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Getting a Puppy- Tips for Before and After

Updated on March 12, 2013

Puppy Checklist

Before you bring your new friend home there are a few things you will need to purchase:

  • Water and Food Dishes
  • Puppy Food
  • Collar, Leash and ID Tag
  • Treats and Training Treats
  • Toys and Bones
  • Crate
  • Paper Towel and Carpet Cleaner Spray
  • Pooper Scooper
  • Grooming Brush
  • Puppy Shampoo

Find a Veterinarian

You should start looking for a veterinarian before you get your puppy. They will need a physical exam and they should go three times for vaccinations. The should also be started on heartworm medication and flea and tick prevention.When choosing a veterinarian ask for recommendations from family and friends. Also check online for reviews. When you visit a veterinarians office get an overall feel for the place. Some questions to ask are: is it clean? do they treat me and my dog well?, etc. Don't be afraid to ask them questions.

When we first got our puppy we were spending anywhere between $100-$150 for each puppy vaccination visit. About 6 months later we got another puppy and decided to try another vet on recommendations from a friend. We spent about $50 on each puppy vaccination visit. Shopping around can save a lot of money. You don't necessarily want to find the cheapest veterinarian, but you want to make sure they provide quality services as well.

Crate Training

Crate training is a way to house train your puppy. If introduced correctly your puppy will feel safe and comfortable in the crate. Dogs do not like to eliminate in the same area they sleep in. When you are away from your home, or if you are not able to watch them, a crate is a good option. A crate should be big enough that your puppy will be able to turn around and comfortably lie down, but it should not be too big because they may eliminate in one corner of the crate and sleep on the other.

Introducing your puppy to their crate should be a positive experience. At first keep the door open and give them treats and praise. After they seem comfortable with the crate, close the door. Work on leaving them in there for a few minutes then gradually increase the amount of time they are left in there.

A crate should NOT be used as a form of punishment. This can undo everything that you have worked on and the will view the crate negatively. Puppies should also not be left in their crate for too long. Puppies cannot hold their bladder for very long. Depending on their age.

Potty Training

Potty training will take some time and patience. I recommend training your puppy by taking them outside instead of using potty pads. Once a puppy learns to go inside it can be hard to untrain. If you are unable to easily and quickly take you puppy outside then potty pads can be useful. Here are some useful tips for potty training:

  • Let your puppy out right when you let them out of their crate and right after they eat. This minimizes the time for accidents.
  • Let them out frequently. Puppies cannot hold their bladder for very long. It is said that for each month of age they can hold the bladder for 1 hour. For example a 2 month old puppy can generally hold their bladder for 2 hours.
  • Watch for warning signs that they need to go out. (pacing, circling, whining etc.)
  • Keep your puppy in your sight. Close doors and use baby gates so they don't go off and potty in another room.
  • When an accident does happen make sure to correct quickly. You don't want to hit your puppy because you don't want to make them afraid of you, but a sharp no is good. Make sure to clean up any accident thoroughly. If a dog can still smell it, they are likely to eliminate there again.
  • Reward your puppy right after they go outside. Positive reinforcement will encourage the same behavior.
  • We choose to use a bell for our dogs to let us know they have to go out. This way even if we are not in the same room as them they can still get our attention to go outside.

Obedience Training and Exposure

Obedience training can help you with the training processes and give you tips and techniques to work with your puppy at home. It can help to correct unwanted behavior and to help build a bond and trust between you and your puppy. Obedience training will start with basic commands like sit, stay etc. and will move to more advanced material.

When a puppy is young, you will want to expose them to different circumstances. You will want to make sure they are comfortable doing different activities such as going for car rides, getting baths, being around children etc. Rewarding with treats and with praise is important.

Socialization is especially important with dogs under 6 months. Socializing them with a variety of dogs can help prevent problems in the future with other dogs. Check with your local pet stores to see if they offer any activities for puppies.

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