“We’re getting a Puppy”
A puppy guide on preparation, collecting your puppy and the first few weeks.
Preparing for your Puppy’s Arrival
Welcoming a new puppy is exciting, challenging and hugely rewarding time. If you’re well prepared, you can help your puppy settle faster and it’ll be more enjoyable for you too.
Questions to ask your puppy’s breeder before you collect
Your puppy’s breeder will hold a lot of information you can use to help your puppy settle more quickly in your home and stay healthy. Remember to ask your breeder the following questions and any others relevant to your individual puppy.
- Is the puppy fully weaned?
- What food are they being fed and what’s their feeding schedule?
- Have they begun toilet training, and to what level?
- What is their current daytime and nighttime routines?
- Have they been checked by a vet?
- Have they had any health issues?
- Have they had any vaccinations and, if so, when is the next injection due and which brand was used?
- When have they been given worming treatments?
- Do they have an identification chip?
- What social experiences have they had so far?
- Will I be able to meet my puppy’s mum when I collect?
Getting ready to bring your Puppy Home
When you bring your puppy home for the first time, it’s a huge change for both of you. You can make the process much easier by making a few simple preparations ahead of the big day and buying the important equipment you and your puppy will need.
- Get all the puppy essentials such as bed, collar, toys, lead, bowls
- Puppy proof your home and garden
- Find a local recommended vet
- Buy the breeders recommended dog food
Welcoming a new puppy is an exciting, challenging and hugely rewarding time. If you’re well prepared, you can help your puppy settle faster and it’ll be more enjoyable for you too.
How to Puppy-Proof your Home
Puppies are curious and love to explore, so it’s important you make sure your home’s safe and secure for before you collect your new arrival. Here’s our checklist to help you prepare your home for your puppy.
Toxic houseplants – Many common houseplants are very dangerous for dogs and puppies, including, lilies, aloe vera, ivy, dieffenbachia, caladium, pothos, zamioculcas, cyclamen. It’s best to either keep all houseplants out of the way of your puppy, or double check to make sure yours don’t pose a threat for them.
Dangerous substances – Store chemicals, cleaning products, medicines and other toxic substances out of reach, or use child locks on your cupboards if needed. E-cigarette refills and screen wash are known to be particularly harmful for dogs.
Hazards – Puppies can easily fall or get stuck while they’re exploring. To keep them safe, use stair gates, keep windows and external doors closed and secure any balconies. Also make sure there are no spaces they can squeeze into and then get stuck. Remove tablecloths or things to pull on.
Electrical cables and sockets – Electrical cables are very tempting for puppies to chew on and they can also get tangled in them. Hide yours away by using cable ties or covers, and also shield plug sockets with covers.
Small objects – Puppies like to explore things with their mouths, so put away any small items they could chew or swallow. This includes children’s toys, drawing pins, plastic bags and elastic bands. Also hide away anything else you wouldn’t want your puppy to chew, such as your shoes, remote controls, wicker baskets.
Poisonous foods – Some of the foods we enjoy can be very harmful or even fatal for your puppy. The most known toxic foods include chocolate, coffee, avocados, grapes and sultanas (consult your vet for a full list). To be safe, keep all food out of your puppy’s reach and make sure your family knows to only feed them their food.
How to Puppy-Proof your Garden
Your puppy will enjoy spending time outdoors, so you’ll need to make sure your garden’s safe for them to explore too. Here are some important things to consider.
Fencing and gates – Before your puppy arrives, make sure there are no gaps in your garden fencing or gates. And check there are no areas where your puppy could dig under or climb over to escape.
Toxic garden plants – As with houseplants, there’s a long list of outdoor plants that are poisonous to dogs. They include ficus, holly, mistletoe, philodendron, narcissus, hyacinth, iris, azalea, rhododendron, oleander, poinsettia and sweet pea. If you have poisonous plants in your garden, you’ll need to watch your puppy to make sure they stay away from them. Using temporary fencing, removing plants in pots is easier. Mushrooms growing in your lawn are also toxic for dogs.
