Puppy's First Day -
Give your puppy a head start on a happy life by making his first day a great one. Your puppy's first days in your home is one of the most important imprints in his/her young life. The first thing you will want to do is hold your puppy. It is best not to over exhaust him/her, only hold for short periods of time over the first couple of days. It's important for your pup to wear an ID tag and have him/her microchipped, just in case.
Puppy-proof Your House -
Make sure cords and wires are not where your puppy can reach them. Place trash cans where your puppy cannot get into them. Remove all dangerous liquids and cleaners from your puppy's reach. Clear off tables that your puppy might reach. It is a good idea to have a couple toys for your puppy to play with, this will keep him/her from tearing up other things. Have a place for your pup to sleep. A crate makes a good bed. When your puppy is resting, leave him/her in a private place where no one will bother him. If you don't have a crate, put his bed somewhere that is cozy, comfortable and private for him.
Joining the Family -
The best place for your new puppy to meet your other pets for the first time is outside in your yard and when they are comfortable with each other, bring them inside. Try to keep a quiet atmosphere, loud noises can scare him/her. Later you can introduce new sounds. Be sure not to feed your new puppy with your current dog(s) for a while, food aggression can come up even in dogs that have never shown it before.
Feeding Schedule -
For the first 12 weeks, let your pup have all he/she wants at morning and evening feeding time. After 12 weeks, follow the instrucitons on the Life's Abundance All Life's Stages dog food morning and evening. Keep your puppy in shape and do NOT over feed while he/she is growing the first year. Over feeding your puppy can and will result in poor hip health and development. Optional, but highly recommended, is to start the Life's Abundance Wellness Vitamins when your puppy comes home. They can be ordered through the link on the "Nutrition" page under "Resources". Itr has acidophilus that helps with stressed tummies during transition and helps provide overall health. At the age of 6 months, start the Life's Abundance agility vitamins at meal time. This will ensure good bone structure and growth for your puppy.
Housebreaking your Puppy -
At our home, your puppy is trained to use a doggy door and go to the bathroom outside by itself. If you don't have a doggy door, let your puppy follow you to the door that you want him/her to go out. If it's a far distance to the door, carry your puppy to about 6' before the door and then let him/her follow you to the door. Always take your puppy out first thing in the morning, after a meal or a nap, and every hour. After your puppy relieves itself, always praise him/her. The more consistent you are with your puppy, the quicker it will learn. If your puppy starts circling or sniffing around, pick him/her up and get outside fast!
Crate Training Tips -
Don't feed or water your puppy for 2-3 hours before bedtime and make sure he/she goes outside to relieve himself just before you put him/her to bed in the crate for the night. When you feel confident your puppy has adjusted to his new home and has not had any accidents, move to a larger crate and you can put in a blanket or bed and toys. Crate training is a good way to start teaching your puppy obedience and house breaking. Don't keep him/her in the crate for long periods of time during the day. It's better to put him/her in a playpen during the day and a crate at night, if necessary. Always reward good behavior when crate training. Dogs like crates because it gives them a chance to be alone and rest. Even dogs like privacy!
Be patient with your new puppy, dogs don't do things wrong on purpose. They are gentle and loving and just want to please you, but they do make mistakes.
Leash and Collar Training -
Leave a collar on your puppy until he/she stops itching it. Walk your puppy on a leash 3-4 times a week for 10-15 minutes. It's best not to walk your puppy on a leash more than 3-4 times a week until he/she is a year old. The best exercise for your puppy is play time and natural movement.
Do's and Don'ts to Remember -
Do remember to take your puppy to the vet for the next round of shots.
Don't puppy your puppy down on any public ground until he/she has had all 3 sets of shots. This is how he/she picks up diseases.
Do remember to clean your pup's ears once a week, this will help prevent ear infections.
Don't forget to follow your vet's advice for ongoing treatment, such as flea and tick and heart worm preventative care and yearly vacinations.
Do introduce new sounds, new dog friends, and other people and places. Lifetime phobias for your puppy are imprinted during these early months. It is very important to keep your puppy well socialized during the first year.
Don't let your puppy climb up and down stairs, jump on and off furniture and in and out of vehicles until after 1 year old. Also, no strenuous or forced exercise until after a year old. Your puppy's bones are expanding very quickly the first year and can be easily damaged.
Do let your puppy interact with friendly and safe playmates, but make sure your pup gets lots of rest because they tire easily.
Don't allow your puppy around dogs you don't know to be safe and friendly or rough around children, your puppy is breakable.
Do set rules, boundaries and limitations. Accustom your puppy to quiet times and being alone for short periods of time. This will prevent separation anxiety later.
Don't leave your puppy unattended in the house or the room at a young age. Make sure they have been well-behaved and trustworthy, especially with their bathroom habits. When you can't watch your puppy, place him/her in a safe yard, play pen, or a large crate with toys. Don't forget about your puppy and leave him/her unattended for long periods of time.
Do praise your puppy for good behavior and reward when he/she does what you command.
Don't spoil your puppy. Don't let your puppy do things that you don't wan them to do when they become adults.
Do take your puppy to lots of new places after he/she has had all its shots. Do feed and water your puppy in different types of dishes, in different rooms, in or out of his/her crate. This will eliminate him/her not wanting to eat when you take him/her on a trip.
Don't feed your new puppy right alongside your older/other dog. Food aggression can come up even if it's never happened before, and it only takes one quick snap to seriously hurt a pup.
Lastly, first few months are a critical period in his/her development and you can't get this time back! It's a good idea to find a trainer or class to join in your area to help with your new puppy. Here are a couple good books to help with your new puppy:
Training the Best Dog Ever: a 5 week Program Using the Power of Positive Reinforcement by Larry Kay
Puppy Culture Training Books and Videos
How to House Break Your Dog in 7 Days, by Shirlee Kalstone
The Very Popular Solution to a Common Problem (Amazon)
Crate Training Your Dog, by Pat Storer