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So You Want A New Puppy?

Updated on January 26, 2009

I hope I can provide tips on selection and care of puppys

I hope I can give you some tips to help pick out a puppy that will be a joy to you. I have had dogs all my life, and I am puppy shopping myself right now. My old girl is nearing the end of her life, and I am hoping that she can help train the pup before she passes.

Are You Sure You Are Ready to Get A Dog?

I ask this, because I work with a lot of shelter animals, and I see so many situations where dogs, cats and other pets become disposable, just because someone got them on a whim without thinking things out.

Dogs can make excellent companions, but they can make some things in life more difficult. If you are a renter, you need to look for properties that allow dogs. With smaller dogs, this is a bit easier, but if you have your heart set on a big dog, your rental options may be limited.

If you like to go for quick weekend getaways, unless you plan to take your dog along, you will need to find a petsitter or boarding kennel. It is best to find a situation where the dog feels like he is in a familiar environment and not in a doggie jail. In our situation, we have arranged for someone to come to our home and feed and water our pets. They also spend time playing with them.

Choosing a Puppy

Choosing the right canine for your household is very important. Will the dog get along with kids? Will the dog get along with other animals in the household? Does the dog have a good disposition? These are some of the questions you might ask when deciding what kind of dog you want.

Are you looking for a purebred or mixed breed or just a plan old mutt? Mixed breeds can be more affordable, whereas purebred can be quite expensive. Don't dismiss the mutt option either from the local pound. Mutts can be just as lovable, energetic, and loyal as the other breeds.

Size matters. Think about how big or small the dog is that you want. Do you have room for the pup to run and play or will it be cooped up because you don't go outside a lot. If so, do you have a room where the pup can run free?

Personality for a puppy develops around seven weeks of age. Spend a little time picking and choosing your dog, and you both will reap the rewards. Make sure you can hold the puppy and cuddle him. Drop a book during a quiet moment and see if the pup runs and hides. Get on your hands and knees and play with the puppy to see if he responds in kind or is aggressive toward you.

There are several places to start your search. Asking friends or your vet are good places to start. Also, you can contact your local shelter or ASPCA for their selection of animals. Many times you can find purebred animals in shelters because the owners don't have time for them. My daughter got a Rat Terrier pup from the shelter that was just as healthy and well developed as the one the pet store wanted $650.00 for.,, or your local newspaper may be good places to look.

Cute Puppy Video

Finding a Vet

You wouldn't try to have a baby without involving a doctor or a midwife, would you? Your dog will need a vet. Hopefully he will only have to see him for an annual checkup, and shots, but you need a vet from the start. You can ask where you get your pup if they can recommend a vet. or research ones in your area.

Also find out if there is a 24 hour emergency vet nearby. If your dog has a medical emergency in the middle of the night, you don't want to have to waste time finding one.

Welsh Corgi Pup

Basic Puppy Care – First Weeks

After you select the puppy of your dreams, you get to take him home without a manual to tell you how to succeed at raising him. The first night is always hard because the puppy will start to miss his Mom and other siblings. He may cry or whine through out the night. One can hardly blame him for his actions.

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 Mom's scent on it. 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.

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.

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 wit one of his toys. Praise him for chewing his toy. Reprimands should be sharp and short. Hitting or spanking may create more problems down the road. The pup can become fearful, shy, or aggressive. Always reward for proper behaviors. Treats make a great reinforcer. So is a simple scratch between the ears and a hug,

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 thy grow, after ten to twelve weeks of age, feed them one in the morning and once at night.

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.

Crate Training for the Puppy

Puppies generally need enclosed small places to feel secure. Crating works because the pup feels safe in his own private place. Some think that crating is like placing the pup in jail. In this instance, you should never use the crate to administer punishment.

Make sure the size of the crate is comparable to the dog. It is fine to get a larger crate if the dog will grow into it. Use a partition board to keep the crate smaller until th pup grows. Make sure the animal has enough room to lie down, turn around, and stand up comfortably.

Introduce him to the crate first. Let him explore around it. He may go in or just sniff around it at first. He will slowly become at ease with the structure. Begin by placing the pup in the crate for 20 minutes at a time. If he starts to whine, you should ignore it. Placing a cover over top of the cage also helps. It makes the crate seem more confined. You can also put a toy or blanket inside with him.

