Puppy Prep: Tips for the New Dog Owner

Oh boy, you’ve got a dog! Now what? Dr. Patten‘s tips for your new pack member.

Getting a new dog or puppy is an exciting experience. It can also be a bit overwhelming deciding how to begin training your new pack member. Here are some tips to set you and your dog up for success.

Be Strict with Housetraining

When you first get a new dog you may want to let him have free run of the house, but for most dogs this is too much space and will lead to accidents in the house. Keep your new dog confined to a small area of the house and put your dog on a regular feeding and walk schedule.

When your dog urinates or defecates outside give him a lot of praise and use high value treats, such as small pieces of hot dog. Do not punish your dog if they urinate or defecate in the house. Just clean the area thoroughly. As a general rule dogs should be able to hold their bladder for the number of hours that is their age in months plus 1. Many dogs may surpass this measure. In addition smaller dogs tend to be harder to housetrain than larger dogs.

Use A Crate

Crate training teaches your dog to spend time in the crate so the crate becomes a positive, safe space for your dog. A crate should never be used for punishment. While housetraining the crate should be large enough for your dog to stand up, turn in a circle, and lie down.  As your dog grows make sure to use a larger crate appropriate for your dog’s size and needs.

Measure Food

It is very easy to over feed your dog and many dogs today are overweight. Use a measuring cup, such as a 1 cup or ½ cup size to measure exactly how much food you are feeding your dog. If your dog starts gaining weight it will be easier to reduce your dog’s food intake if you know exactly how much he is being fed.

Teach Your Puppy to Be Handled and Touched

Many older dogs do not like having their ears, mouth, or feet touched. But these are commons areas that need to be handled as dogs get ear infections, need nail trims, and often need things pulled out of their mouths or from in between their toes. The best time for your puppy to acclimate to being handled is when he is young. Every day you should touch your puppy’s ears, lift his lips and look at his teeth, and touch in between all of his toes. Proper handling will also make veterinary visits much easier and less stressful for your pup as he gets older.

Liberty Vet Clinic
8919 Ridge Ave (MAP LINK)
(215) 483-1066

Dr. Patten, owner of Liberty Vet Clinic in Roxborough, has extensive experience in preventative care, dental procedures, emergency medicine, and soft tissue surgery. She lives on Fox Street in East Falls with her husband and their two sons.

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