Happy Paws Poodle
Happy Paws Poodle

             Getting a New Puppy -What do I Need to Know


                Getting a new puppy can be both an exciting time and an
                uncertain one. You have this new living, breathing, chewing
                addition to your family and you aren't sure what to do next.

                Setup an Appointment with Your Local Vet
                The first thing you should do once you have gotten your new
                puppy home is set up an appointment with your local
                veterinarian to have your new pet examined. Your
                veterinarian will be able to detect or rule out any potential,
                congenital, or acquired problems. He or she will also be
                able to help you decide on the vaccination schedule that suits
                your pet's needs. This brings me to the first of my top
                three topics when speaking to a new pet owner.

                Get your Puppy Vaccinated
                Vaccinations are an essential part of keeping your pet safe,
                healthy, and happy. There are a number of 
things your
                veterinarian may want to vaccinate your pet for depending
                on your pets age, prior vaccination history, environment and so

                Top Two Diseases Vaccinations Will Prevent
                The two diseases that are in my opinion at the top of the list

                for puppy vaccines are canine distemper and canine parvovirus.
                Both diseases are potentially fatal diseases for dogs, especially
                puppies, but they can be easily prevented by proper vaccination
                of your pet. Remember that it is always necessary to have your
                pet's vaccines boostered
(a booster shot is a dose of an

                immunizing substance given to maintain or renew the effect of
                a previous one).

                Spay or Neuter Your Puppy
                The second thing that I discuss with new puppy owners is
                spaying or neutering their dog. Spaying and/ or neutering your
                dog simply makes he or she a better companion in many cases.
                There are numerous health reasons why it is beneficial to
                alter your pet at an early age, not to mention your
                responsibility as a pet owner to help control the overall
                pet population.

                The Health Benefits of Spaying or Neutering
                Health benefits include:

                A decreased incidence 
in certain types of diseases specific
                to both male and female dogs, ensuring that your female dog
                will not have a potentially fatal disease called pyometra
                (infected uterus)
                Eliminating the chance of any pregnancy or birthing problems
                Mental health benefits.
                The bottom line is that if your pet was not bred or intended
                to be a breeding animal, then it is in their best interest and
                yours to have them spayed or neutered.

                Heartworm Disease and Prevention
                The last of the three topics that I discuss with new pet

                ownersis heartworm disease and heartworm prevention.
                Every day I speak to people who have no idea what heartworm
                disease is, where it comes from, or how to prevent it. Most
                of these people are fantastic pet owners and would do anything
                to keep their family members safe and healthy. The problem is
                either a lack of client/ owner education or misinformation/
                misunderstanding of the disease.

                How are Heartworms Spread?
                Heartworms are spread to dogs by the mosquito. When an
                infected mosquito takes blood from a dog, the heartworm is
                passed to the dog where it slowly makes its way to the heart
                and stays. Over time the infection becomes worse with larger
                numbers of worms infecting the heart and reproducing, making
                this a downward cycle for your pet's health

                Diagnosing Heartworm Disease
                Heartworm disease can easily be diagnosed by your
                veterinarian with the use of a simple blood test. Thankfully,
                most cases I diagnose are asymptomatic cases and the dog is
                diagnosed on his or her yearly physical exam. Dogs with
                heartworm disease can be treated effectively and go on to
                lead happy and healthy lives.

                The point of this topic is to make it so that we are treating
                our pets less for diseases like these and spending more time
                and often less money preventing these diseases.

                What Types of Heart Worm Prevention are There?

                There are a wide variety of different types of heartworm
                prevention available - from a monthly tablet to a topical
                solution, and even an injection that is administered every six
                months. Not all medicines are appropriate for all animals.
                Ask your veterinarian what he or she recommends to use as
                a heartworm preventative for your dog.
                Our pets are our best friends and all they do is give us
                unconditional love. It is our responsibility to educate ourselves
                and do what we can to give them the happiest and healthiest
                lives possible. If you have a new puppy or you simply have a dog
                who has not been to see your veterinarian, then please contact
                your local vet today and set up an appointment. Your dog will
                thank you for it.

