New Year, New Puppy? 5 Resolutions for a Good Start.

Ready, Set, Vet.  Schedule a visit with your vet to begin immunizations, implant an identity chip, and discuss pet-insurance. Bring paperwork from your breeder or adoption center to document your puppy’s prior medical treatments like worming or immunizations.

Puppy-Proof Your Space:  Outfitted with a blanket and a chew toy, a crate is your puppy’s secure home base. Puppy-proof the rest of your house by checking for safety hazards like electrical cords (or your favorite leather shoes) that might look like chew-toys. Block access to stairwells and check for secure fencing outdoors. Now’s the time to decide what’s off-limits to your puppy (the living-room sofa?) and communicate that message with consistency.

Choose Your Words:  Get family members on the same page about specific word commands you’ll be using to communicate with your pet. The first one to agree on? The dog’s name. Second? The bathroom command. Whether you say “Outside!” or “Go Potty!” isn’t important. What does matter is that everyone in the household agrees on the same command so your dog will associate it with a bathroom break. Going forward, you’ll also want to choose specific commands for “leave it,” “drop”, and “heel”.

Watch the Clock:  Notice the time whenever your puppy eats, drinks, or goes to the bathroom. Initially, new puppies require hourly trips outdoors. Place your pet outdoors in the specific area you’ve chosen for bathroom trips and return to that area with each trip. Use the command you’ve established and praise the puppy when he/she accomplishes the task. Frequent trips to a familiar spot, combined with generous praise, will help housebreak your puppy quickly. When accidents occur, remain matter-of-fact and simply take the dog outside to the designated spot.

Greetings and Goodbyes:  Establish good habits for calm comings and goings and you’ll be rewarded with a dog that greets you (and especially guests) politely rather than knocking them over and licking them in the face. Practice leaving through the back door and “returning home” through the front door and establish clear expectations for a calm greeting.

Make Puppy Friends:  Once your puppy’s had his/her second round of shots, it’s safe to start socializing with other dogs. Socialization helps puppies establish healthy play behaviors and develop friendly, outgoing personalities. This is the perfect time to visit us at DogServices, tour our facilities, and meet our staff. We’ll be happy to answer your questions about introducing daycare into your dog’s weekly routine. We understand puppies’ special needs and know that puppies who get regular playtime with other dogs are much happier than those left home alone for extended periods. So come see us! We’ll welcome your new puppy into our family, too.