Hazards – Have a close look around your garden to find and address anything your puppy could injure themselves on, including holes in the lawn and sharp thorns.
Ponds and water features – Until your puppy’s older, it’s safest to keep ponds with steep sides and water features covered or fenced off to prevent them falling in and drowning.
Tools and small objects – As with indoor puppy-proofing, remove small objects from your garden that puppies could swallow or choke on. And lock away your garden tools, especially those that are sharp. Avoid using any chemicals on your lawn, plants and weeds.
Dangerous substances – Store all garden chemicals such as fertilisers, insecticides, paints and solvents away from your puppy’s reach in a locked area. Avoid using any chemicals on your lawn, plants and weeds.
Things you well Need for your Puppy
Before your puppy arrives, make sure you have everything you need to care for them and help them settle into their new home. Here are the essentials.
Bedding – Choose one that’s easy to clean and will suit your puppy as they grow.
Your puppy needs plenty of time to rest and sleep once they arrive, as it helps them to grow, so providing them with a comfortable bed or a puppy crate is essential. Beds should be positioned in a quiet corner where they have space of their own. This will help your puppy get used to their new home and give them somewhere to feel safe to fall asleep. Choose easy to clean bedding that is still thick enough to be comfortable, and perhaps add a rag with the mother’s scent to help your puppy settle more easily.
Crate – As an adult, your dog must have enough room to stand up, turn around, lie down and stretch out in their crate. Most dogs gain maximum rest when asleep laying out flat rather than curled up.
Play Pen – A safe place the puppy can be left to play whilst you are busy.
Puppy mats – These are useful for cleaning up any accidents and for the puppy to use when in their secure space when you are occupied.
Food and water bowls – Durable food and water bowls are important as your teething puppy will chew anything in sight, which can be a problem when using plastic bowls. Stainless steel food and water bowls are recommended as they are more sanitary and easy to clean, they also don’t break or chip like ceramic bowls. However, if your puppy is noise sensitive use plastic.
Find a permanent place for your puppy’s bowls that’s quiet and safe, so they have a consistent area to eat. It’s best to leave a little bowl for food and a bigger one filled with water. Puppy’s need to have access to water at all times when awake.
Puppy food to support growth – Initially, this should be the same food your puppy’s being fed before you collect them to avoid any avoidable tummy upsets.
Toys – Buy toys, balls or treat-dispensing chews that are the right size for your puppy. Rubber dog toys are often more durable.
Providing toys for your puppy to play with is a good way to socialise and avoid them chewing on your furniture. It’s important to choose a toy that is appropriate for the size of your puppy. Toys should be twice the size of your puppy’s mouth to prevent the risk of choking or strangulation. Rubber dog toys tend to be the most durable but should only be purchased from reputable pet stores or the vet clinic. Soft toys aren’t indestructible, but some are sturdier than others. Soft toys should be machine washable. It’s important to never leave your puppy unsupervised with rope or material toys as they can become a choking hazard if swallowed or cause an intestinal blockage. Bones should also be avoided as they can splinter and cause internal injuries. Once your puppy’s toys start to show signs of wear and tear you should discard them to avoid any accidents.
Collar and lead – Choose a collar that will adjust as your puppy grows. And check it’s snug enough not to slip over their head.
Although they won’t venture beyond the garden in the early days, a collar and lead are essential, so your puppy gets used to wearing them. Make sure the collar is snug enough so it can’t slip over your puppy’s head and includes a tag carrying your name and telephone number.
Cleaning supplies – Buy non-hazardous cleaning materials that don’t have a strong scent to avoid your puppy associating the smell with toilet accidents.
Grooming equipment – Depending on your puppy’s coat type, you may need a brush, comb or grooming mitt.
Your puppy may need a specialised grooming brush or comb to keep their coats healthy and tidy. Grooming your puppy regularly familiarises them with being touched and handled by people, which will make the task easier for both of you as they grow bigger and stronger. There are a number of brushes or grooming mitts available for dogs. Grooming tools are designed for specific hair lengths so it’s important to choose one that’s suited to your puppy’s coat.
