Just the very idea of getting a puppy can be very exciting, and part of the fun is the whole process of choosing what type of dog you would like, learning more about them, visiting litters, and meeting puppies to make your final choice.
Whatever type of dog you intend to buy and whatever age they are, research is an essential part of the process, and the first step on the road to responsible dog ownership. Every single dog is different and unique in their own ways, and they’ll each have breed-specific traits to content with as well as their own formative personalities, and getting to grips with a new puppy of any type represents a steep learning curve.
However, if you have never owned a puppy before, or only owned a puppy as a child when your own parents were responsible for making the decisions and dealing with their care, there are a number of things that are so obvious to experienced owners that they often don’t consider them, but that can come as a shock to a first-time puppy owner, regardless of what type of pup they buy.
In this article we will share five things you need to know about puppies of all types, before you buy one and bring it home. Read on to learn more.
Puppies of all breeds are cute, adorable and look innocent even when causing havoc, and so it comes as a surprise to many first-time puppy owners that puppy teeth can be needle sharp, and quite nippy!
Pups explore a lot of the world with their mouths – they bite and chew things, hold and carry things, and mouth at things, as well as potentially nipping. Bite inhibition – a conscious ability and willingness not to bite, and to control the pressure exerted by the jaw on things – is a learned skill, and pups aren’t born knowing that nipping is bad.
Puppies begin to learn bite inhibition from the responses of their dam and littermates – pups will yelp if nipped, letting the other pup know that it hurts, and they also learn from being nipped themselves that this is not nice!
However, this is only the beginning of the process, and you need to train and correct your pup gently but firmly to curb nipping and teach good manners, before the behaviour becomes established.
Puppies at play are full of beans and can often go from fast asleep to haring around in a matter of seconds. However, pups also spend huge chunks of time asleep, and they tend to fall asleep when they need to very easily, and sleep very heavily.
The amount your pup needs to sleep gradually lessens as they approach adulthood, but when you first get your new pup home, don’t be surprised if they spend more of their total time asleep rather than awake at first.
Puppies need to be provided with safe, appropriate things to chew on, to help their new teeth to break through the gums and to ease the pain and discomfort of teething. Most puppy buyers know that puppies go through teething like babies do, but not everyone knows that you actively need to provide appropriate things for them to chew on, otherwise they are apt to go looking for their own!
If you don’t give your puppy the appropriate outlets for their need to chew, they might chew furniture, electrical cables or other things they’re not meant to, which not only means the destruction of your things but can also be dangerous for your pup.
Part of getting a new puppy used to their life with you involves training them to accept being left alone for moderate amounts of time without making a fuss, and this is easier to achieve when the pup is young than it is with adult dogs.
However, puppies need almost constant supervision when they are young, to provide them with company and entertainment, prevent them from getting into mischief, and to keep them safe from harm.
Puppy-proofing your home is vitally important, but no substitute for the appropriate supervision.
It is important to start as you mean to go on with your new puppy, by establishing a routine and laying down the ground rules you want your pup to follow when they get older. Choices you make – or avoid – now can have implications much further down the line too, so make your decisions wisely.
If you let your puppy jump up, beg for food, push in front of you to go outside or otherwise behave in ways that will annoy you when the pup is older, you’re setting yourself up for future challenges that can be much harder to resolve later on.
Plan your pup’s future when they are young, and train them to be good housemates and good canine citizens from the get-go.