Caring for a Puppy
A happy dog is one that is kept active, well trained, well socialised and healthy.
Pets are for life—from babyhood to old age. That’s how long you are responsible for caring for your pet by providing exercise and training, safe play, a good diet, grooming, and medical care.
They need to be properly trained and socialized to become happy pets. They also need an appropriate diet to help their bones grow. Keep their eating area separate from the toilet area, playing area, and sleeping area. Always ensure that your pet has some form of I.D., like a collar, harness, or leash, plus a microchip.
How to care for your puppy:
- Check that it has fresh water every day.
- Check that it is going to the toilet every day.
- Brush your pet every day.
- Exercise your pet with a grown-up.
- Help choose a “complete and balanced” diet.
- Give vet treatments to prevent bugs.
- Monitor the weight.
- Keep your pet securely in the home environment.
- Remind your parents to wash your pet regularly with a pet shampoo, or have a groomer wash your pet.
- Where possible, brush your pet’s teeth with pet toothpaste (not human toothpaste)
- Handle them gently.
- Introduce them to one person at a time.
- Give them a lot of time to sleep.
- Safeguard the house and supervise them when they are exploring each room.
- Feed them frequent, small meals and don’t overfeed them.
- Give them positive experiences with other dogs, cats, children, and adults.
- Provide them with a comfortable bed and add an old item of clothing so that they will smell you there and feel more comfortable.
- Provide them with safe toys that supply mental and physical stimulation.
- Teach them to walk calmly on a harness or leash.
- Give them early training so they learn to sit, stay, come, and drop.
- Early toilet training
- Play with them gently every few hours, rubbing their ears, belly, feet, and tail to get them used to it.
PUPPY-PROOFING YOUR HOME
Dogs use their mouth to investigate their environment so chewing is a normal behaviour. For this reason, it is essential to puppy-proof the home environment so that your puppy does not get sick.
Tips to help keep your puppy safe at home:
- Lock away all cleaning agents, chemicals and medications
- Restrict access to poisonous plants
- Restrict access to electrical cords and breakable items
- Pack away kids’ toys
How to prevent your puppy from chewing on inappropriate items:
- Provide pet-approved toys to chew on
- Change toys regularly to maintain interest
- Put toys away at the end of the day
- Avoid old shoes or belongings as toys
- Spray inappropriate items with a bittering agent such as Bitter Apple and scents such as small amounts of Eucalyptus oil.
EXERCISE & PLAY
Playtime is a great form of exercise and offers many benefits:
- Eliminates boredom
- Relieves stress
- Releases excess energy
- Prevents obesity and weight-related diseases
- Strengthens the bond between you and your pet
- Builds confidence
- Is fun
It is important to have a set of household rules so that your pet is exposed to consistent training. This will prevent your pet from picking up bad habits. You have to be confident, firm, consistent, and happy around pets.
A happy dog is one that is kept active. The level of activity differs by breed, age, and energy level. High-energy breeds require regular exercise. Low energy breeds require less activity. Playtime changes as dogs get older. Gentle exercise, like walking slowly on a leash or swimming, is ideal for these dogs.
Toys are a great way to bond with your pet during playtime. They also keep your pet active when it is alone. Toys prevent boredom and keep your pet from chewing on your personal items, like shoes, toys, or books. There are a variety of pet toys and it is important to choose the right one for your pet. In general, the toy should be big enough so that your pet does not accidentally swallow it. It should fit nicely into your pet’s mouth without anything else fitting in there at the same time. Toys that are too small can block an animal’s stomach if swallowed. Toys that are too soft can be chewed up by a pet, also resulting in stomach problems. Avoid throwing sticks or twigs to a dog, they can cause injury to its mouth or stomach.
Common toys include:
- Chew toys
- Durable toys
- Interactive toys
- Plush toys
- Rope & tug toys
- Stuffing-free toys
- Fetch toys
- Treat dispensers
TRAINING AND SOCIALISATION
All dogs should be taught the basics of “come,” “sit,” and “stay”. Training should start as soon as you adopt a pet. A well-trained pet is a happy pet. Owning a happy pet means giving it as many positive experiences as possible, especially from a young age. Puppies should be exposed to all types of people, animals, and environmental experiences to help with socialisation.
Avoid bad behaviour from the start:
- Never praise (or even touch or talk to) a pet after bad behaviour
- Stop rough games with members of the household or other pets.
- Limit too much excitement.
- Allow your pet to get enough sleep in a quiet area.
- Exercise your pet.
- Start training from an early age.
Socialisation test for puppies:
- Roll a sheet of aluminium foil into a ball and place it in front of your pet. If your puppy remains or tries to rub against it, it is well socialised. If your puppy backs away or looks scared, it needs more socialisation.
- When your puppy is playing, gently clap your hands. If your puppy continues to play, it is well socialized. If your pet stops to look and backs away, it needs more socialisation.
Playing games, giving your pet toys and petting it every day will help improve socialisation.