                Why Puppies Need Special Food

                Just like babies, puppies require a diet that is different from
                adult dogs. The reason for this is exactly the same as the
                reason for babies needing different food to grown human beings,
                different nutritional needs and different processing abilities.
                Younger puppies have a considerable amount of growing to do in
                order to reach their adult size and in order to grow to that size
                and remain healthy, it is imperative that they obtain the right
                levels of vitamins and minerals their bodies need.



             There are many things to think about when you look at
                         bringing a new puppy into your family. From how to pick
                         out the right puppy for you to what you will need to prepare
                         for your puppy's arrival, there is so much to plan for! The
                         planning doesn’t stop after your newest family member comes
                         home either. The life of a new puppy owner is almost as
                         hectic as the life of a new parent; however, fortunately
                         for a new puppy owner, the baby phase is much shorter and
                         much less expensive than having a human child.

                         Bringing a New Puppy Home: Everyone On Board?

                         The first thing that you should take into consideration when

                         you are looking to bring home a new puppy is whether everyone
                         in your household is on board. From roommates to family
                         members, it is important to make sure that every single member
                         of the family is happy about the newest addition. Adding a new
                         puppy to a family that is not completely welcoming can be
                         difficult both for family members as well as the puppy itself.
                         Puppies are extremely sensitive to changes in behavior and mood
                         so living with an individual who resents the puppy can cause the
                         dog undue stress. There also exists the possibility that bringing
                         a new puppy home to a household where not everyone is accepting

                         could open the puppy up to abuse – some roommates have been
                         known to feed dogs beer when the dog’s owner wasn’t home
                         simply because they felt no sincere attachment to the dog and
                         wanted to “see what would happen.”

                         The Owners' (and Families') Responsibilities

                         Once everyone is on board to bring your new dog home it is
                         of them once the dog comes home. Taking care of a new dog
                         (especially a puppy) is hard work and involves a variety of
                         chores. Someone must be willing to feed your new puppy,
                         walk it, pick up after it when it goes to the bathroom, train
                         it in basic obedience, reinforce housebreaking, and someone
                         must even be willing to play with the puppy.

                         Some of these tasks can become extremely repetitive
                         (particularly taking your dog out to reinforce potty training)
                         so it sometimes helps to put chores on a rotating schedule so
                         that no one family member comes to resent the new puppy due
                         to their repetitive chores. Aside from the chores of puppy
                         ownership there are also the more fun duties such as whose
                         room the puppy’s crate will be placed in, who will get to wash
                         the puppy, who will get to shop for (or pick out) toys. If there
                         are younger children in the household it is important to highlight
                         the positive as well as the not so positive chores of taking care
                         of a new dog.

                         Getting Your House Ready For Your Puppy

                          Now that the chores have been designated and your puppy has
                          been selected it is time to puppy proof your house. Puppies, for
                          the most part, will chew. Puppies will chew anything and
                         everything they can get their teeth on so it is important to
                         emphasize picking up toys and clothes that should not become
                         puppy food. It is important not only for the safety of your
                         possessions but also for the safety of the puppy – intestinal
                         obstructions from ingested toys and clothing cost thousands to
                         remove and put the safety of your puppy at risk.

                         Just as with children it is also important that you childproof
                         items like electrical sockets that your puppy can reach, tie up
                         and cover wires that can be chewed and remove small items
                         that can be choked on from your puppy’s reach. Puppy proofing
                         a house does not just entail proofing items in the house but it
                         also includes teaching children in the house acceptable and
                         unacceptable behaviors when it comes to their new family
                         member. Toddlers especially have a difficult time understanding
                         the importance of gentle play, not only can rough play scare an
                         eight week old puppy but it can also physically hurt the dog as

                         Young children should also be warned about the sharpness of
                         puppy teeth and reminded to keep their hands out of the puppy’s
                         mouth. A helpful trick to teach young children is to have them
                         give the puppy an acceptable puppy chew toy in replacement of
                         the hand that the puppy was trying to chew on.Lastly it is
                         important to teach a child that they should never wake a
                         sleeping dog. Like people puppies are unaware of their
                         surroundings when they are sleeping and being shocked awake
                         by a young toddler can lead to biting incidences.

