Raising a Puppy: Tips for the New Pet Parent | Hill's Pet (2023)

Puppies are beyond adorable, but let's face it — raising a puppy is fraught with challenges. If you've never had a puppy before, the task before you can seem quite daunting, and once those big puppy eyes capture your heart, there's no turning back. Here are some helpful tips to get through the puppy development stage and ensure your new four-legged baby grows up into a happy, healthy, well-adjusted dog.

Raising a Puppy: Things to Consider

Raising a Puppy: Tips for the New Pet Parent | Hill's Pet (1)

Puppies are little bundles of energy who are often intensely curious about their surroundings. Life with a puppy is not that different from life with a human toddler — you'll need a lot of patience as you watch over your pup to keep them out of trouble, instruct them in appropriate behavior and safely teach them about the world.

(Video) Beginner’s Guide For New Puppy Parents

The good news is that puppies sleep a lot, although they don't always sleep through the night, and your pup may wake the household whining and barking to express their displeasure at being left alone. Puppies are also driven to chew a lot as their adult teeth come in, and may see the doggie version of a teething ring in the living room rug, the couch, your favorite pair of shoes and even your hand. If you become frustrated with your new pet, it's important to remember that the task of raising a puppy is temporary. They'll be all grown up by their first birthday, and they'll leave most of their puppy tendencies behind as they settle into adulthood.

If you just got a puppy or are getting ready to go pick up your little bundle of joy, you need to be prepared for the new responsibility that is another life. This means taking time out of your busy schedule to tend to their needs. So, if you are planning on getting a puppy, it is a good idea to do so when you can take time off work, or work from home, to spend with them. This will allow you to let them out to do their business frequently, as well as monitor behaviors that they might try to engage in when you're away from the home.

Puppy-proofing Your Home

While you do your best, it's practically impossible to provide constant supervision for your energetic, curious pup, so it's important to puppy-proof your home before their homecoming. Secure electrical cords and move potentially toxic plants or substances, such as cleaning supplies and insecticides, out of reach. It's a good idea to crawl through your home to get a puppy's-eye view of their surroundings. Remove anything they might be tempted to chew or swallow, and close off vents, pet doors or any other openings that might allow them to become lost or stuck. Not only will this help keep them safe, it will also ease your anxiety that your new pup is lost.

You'll need to be ready to start house training your pup as soon as you bring them home. If you plan to crate train them, have the crate ready. Make it comfortable by lining it with blankets or a dog bed, but make sure it's large enough that they'll have plenty of room to stand up, turn around and lie down. Slowly introduce them to the crate by leaving the door open and letting them explore it on their own. You can help tempt them to go in by throwing in a toy or a couple of pieces of food. The more comfortable they are with going into the crate, the easier it will be on both of you during training.

If you're forgoing a crate, prepare a small area, such as a powder room or a corner of a kitchen or laundry room, where they can be confined and kept away from other pets and small children. Be sure to provide some puppy training pads to catch any accidents, and include a dog bed, their food and water dishes and a toy or two. This area will serve as home base, a safe space from which they can slowly be introduced to the other members of your household and that provides a retreat when they become overwhelmed or need a time-out.

Supplies You'll Need

You'll need to stock up on a number of supplies to keep your puppy happy and healthy.

(Video) New Puppy Tips - Surviving the First Week

  • Food and water dishes; typical kitchen bowls are not safe for rambunctious puppies
  • High quality puppy food and healthy dog treats
  • Fresh, clean water
  • A collar with ID
  • A leash and possibly a dog harness for walking him (this comes in handy when leash training your pup)
  • A crate or dog carrier
  • A dog bed
  • A dog brush or comb
  • Puppy-safe shampoo
  • Nail trimmers
  • Dog toothbrush and dog-safe toothpaste
  • Puppy-safe toys
  • Poop bags (you can also recycle used grocery bags or sandwich bags)
  • Travel bag to keep his necessities when you travel
  • Pet-safe home cleaner (unless you're the very first puppy parent to never experience an accident in the home; congrats if that is true!)