After twenty minutes, take him out of the crate and then straight outside to potty. Praise him if he does. Take him back inside afterward, and play with him for about half an hour. Then place him back in the crate again. If he doesn't go in, throw a treat inside. Praise when he enters and close the door. Try another twenty minutes. Puppies can be confined for one hour for each month old they are plus one hour. If your puppy is four months old, he should be ale to build up to five hours.

Never leave puppies in the crate for longer than eight hours. They need to be let out at regular intervals to exercise and potty. Following a schedule is the best way for a new puppy. He will come to learn what is expected and comply with minimal fuss.

More Cute Puppy Videos

Body Condition and Temperature

Body Condition and Temperature

You must keep a watchful eye on your puppy making sure he doesn't eat too much food or too little. Simply going by the recommended amount on the label may not be enough for a growing puppy. He may need a little extra sometimes. But with an increase in food, you must increase exercise or you will have an overweight puppy.

The extra weight can put your pup at risk for heart problems, respiratory, and muscular problems. Avoid obesity by preventing it in the first place.

If the pup is underfed, increase his ration for two weeks. If he is growing back to where he should be, keep with the plan until he reaches an ideal weight.

If the pup is overfed, reduce the amount of food you give until he is down to an acceptable weight. Also increase his exercise routine.

Overweight and underweight puppies have lower immune systems. They can catch something from the dog next door or the one down the street. Keep a watchful eye on your puppy when he is trying to maintain a stable weight.

At least two to three times a week, be sure to check your pup's temperature to make sure there is no fever brewing. A normal temperature for dogs is between 99.5 and 102.5 degrees. If you are uncertain, please get the vet to show you how to do it. You will need to lubricate the thermometer with petroleum jelly or mineral oil and slide it halfway into the rectum. Leave for three minutes. Remove and read the mercury level. If the pup is running a fever, you should see your vet immediately. DO NOT ever use an oral thermometer for a rectal temperature. The readings could be off and make you think the dog is sick when he is really not.

Exercising Your Puppy

Exercising Your Puppy

Puppies can be quite active and they need exercise to keep them in good shape. Usually a brisk thirty to sixty minute walk can be quite invigorating for them. If you are unable to do this every day, ensure your yard has more than adequate space for the pup to run around in and play. You can even take the dog to the high school's track and walk it there. Some people even train their dog to walk on the treadmill with them. This will afford both of you some great time together and good exercise too.

Evaluate your dog's needs and formulate an exercise plan that will work for both of you. A young puppy might like to go for a run whereas an older dog may just enjoy a nice leisurely walk. Start out with puppies for about 15 minutes. Build up to an hour as they get bigger and can handle it.

If you like to walk at night, use some reflective clothing so that cars will see you on the side of the road. You can also wear light colored clothing as well.

The best time to exercise your puppy is right before or right after they have eaten. Also provide him with very small amounts of water, a full stomach may cause upset.

Upon arriving back home, check the animal's paws to make sure there is nothing stuck in it. Items such as glass, burrs, ice, and rocks can be removed immediately.

Teaching your dog how to play “Fetch” can also be great exercise. Start by rolling a toy a short distance away from the puppy and letting him go get it. As he gets older, increase the distance you throw the toy for him. Always give praise when he does go get the toy and bring it back to you.

First Aid for Puppies

Start by organizing a First Aid Kit for the puppy. Include such items as a thermometer, ice packs, gloves, towels, meat flavored baby foods, tweezers, scissors, peroxide, and alcohol wipes. A small toolbox works nicely for keeping all the items together in one place. Under the cover, write your name, address, phone number, and the vet's name and number in case you lose the box.

For bleeding, apply direct pressure until bleeding stops. Hold for at least ten minutes and bandage wound.

For burns including chemical, electrical, or heat, you will see swelling, redness of skin, and blistering. Run the wound under plenty of cool water. Ice the injured part for twenty minutes. Make sure to wrap the ice pack in a towel first. Call vet immediately.