                         Bringing a Puppy Home: Must Have Items

                         Now your family is ready to accept your new puppy and your
                         house is puppy proofed it’s time to go shopping for those must
                         have items for your new family member. Most people tend to
                         overshop for their new puppy and there are really only a few
                         items that absolutely have to be on the puppy list.
                         These include:

                         List of Must-Have Items for a New Puppy

                         Stainless steel bowls (stainless steel bowls are more sanitary
                         and less likely to cause puppy acne)
                         A crate that is just big enough for your puppy to stand in;
                         dividers can be purchased for larger crates to make them
                         smaller and prevent the need for buying more than one
                         (crates give your puppy somewhere safe to sleep and assist with
                         housebreaking and training)
                         Carpet cleaner (there will be accidents)
                         Bedding for the crate (a large blanket or a fleece crate liner)
                         An entertaining teething toy .
                         A comforting item (a soft toy that mimics a heartbeat or a
                         t-shirt that has been rubbed on the puppy’s mother or siblings –
                         just be sure this doesn’t get ripped and ingested)
                         A bag of dog food.

                         Finding the Right Dog Food for Your New Puppy

                         Picking a dog food for your new puppy can be incredibly
                         confusing. With so many dog food brands it can be extremely
                         difficult to pick one that is right for your dog and one that
                         works with your budget. Most breed specific rescues, breeders
                         and shelters will all have a puppy chow that they have been
                         feeding their puppy, it is important if you intend on changing
                         away from this food that you do so gradually, replacing ¼ of
                         the old puppy chow with ¼ of the new puppy chow over the
                         course of a few days until you are feeding all new puppy chow.

                         Check With Your Previous Owner/ Shelter

                         When you talk to the current owner about your puppy make sure
                         to ask why they are feeding a certain food. Often times puppies
                         are fed a certain brand of puppy chow due to special offers
                         shelters receive on that brand, sometimes breeders have great
                         results with a certain brand of puppy chow and use it for that
                         reason and sometimes the particular puppy you may be looking at
                         might have a food allergy and be on a special needs puppy chow
                         diet. Whatever the reason your puppy is feeding on a certain
                         food brand it is important for you to know before you switch
                         your puppy to a new food. If you are considering switching your
                         new puppy to a different brand of food do so gradually as
                         stated above.

                         Finding Good Quality Puppy Food

                          Need a little help in picking a good puppy chow? Look at the
                         ingredients list, a good quality dog food can be determined
                         from the first three ingredients on the list. A dry dog kibble
                         that lists grains as the first ingredients should be passed over
                         for a better quality food that lists meat as the first
                         It is also crucial that you feed your puppy
                         a puppy formulated food as the needs of a young dog are much
                         different to the needs of an adult dog.

                         Finding a Veterinarian for Your Puppy

                         So now your family is ready, your home is ready, you’ve
                         been shopping and you’ve picked out your food, what’s next?
                         Finding a good vet to help you take care of your new family
                         member! It may seem silly to find a vet for your new puppy
                         before you have even brought it home but it is important to
                         find a vet that you are comfortable with before your puppy is
                         in need of veterinary care. One great way to find a vet is to
                         ask friends who they use, or ask your breeder, shelter manager
                         or rescue group owner who they can recommend in your area.
                         Don’t be afraid to visit vets offices and interview vets to find
                         one that you are comfortable with. It is important that you are
                         completely comfortable with your vet since it is entirely possible
                         that you will be visiting them more than once a year for shots –
                         because some dogs are just born making trouble!

                         Schedule Your Puppy Shots and Vaccinations in Advance

                         You can also find out from your shelter, breeder, or rescue
                         group when your puppy is due for its next round of puppy shots
                         and set up an appointment with your new vet to get these shots
                         done on time. It is crucial for your puppy’s health that it stays
                         current on vaccinations so if your puppy does not come with all of
                         its puppy shots it is your job to find out when they are due and
                         make sure they get done.