Puppy Nutrition

Puppies have different nutrient and energy requirements than adult dogs. Look for ahigh quality puppy foodthat is specially formulated to support puppy development and growth. The proper quantity of food depends on factors like age, size and breed. It's a good idea to consult your veterinarian about how much and how often to feed your pup.

For some small breeds, it can be best to free feed young pups to ensure they receive adequate nutrition. Toy and small breed dogs reach physical maturity faster than larger breeds, and can be switched over to adult dog food and adult-sized portions between 9 and 12 months of age.

Larger breeds can take a full two years to reach physical maturity, and have different nutritional needs than small breeds. They should be fed puppy food specifically formulated for large breeds. Talk to your vet about the best time to switch your growing large breed dog to adult food. They should also be fed multiple meals each day with controlled portions to prevent complications, such as stomach bloat. A structured feeding schedule for your larger breed pup could look something like this:

  • Six to twelve weeks old: Four meals per day
  • Three to six months old: Three meals per day
  • Six months and up: Two meals per day

Training and Socialization

Raising a Puppy: Tips for the New Pet Parent | Hill's Pet (2)
You'll want to begin house training right away. Dogs instinctively try to avoid soiling their bed and the area around it, so keeping them confined to a small area or crate as they get used to going outside will be key, saysDog Star Daily. Establish a potty routine, keeping in mind that young puppies will typically need to go out once every couple of hours. When they successfully relieve themself outdoors, be sure to lavish them with praise and reward them with a treat.

When it comes to both house training and establishing the rules of appropriate conduct, it's important to be patient with your pup and use positive reinforcement to build happy associations with correct behavior. It's generally best to ignore unwanted behavior, or correct your pup with a simple but firm "no." Never hit or yell at your pup — this will only confuse them and cause them to feel anxious and fearful. When they engage in negative behavior try and direct them back to something positive. For instance, if they are chewing on something they shouldn't be, direct them back to one of their toys. As soon as they're old enough, consider enrolling them in an obedience class. This will not only teach them how to behave, but will also help promote socialization and provide you with the skills to properly train them.

Proper socialization is a key element of successfully raising a puppy. In order for them to grow up into a well-adjusted dog, they need to be exposed to as many new people, places, experiences and situations as possible. While you should wait until they've had all their vaccinations before taking them out in public or letting them get close to other animals, you can start socializing your pup right away by simply playing with them and introducing them to new people, sights, sounds, smells and textures.

(Video) OWNING A DOG | Things to Know Before Getting a Puppy! | Doctor Mike

Your Puppy's Health

One of the first steps to take after getting your new puppy is to schedule a wellness visit with a vet. If you don't already have an established vet, ask around. Your family, friends and coworkers will likely be able to provide you with plenty of recommendations.

At their first appointment, your vet will check your puppy for any health problems or parasites, and will likely recommend a program for controlling parasites, such as fleas, ticks and heartworms. Your vet will also establish a vaccination schedule and advise you on when you should bring them in to be neutered or spayed, which can help reduce the risk of health and behavioral problems as they get older.

Until they have received all their puppy boosters, avoid dogs whose vaccination history you don't know and places that are frequented by lots of dogs, such as dog parks or the communal elimination area at your housing complex.

Your vet can also answer any questions or concerns you have about caring for your pup, such as what type of food to feed them and how much they should be given. Either your vet or the veterinary assistant can also advise you on aspects of puppy care such as tooth brushing and nail trimming, and can even show you how it's properly done.

While you're at the vet you can try and schedule their6-month vet visit. The vet will use this visit to check on the growth and progress of your pup to make sure everything looks good from a health perspective. They can even start to give you tips on preparing you as you go through the adolescent period, which can be a challenging time for pet parents as pups grow into sexual maturity. This also is a good chance to talk about what to expect as your pup grows into adulthood.

