If you're someone who's been around puppies all their lives, getting a new tiny dog isn't going to make so much of a splash. However, if you're a first-time puppy owner, you'll find yourself out to sea very quickly. Puppies are little balls of energy, and everyone has great things to say about how cuddly they are. No one mentions their indoor accidents or how they disturb the neighbors at 3 AM when they start barking. Yet, for a puppy owner, especially a new one, this might turn an enjoyable pet into a nightmare experience for both you and the doggo. This article covers some of the essential things you should know as a new puppy owner that most people fail to mention.
First Things First - Choose the Right Pup
Puppies are cute, and that's why humans go for them. Unfortunately, they all come in the same size, and you aren't sure how big they get when you grow up. When choosing a puppy, you should look at a few pertinent factors such as:
- The size of the adult dog
- The puppy's personality and how it meshes with your daily schedule
- The puppy's inclination to barking
If you're adopting a pup from a shelter, all of these factors can contribute to whether you enjoy your time as a pet parent. Don't be afraid to draw up a shortlist so that you can limit the candidates on your search for the perfect puppy. You have options such as professional breeders, private sellers, and shelters being the ways most people acquire their pups. It's better to look at a shelter first since those dogs need homes, and many of them are at least partially trained. Sure, you could spend a lot on a perfectly bred dog, but a rescue dog will be even more grateful to find their way into your home.
The Basics of Preparing For a Puppy
Once you've chosen your pup, you have to ensure that your home is ready to deal with a tiny dog. Preparation should be done beforehand, but if you've already adopted the puppy, you just have to play it by ear.
Puppies are very adventurous and love exploring new things. Your home is like this brand new adventure world that they don't know anything about. If you want to make sure your belongings and your puppy remain safe, consider doing the most basic puppy proofing to your home. Stow away all the items that your puppy can chew on. Try to ensure that cables are run behind furniture or under carpets. If you have environmentally sensitive rooms where puppy pee or poo can cause damage, consider blocking off the tiny dog's access to them. A great way to check your work is to get down to puppy level and see anything you might have missed. Even the most skilled pippy parents won't get all of it on the first pass.
Shop For New Pet Supplies
One of the most exciting parts of getting a new puppy is shopping for their needs. A new dog bed should be high on your list of acquisitions, along with bowls, cleaning supplies, toys, treats, a crate, a collar and leash, a brush and comb, and food. These make up the essential supplies you'll need for a dog, and you're likely to get a lot more supplies as time goes by. Once you start loving a puppy, you're probably going to end up spending lots on toys and treats.
Locate a Vet
Having a doctor you can count on is essential, and the same applies to your pet. Vet research can be a long, drawn-out process, but you can cut down the amount of time you spend looking for one significantly. Ask friends who also have dogs in the area which vet they go to. Once you get recommendations, hit the internet to see what reviews you can pick up about them and how they interact with their clients. Some vets run complete supply stores as add-ons to their practice, making it convenient to pick up your pet supplies there as well. Having a vet will enable your puppy to relax when they need to be taken care of since they'll be familiar with the doctor from their previous interactions.
The Basics of Training
Once you've outfitted yourself with the tools to keep your puppy in your home, you'll need to look at training them. Puppies can become well-behaved dogs, but only if you dedicate the time to their training. The best way to train your puppy is to break up training sessions into shorter periods. Some dogs learn better when they aren't under pressure or mental fatigue. Additionally, it would help if you were using treats to reward them for a job well done. Training dogs in this way has been done for centuries, so we know it works. However, you need to have patience since some puppies may be slower to pick up on training than others.
We mentioned a crate earlier when we talked about supplies, but it bears explaining what that means. A puppy crate is a safe space where the dog can run to if they feel frightened or threatened. It's also a useful training tool, but only if you teach your pup how to use it in the first place. Crates for puppies shouldn't be much larger than the dog themselves. It should be snug but not tight on them, allowing them to comfortably get in and out of it. It would help if you started by preparing the crate with a blanket and a chew toy. If you can get one that smells like the dog's mother, that would be ideal. Never use the crate as a punishment or shut the dog away in it against their will.
You'll want them to associate the crate with good memories so they will see it as a retreat where they're safe. When you're crate training your puppy, you should let them go into the box and shut the door. If they whine, don't reopen the door until they quiet down. This training teaches them that making noise is terrible, but being calm inside their safe space is good. Ideally, you should only shut the door for short periods at first, eventually extending the amount of time you leave the door closed each successive time.
A Well-Trained Dog is The Goal
Most owners fail to realize how vital puppyhood is to a dog's overall growth and development. Most training usually takes place when the dog is a puppy. Things like crate training and housebreaking take time, but they learn far quicker as pups than as adults. The behaviors dogs pick up when they're puppies go with them through all their lives. That's why the most vital part of having a well-trained dog starts with having a well-trained puppy.