Caring for Your New Puppy
The First Steps
Congratulations on your new puppy! Puppies have profound impacts on our health and well-being, and you’re an amazing person for having saved a life. We’d like to give you a guide that explains what steps to take next in an easy and digestible way. You’ll learn how to take proper care of your puppy and prepare them to live respectfully in your home, along with how to cultivate a relationship with your puppy that is both happy and obedient. This will set you up for an incredible and long-lasting experience with your new companion.
Step 1 – A Puppy Exam
After you adopt your new puppy, the first thing to do is to schedule a puppy exam. If you have yet to schedule one, then just give us a call at (310) 517-1832 and we’ll get you all set. Your puppy needs an exam for a few important reasons, and we’ll go over what will be accomplished here:
- We need to make sure your puppy doesn’t have any health problems, congenital defects, or other issues that could cause problems down the road, so we’ll perform a thorough examination of all of their major biological systems and functions.
- We’ll get started on a proactive preventative health care plan. This will include a vaccination schedule for your new pet, and a parasite prevention plan.
- You’ll learn about what diseases are common in puppies and we’ll teach you about what hallmark symptoms to look out for so you can be sure your pup stays in good health.
- If your puppy is yet to be spayed or neutered, we can schedule a procedure. Spaying and neutering has extremely powerful health and behavioral benefits – such as lower cancer rates and aggression. It also saves lives – every year, millions of pets are put to sleep because of overcrowding.
Step 2 – Housetraining
Housetraining your puppy can be a bit of work, but once accomplished, it will make for a truly harmonious adaptation into your home. You’ll need to remember to be consistent and patient. Positive reinforcement will be your best ally.
Here are some helpful tips to follow:
- Make sure to take your puppy’s food away between meals, and keep them on a consistent feeding schedule.
- Your puppy should be taken out to urinate as soon as you wake up, and right before you go to sleep. In between, try to get close to taking them out in hourly intervals.
- Give your puppy ample praise (or even a treat) as soon as they go to the bathroom outside.
- If your puppy has an accident in the house, don’t scold them. Instead, clap really loudly (if you catch them in the act) to alert them, and gently take them outside.
- If your puppy has an accident and you don’t catch them in the act, don’t scold them. Your puppy won’t be able to put the two actions together, and it will only introduce anxiety in the relationship. Accidents happen, and housetraining takes time.
Step 3 – Obedience
Teaching obedience can save your puppy’s life, and it also provides for a much happier relationship between you and your pet. In fact, deep bonding occurs when you train your puppy.
Important tips: To most effectively train your puppy, practice a few times a day, and keep intervals short (such as 5-10 minutes). Don’t repeat a command if your puppy fails to obey.
- Kneel close to your puppy.
- Hold a treat to their nose. Slowly lift the treat above them, and allow their head to follow.
- Their bottom will naturally begin to lower. Once it hits the floor, immediately reward them with the treat, and ample praise.
- Start to pair this action with the “sit” command.
- Find a field (or use your backyard), and click a long leash or rope between you and your dog.
- Follow them around, but keep a decent distance (such as 20 feet). Use a marker word, such as “yes.” Begin to slowly walk backwards, and say your marker word. Once your puppy notices you, begin encouraging them. Once they reach you, treat them immediately and give them ample praise.
- Begin to pair this action with the “come” command.
- Put your puppy’s leash on and have them sit beside you.
- Wave your hand (make sure it’s flat) in front of them and command “stay.”
- Take a couple steps in front of your dog, wait a couple seconds, and step back beside them. Immediately reward and praise if they held their stay.
- If they don’t stay, calmly say “oops” and return them to the initial position.
- Once your puppy’s leash is on, cheerfully say “let’s go!”
- Encourage forward motion by patting one of your legs. When your dog walks closely to your side, reward them with praise and a treat.
- Every five or so steps, stop to praise them for being by your side, which is the proper place on a walk.
- Once your puppy wanders ahead or falls behind, just stop and let them explore.
- As soon as your puppy begins to come back to you, say your praise marker (like “yes”) and treat them as soon as they return to your side.
- If your puppy begins to pull, stop immediately. Wait frozen until they return to your side, no matter how long it takes.
We’d advise you to bookmark this guide so you always have it handy. And remember, we’re always here for you and your new puppy whenever you need us!