Puppy Play

Outside of training and general health, puppies need attention and exercise. The good news is that this doesn't always mean walks around the block, jogging throughout the neighborhood or trips to the dog park. Playing with your puppy is often enough exercise to keep them healthy while building a bond between the both of you. Games like fetch, tug-of-war and hide-and-seek are all games that can be played within the home to help release pent-up energy they might have gotten from being home alone all day. Make sure to take 30-60 minutes every day to play with them in addition to walking them or letting them in your backyard to run around.

(Video) I Wasn't Ready For a Dog | Tips for New Puppy Owners + New Puppy Must Haves | Entrepreneur Life

Grooming

Even dogs that don't require a trim every few weeks need some sort of grooming. Starting the grooming process while your pup is still young will make it much easier on you. Grooming includes trimmings, brushing their coat, their teeth, trimming their nails and bathing them. You can absolutely hire a professional groomer for haircuts or the vet for nail trimming, but you'll want to get your dog used to having to sit still while you primp and preen them. Get them used to the feeling of a brush in their fur — this is especially true of dogs that shed a lot or are prone to matting.Bathing your puppycan be a chore in itself, so come in prepared with plenty of towels (and clothes you're not afraid to get wet in) and slowly introduce them to the shampoo and water. As they start to get more comfortable, this process will become easier. Finally, brushing their teeth may seem strange to a lot of pet owners, but it can go a long way to protecting your dog's mouth. Here are some tips to getting your puppy used to youbrushing their teeth.

Raising a puppy is not an easy task, but it's an adventure that's full of rewards as you develop a deep bond with your pup that will last throughout their life. A lot of patience and a little extra effort will turn your rambunctious pupper into a fun-loving friend who will make all the effort that goes into their development worthwhile.

Contributor Bio

Raising a Puppy: Tips for the New Pet Parent | Hill's Pet (3)

Jean Marie Bauhaus

(Video) 3 Easy Things to Teach your NEW PUPPY!

Jean Marie Bauhaus is fiction author and freelance writer and editor living in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She writes frequently about pets and pet health in her home office, where she is assisted by a lapful of furbabies.

FAQs

How long does it take for a puppy to adjust to a new owner? ›

There are some things we can do to help them settle and feel safe in those first few days. Keep in mind though, that it generally takes about three weeks for a dog or puppy to start to feel 'at home' and to show their true nature.

How do you transition a puppy to a new owner? ›

To ease the transition here's 10 tips to help your new dog adjust to your home.
  1. Give Your Dog Time to Decompress By Starting Slowly. ...
  2. Give Your Dog His Own Space. ...
  3. Be Prepared For Stomach Issues When Changing Diets. ...
  4. Dogs May Lose Their Appetite in New Surroundings. ...
  5. Make It Easier In The Long Run By Keeping Your Routine.

What should a first time dog mom do? ›

Take the puppy away and warm them up. Feed warm electrolytes such as Breeder's Edge® Puppy Lyte with glucose the first feeding, then feed Breeder's Edge® Foster Care to help warm them up. Keep them warm until comfortable and sleeping normally on their side or tummy. Once warm, return the puppy to mom for care.

What is the 3 3 dog rule? ›

Whether you rescue an older dog or a puppy, a lot of dogs tend to follow the 3-3-3 rule when getting acclimated: 3 days of feeling overwhelmed and nervous. 3 weeks of settling in. 3 months of building trust and bonding with you.

What should you not do with a new puppy? ›

DO NOT
  1. Mistreat your puppy by shouting, hitting, or jerking on your puppy's leash.
  2. Call your puppy to you to reprimand it.
  3. Allow your puppy to chase objects like cars, bikes, or skateboards.
  4. Allow your puppy to chase other dogs, cats, or other animals.
  5. Confine your puppy for long periods of time during the day.

