He will be there by your side, as your loving companion – he will offer you protection if ever the need arises. Pet dog owners in turn must know how to look after their pet dog, and be responsible for it. The dog’s needs are simple and easy to follow. When puppies come home they need lots of love and attention. They may stress a little at first, as this is probably the first time they are away from their mother and their littermates. It is important that you begin the process of socialization, generally integrating your new pet into your family and teaching it to relate to people and other animals through gentle play, interaction and having pleasant encounters with family friends and pets
A stress free environment for your puppy
Try and avoid sudden loud noises such as children screaming or doors slamming. Also limit the visitors your new puppy has – gradually allowing it to get used to more and more strange faces.
Provide a warm comfortable bed – or alternatively a cardboard box with many layers of newspaper and a washable blanket on top. Make sure your puppy will still fit into it as it grows. Place the puppy’s bed where you want it to sleep as an adult or grown dog – usually the best place would be a quiet, private corner. For the first few nights – settling period – a fluffy toy and a warm (not hot) water bottle placed beneath the bedding will help. The puppy may be noisy and stresses at night immediately after separation from its littermates. A low radio or ticking clock can help sooth it.
When the puppy is awake during the day – give it lots of body contact and talk to your puppy in a soft voice to express friendship and a gruff voice to express disapproval of any of its unwanted actions.
Keeping your puppy safe
The following are things to consider when preparing for the arrival of a new puppy. Lock away household and garden chemicals.- Make sure electrical cords are out of biting reach.
Be extra careful when using lawnmowers, skateboards, roller blades or any other similar thing.
Make sure the puppy cannot get through’ any swimming pool fencing.
Teaching your puppy the house rules
The newest member of the ‘family pack’ must learn that you are the pack leader and that it is the bottom dog in the pack. Once the new puppy recognizes its place in the family hierarchy it will be happier and easily trained to obey commands. The puppy will look to its pack leader to protect it and make decisions for it.
It is best to start by feeding your puppy the same diet it ate before it joined your family. You can introduce any changes slowly over several days to avoid causing digestive upsets. Commercial puppy foods are recommended and later commercial adult food – a well balanced good quality dry food is essential. A constant supply of fresh clean water should be available. A deep stainless steel or earthenware bowl will keep the water cooler and in summer ice can be added to the water.
Play time with your Pet Dog
Puppies love to play and this helps them to grow and learn. In the early days when they play among their littermates, it gives them exercise and is the way in which they compete for their order in the pack. Don’t be rough with your puppy – but it’s also important in these early stages that your puppy learns that family members are dominant. Chewing helps puppies through teething – but it is also a way of investigating their environment. This need is easily satisfied with chewable objects and toys. Make sure they don’t resemble objects that you don’t want chewed, for example how does the puppy distinguish between his old shoe and all of the other shoes in the household?
Puppy Dog Potty Training
Anticipate toilet needs. Take your puppy outside as soon as it wakes up, as well as before and after every meal. Go right outside with your puppy – this is very important. Take it to a specific area of the garden and wait until it has finished – always praise the puppy afterwards.
The importance of Exercising your Pet Dog
A retractable leash is ideal for a puppy, in this way you can’t force the puppy to over exercise. Adult dogs also need exercise and play – walking a dog everyday is great, or play in the park with a ball or stick. If everyday is too hard to manage, try at least four times a week.
Grooming your Dog
Get your new dog used to being groomed, handled and examined as soon as possible. Your grooming equipment should include a dog brush and comb. Establish a daily routine where you examine your dogs mouth, teeth, eyes, ears, abdomen, paws and other parts of its anatomy, and although it may not need grooming do it anyway. If your dog is regularly groomed you will only need to wash it if it gets really dirty or smelly. It is best to use lukewarm water and give the dog a brush out first. Use a proper dog shampoo and dry it off with its own special dog towel, before it gets cold. Nails should be clipped as needed depending on the breed of the dog and the surface that the dog usually walks on. If it’s a hard surface they walk on the nails will wear down naturally. Special dog nail clippers are available – if you are not confident with this process ask your vet or a dog groomer to show you the process.
(c) By Katharine Logan, 2005