Bringing a new puppy home can be both exciting and scary, not only for you but also for your new fur baby. Whether you’re adopting a pet for the first time or you’re a veteran pet parent, it is essential to establish a healthy bond with your new pup. So, what should you do when you bring a puppy home from the breeder? Usually, breeders allow pet parents to take the new puppies home once they’re 8-weeks old. An 8-week old puppy is an itty bitty animal that needs to be handled with extreme care and love. Here we will discuss the 8 essential steps you should take when you bring a new puppy into your home.
1. Clean Your Pup
First things first, you should give your puppy a bath. Although reliable breeders do groom their puppies, it’s best to clean your puppy yourself after bringing it home. The AKC expert advice blog has some steps that you might want to reference.
Be warned! bathing a puppy is no small feat, if you are a first time owner follow this guide by the AKC. If you are still squeamish or unsure of your puppy-bathing abilities, take your puppy to professional groomers. You can also ask a friend or family member who is well-versed in bathing puppies and dogs to help you out. Once you have learned to bathe your pup, maintain a consistent bathing schedule. Although it may vary from puppy to puppy, giving your puppy a bath once a month is ideal. Although your puppy may act up a little initially, it will get used to bath time and may even enjoy it if you stick to a regular schedule. Here are a few ways to help your dog enjoy bath time:
- Create positive associations with bathtime; if they are afraid of the bath, have short sessions with the dog in the dry bath tub. Just with the dog in the bathtub and give it treats, cuddle, or play a game they like. Once they are not afraid of the tub any more, they won’t mind a bath!
- Use treats to bribe your dog during bath time; smear peanut butter on a suction cup and put it on the side of the bath. Your dog will be busy licking the peanut butter while you give it a bath
When your dog is at least three months old, it is time to start applying shampoo and conditioner to keep the coat free of oil and grime. You have probably experienced matting if you have a furry buddy with a long or naturally curly coat. These irritating tiny lumps or masses of fur look quite unpleasant, so use dog shampoo for matted hair to avoid matted hair.
2. Ensure That The Dog Has Been Vaccinated
You must check that a dog is up to date on immunizations before bringing it home. Reliable breeders (and rescues) will provide you a vaccination certificate and the dog’s medical examination record. Make sure to ask for these documents while adopting your new pet. AKC has provided a list of first-year puppy shots, it is a very handy resource for a new pet parent. We also recommend that you take your puppy for a head-to-tail wellness examination immediately after you bring them home. When you purchase a puppy from a reliable breeder, they often provide health guarantees and warranties. If your puppy is unhealthy, i.e., they have a congenital disease as diagnosed by a licensed veterinarian, the breeder will replace the puppy or give you a refund.
Apart from that, get a wellness check from your own veterinarian as soon as possible to make sure your new puppy is safe and healthy.
3. Introduce Your Family
You will not be present at home at all times, so it is critical to introduce the new pet to your family members. Therefore, once you know that your pup is healthy and up-to-date on its vaccination, it’s time to introduce it to your family. But how should you introduce your family to your puppy?
- Introduce each family member one by one: It’s important that you don’t overwhelm the new pup
- Call each family member by name: While introducing your dog to your family members, make sure to call their names and encourage them to pet the dog
- Let the puppy approach the individual: it’s best to not force the puppy into someone’s lap. Let the puppy sniff out the person and approach them in its own time
- Avoid using food to get the puppy to do a desired action
- Keep calm and don’t rush the process
- If the dog looks stressed, then stop the meet & greet and pick it up another time
If you already have a pet at home, it’s best to avoid putting them in the same room initially. Keep your existing pet’s possessions and accessories in a space far away from the new pup, as they may consider it a breach of their territory. The best way to introduce them to each other is to put a screen wall between them. You can put both pets on either side of the screen wall, so they cannot hurt each other but can still become familiar with each other’s scent. Taking them on leashed walks together will also help to socialize them with each other.
You can also take help from experts. Reliable dog blogs such as Victoria Stilwell’a Positively and Pat Miller’s Whole Dog Journal explain many tried and tested methods to introduce new dogs and puppies to existing house pets. Let’s look into some of the methods they suggest:
- Manage the environment: As mentioned earlier, use crates, screens, gates, and whatever else you can to create a barrier between the new and resident pets.