EARLY DAYS WITH YOUR PUPPY
Your puppy’s first few days and weeks with you have a huge influence on how well they settle into their new home and their future development and happiness.
Bringing your puppy home – how to handle the journey
The journey home may be your puppy’s first time in a car. It’s important they feel comfortable so they’re not anxious about future car rides. If possible, it’s best to take someone to comfort them while you’re driving.
What to take when collecting your puppy
There are a few important things to take with you when you collect your puppy to help them stay safe and feel more comfortable on the journey home:
- A collar / harness and puppy lead
- A blanket / towel for puppy to sit on
- A bottle of water and a bowl
- A chew toys
- Poo bags and cleaning supplies
- A crate or car harness if you are collecting the puppy on your own
Before leaving the breeder
Check you’ve got all the paperwork and asked all your questions. Make sure your puppy hasn’t just been fed to avoid any sickness on the journey. It’s also a good idea to take them into the garden for a short walk to tire them and let them go to the toilet.
- Paperwork including any ownership documents, vaccination and chip information.
- A towel or toy that smells like the mother (excellent way to settle your puppy)
- A collar that fights (doesn’t slide over their head and you should be able to fit two
- fingers inside when it’s around their neck.
- A small amount of food that your puppy has been eating.
Getting settled in the car
Make sure your puppy is suitably restrained so they cannot distract you while you are driving. Ideally have someone with you who can look after the puppy either on their lap or sat next to the puppy using a seat belt harness, pet carrier or crate.
During the journey
Your puppy may bark or cry, even if you’ve done everything to make them comfortable, so reassure them calmly. If you have to stop for any reason remember you can’t put your puppy on the ground until they are vaccinated. Line your car boot with newspaper and allow them to toilet there. Also offer some water to drink.
When you arrive home
Remember to take your puppy to the garden first so they can go to the toilet.
The first few days and weeks with your new puppy
Welcoming a new puppy to your home is so exciting, but the early days can also be stressful for both you and them. Here are some things to bear in mind to help your puppy settle.
Your puppy’s first day with you
It’s a big day for your puppy when they leave their mother and litter. To help them feel happy and at home with you, follow these key tips.
Keep your house calm – Your puppy may be feeling stressed by the new sights, sounds and smells and the separation from their mother. So, keep you house very calm to avoid adding to this stress.
Take them outside – As soon as you get home, take your puppy to your garden or outside area so they can go to the toilet. If they manage to go, reward verbally with a positive tone and offer a treat.
Let your puppy explore – After your puppy’s been outside, take them inside to a safe area that you’ve blocked off and let them begin sniffing and exploring in their own time.
Supervise at all times – Make sure you supervise your puppy at all times as they’re getting used to your home and garden. Allow your puppy to come to you for comfort rather than the other way around, as some puppies may easily become overwhelmed by too much human contact.
Show your puppy their bed & drinking bowl – Put something that carriers your scent in your puppy’s bed and a blanket to snuggle into. If the breeder supplied a piece of material that smells of mum and the litter add this to the bed. Add some chew toys to this area.
Puppies like to know what to expect. Plan what your routine will be for feeding, toilet trips, exercise and grooming, then you can get started on day one. If you know what routine the breeder was following before collection, it’s best to continue with this for consistency until your puppy is settled.
Your puppy’s first night with you
As with human babies, some puppies settle easily from the first night and others will give you sleepless nights as they adjust. Be patient and consistent and follow these tips.
Using a puppy crate – A crate is better than a basket for your puppy’s bed initially as they cannot roam around. At first have the crate somewhere near you when you sleep.
What to do if your puppy whines – If your puppy whines and you think they may need the toilet, put on their lead and take them out to their toileting area (outside in the garden). If you think they’re lonely or scared, speak to them in a calm, reassuring voice but don’t touch or play with them. Too much fuss when they whine may lead to attention-seeking behaviour, however ignoring your puppy could cause anxiety and frustration.