Where should a puppy sleep the first night? ›

On the first night, and for about three weeks, have the puppy sleep in a dog crate next to the bed. Line the base with blankets so that it is cosy and drape another blanket over the top to help it feel more secure. Give the puppy the stuffed toy that has its littermates' scent on it to snuggle up to.

Should I let my puppy roam the house? ›

It is a good idea to let your puppy have free reign of the house only when it is house trained and no longer chews on objects out of curiosity. For a puppy that is trained well, you can begin to let it roam around the house, on a leash, at around 6 months old.

Do dogs get sad when they change owners? ›

Dogs experience a range of humanlike emotions when they change owners. Depression is common in dogs who have recently lost a caring owner. A depressed dog may be unmotivated to play, may sleep at unusual times and may show a lack of attention to his surroundings.

What a dog owner should not do? ›

10 First-Time Dog Owner Mistakes and How To Avoid Them
  • Getting a dog before you're ready. ...
  • Not creating a plan for house training. ...
  • Not properly socializing your dog. ...
  • Skipping basic obedience training. ...
  • Overfeeding. ...
  • Forgetting regular vet visits. ...
  • Not getting enough exercise. ...
  • Overlooking behavioral issues.
21 Jun 2022

What should a first-time puppy owner know? ›

The Best Tips for New Puppy Owners
  • Invest in Good Quality Puppy Equipment. ...
  • Read Up On Training Books for Puppies.
  • Crate and Kennel Training for Puppies. ...
  • Create Puppy-Safe Rooms. ...
  • Create a Daily Routine for Your New Puppy. ...
  • Practice Potty Training Your Puppy. ...
  • Enroll in Puppy Training Classes. ...
  • Correct Behavioral Problems Early On.
1 Feb 2021

What I Wish I Knew Before owning a dog? ›

They're Like Children. Whether it's a puppy or an adult, dogs are a lot like children: they need training, exercise, attention, and preventative, sometimes emergency, health care—the list goes on and on. Dogs and kids have a lot in common—they both need attention, love, and discipline. Photo via Flickr.

Should I ignore my puppy crying at night? ›

Ignoring them at night won't help them build confidence and may make them worse which isn't what anyone wants. They need to be taught how to be independent slowly. We would never recommend ignoring your puppy when they cry at night, especially in their first few nights.

Should I lock my puppy in his crate at night? ›

Your puppy's crate should never be a place of punishment. It should be associated with good things, like nap time and meals. Feed your puppy his or her meals in the crate, and lock him or her there over night so he/she gets used to sleeping there.

What should a puppy do in the first 48 hours? ›

During the first 48 hours with a new puppy, we recommend you stay home, so you can spend as much time as possible bonding with your little companion. If possible, work from home or take a few days off to help your new puppy adjust to its forever home.

How long does it take to bond with a puppy? ›

Typically puppies tend to bond quicker as they have fewer attachments and history with other owners than adult dogs. On average, if you've got a puppy from a breeder, it could take 3 weeks- 3 months to bond with your dog.

How long can I leave a puppy alone? ›

According to the American Kennel Club, puppies younger than 10 weeks cannot be left alone for more than an hour. From 3-6 months, they should not be left longer than their age in months (for example, 3-month-old puppies cannot be alone for longer than 3 hours).

How do you make a puppy feel comfortable in a new home? ›

Help to make your puppy comfortable by setting up a space where you can safely confine him; this will help with sleeping and potty training. Use a gate or fencing to close off a room or area of your home. Within this enclosed space, provide comforts like a crate, bedding, water and, if needed, piddle pads.

Should I hold my puppy a lot? ›

You should hold your new puppy a lot. After all, nothing is more snuggly than a soft, furry new puppy. Holding your pup bonds him to you and keeps him off the ground in places where he can be exposed to harmful diseases.

