Congratulations on the newest addition to your family! Raising puppies can be challenging, especially when you aren’t prepared. Luckily, like always, I have a plan to share with you. Every puppy is different but here’s some general advice to get your started on caring for your furry bundle of joy.
Start with shopping
Before welcoming your loveable hairball, make sure you buy all the essential age-appropriate supplies like dog food, toys, collar and leash, food bowl, treats and a comfy bed. You can also buy stain removers for accidents. Various kinds of flea, tic and parasite controls, dog shampoo, tooth brush and toothpaste are also available online. You can stuff their basket with soft sheets and heating pads. Some parents like to wrap a table clock to keep near the bed to remind the pup of its mother’s steady heartbeat. Keep your pup’s bed close to your bed, so he doesn’t get lonely right after leaving his family.
Jet to the vet
For the love of me, consult a vet from day one. Ask your vet about what you can feed your pet, vaccinations and common diseases. You should also ask your vet about when you can start taking your pet out for walks, training, bathing rituals and so on. Most importantly, make sure your pet is tested regularly to ensure he is absolutely hail and hearty.
It’s a good idea to house-break your pup from the first day on. Get your pup used to a routine. Assign a fixed place for meals. Take your pup out to relieve himself every two hours, especially after meals and he will learn not to relieve himself indoors. They will soon start signalling when they need to go with a short bark or scratching at the door, so pick up on them. Hark, hark the bark, bark! Training is a two-way process. Set rules in place and stick by them — resist the temptation to share food with them, feed them according to a strict schedule.
Dog-proof your home
Your pups will chew up everything from books, shoes to furniture while teething. Keep anything important out of their reach. It’s also possible that they may hurt their gums or choke on something, which is why keep enough chew toys around and keep dangerous items away. If your house has a staircase, barricade it so your pup doesn’t tumble down. Pups need strict supervision. In their exploration of the world, they might wander off and not be able to find their way back.
Tap into an existing community
A lot of pet parents just wing it but you can learn from others’ trials and errors. Ask the people you know about how they care for their pets. This will also take care of your anxieties and calm you down when you feel like you’ve suddenly been thrown in the deep end.
Pups and kids
If you have other children around, you’ll need to set some rules for them too. For example, you will have to explain to them that dogs have sensitive hearing, so they should be calm and not shout about around them. Teach them also to ignore your pup’s problematic behaviour and reward and encourage good ones. Some puppies may be rougher during play time and it might be a good idea to separate him from young kids till he’s older.
All they need is love
This sounds pretty obvious but it’s the best thing you can do for your pup — return the love. You’ll find that it’s not difficult when you look into those puppy eyes. Treat him like family. Don’t tease him, disturb him during meals, or keep him chained away for long periods. Be patient, it’s easy to get upset. The more you play with your pup, the more he will be too exhausted to engage in destructive behaviours like wrecking the room, tearing up your favourite rug, shoe, bag… Praise always works better than punishment.
Blurb: The five commandments of general pup care
Thou shalt shop for supplies before hand
Thou shalt consult vet from day one
Thou shalt not give into whining and stick to routine
Hark, hark the bark, bark
Thou shalt be patient and love
Treated right, man’s best friend will give you the most selfless kind of love — unconditional, like mine. Bless you and your pup!