Having a puppy can be both stressful and rewarding. Here at Pet Wants we love puppies and we love feeding them. We know it’s puppy season and a lot of you got new puppies over the holidays, so we wanted to share 5 things we wish we had known when our dogs were puppies.
1) When They Need To Relieve Themselves
Potty training can be a stressful time. Puppies have small bladders and don’t know where you expect them to do their business. To help avoid accidents in the house it’s useful to know when your puppy is most likely to take a potty break. Puppies are most likely to relieve themselves after they have eaten; slept for more than 20 minutes; or played rigorously. It is a good idea to watch your puppy closely after any of these activities and watch for sniffing as an indicator you should get them outside ASAP!
2) Better Nutrition Matters
Many new puppy owners feed the food the shelter gave them or whatever the breeder was feeding. It is important in the first year to give your puppy the best nutrition possible. Here at Pet Wants we are committed to improving your life and that of your pet. We focus on diets that are made fresh and are free of corn, wheat, soy, and animal by-products. Puppies are growing and need proper nutrition to support muscle development, bone growth, and a healthy immune system. Ask your Pet Wants staff for advice on your puppy and which diet works best for his/her individual needs.
3) Train Yourself Before Your Puppy
Training is an important part of development for a puppy. Training needs to start day 1, but most of us discover that we are not equipped to train our puppy. One of the most important aspects of training a puppy is understanding how to train him. Before you bring your puppy home, do research and establish how you are going to train your puppy to sit, lay down, and go potty. Consistency is key; so, make sure you, your significant other, and the entire family know how the dog is going to be trained. Nothing hinders training more than giving the dog different commands to elicit the same behaviors. Everyone involved in training needs to use the same commands so as not to confuse the pup.
4) Make Sure You Have The Right Chew Toys
Puppies love to chew. Some Puppies chew to keep themselves busy while others chew especially hard when they are teething. Many people gravitate towards fluffy stuffed animals because they are cute and remind us of the animals we buy human babies. When you are getting prepared for your puppy be sure to stock up on bones, rubber and rope toys that are a bit tougher. This will help sooth sore gums, and keep them occupied for much longer than a stuffed animal.
5) Crates Are Good
A crate is one of the most useful tools to help in potty training, traveling, and keeping your pup and your belongings safe when you leave. Crates can be a great tool to use for your puppy’s entire life or until you are sure that you trust your pup alone when you are gone. The first thing to know about your puppy’s crate is that they just need enough room to stand up and turn around. The divider is not just an accessory that comes in the box or a spare part, it’s a vital tool in proper crate training. If puppies have too much room they will poop in the crate which will not help you in training. Having a confined space can make your puppy feel more secure and encourage him to hold it longer until you get home and can take him out. If the crate is too big, you can stick a box or empty cooler in the back and cover it with a soft blanket to make it more cozy and right-sized for your new fur baby.
Always use the crate in a positive way; never for punishment. Always leave the crate door open when you are home and never put your pup in the crate if you are angry at him for something he did wrong. If you scold your pup and he goes to his crate that is fine, but never use the crate as a punishment. This associates negative feelings with the crate and you want to avoid that. When you leave, put your pup into his crate and give him a special toy or treat that is reserved for time in the crate only. To help prevent separation anxiety, crate your pup and leave the house for short periods of time, gradually increasing your time away as the pup becomes more at ease in your absence.
We hope this helps you prepare for a new family addition. For more helpful tips on your pets visit us at our Frankfort Avenue store and speak with a Pet Wants Nutrition Specialist.