                         Welcoming a New Puppy Into Your Home: Checklist

                         So now you are ready to bring your puppy home, what should you
                         know about bringing your puppy home? Firstly it is important to
                         remember that your puppy has only been in the world for a very
                         short time and as such it will be fragile and sensitive to sound
                         and touch as well as changes in its routine.

                         Establish a Routine for Your Puppy

                         It is important to establish a routine from the beginning of
                         your puppy’s life and enforce it as closely as possible. It is also
                        important to refrain from over stimulating your puppy during its
                        first few months of life. Puppies sleep a lot and the reason for
                        this is because they grow a lot. It is advised that you resist the
                        urge to wake up your puppy every few seconds to play with it as
                        though it were a toy, much the same as babies; puppies need as
                        much sleep as they can get. You will find that as your puppy ages
                        it will become more playful and you will find yourself wishing that
                        you had those sleepy days of puppyhood back! You should also
                        always be conscious of your puppy’s whereabouts; many trainers
                        attach a leash to their belt look and carry the puppy everywhere
                        with them to ensure that the puppy is not getting
in to something
                        it shouldn’t be.

                           Housetraining Your New Puppy

                        What else should you be working on with your puppy
                        day one? Housetraining is always the big one on the list of 
                        things to work on. Puppies can be very easily housetrained by
                        ensuring that someone is available for the first few weeks of
                        its life to let it out every few hours. If someone is available
                        24/7 the fastest way to housetrain your puppy is to take 
                        out every hour on the hour as well as immediately following naps,
playtimes and mealtimes. Such repetitive actions will quickly

                        teach your puppy that it is expected to use the bathroom outside.

                         How Long Can My Puppy Go Without Peeing?

                         If you are not available 24/7 it is a good rule of thumb to
                         remember that your puppy can hold its bladder for one hour for
                         each month of age plus one, so a four month old puppy can hold
                         its bladder for five hours; however, particularly young puppies
                         have very little control over their bladder muscles and as a
                         result they have accidents. Accidents should be reprimanded
                         with a short firm “no” and cleaned up, if you do not catch your
                         puppy in the act do not reprimand them. Remember, they are
                         learning - they have no idea what's good and  bad, and the way
                         to teach them is through positive reinforcement, not by being
                         mean and condescending.

                         Once your puppy reaches six months old they should be able to
                         fully hold their bladder for up to seven hours; however it is not
                         recommend that you frequently make your puppy hold their
                         bladder for such a long period of time. Imagine if you had to
                         hold it for that long!

                        Obtaining a Crate for Your Puppy

                         Leaving a puppy home alone can be a huge step for a new puppy
                         parent, there is constant worry about what the little guy is up
                         to which is why it is recommended that you crate your puppy
                         from the beginning. The crate not only gives your puppy a safe
                         place to sleep but it also keeps your puppy safe from getting in
                         to danger when you are out of the house. When leaving your
                         puppy in its crate you should always remember to return home
                         for potty breaks or to hire a dog walker who can do this for
                         you. There is also the option of doggy daycare after your puppy
                         has been spayed or neutered and has received all of their shots.
                         Doggy daycares offer your dog the chance to socialize with other
                         dogs and develop social skills as well as run off all that extra
                         energy that you can’t seem to burn off on your daily walks!

                           Teaching Your Puppy Social Skills

                        Social skills must also be taught to your puppy in the form of
                        formal training classes. Training classes are not only of benefit
                        to you by giving you a well behaved dog, but they are also of
                        benefit to others who experience your dog, as well as to your
                        dog itself. Dogs thrive  from structure, routine and having a
                        purpose. As your dogs master you give it a purpose each and
                        every time you issue a command and it obeys you, something
                        as simple as “sit–stay” can bring more joy to your dog than
                        you could ever imagine!

