After you have narrowed down your options based on the type of dog you want, the breed along with choosing a responsible breeder, it is now time to make a deal and take a puppy home. Just like all other things, it is also important that you interact with the puppies prior to purchasing and then select the right one for yourself. Here are a few points to remember while choosing a puppy from a litter.
- Before you interact with the puppies, take some time in observing them. Make sure that they are displaying healthy activity without no signs of impaired movement or other visible abnormalities.
- Always be calm while approaching the puppies; let them take their time and sniff you. It is okay for puppies to be scared and wary at first but make sure they are not too frightened and completely uninterested in any interaction.
- Pay close attention to how each puppy responds to your approach as this can help you gain a good sense of understanding of each of the puppy’s temperament.
- Pay attention to how the puppies respond to your touch and being handled. Try picking them up and see how they respond to it. It is normal for them to squirm a bit and be a little wary however, you must avoid the ones who respond too negatively.
- Check for any visible signs of diseases in the puppies. Look out for – eyes with no discharge and must be bright and clear, no discharge from the nose of the puppies, clean ears with no waxy discharge and foul odor. Make sure the puppy that you want to take home a healthy breathing with no coughing and wheezing sounds. You will want your puppy to be healthy and have a round belly but it should also not be overly distended at the same time. Look for any signs of diarrhea around the rectum. Also make sure your dog has a uniform coat of fur with no signs or discoloration or even patches of missing hair.
After you have chosen the puppy that you want to take home, make sure it is at least eight weeks of age and is weaned. Many puppies are weaned before hitting the eight week mark however; it is the best that puppies are kept together along other littermates till it hits that age. The next step now is to make a deal with your breeder. Different breeders have different norms when it comes to closing a deal, responsible breeders will ask for some paperwork. Always make sure to give a proper read to all the paperwork and contracts before you sign and hand over the money. Most responsible breeders offer health guarantee by which any puppy that has developed any kind of inherited disease can be returned back to the breeder. You are now ready to take your puppy home.
PREPARE YOUR HOME AND YOURSELF
Selecting the right breed, a responsible breeder, getting the puppy may already seem like a long process however, the journey is far from over. Things do not just end after you make a deal with the breeder. It is now time to prepare yourself and your home for the new member of family.
The first thing that you need to do is stock your home with food supplies for your new puppy. Make sure you ask your breeder about the type of food that the puppy was being fed previously. However, if you do want to change your puppy’s food and switch to new ones it would be a good idea if get both of them. Do not try switching to new food at once; instead slowly incorporate it in to your puppy’s diet by mixing both of them together and slowly transition your puppy to get accustomed to the new food.
There are a lot of things in our house that can be possibly harmful for dogs especially for puppies. Since you have a new young member in your family, make sure you “puppy proof” your home and get rid of all hazardous items.
It is also important that you provide your puppy its own area “special” area. It is essential that your puppy gets all of your attention but it will also need its quiet time to itself every once in a while. Hence, choose an area which is not completely isolated but also not the center of attraction at the same time. Section off the area by using puppy playpens or baby gates. Make sure to keep in your puppy’s bed, crate, toys, food and water within its “special’ area. Toys are important as they will keep your puppy busy. Initially, include different types of toys in your puppy’s area for with to play with. Eventually, you will learn of its likes and dislikes and can provide them accordingly.
After you have set up your puppy’s special area, it is now time for you to make sure that the rest of the house is safe for the new young member.
Here are a few ways to puppy proof your home –
- Any open containers of food must be put away or safely stored in other places which are not accessible by your puppy like the cupboard. If you have food on your kitchen counter, cover them with lids or store them in closed containers.
- Make sure your puppy has absolutely no access to trashcans and dustbins and are safely covered with tight lids. A lot of times dog ingest things from trash cans and dustbins which lead to various diseases.
- All products used for cleaning must be safely put away from your puppy’s reach and stored in child proof cabinets or shelves which are placed at a higher level.
- Make sure there are no small sized items lying around the floor or other places which are easily accessible by puppies. Small items can cause your puppy to choke leading to other serious problems.
- Always keep all electrical cords, ropes, chargers etc wrapped up properly as they possess major threat in strangling your puppy while playing.
- Never forget to cover any kind of open water bodies such as the bathtub, pool, pond and even toilets. Never let your puppy play around in these areas without your supervision.
- All medicines and toiletries must always be kept in cabinets away from your puppy’s reach.
- Puppies are also tempted to eat clumps from litter boxes of other pets. Hence, if you have other pets like a cat, make sure to keep litter boxes away from your puppy’s reach.
- Pay attention to all chemical substances lying around at your home. If your puppy ingests any such substances it can lead to serious problems and even death.
- Heavy tools such as gardening and lawn tools must be kept in such a way that they do not fall over and hurt your puppy.
- Remove any plants in your garden that can be harmful to your puppy if ingested.
These are some of the basics of what is required to become a responsible dog owner. However, this does not mark end of the road. A dog will require your love and care throughout its life. Though the journey might not seem easy but there is no such joy as having a fun dog.
SOCIALIZE YOUR PUPPY
After getting a puppy make sure that you make the best use of their sensitive period of socialization. This is the time when your puppy’s brain is most receptive to learning and also best time to make it habituated to the environment that it is going to live in as it gets older. This includes your house, people, different sounds, surfaces etc. This sensitive period is the most important time of your pet and; make sure to fill this time with happy and positive experiences and interactions which will make your puppy grow in to a friendly, confident and well adjusted dog.
Here are a few tips and tricks that you must keep in mind while socializing your dog –
- Socializing is one of the most vital important aspects that you need to take care of after getting a puppy. According to various researchers, the socialization window of puppies closes between 12 – 14 weeks of age. Try giving your puppy as many happy and positive experiences as possible along with enough opportunities to socialize with new people and opportunities before the socialization gate closes. This will ensure your puppy to grow in to a happy and well adjusted dog.
- If your puppy is shy, don’t force it to interact with other people or pets. Instead let it hide and approach you on its own. This will help your puppy in building confidence.
- Make sure socialization of the puppy begins even before you bring it home right at the home of the breeder. According to studies, the earlier you start the social training of your dog, the better adjusted it would be. If you are getting a dog from a shelter make sure that they had received early socialization at the shelter or foster homes.
- Avoid dogs from puppy mills. Dogs that have been caged show a lot of behavioral problems including issues with socializing.
- A lot of people wait until their puppy has been vaccinated before starting with its socialization as a caution. While this is understandable, it also means that these people miss the sensitive period of socialization by waiting that long. This makes it harder for puppies to have a friendly interaction with things and people and adjust after their socialization window closes. Many reports also show that the leading cause of young dogs who are under the age of 3 is due to euthanizing them because of behavioral problems instead of any kind of infectious or other deadly diseases.
- Consider puppy classes. These classes are really popular today where puppies get to interact with other dogs and people and develop their basic doggy social skills. Keep in mind a few points before selecting a puppy class for your new pet like making sure that the trainer uses reward based methods, shy puppies are kept away from the ones who are more boisterous, puppies that are shy are not forced to make interactions that they are not interested in etc.
- Do not expect your puppy to learn all proper manners and obedience behaviors right at puppy class. Such classes are more like kindergartens where your puppy will develop its basic social skills and learn to live in a controlled environment with other pets and humans.