Should you cuddle your puppy? ›

There is nothing wrong with cuddling and playing with your new puppy, but try to limit picking them up. Continually holding your dog can make them begin to feel as though they are human and can encourage behavior that causes dominance struggles within your home.

What should I do with my puppy all day? ›

Different dog breeds have different energy levels and rates of growth; the growth plates in their joints close at different ages. But do schedule play and exercise time into your puppy's day: a walk around the neighborhood, playing with toys, and time spent bonding go a long way toward expending energy.

Should a puppy crate be in your bedroom? ›

Usually the best place for dog crates at night is in the owner's bedroom, so the dog has the feeling of being in safe company during sleeping time. Having the crate in your bedroom will also allow you to hear your dog if she gets restless during the night and needs to be taken to her potty area.

Should I put water in puppy crate? ›

Do Puppies Need Water in Their Crate? Your growing puppy needs access to plenty of fresh water, but keeping water in her crate is never recommended because it can undermine housetraining. Crate training is a helpful tool in the process because dogs instinctively resist relieving themselves in their den.

What time should a puppy go to bed? ›

But in all honesty, there's no 'right time' for a puppy to go to sleep, as long as it's the same every night. While this may be the case, do note that your puppy will need, on average, around 8-10 hours of sleep per night.

Is a playpen better than a crate? ›

In general, crates work well during the night. You want your puppy to sleep then (not potter around) and confining him to a small space will make it likely that he wakes you up if he needs to go potty. During the day however, a puppy pen works best.

How often should you crate a puppy? ›

Ideally, a dog should not be crated more than an hour for every month of age at a time. That means that a 2 month old puppy should be taken out after 2 hours, while a 4 month old dog can stay crated up to 4 hours during the day.

When should you stop using a dog crate? ›

You can usually stop closing your dog into your crate when they are around two years of age. Before then, they are usually more likely to get into trouble. It isn't until they mature fully that they are able to behave properly when not supervised. This is especially true for larger dogs, who tend to mature later.

Do puppies remember previous owners? ›

Most dogs do not simply forget about their previous owners when adopted by new ones, at least not immediately. The longer a dog lives with someone, the more attached they tend to become. Some dogs may seem a bit depressed at first when suddenly uprooted from their familiar surroundings.

Why do dogs lick you? ›

Licking is a natural and instinctive behaviour to dogs. For them it's a way of grooming, bonding, and expressing themselves. Your dog may lick you to say they love you, to get your attention, to help soothe themselves if they're stressed, to show empathy or because you taste good to them!

Why do dogs spin before they poop? ›

When a dog circles round and round before he poops, he is doing several things. He is ensuring his safety, cleaning his spot, and leaving his calling card. Dogs communicate a lot of messages through their excretions and setting it up is important.

Do dogs get sad when they change owners? ›

Dogs experience a range of humanlike emotions when they change owners. Depression is common in dogs who have recently lost a caring owner. A depressed dog may be unmotivated to play, may sleep at unusual times and may show a lack of attention to his surroundings.

How do you tell if your puppy is bonded with you? ›

Other signs of a strong bond include:
  1. Keeping tabs on your location when they are off leash.
  2. Frequently checking in to see where you're at.
  3. Performing obedience happily without hesitation.
  4. Making a great effort to find you when you play hide-and-seek.
  5. A desire to be near you.

Can a dog bond with two owners? ›

Absolutely a dog can bond with two owners. Just like a child bonds with their mom and dad. They'll love them for different reasons, but share a special bond with each parent. Bonding happens through experiences and the more experiences a dog can have with their multiple owners the stronger the bond will be.

What are signs that your dog trusts you? ›

Their body language is calm and relaxed in your presence
  • A slightly open mouth, with a relaxed, lolling tongue.
  • Rolling over for a belly rub (this shows they trust you)
  • Soft, relaxed facial expression.
  • Blinking eyes.
  • Tail wagging side to side.
  • A “bow” to invite and encourage play.

