Bringing a new puppy home can be very exciting. But if you’re a first-time owner - or never had a pup before - it can also be daunting. It’s also a big change for the lovely little furball that’s only a matter of weeks, which is why it’s so important not to overwhelm him. Many simple mistakes made during these early days can linger for longer and we could live to regret them.
In the run up to National Puppy Day (23rd March), global pet brand PetSafe® has compiled this ulti-mutt guide to the most common pitfalls to avoid when bringing home those four little paws – or when rehoming an older dog.
Don’t give him free roam of your home and garden
Introducing your new pooch to too many new places, smells, and people, too quickly, will be confusing. Instead, let him explore one small space at a time, in his own stride, with you by his side.
Help him to get used to his new surroundings as quickly as possible by showing him where the important things are – like his bed and bowls - straight away.
Don’t introduce him to everyone in the family all at once
Everyone will be desperate to meet their new four-legged family member but try to do this one person at a time - calmly and quietly. Keep a close eye on any little ones and discourage them from picking him up – place him in their lap instead to cuddle.
Don’t move him when he’s sleeping
Puppies have lots of energy to burn – and tire quickly too. If yours drops off to sleep in a strange place, leave him there. Over time he’ll learn where his bed is and start napping there more often.
Don’t confuse the crate
Crates are a popular means for dog owners to provide their pup with a comforting, cosy spot to relax and sleep – so make sure that’s the only way you use it. By sending him to his safe place for no reason – or when he’s being naughty – he’ll associate it with punishment, rather than his little comfy, quiet space he calls his own.
Don’t invite friends and neighbours over to meet him straight away
Minimize his stress - and unnecessary excitement - by asking visitors to let him settle, in peace, for the first few days. It’s very important that your puppy is socialised and gets used to house guests, but not straight away. Let him get used to his new family’s faces before adding more to the mix. Ask them to wait off for a week or two.
Don’t keep him away from other family pets
Bringing home a new puppy is a lovely moment for the entire family -- including current family dogs – and it’s important to introduce them quickly, so that they can bond and learn to co-habitat.
But watch that the adult dog’s behaviour is appropriate towards the puppy. He may growl a little – which is fine - but if he becomes agitated, move the puppy away and try again another time. Also make sure his vaccinations are up to date before they meet so as not to pass on infections to the pup.
Don’t expect too much
Dogs don’t inherently know what to do and how to behave – they don’t know not to pull on a lead or bark when someone knocks on the door. Like people, they need to be taught.
Don’t let him play with unknown dogs
As long as your puppy is at least ten weeks old at its second vaccination, it will be safe to take him out seven days later. By then, he’ll be immune to distemper, hepatitis and parvovirus. Now’s the time to take him for walks in public places, to introduce car journeys and to attend puppy classes. Before then, keep him away from unknown dogs – and even where they walk.
Don’t let him break the rules
Start enforcing rules straight away. Your puppy needs to learn the house rules from the very beginning and praise him for good behaviour. Set your rules ahead of time and stick to them.
Don’t leave training until later
It’s easy to get caught up in puppy excitement and let all routines go out of the window. But it’s important to start training very early on. The sooner you start – even just for a couple of minutes at a time – the easier it is for him to learn basic commands. From eight weeks, he can start to be taught simple skills such as sit, stay, and come
Don’t forget to book a vet’s appointment
It's important to book an appointment for your new puppy to see a vet shortly after they’re brought home. Choose one in advance based on research and recommendations and prepare for your first visit by noting down details such as his food, vaccination records and any documentation you have.
And make sure he travels there safely, and legally, in a dog carrier, seat or crate.
PetSafe® Brand’s Rob Steele said: “National Puppy Day is a celebration of the unconditional love and affection puppies bring to our lives, but there are a number of easy steps that we can take to make the experience more enjoyable and easier – and bond stronger - for the whole family, especially the four-legged ones.”
For further information visit www.petsafe.com/UKDownload
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