand the need to be very careful with a puppy so the interaction between them should always be supervised by an adult.
When you introduce your puppy to your children, have your children sit down and let the puppy approach them on his own. Let the children and puppy interact in a calm, structured way.
If you have other cats or dogs in your household, here are some tips:
- Introduce your new puppy and current pets in a neutral area if possible, like a park.
- Make sure your dogs are on leashes.
- Don’t scold or punish your current dog if he doesn’t react the way you’d like at first. Getting pets acclimated to one another takes time and patience.
- Provide cats with a place where the new puppy can’t bother them.
Regardless of whether you decide to teach your puppy entertaining tricks, puppies should be taught some basics first in order to encourage a positive introduction into their new home. Your training program should start as early as possible, while your puppy naturally has an excellent capacity for learning. Here are some helpful tips:
- Take your puppy out to relieve himself after playtime, every meal and nap, before bed and as soon as you wake up in the morning. Routinely take your puppy out to the same spot every time so he can learn to recognize his own scent.
- Praise your puppy for eliminating outside.
- Never punish or reprimand a puppy who has had an accident. Instead, focus on taking your puppy out frequently to prevent indoor accidents.
It’s also important to teach your puppy a couple of basic commands. From the very beginning, a puppy should be taught to obey commands. Always use the same words for the same commands and start off with very short, five-minute training sessions.
Here are a few steps to teach your puppy to sit or lie down:
- Hold a treat slightly in front of your puppy’s nose and slowly raise it in an upward arc to lure your puppy to sit.
- The moment your puppy sits, give him the treat.
- Once he understands the motion, pair the word, “sit,” with his action and praise and reward him each time he does it.
- Once you have taught your puppy to sit, you can start teaching the “down” command.
- With a treat in your hand, give your puppy the “sit” command.
- Once he is seated, praise him and lower the treat to the ground slowly. The moment he has his hindquarters and elbows on the ground, reward him with the treat.
- Once your puppy understands the motion, pair the word, “down” with his action, then praise and reward him each time he does it.
Download our Puppy Guide to learn about the essentials for giving your puppy a healthy start in life including information on care, nutrition, training and overall health.