The first night in its new home is usually the most stressful night for any breed. Make it as comforting as possible with a ticking clock wrapped in its blanket or leave the radio on to soothe it to sleep. Desides that, you should:
- Choose washable bedding
- Confine your puppy to a section of the house so that you have control over its toilet training
- Make sure that kitchen rubbish and any other visible dangers such as large houseplants or pots are out of reach
Some clients prefer to bring their new pup in a pet carrier to the vet. They feel safer in the car when they are very young and they are not exposed to any sick animals in the waiting room.
Toys and chewing
Choose enough toys so that your furniture remains untouched by tiny teeth. Be careful not to give them toys that look like the items you want them to avoid chewing such as a shoe. Balls and knotted ropes are good but avoid games that encourage your puppy to fight with you and that makes it growl.
If your puppy continuously tries to chew your hands, discourage it by squeaking to give it a fright and distract it. Make a fist to hide your fingers and hide your hands if it perseveres. If encouraged you may end up with a biting dog.
Your pup can be fitted with a collar from when they are very little. It should fit snuggly but allow for one or two fingers width of space between collar and neck. Loosen the collar as they grow.
Choose a good quality food that you want to keep him on. Dry foods tend to be better for their teeth, especially in the smaller breeds that live longer and can suffer with dental disease if they only eat a soft food diet. Puppies have a tiny stomach so divide their feeds up into four meals initially. Always provide fresh water.
Large breed puppies should be fed a puppy food specially designed for large breed dogs. They can grow too quickly on a normal high protein puppy food and suffer with joint disease. The large breed puppy foods balance the ratio of protein and carbohydrate so that your pet does not grow too fast.
Make sure that your puppy is wormed too with their first vaccination if the breeder has not already done so, as most puppies will have worms from their mothers. Any sign of fleas will need treatment too by us. Frontline spot on can start from 6 weeks of age.
Training and Socialising
Start training your puppy at an early age to build up a good relationship with your new companion. Start basic discipline which involves being consistent with what you say and do. Be patient as dogs have short memories. Correct your puppy when his behaviour is inappropriate but lavish him with praise as a positive reinforcement when it is right. Never resort to physical punishment.
Puppies need to know their place in the pecking order at home. They will be much happier, better adjusted pets if you can follow some simple guidelines, designed to mimic the wolf pack principle of "the top dog (the alpha male) goes first, feeds first, and leads". Feed your pup after you have eaten.
Once vaccinated, you can start to socialise your pup but do not overdo the exercise. Your puppy will probably love being out and want to go for a lot further than it should. Over-exercising at a young age could adversely affect his growth, especially in the larger breed dogs.
Most of all, enjoy your time with your new pet. You will forget the time when you didn't have such a devoted, non-judgemental, faithful, happy companion in your life.