                        Basic puppy training classes will serve to introduce your puppy
                        to other puppies as well as teach them the basic commands
                        expected of them including: sit, stay, down, off, leave it, heel
                        and wait. After graduating puppy class with your puppy it is also
                        recommended that you enroll in a more advanced obedience class
                        to firm up the lessons that your puppy recently learned as well
                        as to ensure that your dog does not turn in to one of those dogs
                        who drags its master through café at peak business hours in
                        pursuit of a cream puff. Following obedience classes if you are
                        so inclined you can even research specialty classes to turn your
                        dog into a therapy dog, a dock dog, a hunting dog, a search and
                        rescue dog, a tracking dog, an agility dog and much more!

                        Puppyhood is a time of joy, much like new parenthood; however,
                        that joy on four legs also has ways of testing you to your limits.
                       There will be nights of howling, accidents on the carpet and
                        perhaps even that emergency trip to the vet at3am after your
                        dog contracts giardia from infected lake water (this can be
                        avoided by keeping your puppy inside until your vet recommends
                        that it be allowed outdoors, as well as avoiding standing water!),
                        but in the long run puppyhood can be one of the most rewarding
                        moments of a dog parents life. Take every day as it comes and
                        always keep in mind that while you are frustrated with your
                        new puppy’s lack of understanding, your new puppy is just as
                        bewildered by what you are asking it to do. Take puppyhood
                        and add a lesson of patience and you’ll enjoy watching your
                        newest family member growing old with your family.

                        Common Mistakes Made by Puppy Owners

                        The first few weeks of owning a puppy can be tiring and
                        frustrating. It is common during this time, even for those who
                        have had puppies before, to make some common mistakes.
                        While all new parents make mistakes, it is important to be
                        able to recognize them and avoid repeating them in order to
                        raise a healthy well balanced dog. There are a number of
                        common mistakes that puppy owners make, whether they
                        are first time puppy owners or not.

                        Taking Him Out of the Crate

                        Many puppy owners choose to crate train their dogs. Crate
                        training is a great idea for many reasons but primarily because
                        it provides a dog with a safe personal space where they are
                        unable to harm themselves when not being watched.
                        Unfortunately, many dog owners who claim allegiance to crate
                        training give up after their first sleepless night. It is not
                        uncommon for puppies to cry through the night when they are
                        first placed in their crate. Many new dog parents especially,
                        find this crying heartbreaking and decide to take their puppy
                        out and let it sleep on their bed instead. While allowing your
                        dog to sleep on your bed is not necessarily a bad idea, allowing
                        a puppy to sleep on your bed may be. Puppies do not have the
                        bladder control that older dogs have and allowing a puppy to
                        sleep on your bed may soon result in accidents. Accidents are
                        not the biggest concern with taking a puppy out of his crate at
                        nighttime however. Responding to a puppy’s cries when they are
                        unhappy in their crate lets your dog know that they can cry for
                        you and get what they want. This behavior may make you feel
                        needed but when your dog continues it in their adult years it can
                        become annoying and problematic particularly if you live in an
                        apartment or a townhouse.

                        If your puppy cries when placed in their crate at night try to
                        help them to fall asleep by covering their cage to leave them in
                        darkness. If you feel that your puppy may be “missing home”
                        you can try placing a ticking clock outside their crate or playing
                        a heartbeat sound effect to try to soothe them. In the long run
                        however, the best thing you can do for your puppy is to let them
                        fall to sleep by themselves. Do not allow your dog to “rule the
                        roost” even at 8 weeks old.

                        Picking Her Up

                        There are two reasons that we pick our puppies up, one is that
                        we want to cuddle with them; the other is that we are afraid
                        for them. Both of these reasons are poor reasons and can result
                        in severe maladjustment for an adult dog.

                       Turning Your Dog into a Person

                        There is nothing wrong with cuddling and playing with your new
                        puppy, but try to limit picking them up to do so. Constantly
                        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. Your dog should understand that
                        their place is on the floor where they are not equal to you.
                        For the same reason that you are discouraged from getting on
                        the floor with your dog to play in “their territory,” you should
                        not bring your dog in to your territory. It is difficult not to want

                       to cuddle your new puppy every minute of the day but try
                       to limit affection to petting and playing behaviors rather than
                       constantly lifting your dog up and holding them.

