Bringing home a new puppy is much like bringing home a new baby – exciting but daunting! Here are a few tips for first time dog owners to get you started.
Puppy Proof Your House
Just as you would baby proof your house, it’s important to do the same for your pup. Make sure that cords or anything your puppy might chew are off the ground and out of reach. Also put away any potential choking hazards, or items you don’t want chewed! To help your puppy with teething, try freezing their soft toys, the cold will help to ease gum pain.
Socialise Your Pup
In the first six to twelve weeks, your puppy will be learning and deciding what is safe as opposed to what is scary. Socialising your puppy can prevent them from developing anxiety. Make sure that social experiences are fun for your puppy, and don’t push them to confront their fears if they aren’t ready. Puppy training classes are a great way to meet other dogs and can help to build up their confidence. Remember to reward them with treats so they form a positive association with being social.
How much exercise your dog needs depends on their breed, age and health. However, the exercise needs of a puppy are very different to that of a fully grown dog. As a general rule, aim to exercise your puppy for five minutes per month of age, twice a day. So, a four-month-old pup would require twenty minutes twice a day. Aim to keep sessions short and fun until your puppy adjusts, allow them to take breaks when they need to. As a tip, walking on concrete can get sore for a puppy if their paw pads aren’t used to it, so try alternating between pavement and softer surfaces like grass.
Stop Your Pup Play Biting
Puppies explore with their mouths. When they place their mouth on your skin you should immediately make some sort of noise and remove yourself, try and redirect your puppy towards a toy. It helps to train your puppy early as this requires consistency.
Dogs are omnivores, so they should eat a mix of protein, carbs, fruit, and veg. It’s best to avoid foods that contain lots of cereals, fillers, and flavourings.
Recall, coming when called, is an important part of training your pup. The best place to practice recall is in a quiet controlled space, make sure you bring treats and keep them on a long lead.
- Call your dog using their name and a command word, for example ‘Bruno come’
- Show your dog the incentive – a treat or a toy
- Give a gentle tug on the lead if they don’t come immediately
- Repeat the command using the exact same words
- If they still don’t come, start moving in the opposite direction making excited noise
- When they come, reward them with the incentive and give them lots of praise
- Make sure that you ‘release’ them with a second command, it could be something like ‘Off you go’
They key to training your puppy is practice, aim to keep sessions short and fun to avoid your pup losing focus, and don’t forget to take lots of pictures, your puppy will grow up fast!
If you enjoyed this, check out our post on the benefits of dog walking.