There is a very good reason that dogs are the most popular pet in the UK. They are adorable! Sadly, some owners adopt puppies without first considering how to properly take care of them; and an unhappy puppy leads to an ill-trained, ill-tempered adult dog that can cause distress and harm to other dogs, their family, and themselves.
Fortunately, while adopting a puppy is a big responsibility, there are only a few simple things you need to keep in mind to ensure your puppy grows up healthy and well behaved.
Vet & Vaccinations
Your vet will become your new best friend and your go-to advisor for keeping your puppy happy. Beyond administering the recommended vaccinations—giving your puppy the best chance of living a full and healthy life—your vet will be on hand to treat unforeseen medical issues and advise you about your puppy’s mood and behavior, how to socialize and train them, and how to settle them in their new home.
A Puppy Diet
Puppies have a lot of growing to do, so they should be fed a diet of puppy food (rather than adult dog food) to ensure they get all the nutrients they need. However, while an adult dog only needs to be fed twice per day, puppies should be fed their recommended daily amount of food spread across smaller portions—say, six meals per day—to prevent them from eating too much at once. Natural pet food specialists James Wellbeloved have created a handy puppy feeding guide to help owners know how much to feed their puppy in each sitting, and when to transition to fewer, larger meals.
Start Training Early
The sooner you begin training your puppy, the more quickly they will learn life-long habits which make them easier to manage, meaning you will both be more content.
The best way to train your dog is to positively reinforce good behavior while ignoring bad behavior. Instead of scolding your dog when they do something wrong (e.g. urinating inside the house), praise and reward them when they do something right (e.g. urinating outside). Dogs don’t enjoy being ignored, so they will quickly learn to repeat the behaviors which make you respond.
Socialize With Other Dogs
Interacting with other dogs is also a great way for your puppy to learn boundaries and social etiquette. It might be scary the first time a larger dog barks at your puppy, but this is actually teaching them about boundaries and when they are being too rough or invasive. Ultimately, these early interactions will make them feel more at ease around other dogs, and, so, more likely to behave in a friendly and safe manner with other dogs, people, and children.
Play Every Day
Regular play sessions aren’t only great ways to keep your puppy exercised, but are the best way for you both to bond. The closer you become, the more they will feel relaxed around you, and the happier they will be.