5 Key Topics for All Puppy Parents

Nothing is better than welcoming a puppy into your home! They bring endless joy and fun to any home, but can also add some stress and worry. We are here to calm those nerves and walk you through the at home basics of caring for a puppy with our 5 most asked puppy questions answered!
  1. Adjusting to the home
  2. Activity & Training
  3. Grooming
  4. Teething
  5. Potty training

Acclimating to their new home

The first days and weeks of being a new dog parent can be stressful and chaotic for parent and pup alike. Puppies need to learn how to manage their new surroundings without their littermates, and pet parents need to adjust their living habits and lifestyles to the needs of their growing pup.

Get one leg up by having their new home prepped for their arrival. Set up all kennels, bedding, and bowls in your desired locations. Puppy gates are a great option to allow them to roam while being able to monitor them in restricted areas of the home. Calming pheromones are extremely helpful for all puppies. Placing calming pheromone collar on your pup, spraying their new bedding and using diffusers in the room they will be spending most of their time are great options to naturally help reduce stress.

 

Activity & Training

The first thing you might notice is that your puppy love to play and really loves to nap. Puppies are like babies, using up most energy throughout the day, and requiring rest in between. Your puppy should be allowed to have controlled play as often as they would like. If outdoors, make sure to be mindful of temperature extremes and reduce playtime when too cold or too hot.

Training should always be focused on having fun with your dog and building a lasting bond! Start early and focus on positive rewards and reinforcement. Begin at home in a distraction-free zone to help establish communication with your pup. Always train with food. You can use regular kibble from their bowl and mix in higher reward goodies like tasty treats and spreads. Keep training session short, around 5 minutes or less, and frequent, throughout the day.

Grooming

All puppies should be exposed to controlled grooming exercise at an early age. Exercises include bathes, ear cleanings, paw manipulation, brushing, and dental care. When started early and coupled with positive rewards, you have a greater chance of being successful with these items once fully grown.

Always start slow and with positive reinforcement:

  • Bathing- Slowly build your pup’s confidence in the bathing area. Using interactive feeders like LickiMats with high reward are great to get their focus on the reward and less on the grooming.
  • Ear cleaning- Play with your pup’s ears while they are awake and relaxing. Introduce dry cotton balls and offer a food reward during the process. Once comfortable, soak cotton ball with ear cleanser and introduce in ear, always while offering food distraction/reward.
  • Nail trimming- Handle your pup’s paws often. This helps desensitize then for future paw manipulation and nail trims.
  • Dental care- Manipulate your pups mouth to help get them acclimated to teeth brushing. Start by using spreadable butters on your fingers, rubbing up and down their gum lines. Once comfortable, upgrade to flavored toothpaste and a toothbrush.
  • Brushing- Avoid matted hair by brushing your pup’s hair coat often. Use a non-pull brush and offer a reward during the exercise to make them comfortable with the routine.

Teething

You thought you got a puppy but turns out you actually have a baby shark on your hands! Teething is a very common behavior for puppies and a way for them to “feel” the world around them. It can last from 8 weeks up to 20 weeks in some breeds.

While frustrating, this behavior should not be punished but rather re-directed. When chewing on unfavorable items, like furniture, hands, etc., you should try and re-direct to an appropriate item like a teething ring, toy, or plush. Re-direction can sometimes require a short 30 second training session to get them less focused on the unfavorable items and more directed on the intended toys and treats.

Potty Training

Generally speaking, most puppies can control their bladders an hour for every month of age, and have best control once 4 to 6 months old. During the day, activity will require your puppy to use to restroom more often. The best timing for bladder control is in the evenings and overnight.

Making the behavior routine, predictable, and rewarding is key to being successful. Always take your puppy out first thing in the morning and then every 2 to 3 hours. This helps them get use to a schedule and predictable routine. Reward every interaction with the desired potty spot with a food reward and high praise. As you see them succeed, fell free to challenge them by extending hours in the schedule, i.e. every 2 hours to now every 4 hours. And above all else, always remember to reward their efforts, whether successful or not!

 

Now that you have the knowledge, get started with the right products! Check out our Puppy Starter Kit to get your pup the best veterinary recommended starter essentials!

Here's to happy tail wags!

Dr. Nicky

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