Puppies are babies. Puppy will need someone to be at home or someone to check on them every 3 or 4 hours until they are 3 months old and ongoing supervision and company for the first 12 months. Play dates with other puppies and puppy school are highly recommended.
- Once you adopt a puppy, hook up with your local veterinarian immediately and consult them with any of your concerns or questions
- They need to be carefully cared for and fed frequently – at least every few hours for young pups, gradually reducing this as they grow.
- Massage and touch pup all over. Get him/her used to being touched. It will help with vet visits and future grooming if required.
- Feed high quality balanced premium commercial puppy food that is appropriate for the life stage and health status of your puppy. You can offer some natural foods to provide some variety.
- Natural foods include fresh human-grade raw meat such as diced up pieces of raw lamb.
- Bones must be raw
- Raw bones should be introduced gradually. The bone must be large enough so that the puppy cannot fit the whole bone in its mouth or swallow the bone whole
- Between four to six months of age puppies cut their permanent teeth and grow rapidly
- Introducing fresh raw meaty bones at around 12 weeks of age ensures they are chewing actively around the time their permanent teeth are erupting.
- Too many raw bones can cause constipation. One raw bone per week is generally well-tolerated
- ‘Meaty’ bones are better
- Always supervise your puppy when eating raw bones
- Dogs ‘like’ bones very much and sometimes become protective. Do take care and discourage young children from approaching dogs that are eating
- Avoid large marrow bones, T-bones, ‘chop’ bones e.g. lamb cutlets, large knuckle bones or bones sawn lengthwise as dogs may crack their teeth on these
- Never feed cooked bones as these can splinter and cause internal damage or become an intestinal obstruction
- Cooked meat such as boiled chicken/lamb may also be offered occasionally.
- A small amount of vegetable matter may be offered e.g. cooked pumpkin, carrots
- Water must be available to them at all times.
Before you bring your puppy home
Dogs are pack animals; they need to be where you are. Before you bring your puppy home go around your house and yard, do a safety check, put away chewable objects, lock up poisons/chemicals. Explain to the family that puppies will chew on almost anything, put those toys away, pick up shoes, clothes etc. Remember, if you give your puppy an old slipper as a toy, puppy will thinking chewing shoes is allowed. Check the yard to see how secure it is. Is there anything in it that can cause danger to your pup? Is there any way your puppy could get out? Is there adequate shade for him, can he access part of the house, to get out of rain, sun. etc. If you are going to leave your puppy outside with a kennel, it is best to put the kennel as close to the back of the house as possible. Puppy will feel like it is an extension of the house.
Shopping for Puppy
- You puppy will need
- Two bowls
- Chew & Play Toys
- A collar and leash
- His/her very own bed
Meeting ‘The Others’
Do you have other pets? Puppy can be very excitable and also unpredictable. Introduce your puppy slowly and always under supervisor. Continue the supervision for the first few weeks. Ensure your existing pets get loved up so they don’t ‘lash out’ at the attention grabbing puppy. Make sure their routines and rituals are observed and respected – e.g. don’t let cheeky new pup take their bed!
Rolled up newspaper and rubbing pup’s nose in wee went out a long time ago – it does not work very well and is very distressing for a young pup. Puppy loves you, don’t make him fearful of you. Puppy (and dogs) want nothing more than to please you, to be in your good books. Toilet training can be challenging, but with patience you can it 99% right quickly.
- Always praise the correct behaviour in a high happy voice
- Most young pups will need to eliminate around 10-15 minutes after eating or drinking. Watch your pup and see what his/her pattern is. Once you have established their pattern, take pup to the toileting area at the right time after meals. Once you pup has toileted, praise, praise, praise.
- When puppy has an accident inside, say ‘no’ strongly and take pup out to the right toileting area. Return to happy mode at the toileting area.
- Don’t make a big deal out of mistakes. Praise the good, stick with it, it will happen.
- Installing a dog door and arranging outdoor access will greatly assist in your pup’s success.
Puppy school is a wonderful way to socialise your puppy from a young age. While puppy school does do some training, the best thing about it is that the pups learn to interact in a safe situation. Good early socialisation stays with your dog for life. When meeting another dog, a socialised dog will see a ‘potential play mate or friend’. It’s also a lovely way to meet people in your area with a similar interest.
Keep your puppy details handy and make a note of their vaccinations dates for the first year. Vaccinations are crucial in the first 5 years of their life.
Pup will soon be a full grown dog. Having a happy safe puppy-hood will see your puppy turn into a loyal, loving companion. Enjoy your puppy!