Welcoming a puppy into your family is a big deal. In addition to all of the wonderful things that come along with having a dog, there are countless logistical factors to take into account as well. When you’re fully prepared ahead of time, your chances of successfully raising a smart, well-behaved puppy will improve.
However, it’s all too easy to get caught up in the fun parts and let the important things slide. Since this is less than ideal, it’s important to familiarize yourself with puppy care even before bringing your new family member home, to get yourself off on the right foot. Here are four helpful tips all new puppy owners should know.
1. Know How To Approach Unwanted Behaviors
One of the best things about puppies is that they’re adorable. However, certain undesirable (yet normal) behaviors are also part of the package, so you must be ready to meet them head-on. Think biting, jumping, and chewing.
It won’t take long for you to realize that those tiny little puppy teeth can do some major damage, especially as your pup grows stronger by the day. While biting is a natural part of the growth process, it’s critical that it’s managed as well as possible. Some easy research on how to stop puppy biting will be very helpful here, especially if you are consistent with your training.
Other things such as jumping are also very common, but they’ll only become more forceful and destructive over time if not worked on early. There are many ways to approach this and some strategies will work better than others for your situation.
2. Get Ready for Housebreaking
Another major part of welcoming a puppy into your home is the housebreaking process. Fortunately, this is something that can often be done efficiently as long as you give the process the time it needs, and a little extra patience never hurts.
However, it’s important to remind yourself that all puppies housetrain at different paces, so try not to fall victim to the comparison trap here.
A crate (or a pen-type area), a designated potty area, and a watchful eye on your pup will be instrumental in housebreaking success. As your pup gets older, a bell on the door can be a helpful tool in the process as well.
3. Understand Puppy Nutrition
It’s no surprise that puppies need to eat, and there are countless options when it comes to which food to choose. However, this isn’t a decision you want to take lightly. Puppy nutrition is incredibly important for healthy growth and development, so good quality food is a must.
Before you run to the grocery store, do your research. Some puppies thrive on certain foods while others might need more specialized diets. It also might take a few tries to find a food that works best for your puppy. Always start slow when introducing new food to avoid stomach upset.
4. Establish Routines
Just as with humans, routine is important for puppies as well. Figuring out what works best for your puppy and your family will take some time and you’ll likely need to tweak as you go but establishing some sense of routine from day one is essential to success.
Keeping things as simple as possible will serve you well. It will also help your puppy to become comfortable with different people and situations, which will help throughout their lives as well. Think about everything from sleeping arrangements, exercise, trips out of the house, and more.
Remember that you’re not just training your puppy, you’re also training yourself and other family members who are involved in the puppy’s care as well. It will be a learning curve for all, and everyone will need to work together.
Welcoming a puppy into your home is a big step. With proper planning, plenty of patience, and consistency, you’ll be well on your way to creating a solid relationship with your new family member that will reward you for years to come.