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Monday, June 22, 2015

I Got A New Puppy.. Now What?

By:  Laurie Brzostowski, President, Snaggle Foot Dog Walks and Pet Care, Round Lake, IL

We, at Snaggle Foot Dog Walks and Pet Care - Round Lake, IL, LOVE puppies.  We always get calls from new clients who now have a puppy and not sure what happens next.

This post is also very special to me as my beloved Sebastian passed away in April of this year.  He was a yellow lab and almost 15 years old.  On May 30th I adopted a puppy and he has now been with me for a little over 3 weeks.  His name is Bandit. 

Since it has been awhile since I have had a puppy in my home, I thought this blog post would help anyone who now has a new brand new little furbaby !
  1. Create a Place:  Before your puppy comes home, make sure you have an area picked out where he/she will "live".  Common choices include the kitchen, laundry room, or den. This allows your puppy to have a limited area to explore, and a place to feel safe and at home and it provides you with a limited area to clean up after your puppy.  Also make sure the area is safe.  No wires or anything else he/she can chew or eat on that could hurt him.
  2. Crates: Crate training is a powerful method of working with a puppy, but it is not required. If you have to leave the puppy during the day this is the best bet to keep your puppy safe.  Just like you would NEVER leave a 2 year old home alone and running around, it is the same with a puppy. Wire crates are often used because the dog can easily see everything around them so they don't get the feeling of punishment and reinforcing the feeling of security and are easy to keep clean. Puppies are used to being confined and look at their crate as their home (den). This is their own space and should not be 'invaded' when they want to be alone.  Crates SHOULD NEVER be used as punishment. This is their little home where they should feel safe and should never be treated as a punishment.
  3. Bedding:  Purchase bedding and any other supplies to let your dog sleep comfortably. Dogs, and especially puppies, suffer stress just like humans. Coming home to a new place is liable to make your puppy tired, and you'll be glad of how much he may sleep.
  4. Potty breaks during the day.  If you work a fulltime job, it is really important that you find someone to let your new puppy out mid-day.  Puppies can only hold their bladders for a certain amount of time.  Usually for 1 month of age = 1 hour they can hold their bladder.  If you cannot find a friend or family member to help out during the day, hiring a dog walker is a wonderful option. Make sure a leash is used each time so the puppy gets used to being on a leash.
  5. Potty training: Potty training your puppy is very important.  Making sure you take them out to the same place each time while they are learning.  If you have a family or friend or dog walker during the day, make sure you show them where that "special" place is that the new puppy goes.  Again, make sure a leash is used each time so the puppy gets used to using a leash.  Even if you have a fenced in backyard, using a leash early will allow the puppy to become used to it.
  6. Chewing and Toys:  Getting the right types of toys for puppies is very important.  Puppies have new teeth and they like to chew.  Some excellent choices are ropes, kongs, "teething" rings.  DO NOT give your puppy rawhides.  Rawhides can damage intestines and cause severe damage.  Even as an older dog, they should never have rawhides.  Other bones like natural antlers are a much better choice.
  7. Collars and Leashes:  Make sure you buy collars and leashes that fit your new puppy.  As they grow, you will need to "update".  Leashes should not be "long" leashes.  You want to make sure your puppy is close to you when you start walking him or her.  Regular leashes give you control over your environment when walking.  DO NOT EVER buy retractable leashes.  They are dangerous as they can cause injuries and loss of control if anything should happen to your puppy during your walk.
  8. Food and Treats: Make sure you purchase a good QUALITY puppy food. Do not be fooled by a dog food's brand, reputation or claims on the packet. Many, many commercial dog foods are made from questionable ingredients. It may say chicken, but, do you really know what parts of the chicken are in it? Talk to your vet or pet food supplier, or do your own research on the Internet. 
  9. Training:  Getting a puppy into a puppy class is a great idea.  Your puppy will learn basic obedience and commands.  It is not a bad idea to continue that training once they "graduate" from puppy class.  It is your responsibility as a pet parent to raise your puppy to become a great dog.
Getting a puppy is exciting and fun.  Your new puppy will give you years and years of happiness and contentment and they will love you unconditionally for the rest of their lives.  Make sure you do the same for them. 

Bandit and I are getting along splendidly and I love him with all my heart and soul.  

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