Basic Puppy Care – First Few Weeks

Basic Puppy Care - First Few Weeks

You have spent ages finding the perfect puppy for you and your family.  Now you have found him you get to take him home without a basic puppy care manual to tell you how to succeed with raising him. The first night is always hard because the puppy will start to miss his Mum and other siblings. Remember he is in a scary new place with different people.  He may cry or whine through out the night.  That is not necessarily a sign of things to come though.

Basic Puppy Care - First Few Weeks

The pup will need a soft, dry, and safe place to sleep. Perhaps throw in a cloth or toy that has his litter mates or Mum’s scent on it if he has come from the breeder. If you run to him when he cries, you will be reinforcing the habit. Placing a sheet over the box or crate will get the pup used to going to sleep at that time.  Don’t over excite him just before bed time.

Puppies are mischievous by nature, and like their feline companions, get into everything. Be sure hazardous items like marbles, wires, rocks, and any type of harmful plants are far out of the puppy’s way.  Poppy’s naughtiness comes out with plastic – any of that lying around will get chewed; plastic shoes, clothes pegs if it’s made of plastic it’s days are numbered in our house.  Thankfully that is all she chews and we try to make sure she is not bored enough to resort to chewing.

Scolding your pup should be just like telling a child NO. However, when you tell him NO, you should show him the correct behavior. For example, if he is chewing up the newspaper, take it away and replace it with one of his toys. Praise him for chewing his toy. Reprimands should be sharp and short.  A major component of basic puppy care is patience.  It can be frustrating when your puppy doesn’t ‘get it’ but shouting doesn’t help them learn, they will just become fearful.

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I would never advocate smacking at all and there is always the danger that it may create more problems down the road. The pup can become fearful, shy, or aggressive. Rather than punish bad behaviour, reward for proper behaviours. Treats make a great reinforcer. Although Poppy is not particularly treat orientated (she prefers toys) she knows what the rustle of a pocket means and sits down looking like butter wouldn’t melt!  Even a simple scratch between the ears and a hug is enough with most puppies.  A pat and a ‘good girl/boy’ is all it takes.

Feed him a dry food especially made for puppies. Watch out for very high protein and extra vitamins as they may be harmful to your growing puppy. Feed him two or three times a day. Usually after fifteen minutes, the pup will have eaten all they want, so you can remove the dish. As they grow, after ten to twelve weeks of age, feed them one meal in the morning and once at night.

Basic puppy care is not really difficult, just common sense.  All of these should help your new pup get through those first horrible weeks away from his family. The bond forming between you will last a lifetime.  Bad dogs aren’t born, but made and it is very hard to undo.  Get it right first time!

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