Puppies tire very easily and need lots of sleep for their healthy development and wellbeing, so it’s important to give them plenty of opportunities to rest. At first, they need as much as 18 to 20 hours’ sleep every 24 hours. This will reduce to around 12 to 14 hours as they enter adulthood.
How to feed your puppy at first
The first time you feed your puppy is a key milestone. Understanding what they need at this time will help you make sure it’s a positive experience.
Stick to the same diet initially – For the first week or two, give your puppy the same food as their previous owner, following the recommendation on the pack. Any sudden dietary changes can stress or cause digestive upsets. It is common that some puppies may have an upset tummy for the first day or so when you bring them home. If the tummy upset continues speak to your vet about making a diet change.
Provide a quiet place to eat – This should be away from where you and any other pets eat. Leave your puppy in peace while they eat to prevent them feeling anxious or protective.
Begin a feeding schedule – Dogs feel reassured by knowing when they’ll be fed, so begin a feeding routine from day one. During weaning, they’ll need four meals a day and until they’re at least four months old, then reduce to three meals per day until around 6 months old. If you’re ever unsure, ask your vet for advise.
Learn about puppy nutrition and feeding – Young dogs benefit from 3 or 4 small meals a day, instead of one or two big ones. You can use part of their main meal as food rewards for desired behaviours and during training sessions to avoid overeating.
Mental Stimulation – Once your puppy has settled in you can use their food to mentally stimulate your puppy and a great way to keep them entertained. Use mealtime as a training session hand feeding the food, use a puzzle bowl, snuffle mat or a Kong.
The safe way to change your puppy’s diet – Puppies have delicate digestive systems that don’t respond well to sudden changes. When you’re ready to change their food, it’s important you do it carefully and slowly to avoid causing a stomach upset.
Things to do in Week One with your Puppy
Take your puppy to the vet
You may need to take your puppy for a check-up after their first few days settling with you. The vet will set up a vaccination schedule for them, as they’ll need to be vaccinated before they can mix with other dogs. And they can also advise you on everything from worming to nutrition.
Your puppy’s first visit to the vet – If you are unsure about their health status, taking your puppy to the vet for a check-up a few days after you bring them home is really important. If you’re well prepared, it’ll be a positive trip for your puppy. And it’s also a good opportunity for you to learn more about how to care for them.
Getting ready for your puppy’s first vet appointment – Your puppy’s first visit to the vet is a good opportunity to learn more about their health and how to care for them. By making sure you’re well prepared, you can create positive associations your puppy will remember for future appointments.
What to do before your vet appointment – If you’re travelling by car, make sure you have a dog carrier or crate suitable for your dog’s size and have some practice trips in it. Also get your puppy used to being handled all over their body so they’re less likely to be startled by the vet examining them.
Things to take to your puppy’s first vet visit include:
- Information on their diet and drinking habits
- Any changes in their appetite, digestion or behaviour
- Details of health issues, medications, supplements or treatments
- Micro Chip information if your puppy has already been chipped
- Vaccination information if your breeder already started them
- Questions you’d like to ask the vet
Some dogs can get motion sickness, so it’s best not to feed your puppy just before you set off. And remember to stay calm as they’ll pick up on your mood.
During this first appointment, you can expect your vet to:
- Offer advice on nutrition, feeding and puppy care.
- Discuss parasite prevention (flee, ticks & worms) and treatment.
- Complete a full health check.
- Microchip your puppy so they can be easily identified.
- Possibly give vaccinations and prepare a vaccination schedule.
- Talk about breed-specific behaviours and health issues.
Get your puppy into a routine
The first few days and weeks are really important in ensuring your puppy integrates well into your family and grows into a healthy, well-behaved dog. If possible, it’s best to take the first week off work. Then you can focus on establishing routines that will help them feel secure and understand what’s expected of them.