Diarrhea can cause some serious issues for your pup. Take food away for twelve to twenty-four hours, but leave some water available. Some animals that look constipated are actually sore from diarrhea. If the puppy doesn't improve, call the vet.

Heatstroke can be quite scary. You will see rapid or difficulty breathing, vomiting, high body temperature and weakness. Run cool water over the animal. Wrap the pup in a cool wet towel and stop all ministrations when temp is 103 degrees. Call vet immediately.

If you think the dog has fractured a limb, call the vet immediately. Look for bleeding wounds and signs of shock. DO NOT try to set fracture yourself, you could do more damage without being aware of it. Transport animal to vet and support limb gently as you can.

If your pup sustains bite wounds from another animal, you must avoid getting bitten. Even non-biting dogs will bite when in pain. Clean the wound with saline and wrap with gauze to keep clean. If bleeding profusely, apply pressure. Don't ever use a tourniquet. Do wear gloves because you don't know the extent of the contamination.

French Bulldog Pup watches the Dog Whisperer

Getting the Puppy His Own ID

Fifteen to twenty million dogs were lost in the last year due to no identification on the dog. Even simple collar tags can help your pet to be returned. Without any form of ID in place, if your dog goes missing, there is no way to track him even if someone finds him. Take a moment and make it easy on your best friend if he gets lost. Make sure he can find his way back to you.

There are several ways to insure the animal will be returned. The first is an ID tag and Rabies Certificate which should be worn on a collar. The tag should have your address, phone number, and the puppy's name. The Rabies Certificate tag has a serial number that can be traced by a vet. You can also place a tag with any illnesses the animal may have such as Diabetes.

A new device is gaining popularity. It is a microchip they place under the dog's skin. A computer scanner can read the bar code on it and find where the animal belongs. The owner's name and address is entered into a national database. The only downside is the chip may move to other places in the body making it hard to find.

Tattoos are another option. They are placed inside the ear. It will cause a minor discomfort to the animal for a couple of days. In the long run, it's better to have some pain than to lose you best friend because he got away from you. They will tattoo a serial number and register it with the national database.

Licenses for dogs have gone up in the last few years. They used to be ten dollars and are now up to twenty to thirty dollars depending on whether the animal is spayed or neutered. Licenses insure the dog's rabies shot is up to date. Rabies is fatal 99% of thetime for both dogs and humans.

Housetraining Your Puppy

Housetraining takes patience and the ability to follow a schedule. Most puppies respond to a schedule because it gets them used to doing the same thing at the same time every day and they learn the behavior you want easier.

You must first determine your puppy's limit in holding his urine. Keep a diary for several days until you spot a pattern between eating and eliminating. This minus 15-30 minutes will give you the puppy's comfort zone. This is how long he can hold his urine after he has gone potty.

The puppy will usually have to go after they eat, drink, play or sleep. Most dogs need to be taken out upwards of three to five times a day providing they haven't drank an excessive amount of water. The best thing to do if you take him walking is not to bring him back until he does potty. Be ready to stay outside until he does. This could take some time. If you bring him back in before he is ready, he most likely will have an accident before you can get him back outside again.

The most important thing is to lavish him with praise each and every time he does the right behavior. This reinforces it because he receives attention and a treat. If you wait and praise him later, it won't be effective. To keep him from finding spots, close doors to rooms with carpeting or rugs, because they prefer certain area to eliminate on.

If the puppy does have an accident, use a pet odor neutralizer to prevent any odor. They sometimes will sniff around until they find the exact same spot they went the last time. Don't use ammonia based cleaners as they break down into urea, which is a part of urine.


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    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 

      7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Great Info!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Never exercise your puppy/dog right before or after eating. Wait one hour after excercising before feeing or two hours after feeding to exercise your dog.

    • grousepup profile image


      10 years ago from South Salem

      Zounds, but you seem to have covered all the basics and then some. The one thing I would add is the caution not to buy a puppy from a pet store. These pet store puppies are usually obtained from puppy mills, unscrupulous owners of which simply turn out pups like commodities, with no thought or care to their heredity. Often the breed stock is kept in cramped, filthy quarters, with no human contact, muchless love or affection. We have to band together to stop puppy mills.


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