Seven New Puppy Solutions

Those New Puppy Woes

That new puppy is sooooo adorable until he …

  • chews your favorite pair of shoes
  • poops on the carpet
  • digs up your flower bed
  • keeps you awake all night.

If that sounds familar or you simply want to avoid those woes, read on.

Seven New Puppy Solutions

Plan ahead.  Bringing home a new family member is very important.  It requires some thinking ahead and should not be an impulse decision.  We all know what happens when we look into those big brown puppy eyes and just melt. puppy_eyes-2Once you meet the puppy it is next to impossible to leave him behind. Decide if your current lifestyle can accomodate the needs of a puppy. If not, consider adopting a slightly older dog or postpone your dog parent days until later.


Decide what size and breed puppy you want. Do you have   your heart set on a specific breed?  Do you want to adopt a mixed breed dog? What activities do you want to do with your dog?  If you want a dog to take on hikes a Chihuahua is probably not the right dog for you.  If you want a lap dog, it’s best not to choose a German Shepherd.  What about shedding?  Do you or your family members have allergies?  These are all important considerations when choosing the right type, size, temperment and breed of dog for your household. Dog Time provides an easy and short survey to get you started on the process.  Just for fun I took the survey. The closest match I got to the dogs that own us was the English Cocker Spaniel. We have a Brittany and two English Springer Spaniels.  But it got me thinking about my preferred characteristics in dogs for my later years when my lifestyle changes.


Prepare your home and yard.  Now that you have decided on the right type, size, temperment and breed dog you want, prepare your home and yard for the new puppy.  Take a good look around and think sort of like a new human parent. Pick up all the clutter that is laying around.  You don’t want to have to replace cherished items and certainly don’t want your puppy eating something dangerous to her.  Will you need to install puppy gates on some doors?  What rooms have tile or hardwood floors?  That’s important when considering puppy ah, er, eh…elimination! Where is the best place for dog beds and crates?  What kind of toys will your puppy need? Where will you feed your puppy? Does your yard contain plants that are dangerous to dogs?  Is your yard fenced or will you need to always take your dog out on leash?


best-way-to-house-train-a-puppyLearn how to house train your new puppy before you bring him home. This tip applies to any age dog that you adopt. Even if the dog was previously trained, he has to learn the boundaries in your home. Remember that puppy bladders are small and that they have to not only develop physical control but also learn where it is ok to go potty.  Depending on the size puppy, previous history and environmental conditions it takes between 4 months and a year to fully potty train a new puppy.  You can begin the process around 12 weeks of age when your puppy has developed bladder and bowel control. Dog Care Knowledge  offers great suggestions on how to house train your new puppy. Remember to take your puppy out after every nap, after he plays, after he eats, just before bedtime and as soon as he wakes in the morning.  If you are using a crate, the maximum length of time your 2 months old puppy can “hold it” is 2 hours; at 3 months he can “hold it” for a maximum of 3 hours and at 4 months he can “hold it” for a maximum of 4 hours.

The Housebreaking Bible has a nifty housetraining schedule you may want to adapt.


 

Research what kind of food to feed your growing puppy.  It seems there are a million choices of nutritional plans to adapt for your new four legged family member.  You can feed your growing puppy homemade food, frozen raw food, canned dog food or manufactured kibble.  A good rule of thumb is to use the best food you can afford. Opinions vary on what is best but for the most part we know the least expensive brands of kibble contain a lot of fillers.  Those extra fillers create a lot of waste which you will see in your dog’s poop. You will most likely have to feed more of the lower quality foods so will not save as much money as you might anticipate.  Be sure to remember that a highger quality diet will result in fewer illnesses for your dog and thus less costly vet bills. A great place to research and compare dog foods is the Dog Food Advisor.


Jade loves her walks

Jade loves her walks

A tired dog is a happy dog and a good dog.  It’s unrealistic to expect a puppy to occupy himself all day while you commute to and from work, take a lunch hour and actually work 8 hours.  And remember our notes above on how long a puppy can “hold it.”  So know ahead of time you will need to share the “letting out” tasks with someone. Perhaps you can take an early lunch time and someone else in the household can take a later lunch time so you can both come home to take the puppy out.  Maybe you can staggger your work hours to accomplish those same tasks.  If you have a reliable neighbor that’s another idea.

Pet sitters and dog walkers offer their services so you may want to research the Pet Sitter Locaters offered by Pet Sitters International or the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters.  Choosing a professsional who is reliable, trustworthy, bonded and insured will likely save you money in the long run.  Most pet sitters offer a variety of services including daily dog walks and vacation pet sitting services. What starts as a puppy potty break may very well grown into a daily dog walk and vacation pet sitting servivces too.  Patricia McConnell, noted applied animal beaviorist offers her opionion on hiring a dog walker.  We liked her article and commented on her blog post discussing our services.

If your puppy is to be an only dog you may also want to consider taking her to doggy day care one or two days per week to assure she has good socialization skills with other dogs. Patricia McConnell, offers an excellent view regarding how to evaluate if your dog is suited for a doggy day care and how to find the right doggy day care.

No matter what choice you make, assure that the person or people taking care of your dog are meeting her physical needs for a potty break and a snack, getting some exercise and enjoying some one on one brushing, stroking or play time. Be sure the care giver is familar with dog body language, is mature and responsible, reliable and capabe of using good judgement.  Pet first aid and CPR training is a must too.  It’s important that any one who takes care of your dog shares your philosophy on how to treat your dog. We prefer positive based training and interactions and are very clear with prospective clients about our methods.


clicker training your puppyWho will teach you to train your dog?  That’s right, we said who will teach you now to train your dog, not who will train your dog. It’s your responsibility to do the training and oh so rewarding when you see your bond deepen as your dog learns to trust you.  Training is best done in tiny little “bites” of five minutes or so multiple times during the day.  Incorporating training into play time and meal time and bed time and all the “times” works great to have a positive dog-human bond.

While we don’t advocate board and train schools, we do recommend that you participate in at least a puppy class with your new puppy and in a family companion type class as your puppy gets older or if you have adopted an older dog. The Association for Force-Free Pet Professionals offers a directory of trainers who use postive reinforcement methods.  An excellent resource for finding a good dog trainer is the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers. Note that you will need to research if these professionals use force free methods only or also incorporate other methods in their training.  We heartily endorse clicker training.


Now go out there and enjoy the next decade or more with your new family member!!

 

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About Beth Harwell

Beth Leatherman Harwell and her husband, Billy Harwell own and operate a local pet sitting business, Dog Walkers & More at Coddle Creek, LLC. Beth and Billy take care of your dogs, cats, birds, fish and small caged pets in the comfort of your own home. Services are provided in Mooresville, Davidson, Cornelius and Mt. Ulla, NC.
Beth is a retired clinical social worker turned business owner. She blogs about pet care needs and the human animal bond.
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