- Don’t be angry at the resident pet: Is your resident pet growling at the new one? Don’t be angry at them, it’s only natural! Let the pet get used to the new addition in their own time. It will only hinder their relationship if you keep being angry at the older pet.
- Treat them together: One way to foster friendship between new and old pets is to give them treats together. You will make them enjoy something that they both like together, creating a sense of camaraderie.
- Exercise the dogs before the interaction: You know who is less likely to fight? two exhausted pets! Take your pets for a walk before you introduce them, and they are less likely to hurt each other.
There are many methods to introduce new pets to older ones, but you should choose the one that suits your pets and needs.
4. Make a Dog Bed
A comfortable dog bed is essential for a dog to understand that this is the area where it will sleep. Otherwise, your pup might appear out of nowhere to sleep on your bed. Sure, it is cute once in a while, but if it happens regularly, it will cause you problems. So purchase a comfy dog bed and begin training your dog to sleep in it right away. Just as you would with a new baby, gradually placing it on its bed, giving it its favorite blanket, and that is all.
Most breeders provide crate training to their puppies and so you can utilize that training to limit the puppy to its crate or dog bed. Place your puppy’s favorite toy and a blanket with their mother’s or littermates’ scent in the dog bed or crate to make them feel safe and comfortable. Moreover, you can also use baby gates and playpens to keep your puppy from jumping in the bed with you.
5. Make a Schedule
Create a routine for your dog once everything is in place. Make a feeding, playing, exercising, bathing, and walking schedule. You can talk to your vet about feeding and sleeping to make sure it is right for your dog. Getting time to play with your dog is essential. According to statistics, 78 percent of dog owners believe their pets should be walked twice daily. Only 30-70 percent of dog owners, however, walk their pets. It is compulsory to keep a balance between training, rest, and play to avoid developing health concerns for both you and your dog. Over-rested dogs are prone to obesity and have a short lifespan. The best training depends on the dog’s breed and age but a stroll is a terrific place to start.
6. Casual walks
Puppies have boundless energy. If you don’t exercise your puppy, it may start developing destructive behavior. One of the greatest ways is to take your puppy for a walk every day, during which the puppy will be exposed to new stimuli, learn new commands, correct behavior, and meet new people and canines.
You most likely know that a dog’s most favorite game is playing fetch. Another very important thing to remember is that you must spend time with your dog. You may take them to swim or to the park and let them mingle with other pets in a safe environment. Exercise and socialization is good for physical and mental health. Exercising your puppy is a lengthy discussion; there are myriad of ways to keep your puppy physically active, such as long leash walking suggested by The Happy Puppy Site or the enrichment activities recommended by The Bark.
You must start small and gradually add more complex and stimulating physical activities to build your dog’s stamina, foster your bond with your pet, and keep them healthy.
7. Reward for Positive Behavior
In the early days, the puppy may appear to be more mischievous than obedient. Even yet, it is critical to commend him whenever he does something nice. This will assist the dog in comprehending what is expected of it and will hasten the learning process. Also, avoid attracting your dog with inappropriate behavior. The most straightforward approach to training your dog is to use positive reinforcement. This strategy involves rewarding the dog for a task properly done or just to be well maintained. Realizing which prize your dog prefers can make reward-based training more enjoyable for both of you.
8. Stay Calm
You must stay calm if you want to form a good and long-lasting bond with your dog. Dogs are extremely sensitive to the energies that people around them emit. Keep in mind that you are the one who must remain calm and peaceful in a new connection with a dog. The dog may be terrified and agitated; now is the moment for you to step in and assist the dog in remaining calm. Your tone can worsen your dog’s uneasiness if it sounds eager or harsh. This might lead to undesired behaviors in your new pet on its first day. Remember that you don’t know everything about a new dog’s likes and dislikes when you bring it home. Eventually, it would be beneficial if you took the time to learn more about it and form a proper connection with your dog and teach it to be well-behaved.
Keep in mind that your new pet requires attention, care, stability, and a routine. Create a mundane that can be followed on a regular schedule in addition to the above suggestions. This will help the puppy to become accustomed to your household’s environment and adjust correctly.
Author: Arslan Hassan (firstname.lastname@example.org)