Starter Guide forPuppy Owners

Welcome to Puppy Parenthood! We understand how daunting owning a brand-new bundle of fur can be and there is a lot to think about. We are here to give advice on everything from toilet training to walkies.

Box of Puppies

Home

At first, our homes can seem a little daunting to new pups. Making sure you have a safe den for your puppy is important. Dogs come from den dwelling ancestors so it’s an instinct to shelter away somewhere safe. Plus, naturally they don’t want to toilet where they sleep so crates can help with toilet training too. It’s important to introduce a crate in a positive way, so allowing your new furry friend to wander in and out at will and feeding meals inside it will support this method.

Crates

Crates are helpful for keeping your mischievous bundle of fur out of trouble and somewhere secure. Keep in mind that crates should be used as a management aid, not a way of life. Puppies should be in them for short periods of time and ALWAYS have plenty to do. A snuggly blanket, water source and a soothing toy are ideal for creating a blissful bedroom area.

Puppy chewing slipper
Anxious puppy

Anxious Puppies

Some puppies can be particularly anxious when they come into new homes and unfamiliar environments. Calming products can also help to take the edge off the situation for your perturbed pup and help them get accustomed to their new forever home a bit quicker. There are many natural botanical products available which have a calming aromatherapy effect on your pooch. Plus, some products are designed to mimic natural dog pheromones to relieve some stress and anxiety.

Your new puppy is going to experience a lot of new things and this is an important step for them. The more sights, sounds and socialising they experience early on means the more desensitised they’ll be growing up.

Food

Puppies should be on a diet that gives them the fuel needed for proper growth. There are many different diets available for puppies, the best ones to choose are going to be natural (no artificial preservatives or flavourings), high in meat (remember your pup is a natural carnivore) and packed with beneficial fats/oils and ingredients. For more help with pup nutrition check out our Beginners Guide to Dog Nutrition for loads of easy to digest information.

It’s advisable to have your puppy on the food they came with from the breeder/rescue center for at about a week when you get them back home. You can transition them over to a different diet after a few days, and of course always make sure this is a gentle and slow process.

Pet Foods

Toilet Training

The key with toilet training is understanding that your puppy must LEARN to toilet in a desired place. You are teaching them good habits, and if introduced in a positive way these will be habits for life. Keep in mind puppies need to toilet ALL the time. Generally, after they wake, after they eat, after they drink, after they play- pretty much every two hours except (when old enough) at night time when they can usually hold it.

Top Tips:

  • Keep puppy on a regular feeding schedule. If you feed at irregular times it may be harder to predict when they are going to need to toilet.

  • Take puppy out to toilet first thing in the morning. Plus, every 30 minutes to an hour. The more proactive you are with outside visits the less indoor accidents will occur.

  • Stay outside with puppy. Your garden is essentially an adventure playground to your pup- so without you there to direct them they may well get distracted.

  • PRAISE your pup! Your puppy must understand that he is being a good boy by toileting outside. Remember dogs will repeat rewarded behavior. Top Tip- use a unique word for toileting, so pup doesn’t get confused when you praise him for other actions.

  • Always take him to the same spot. Dogs will wee on wee- so taking them back to the same spot will prompt him to toilet.

Training Pads

If you are using Training Pads, it’s about making a safe designated space for toileting. You may have to carry your unsure puppy and place him on the pads for the first few times. Once your pooch gets the idea, expand the pads area and start to lead puppy to outside (or wherever you ultimately want him to toilet). Of course, you want SUPER absorbent pads to help soak up moisture and odour, so look out for higher quality pads that contain extra Super Absorbent Polymer (active ingredient that soaks up urine).

Above all, try and be patient with them. It can take time to toilet train a puppy, but with positive reinforcement and consistency they will get there.

Top Tip: To get your puppy to toilet on walks, take him out super early before he has a chance to wee in your garden.

Puppies

Walkies

Introducing your new puppy to the world of walkies is a fun but sometimes a slightly daunting process. First and foremost, you need to make sure your puppy is old enough to start going on short walks, so once he is fully vaccinated.

Top Tip: Research how much exercise is suitable for your breed of pup. Over exercise can negatively impact your puppies’ joints as they grow.

Dogs

Keep in mind your puppy doesn’t have any inherent understanding of walking equipment. It’s almost easy to assume your pup understands collars, leads or harnesses, but realistically they have never experienced wearing these before. You should always introduce these gently to your new puppy with lots of praise to show that the equipment is a positive experience. Remember Pets Corner offer fitting services so you can pop in store to find the perfect size equipment for your pooch.

Top Tip: You can introduce collars with supervision before your puppy is allowed outside on walks. This will make things easier for when they start to adventure outside and will already be used to wearing a collar.

Do keep in mind that physical exercise from walking is not the only important type of exercise for your dog. Mental exercise and enrichment are EQUALLY as important. Engaging with a puppy’s senses and providing appropriate chews will help mentally enrich your pooch’s life.

Puppy exercising with frisbee

Training

Puppy pulling lead

Training is also a wonderful form of mental enrichment. Teaching and guiding your puppy is a fun and fulfilling experience. All you need is treats, praise and patience.

If you are looking to begin the recall process, then remember recall most definitely starts at home. Calling your puppy from room to room and praising him for coming to you is a perfect start.

Top Tip: Even if your puppy takes a fair while to come to you, always praise them. If you shout or make it negative, he probably won’t come to you next time.

Happy puppy

Clickers are a positive way to train your pup to do various tricks and actions. All you do is start off clicking (with clicker behind back) and hand feeding or dropping treats. Once your doggy understands that a click is followed by a tasty treat, you can then start building up different commands.

For example: Wait for him to park his fluffy bottom on the ground THEN click and treat. Repeating this will allow your puppy to learn that SITTING results in a treat and a positive feeling. From here you can start to introduce the vocal command.

Some dogs learn actions in 10 clicks, some might take 10 days. Remember to work at your own dogs’ pace.

Grooming

Every doggy will benefit from having a regular brushing/ pamper session. Introducing this grooming process to your puppy when they are young is incredibly important.

A good first step to desensitising your pup to grooming is by simply playing with their squishy little paws. Of course, this is extremely cute but also helps prepare them for nail clipping as they get older. Ultimately if they have never had that part of themselves touched or manipulated, they will likely be fearful of it later in life.

Top Tip: Having your puppy on a high-quality diet packed with digestible oils and fats, will help keep the coat looking super shiny.

Puppy with fleas

Start off the grooming process slow with your pups and make the experience positive by including lots of treats and praise. Use gentle tools at first (for example massage gloves) to get them used to the sensation and work up to the tools needed to maintain the coat.

Don’t forget the shampoo. Whilst you should avoid over washing your puppy, there are some fabulous natural and gentle dog shampoos out there. The best option would be pet shampoo containing lavender as this botanical has powerful calming properties.

Puppy in bath

Regular grooming is not just about keeping the coat looking and feeling healthy. Grooming is a bonding experience and a chance to give your pup a good old nose to tail health check! Keeping an eye on any potential parasites, skin problems, or cuts and grazes.

Top Tip: Speaking of parasites, you will need to make sure your pup is fully protecting against these pests. Regular de-worming and prevention of parasites is super important.

We’re here to help

Above all, enjoy your new furry bundle of love! Owning a puppy is hard work but it’s so rewarding.

What better way to live your life than with the most loyal friend you will ever have? Just remember to bring your precious pooch into store to meet the team and join us every Saturday for Puppy Hour. We’re here to help you every step of the way.

Puppy Hour. A free club for puppies to make friends