Like humans, dogs develop a lot of their personalities and long-term habits in the early months of life. So, when you bring home a new puppy, those first weeks are crucial to establishing a healthy, happy relationship with your new pet. Follow these five steps
Handle your puppy frequently. Aside from communicating affection, handling your puppy a lot will help him become accustomed to being touched. Touching spots like his ears, feet, mouth, and belly will teach him to be comfortable with veterinary exams, making those appointments less stressful for him throughout his lifetime.
Expose your puppy to noises. Sometimes new puppy owners are tempted to “baby” their pet a bit too much! It’s good for your puppy to learn that the vacuum, loud music, or other common household sounds are part of everyday life. Expose your puppy to these new sounds in short sessions, building up to longer ones, while rewarding him with treats and cuddles to reassure him.
Help your puppy socialize. Dogs that are too “sheltered” can become fearful or aggressive to outsiders. Invite friends and family to visit your new puppy, play with him, and offer treats (that you approve, of course). Expose your puppy to children so that they learn how to be comfortable around them.
Take your puppy on adventures. A well socialized dog is accustomed to a number of settings as well as people. Take your puppy to stores that allow pets to enter, eat at cafes with outdoor seating, go to the beach, visit friends’ homes, and take a hike once in a while. Just remember to make sure the pup has all of its vaccinations first, and take along a bowl and bottle of water, because puppies get thirsty when out and about.
Come see us. When you bring home a new puppy, schedule your first vet checkup right away. We can discuss the best foods for your new pet, any behaviors that concern you, proper toilet training techniques, and which vaccinations and procedures are needed to get your puppy off to a healthy start in life.