Toilet trips – Young puppies have no bladder control and need to go to the toilet immediately after eating, drinking, sleeping or playing. Take your puppy to the same spot outside first thing in the morning, after each meal, a nap and before bedtime and use a simple command such as ‘toilet’ or ‘business’. Also watch for signs your puppy needs the toilet such as spinning around or sniffing the floor. At 8 weeks old you will possibly be going outside when the puppy is awake every 45-60 minutes.
Feeding – Make sure you feed you puppy around the same time and in the same place each day, so they know when to expect it. Use toys and puzzle bowls to feed your puppy to keep them entertained and mentally stimulated.
Exercise – Physical exercise is a vital part of your puppy’s daily routine to help them stay in good health. Once they’ve been vaccinated, they can go on walks. Start with short walks around 15-20 mins per day. Too much physical exercise can be damaging to their growing bodies and some puppies can be very overwhelmed.
Behaviour – Although you must be gentle with your puppy, it’s important you are consistent from the outset, so they understand house rules such as not chewing the sofa. Start teaching acceptable behaviours such as sitting for a reward. Avoid all punishments as you do not want to scare or seem threatening to your puppy. You are building a bond and trust with your puppy, so they feel secure, confident and loved.
Training classes – Once your puppies had their vaccinations, regular classes are a great way to help socialise them and establish good behaviour. Remember to practice what you learn at classes each day too. Ask your vets for a recommendation and check that the classes are run by a qualified dog trainer who uses science based positive reinforcement.
Help to settle – To much excitement will make it hard for you puppy to settle. A little bit of training and a walk around the garden should help.
Toilet trips – If you take your puppy into the garden or for a short walk before bedtime, they’ll have a chance to go to the toilet then. Some young puppies will also need to go to the toilet during the night, sometimes every three hours
Interaction – At first, it’s best for your puppy to sleep in a crate near where you sleep. But keep interaction to a minimum once you’ve put them to bed. Soothe them with a reassuring voice if they whine, but don’t cuddle them, stay calm and quiet if you take them to the toilet.
Tips for Keeping your Puppy Calm
- Start early in your puppy’s life when they are most receptive to new experiences
- Introduce your puppy to new things gradually and regularly
- Expose your puppy to as many positive experiences as possible
- If your puppy reacts strangely, or with uncertainty, to a new situation – distract them, add distance and reassure. Stay cheerful and offer a treat or reward
Six Top Tips to keep your Puppy Healthy
There are lots of simple things you can do in your early weeks together to keep your puppy healthy.
- Learn to read your puppy’s body language so you spot if they might be ill, anxious.
- If you feel something isn’t right, or your puppy doesn’t seem their usual self, speak to your vet.
- Make sure your puppy gets the right nutrition from a specialist, well-balanced puppy diet.
- Give your puppy plenty of opportunities to sleep and rest quietly during the day, as well as at night.
Socialising your Puppy
Here are a few ways you can begin socialising your puppy in their first week with you.
Introduce new sounds – Puppies have very sensitive hearing so sounds can frighten them. During your puppy’s first week with you, introduce them to sounds such as a hairdryer, doorbell, music and vacuuming. Make sure this experience positive one by playing with your puppy or providing a food reward. Keep the sound low initially so as to not to scare them, then gradually increase the sound as your puppy becomes more comfortable.
Help your puppy explore – Your puppy will need to learn how to tackle a variety of environments, terrains and obstacles. So, help them on their way by introducing them to stairs or steps and a variety of surfaces.
Travel in the car – Whether you’re going to the vet or out for the day, it’s likely your puppy will need to travel in a car at some stage soon. So, it’s worth getting them used to it early on.
Get your puppy used to handling – The vet will want to check your puppy from nose to tail. It’s best to gently get them used to being picked up and handled all over their body, and make sure this is a pleasant experience from the start.
Use a crate – As well as your puppy sleeping in a crate at night, it’s a good idea to get them used to spending time in one during the day. This helps if, for example, you want to keep your puppy in a safe place while you have visitors. Make sure your puppy is used to the crate before they stay in it for the night.
