*A guest post by Sienna Penfold
You’ve dreamed about this moment for your entire life, and now that you’re finally ready to embrace the bliss and joy of puppyhood becoming a part of your existence, you’re overwhelmed with various concerns. Fret not, because you’re not alone! Puppy parenting truly does come with a whole range of skills you’ll need to master, and a learning curve that practically never ends, so let’s take a look at the top 5 and their solutions to give you a peace of mind.
1. Puppy etiquette
Although your pupper cannot master all the commands in a single go, you should start right away with the basic training lessons. Teach them where they can “go”, how to sit, lie down, stay, not to bark, scratch or exhibit other destructive behavior by using ample treats. Provide them with dog toys of different types and textures, so that they don’t become tempted to chew on anything else around the house – although you’re bound to teach them that as well.
Create a schedule for your dog to regularly go out to pee and poop, and with the right commands, all should be well in a matter of weeks. Of course, consistency is key in the process, so get ready for lots of mistakes and repetition before they fully master each trick!
2. Trips to the vet
Prevention is always the best way to help your young newcomer stay resilient and healthy, and you will learn so much from the right vet. They will tell you when your ball of fluff should be vaccinated, how to handle the quarantine period, how often and how much you should feed them, how you can keep the fleas and ticks at bay, and what odd behavioral signs to pay attention to in order to notice issues as early as possible.
3. Separation anxiety
No matter how much you’d love to spend every minute with your pupper, the time comes when you need to teach them to spend time on their own, or with other people without you around. To ease them into the idea of being left without supervision, you can start by booking doggy day care so that a professional sitter can care for your little fuzzy friend.
In time, they’ll become accustomed to the idea and learn to trust that you will return! Make sure to start with shorter periods of time and then start prolonging those periods to make them more comfortable over time.
4. Nutrition essentials
Should you feed them raw meat or cooked meat? Should you use grains as a source of carbs? What veggies can they eat? How much and how often? These are just some of many pup-parent questions that leap to mind. You can always check with your vet, and keep an eye on how your puppy responds to the given diet.
Some dogs thrive on all kinds of protein sources, while other may have food intolerances, so keep an eye for any GI issues such as diarrhea, vomiting, or gas. Of course, always check with your vet first before switching to a new diet!
5. Socialisation 101
Every dog needs to spend time with their kind in order to learn other dog body language, recognize which dogs are happy to play and which ones they should stay away from, and what are the best ways to invite other puppers to play.
Remember to practice those basic commands such as “come” or “stay” with other dogs are around. This will help you gain control of a situation early on. There are various socialization classes you can sign up for, but regular visits to a dog park will be of essence down the road.
Ultimately, there is no cookie-cutter solution for getting to know your newest member of the family or teaching them the essentials. It takes time and patience to figure out what makes your doggo tick, and with the help of your vet, you’ll be on the right track to master that learning curve and enjoy the beauty of pet-parenting!