So you’ve recently adopted a puppy… Congratulations! Not only have you saved a life, you’ve added a significant amount of joy and love to your life. But this new adventure often comes with a lot of questions about what’s next. That’s exactly why we wrote this article. In this guide, you’ll learn a few important tips on how to care for your puppy, how to teach them the basic commands you’ll want them to know, and how to prepare them to live in your house. The ultimate goal will be to give you a quick and easy resource to enhance the bond between you and your new pet!
Step 1 – The Puppy Exam
The first thing to do after adopting your new puppy is to schedule a veterinary examination. If you haven’t done so yet, just call us at (904) 757-4254.
There are a few important tasks that will be accomplished during your puppy’s examination:
- We need to make sure your puppy doesn’t have any health problems, congenital defects, or any other issues that could cause problems down the road. We will thoroughly examine your puppy’s major bodily systems to check for any red flags.
- We’ll start your puppy on a preventative healthcare plan, such as creating a vaccination schedule and educating you on parasite prevention.
- We’ll teach you about which illnesses are common in puppies, along with the symptoms to be aware of.
- If your puppy is yet to be spayed or neutered, we can either schedule the procedure or answer any questions or concerns you might have. Spaying or neutering not only prevents overcrowding in shelters, it actually has important health and behavioral benefits for your puppy.
Step 2 – Housetraining
The most important things to remember when training your puppy are to be consistent, patient, and to use positive reinforcement. It can take several months to housetrain your puppy, but it will be oh-so-worth it! Just follow these steps, and you’re on your way!
- It’s important to have a regular feeding schedule for your puppy. Make sure to take your pup’s dish away between meals.
- Your puppy needs to be taken outside to urinate first thing in the morning and right before bed. Besides this, it’s also best to take them out in hourly intervals.
- As soon as your puppy goes to the bathroom, give them ample praise! It’s a good idea to take low calorie treats with you to reward them with.
- Never scold or punish your puppy when they have an accident in the house – this accomplishes nothing but creating anxiety. If you do manage to catch your puppy during the accident, clap loudly and gently walk them outside. When your puppy finishes outside, praise them as you normally would.
- Use an enzymatic cleanser where any accidents in the house occur. This removes the scent, which makes them less likely to repeat the behavior.
Step 3 – Obedience
Obedience training will bond you and your pet for life, helps to prevent potentially dangerous situations (such as running towards danger), and creates a happy and fulfilling relationship with your new pet. You’ll want to learn the four basic commands, and we’ll provide you with tips on how to teach them!
Tip: You’ll want to keep training intervals short, such as 5-10 minutes. Practice a few times a day. And remember, the key is to be consistent, be repetitive, and use positive reinforcement.
- Kneel close to your puppy on the ground.
- Take a treat and hold it near their nose. Slowly raise the treat above them, allowing their head to follow.
- This will cause their bottom to lower closer to the ground. Once their bottom hits the floor, immediately reward them with the treat. Follow with ample praise.
- Begin pairing this action with the command “sit.”
- Put a leash (preferably a long one) on your dog and take them out to an area with a lot of space – such as a backyard or park. Allow them to explore and give the leash plenty of slack. Choose a marker word, such as “yes.”
- Follow them around for a minute or two. Then start to slowly walk backwards. Once your puppy starts to walk towards you, say your marker word. Once they reach you, immediately give them their treat and ample praise.
- Begin to pair this action with the command “come.”
- Put the leash on your puppy and have them sit beside you.
- Wave a flat hand towards them and say “stay.”
- Take two steps in front of your dog, wait two seconds, and step back beside them. Immediately reward and praise if they held their stay.
- If they don’t stay, gently say “oops” and return them to the initial position.
- Put your puppy’s leash on and say “let’s go” in a happy and cheerful tone.
- Pat your leg in order to encourage forward motion. Once your dog walks closely to your side, reward your puppy with a treat and praise.
- Every six steps, stop to praise them for being in the proper place – by your side.
- Whenever your puppy falls behind or wanders ahead, just stop and let them explore.
- As soon as your puppy begins to come back to you, say your praise marker and then treat them as soon as they return to your side.
- If your puppy begins to pull, stop all motion. Wait until they return to your side.
We’d suggest bookmarking this guide so that you can always return to it. And if you have any questions on caring for your new dog, please call us at (904) 757-4254!