Encourage family bonding – Your puppy will have to socialise with different people so make sure everyone in your household spends time bonding with them. Tasks such as feeding, toilet trips, training and grooming provide good opportunities for this.
Learn about Socialising your Puppy
Part of your responsibility as a pet owner is to help your puppy get used to the world and feel confident in new situations. You can help to socialise them by gradually introducing them to new experiences.
How to socialise a puppy – Socialisation refers to the process of introducing your puppy to new sights, smells, sounds and experiences. It’s all about helping them to get used to the world and teaching them to be confident in new situations.
How socialisation can help? – Effective socialisation is vital for you and your puppy’s life together, as it can have a huge impact on a puppy’s long term physical and mental wellbeing. While it only takes a few weeks to socialise your puppy, the lessons they learn in the first months of their life can guide them for a lifetime.
- Avoid unwanted or aggressive behaviour
- Help them feel comfortable around people
- Teach them how to interact with the modern world
- Introduce desired interaction with other dogs and household pets
- Increase your puppy’s confidence and self-reliance
Observation before Participation
You should always allow your puppy to calmly observe any new environment or experience, before they get involved too deeply. Forcing your puppy to confront new situations, people or places without giving them a little time to acclimatise and make sense of it can lead to negative memories and behaviours. Here are three simple tips to aid that process
Observe from a distance – When entering a new place – like a park full of children or dogs or a crowded place, allow you’re your puppy to stand on the periphery and observe. Offer the encouragement in the form of praise and treats.
Create a safe space – When observing from a distance is not possible, such as when at a friend’s home or a training class, ensure you create a safe space for them near you.
Encourage calm reactions – Teach your puppy to react calmly when encountering new experiences or seeing something scary or exciting and reward them for their good behaviour.
Socialisation: Four Golden Rules
- Time is of the essence: The sooner you start socialisation the simpler and more rewarding it will be for you and your puppy.
- Socialisation is a process: Taking things one step at a time. Don’t overload your puppy with stimulation.
- Go at your puppy’s pace: Every puppy’s pace of development is different, so never force your puppy to try something they are not comfortable with. If they are scared, take a step back and try another day. If your puppy appears intimidated, rethink how you can introduce them to the situation in a different context.
- Positive reinforcement: While exposing your puppy to new experiences its vital that those experiences must be backed up with rewards (play, food or affection) to reinforce desired behaviours.
What should you Introduce to your Puppy?
The suggestions below are the type of settings, situations and experiences that will help socialise your puppy:
Noises – The world is full of strange sounds which can be intimidating to your puppy at first. The sound of trains, hairdryers, washing machines, mobile phones, kettles, TVs, music, car alarms and fireworks are all worth exploring and introducing to your puppy at a young age..
Places – Puppies are often keen to explore new places, so taking them to peoples houses, schools, parks, lifts and stairs, buses and trains, markets and traffic junctions are all interesting environments for you puppy to carefully discover as they grow. You can carry your puppy until they are fully vaccinated,
People – Meeting a variety of people is good for your puppy’s development and socialisation. Consider putting them in new, social situations that bring them into contact with new people in a positive, calm way. These can include vets, people in uniform, cyclists and others they may not see often.
Animals – Horses, cows, ducks and any other animals they might regularly meet on a walk. Keep at a distance as you don’t want to encourage you puppy to interact with these animals.
Surfaces – Different surfaces inside and outside of the house can seem daunting to puppies at first. The city, the countryside and the beach are all good places to start. It’s also useful to expose your puppy to different heights, gradients and textures, such as sand, wood and tiled surfaces, so there not daunted by these changes once they’ve developed into an adult.
Weather – Things that we take for granted, like the rain, wind, or snow can all be unusual experiences for a puppy. Try taking them for walks in different weather conditions to help them get used to changes in weather, climate and temperature. Some breeds may require protective clothing to keep them warm and dry.
Wherever you go with your puppy, it’s important to stay calm and make them feel that these new experiences are normal.