                        Turning Your Dog into a Nervous Wreck

                        Just as we do with human children, most of us have the instinct
                        to protect our dogs. This instinct is particularly strong when we
                        have new puppies that are so small and appear so defenseless.
                        As dog owners we become nervous when an 80lb dog comes
                        lumbering towards our 12lb puppy and our first instinct is usually
                        to pick them up. It is important not to give in to this instinct
                        however, because it encourages fear rather than curiosity in a
                        puppy. Puppies are naturally curious and the only way they can
                        learn to socialize with and understand other dogs is through
                        interaction with them. If you have concerns as to whether an
                        approaching dog is friendly, simply ask their owner if their dog is
                        friendly and if you can allow your puppy to greet them. Picking up
                        a dog because we are afraid for them instills that same fear in
                        the dog and leads to a terrified and mentally unstable grown dog.

                        Allowing Hiding Behavior

                        Hiding behavior is another behavior that should be discouraged.
                        Just as some of us are driven to pick up our puppy when we feel
                        afraid for them, many of us allow our dogs to hide behind us as
                        well. This type of behavior should not be cooed at or encouraged 
                        in any way because it also encourages fear that can lead to a
                        fearful adult dog. If your puppy tries to hide behind you simply
                        push them forward and encourage them to face what they are
                        hiding from.

                        It should be noted that if at ANY time your puppy shows
                        extreme fear responses along with hiding behavior or begging
                        to be picked up, immediate professional intervention should be
                        sought. Extreme fear responses include snapping, biting or fear
                        based urination.

                        Feeding Table Scraps

                        Feeding table scraps is one of the hardest habits to break
                        which is why it should never be started. Eating at a family
                        dinner can make you feel guilty, particularly if your 9 week
                        old puppy is watching and drooling over your pot roast. It is
                        important not to give in to feeding table scraps however,
                        because once you feed your puppy one scrap of food they
                        will come to expect food every time you eat at the table.
                        Not only is human food unhealthy and the cause of a number
                        of common dog ailments such as pancreatitis, but it is also
                        extremely bothersome once the dog is older and takes to
                        drooling on dinner guests. Avoid this situation altogether by
                        teaching your puppy to go to their crate during your mealtimes.

                        The "What If’s" of Bringing a Puppy Home

                        There are a number of “what if” situations that may arise
                        shortly after or even a few months after bringing home your
                        new puppy. Most what is scenarios never happen or if they do
                        the resolutions to the problems are easy with a visit to the
                        vet, a little puppy training or simply some patience. Not all
                        what if’s are as easy to cope with. Below we will take a look
                        at a few of these situations.

                        What If My Puppy is Poorly Behaved?

                        One of the most commonly asked questions and most frequently
                        worried about concerns for new puppy owners. Puppies are like
                        children and require education, patience  and stimulation. The
                        best way to prevent a puppy from misbehaving is to ensure
                        that he or she is tired out. Tiring out a puppy does not 
                        take much, a couple of short walks (after the puppy has
                        completed their shots) and a few games should tire them
                        out and leave them sleeping for most of the day.

                        There are times when misbehaving is more than problem
                        chewing however. Examples of this type of behavior are signs
                        of aggression and dominance. These types of behavior should be
                        addressed immediately and if they are more than you are
                        prepared for as an owner, you should consult a professional
                        behaviorist as soon as possible. This type of behavior is usually
                        not seen in very young dogs; however, in some cases it can
                        become evident and it is crucial to put a stop to it immediately
                        to avoid the same behavior from the dog when they are fully

                        In most instances when this type of dominant behavior is seen
                        it is the result of an imbalance in the natural hierarchy in the
                        home. This frequently happens when one human treats the new
                        puppy like a child and gives them the impression that they are
                        human and more important than other family members.
                       Treatment for this type of behavior should be active in which
                        you and your dog are learning causes of behaviors and ways to
                        avoid them.


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