Do puppies remember previous owners? ›

Most dogs do not simply forget about their previous owners when adopted by new ones, at least not immediately. The longer a dog lives with someone, the more attached they tend to become. Some dogs may seem a bit depressed at first when suddenly uprooted from their familiar surroundings.

Why do dogs lick you? ›

Licking is a natural and instinctive behaviour to dogs. For them it's a way of grooming, bonding, and expressing themselves. Your dog may lick you to say they love you, to get your attention, to help soothe themselves if they're stressed, to show empathy or because you taste good to them!

Why do dogs spin before they poop? ›

When a dog circles round and round before he poops, he is doing several things. He is ensuring his safety, cleaning his spot, and leaving his calling card. Dogs communicate a lot of messages through their excretions and setting it up is important.

At what age do puppies show their personality? ›

Puppies typically develop the emotional maturity and temperament of an adult dog between twelve and eighteen months of age, although they may continue to occasionally exhibit puppy behavior like chewing and nipping until they're about two years old.

How do dogs choose their favorite person? ›

Dogs choose their favorite people based on positive interactions and socialization they have shared in the past. Like humans, dogs are especially impressionable as their brains develop, so puppies up to 6 months old are in their key socialization period.

What are puppy blues? ›

The “puppy blues” refers to an emotional state of feeling overwhelmed, sadness, anxiety, or regret that many people experience after bringing home a new dog.

Do male dogs prefer male or female owners? ›

Bonk told The Dodo. “If a dog is taken care of by a female, they're more likely to prefer females, [whereas] if they're primarily taken care of by a male, they may prefer males.” And in some cases, these associations can be negative.

How do dogs pick their alpha? ›

But most dogs tend to bond to the person who gives them the most attention. For example, in a family with two parents and two kids, the dog may favor the parent who fills their bowl every morning and takes them for a walk every evening.

Do dogs sleep with their favorite person? ›

Dogs can have different preferences when it comes to who they choose to sleep with. Some dogs may prefer to sleep with their favorite person, while others may feel more comfortable sleeping on their own or with another dog.

How do you tell if a dog doesn't like you? ›

The Top Behaviors and Signs Your Dog Doesn't Like You
  1. They cower or hide when you're around.
  2. They tuck their tail between their legs when they see you (and notably don't wag their tail)
  3. Their body stiffens, or fur stands up in your presence.
  4. They flatten their ears or arch their backs around you.
1 Jul 2022

What does it mean when your dog follows you everywhere? ›

If your dog follows you everywhere then it's a sign that they trust and love you and that you make them feel safe. Following you very closely can be a sign that they're bored, they want something, they're feeling scared or are just being nosy.

Videos

1. ‘Gutfeld!’ talks about how it now costs $300,000 to raise a child
(Fox News)
2. The Complete Guide to Raising the Perfect Pet
(Zak George’s Dog Training Revolution)
3. Puppy Blues 101
(How To Train A Dream Dog)
4. FIRST DAYS WITH NEW PUPPY! 🐶 Everything you need to know and do
(Rachel Fusaro)
5. New Dog No Worries Here Are Solutions To Common Pet Parent Problems
(Value)
6. How to raise a puppy if you work a Full-Time Job? (Ninja Dog Care Tips and Tricks)
(Little Paws Training)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Francesca Jacobs Ret

Last Updated: 11/16/2022

Views: 6627

Rating: 4.8 / 5 (48 voted)

Reviews: 87% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Francesca Jacobs Ret

Birthday: 1996-12-09

Address: Apt. 141 1406 Mitch Summit, New Teganshire, UT 82655-0699

Phone: +2296092334654

Job: Technology Architect

Hobby: Snowboarding, Scouting, Foreign language learning, Dowsing, Baton twirling, Sculpting, Cabaret

Introduction: My name is Francesca Jacobs Ret, I am a innocent, super, beautiful, charming, lucky, gentle, clever person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.