How to introduce your puppy to adults, children and pets
Introducing your puppy to new people and other animals is a great way to prepare them for the encounters they’ll face as they grow. But it’s crucial to do it in the right way.
Introductions can be daunting for young puppies and any negative experiences can have long-lasting effects. So, it’s important to learn how to make each introduction as carefully as possible.
How to introduce family, friends and strangers to your puppy
Even once your puppy’s comfortable with you and the rest of your household, they may be nervous with other new people. Here are our top tips for ensuring introductions are comfortable for them.
Limit visitor numbers: To avoid overwhelming your puppy, have as few visitors as possible in their first few days with you.
Gradual introductions: Meeting lots of people at once can be intimidating for a puppy, so give them a chance to get used to each person individually.
Speaking calmly: Ask people to keep their excitement at meeting your puppy under wraps and use a calm tone and gentle movements.
Let your puppy make the first move: Puppies can feel threatened if they’re approached too quickly or passed from person to person. It’s best to ask people to sit quietly and wait for your puppy to approach them quietly and wait for your puppy to approach them.
Take it slowly: Give your puppy plenty of time to get to know each person. Positive experiences now will help when they encounter new people outside your home.
Watch their body language: Look out for signs that your puppy’s anxious such as avoiding eye contact or holding their tail low. If this happens, take them out of the room so they can have some quiet time alone.
The best way to introduce children to your puppy
It’s natural for children to be excited about getting a puppy. But it’s important you prepare them for how to behave and make sure they understand they have a role in their puppy’s development, safety and happiness.
Even if you don’t have children in your household, it’s a good idea to introduce your puppy to other children. Otherwise, they may become anxious around them in later life. Here are some key things to remember.
Ask children to sit quietly: Teach children to sit still and let your puppy come to them so your puppy doesn’t become startled or frightened.
Teach careful handling: Show children how to stroke your puppy and pick them up by supporting their tummy and rear end. It’s best not to allow children to pick your puppy up at all in the early days though, and make sure they know not to hug or fuss the puppy too much. Puppies quickly learn how to avoid being handled and picked up by biting. You don’t want to encourage this behaviour.
Quiet time during sleeping and eating: To avoid bites and scratches, children must know to leave puppies alone while they’re eating and sleeping or over aroused.
No teasing or excitement: Don’t allow children to tease your puppy with toys or food. And make sure they understand they need to stay calm and not treat them like a toy.
Always supervise: Children should never be left alone with a puppy and an adult should always be there when children and puppies are playing together.
How to safely introduce your puppy to other pets
Pets can feel very uncertain by the arrival of a new puppy, so it’s important you introduce your new puppy to any other pets in a controlled, sensitive way. These are the important things to bear in mind.
Check vaccinations – Make sure the other dog has been vaccinated before introducing them to your puppy.
Reduce the threat – Introduce other pets to your new puppy one by one on neutral ground, such as the garden or a park, so they’re less likely to feel threatened. Keep them both on a lead and give them plenty of time to sniff around and get used to one another.
Be patient – Avoid chastising other pets if they don’t react positively. Animals need to establish their own rules and hierarchy to live harmoniously, and older pets usually lead the way with this.
Set up a safe zone – Give your puppy a place to escape to when they’re tired or intimidated.
Always supervise – Never leave your puppy alone with other pets.
Allow individual spaces – Each pet needs their own space where they can rest and eat undisturbed, so make sure yours have separate beds and feeding areas. Cats, in particular, will need peace and quiet out of your puppy’s reach.
Training your Puppy
Training is an important part in socialising your puppy. The better trained your puppy is, the healthier and happier it will be.
Training and play are key to your puppy’s healthy development. A well-trained and obedient puppy is more likely to become a well-balanced and happy adult dog.
Three reasons to Train your Puppy:
It’s good for their physical and mental wellbeing – Training helps your puppy to cope with unfamiliar experiences and helps to prevent fear of meeting new people, so they may be more comfortable in a social situation. Building training into your pets playtime also makes use of all the extra energy and keeps them happy, healthy and mental stimulation.
