Your brand-new bundle of fur and joy is home – now what? Being a new puppy owner is certainly busy and full of ups and downs. Whether you’re a first timer or an old hand, this puppy raising business means you’ll have your hands full for a while.
From socialisation to puppy food, getting them to go to bed, learning to sit, stay – and come back – we all want our puppies to grow up into a healthy, happy and socialised dog.
When there’s so much to think about, we spoke to head vet Sean to find out his top 10 tips to get your puppy ready for the world. Are you ready?
Start off with teaching your puppy their name – then focus on recall, sit, and stay. We teamed up with qualified behaviourist, Diane from Superhounds, for a series of super simple videos that you can use at home.
The right food
Proper nutrition is key to keeping your puppy happy and healthy. Their food should have easily-digestible protein (perfect for sensitive stomachs) to support muscle growth, and essential fatty acids like Omega-3 for healthy brain development and super puppy vision. As well as the right veggies and carbs!
Finding the right food can be tricky – that’s why at tails.com, we take the guesswork away, leaving you with more time to enjoy your new puppy.
A proper routine
From mealtimes to regular walks, a good routine will set you – and your puppy – up for success. Not only will it help them to feel settled in their new home, but it will help you feel confident, too.
The first couple of weeks can be tough – prepare yourself for lots of accidents indoors whilst you nail down toilet training. Taking your new puppy outside regularly will get them used to a proper toilet routine: we’ve got some tips on toilet training from behaviourist Diane here.
Lots of sleep
For you and for them! Head vet Sean recommends crate training if you can – it will give them a safe space to relax in and set up those all-important boundaries between the two of you.
Socialisation is key
Once their jabs are done, you’ll want to head out to the park to burn off some of that puppy energy – this means introducing lots of new sounds and smells they might not be used to yet.
Making sure they interact with other dogs (and humans) is really important to build their confidence whilst you’re out and about. Puppy classes can provide a space for your puppy to experience lots of new things – all under the watchful eye of a professional.
Keeping them safe
It’s a legal requirement for all dogs to be microchipped once they’re 8 weeks old – and once they’re able to go out for walks, they should be wearing a collar with a tag including:
- Your name
- Contact number
Head vet Sean recommends not putting your puppy’s name on their tag – if the worst did happen, it could help potential thieves call your dog over to them.
In the first year of their life, your puppy is going to need regular vet visits – whether it be for general health checks, or for vaccinations. Getting your puppy used to the vet will benefit them in the long run, so come armed with lots of treats and positive reinforcement.
The first groom
Some breeds need regular grooming – which can be a scary experience for any new puppy! Most groomers will offer a special first-time session where they get to know your dog, and start off with simple things like a quick trim around the face and clipping their nails.
Just like the vet, make sure you’ve got lots of treats to reward them for a job well done.
Dealing with separation anxiety
Getting your puppy used to being left alone is an important part of their early training. It can be tough – nobody likes to hear their dog cry – but it’s really key to establish those boundaries from a young age. Start off slow by leaving them for just a few minutes at a time, before building it up. Having them crate trained can really help by giving them a safe space to rest when you’re not there.
It’s not easy being a brand-new puppy owner, but it’s totally worth it in the end! We’ve got tons of resources here – from nutritional advice to training videos – and remember, your vet or vet nurse is always there to help, too.