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Getting a Puppy For the First Time?

Getting a Puppy For the First Time?

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.

Puppy Proofing

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.

Crate Training

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.

4 Challenges Every Puppy Owner Faces

4 Challenges Every Puppy Owner Faces

When you get a puppy, it's a commitment that you're dedicating yourself to that may take up a significant portion of your time and resources. Puppies are like kids, but they never grow up. You'd always have a good cuddle from them, even when they get to be old dogs. However, getting a puppy usually brings with it a handful of challenges that people usually avoid talking about. Along with the cuddles and the face licks come a series of considerations that every puppy owner will be familiar with. Here are a handful of the challenges we all face that first time to help those new to getting a puppy.

1. Housebreaking a Puppy

Every owner wants a puppy that's housebroken because it makes them easier to maintain. Not all of us can afford massive yards, and our only options are keeping our dogs inside our homes. Housebreaking a puppy makes them easier to deal with in a smaller space like an apartment. Housebreaking a puppy is not an overnight ordeal either. You'll likely be doing this for a few months at least, so you should be prepared with a lot of patience and carpet cleaner to back you up. Each puppy is unique, and you'd have to approach the process individually. Once you work out a strategy and stick to it, you should be able to get your puppy housebroken with enough effort.

Alongside housebreaking is crate training. Puppies are usually full of energy, and they can get underfoot very quickly. In a busy household, they could pose a hazard for anyone walking while carrying heavy or hot objects. What's more, they could cause themselves to be stepped on, which would hurt them. Crate training introduces them a secure, relaxing location to retreat to where you won't have to worry about stepping on them. You could upgrade after a while to a cuddler bed for a little added comfort.

2. Vaccinations and Vet Bills

When raising a puppy, one of the most consistent issues you're likely to run into is vet bills. At the start, you'll need to make sure your puppy has all their vaccines and booster shots. Each of these carries a high cost, but it's necessary to ensure that your puppy remains healthy. Vaccinations prevent some of the most common dog diseases, such as parvovirus, distemper, and rabies. Puppies will need this, especially if they're meeting other dogs for play. Viruses can quickly jump between puppies, and if a dog is vaccinated, they might not get sick but pass on a virus they're carrying to an unvaccinated pup.

Vaccines provide protection from viruses and bacteria that could cause infection, but they're not the only thing you'd go to the vet for. Puppies can get worms, hernias, and even distended baby teeth. Each of these may be treated differently but require a vet to deal with it. Puppy health problems can make them miserable. No puppy parent wants to see their little furry one suffering. Yet treatment for these disorders also carry hefty vet bills with them. Raising a puppy may cost a lot, but they're worth it in the long run.

3. Socialization and Basic Training

Puppies are social creatures. Some studies suggest that puppies ought to be socialized within the first few weeks of life by letting them meet with other dogs and humans. Socialization ensures that a puppy knows their social standing and won't get bullied by other dogs in open play. It also raises their confidence and allows them to overcome anxieties when interacting with humans and dogs. By socializing your dog with a familiar set of people or dogs, you get to learn their cues. These cues can come in handy out in the real world when your pup is meeting a strange dog for the first time. You'll be able to sense their anxiety, trepidation, and a whole slew of other emotions just from their behavior.

Basic training for pups allows you to control them a bit easier. Jumping onto people and things, nipping, barking, and behaving on a leash are basic training elements that owners need to be aware of. They'll also learn to respond to basic cues and not bite or charge other dogs they might see as a threat. You could undergo basic training yourself if you have the time, but it may be pertinent to hire an expert animal psychologist to help. Some vet centers offer basic training programs with a certified trainer as well.

4. Chewing

Every puppy parent will tell you that chewing is one of the most challenging habits to deal with. Puppies are naturally playful and curious, and they use their noses and mouths to explore things. Unfortunately, new puppies don't come with a manual to warn first-time owners. The result is carnage and destruction of furniture, clothes, curtains, and anything they can gnaw and bite on. How does an owner stop their puppy from wreaking havoc across their homes?

The most effective methods usually involve exercise and a lot of it. Puppies usually bite and chew because they have the excess energy to explore things. Exercising your pup with a brisk run or a bit of play now and again will tire them out sufficiently. They'll probably end up spending more time napping than chewing. If you intersperse their playtime with some toys, they'll eventually start playing with them on their own, tiring themselves out in the process.

Behavior That Applies to All Puppies

Many owners opt for buying a puppy because they have the mistaken notion that shelter puppies are the ones that display these behaviors. The behaviors mentioned here apply to all puppies, regardless of where they come from. Dogs are acclimatized to humans and get along well with them. As puppies, they still need to be trained out of thousands of years of evolution. Shelter dogs might actually be a better option for new owners since they are already socialized alongside other puppies. Only puppies that come from expensive boutique dealers are likely to have their personalities sorted out already. The rest of them will go through these same behaviors. As an owner, it's in your best interest to know how to deal with them before they get out of hand.

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