Adopting a puppy can change your life quite a lot. There are a lot of new responsibilities that are suddenly introduced to your lifestyle. This is especially true when you’ve never had to look after another life before. Make sure to curb your expectations by learning about all the surprises new dog owners have experienced.
We’ve put together a thorough guide for getting started with all the essential information you may need to get started.
If you’re looking for a quick essentials shopping list, see our new dog starter kit checklist where we give you an honest(and short) list of only the bare essentials.
A brand new puppy can get into quite a few messy situations. Whether they’ve peed on themselves, or they just got into some mud could spell bath time for them. For many 8 week old puppies, bathing can be a terrifying experience. If you’re lucky, you will have a dog that loves bath time.
Baths can be done at any time but there are some things you should take into consideration. Puppies are gentle creatures, and they need to treated as such. You don’t want to use really cold water because they could get sick. You also shouldn’t use hot water, either. The best temperature for a dog bath in lukewarm water. It should just be warm enough to take the edge off from the cold.
Puppy Leader Pro Tip:
Dogs have natural oils on their skin and their fur. These are produced specially for their own skin type and it is very important to let them keep these natural oils. Bathing your dog too often can remove these oils from their skin, which can cause problems.
It is highly recommended that you use a special shampoo for dogs.
Your new best friend is going to need some structure for chow time. Dogs respond very to routine. It is important that you give your dog an idea of when they are going to be fed. You should also choose one specific area where they will be given their food each time. The amount of food you are giving your dog is typically labeled in a chart on the dog food bag. There is a set amount of food a dog should eat each day based on their weight class.
The 2 most common feeding schedules are as follows.
Twice a day
This is the most common feeding schedule to give your dog. It is usually once in the morning and once in the evening. This gives your dog something to get excited about all over again. It is also a great way to get some training dogs. When your dog is food driven, you can use treats to get them to learn new commands. Since they’ll be fairly hungry, their drive to earn treats will be higher.
When you are new to taking care of dogs, you might forget to feed them. These mistakes happen. With this feeding schedule, missing one meal won’t make them too upset.
Once a day
This schedule is a little easier to maintain. Your dog will get their entire daily nutrition in one meal right away. If you forget to feed your dog even once with this schedule, it can make for one unhappy puppy. A feeding schedule like this one can be chosen if your lifestyle doesn’t allow for more frequent feedings.
Puppies are known to take lots of naps. You don’t necessarily have to worry about the amount of sleep they’re getting. Your puppy will sleep, eat, and play many times each day. As it gets older, you can expect naps to be further apart. Your dog will learn sleeping habits on their own. So long as your pup has some pep, is still eating and making pee and poop, you have nothing to be concerned about.
Not all dogs are built the same way. Some of them will want to run all day and all night. Some dogs are just happy where they are. If you think your dog is sleeping too much, then make sure they at least get a chance to eat and go to the bathroom. Some dogs will let you know when it’s time for these things, while others may be very patient.
If your dog hasn’t been eating or going to the bathroom, you may want to consider medical advice. Your dog should be getting it’s daily nutrition and getting a chance to go to the bathroom.
There are a few commands that you can get started with right away. There are some fairly easy commands to teach. Most puppies can learn them quickly. For best results, consider using clicker training(requires the use of a clicker) to improve your response speed for rewarding progress.
Commands that can be learned right away:
This is usually the first command that a dog learns. It is also the easiest to teach! Simply take a treat and hover it above your dog’s head. The motion of looking up will make them instinctively lean back into a sitting position. Say the sit command and reward with treats.
Getting your dog to stay can be more difficult. It has to be done in stages. It is important to reward your dog for every little bit of progress they make. First start by having them sit, and slowly move away from them, saying the stay command.
The more you do this, the further you will be able to go without them moving. You can also practice longer stays, where you don’t necessarily move farther, but they just stay in position for a longer period of time. Use a release word like “OK” or “come” to break the stay.
How long can you get your dog to stay? Five minutes? Ten? Sixty?! It is possible!