You can spend some quality time together – Dogs are social animals and love being by your side. Training provides a perfect opportunity to understand your puppy’s temperament, have fun together and building the all important bond.
Trained puppies are well behaved puppies – Even a little training can make your puppy much easier to live with. So, whether they are left on their own at home or joining in the fun at a family get-together, you’ll have the confidence of knowing that they will be friendly, obedient and fun to be around.
Puppy Training Tips
Puppies can learn very quickly and enjoy a well-designed training session. Here are a few tips to help keep your sessions fun and make sure you and your puppy get the most out of every exercise.
Reward good behaviour – Letting your puppy know that they have done something right is an important part of the training process. Try using a low-calorie snack, a healthy treat, or use kibble from their daily food portion. Other non-food related rewards can be praise, attention or their favourite toy. All of these will act as an incentive to repeat good behaviour.
Keep it brief – Training sessions don’t have to be complicated or last for hours. After a while, your puppy’s attention may start to wander. So, go for short, frequent training sessions. You may have to repeat the same session a few times.
Join a puppy class – Puppy schools are a great way to introduce your pet to new skills and get professional training advice. This experience will help to socialise your puppy and encourage them to get used to being around other people and dogs.
Start early – In the early months of life your puppy’s brain is constantly growing and developing. That’s why starting training early, when they are most receptive to new experiences, is so important.
Be consistent – To help your puppy understand, it’s vital to be consistent. You shouldn’t allow something one day that you forbid another, for example. When it comes to training, the best approach is to always use the same words for the same commands and encourage family members to use the same language.
Don’t be too strict – Training takes time. So, it’s important to be patient with your puppy and not punish them when things don’t go to plan. If your puppy chews the furniture, climbs where they shouldn’t, or urinates in the house, there is no use in reprimanding them later, as they are unlikely to make the connection. Reprimanding doesn’t teach what you want your puppy to do, instead they learn to do it out of your sight.
Here are a few tips to help keep your sessions fun and make sure you and your puppy get the most out of every exercise.
- Reward good behaviour
- Start early
- Keep it brief
- Enrol in puppy school
- Be consistent
- Don’t be too strict
Training takes time. So, it’s important to be patient with your puppy and not punish them when things don’t go to plan. If your puppy chews the furniture, climbs where they shouldn’t, or urinates in the house, there is no use in reprimanding them later, as they are unlikely to make the connection. The best way to make it clear that something is forbidden is to say a very clear “No!” while the undesired activity is taking place.
Playing with your Puppy
Why is playtime so important for puppies?
Play is an important part of their development. Playing with toys and interacting with you on a daily basis helps them to understand some of the basic rules they will need to become a happy, well-adjusted adult dog.
Playtime also helps your pet:
- To learn new skills and commands
- To understand that biting and nipping are not acceptable
- To strengthen the bond between you
- To keep them active and healthy
- To ensure they stay mentally stimulated
- Dogs enjoy company, so spend time with your puppy
Which toys are best for puppies?
Choose toys that stimulate their curiosity, encourage them to move, or introduce new tastes and textures.
Large cardboard box – A large cardboard box provides a great place to run, hide and will likely encourage chewing. Be careful if you don’t want your dog to chew the cardboard around the house.
Rubber toys / rope toys – All safe chewing for your puppy.
Interactive toys – Interactive toys that contain treats help keep your puppy stimulated.
Puzzle feeders – Puzzle feeders to slow down eating.
Tips for your puppy’s playtime
Choose appropriate toys – Only choose toys that are the appropriate size for you puppy’s mouth to prevent swallowing. Make sure they’re durable and check regularly for tears,
Regular play sessions – Dedicate at least two play sessions with your puppy each day, combined with training sessions to maximise fun and learning.
Discourage biting – If your puppy bites, stop playing and allow them to calm down
Avoid slippery floors – Choose a room without a slippery floor, so your puppy doesn’t injure themselves.