Leave it command
Teaching your dog self-control is not only going to save you a lot of frustration, but it can also save their life. Dogs are very curious and their noses can get them into a lot of trouble. They can get their mouths of some harmful stuff and eat it before you get a chance to stop them. Teaching them to leave something alone is vital.
The trick to teaching this command is about placing something extremely tempting for them to eat off the ground. This could be anything from a piece of meat or cheese or even a slice of pizza. When they try to take it, intercept them and say “leave it!” in a commanding tone. If they leave it, give them a treat.
This command is just an important, if not more, than the leave it commands. Another name for this is “recall”. Having your dog drop everything they are doing and come running to you can save them from a lot of bad situations. The biggest reason people train this command is to stop dogs from running out onto roads or approaching unknown dogs and people.
To teach this command, you can start by having your dog stay and using a release command. This teaches them to run to you. If you do it enough times, they will know what it means. For more advanced training, introduce distractions to improve its effectiveness.
Puppy Leader Trainer Tips:
• Dogs can be bribed to do almost anything with the right treats. If your dog doesn’t appear to be food driven, consider skipping a meal. When their hunger starts to kick in, their drive to earn food will increase immediately.
• You can supplement their meal time for training time. Take their regular food, and put it in a bag to take with you. They will happily do training exercises with you to earn their dinner.
Keeping Your Puppy Busy
Dog toys come in all shapes and sizes. Not only that, but they also have many varying styles. Everything from squeaky toys to rope toys and balls. Some toys just speak to a dog better than others, and you won’t know which toy your dog will love until it finds it and has a chance to feel it out.
Many dog owners have bought toys that end up sitting on a shelf because their dog has absolutely no interest in playing with it. It could be the color, the shape, or your dog is just being picky. We recommend you to buy an assortment of toys at a good value to test the water. See what kind of toys your dogs seem to enjoy the most, and then move forward from there.
Consider crate training
A crate is a fantastic tool for teaching any dog to develop confidence and independence. Most new dog owners tend to deal with separation anxiety. This is when your dog can’t stand to be without you. It sounds sweet at first, but it can cause a lot of psychological problems if they never break apart from it.
For dogs that are already feeling an attachment to you, they will start their training with a lot of protests. They may whine or bark all night until they become comfortable with their crate. Just remember that this is normal, and is for their own good.
Once your dog has been successfully trained to stay in their crate, you can be confident in going places without them. For new dog owners, leaving a dog at home could spell disaster. For crate trained dogs, both the owner and the dog can breathe easier.
Potty Training And House Breaking
Your new dog may not know that grass is the only acceptable place to do their business. It’s up to you to take them on a walk and to show them what is appropriate. Potty training your dog is all about going on lots and lots of walks.
Pay attention to your dog’s cues and learn what changes in their behavior when they need to go pee. As soon as they start showing these signs, grab their lead and go outside. Walk them over to a spot that is acceptable, and wait for them to do their business. When they start, praise them for their accomplishment. It seems silly, but it works.
Lack Of Teeth Or Razor Sharp Teeth
You may not know this, but a dog’s teeth are their sharpest when they are puppies. If your dog doesn’t have any teeth yet, don’t worry. Dogs go through the same stages of tooth development in the sense that they get baby teeth and adult teeth. Most dogs lose their baby teeth pretty quick.
Puppy Leader Pro Tip:
Many tooth issues for dogs(at least in the beginning) lies in gum development. Their teeth may have a tough time pushing through, and their gums may not be getting enough care to help the new teeth come in. We found that giving your dog a beef trachea chew treat works famously for improving their gum health.
Monitor Their Weight
This one is more so for your own enjoyment. Although you can get some good insight into your dog’s health condition by doing this, it isn’t entirely necessary. Whenever you make a visit to your vet, one of the first things they will do is measure your dog’s weight. Your dog will grow a lot in the next few months.
Every type of food you buy for your dog will have a chart for how much of it you should be feeding them on a daily basis. This chart is always based on age and weight.
Don’t Stop Here
We may know a lot about dogs, but there are more ways to care for your dog. This is one of the best parts of owning a dog. There’s more than one way to raise them. We strongly encourage looking at some other websites to learn even more perspectives!