Getting a new puppy can be very exciting but also overwhelming at times. There as so many things to consider:
- which breed to choose,
- what to feed,
- essential health care such as vaccination and worming,
- training and puppy preschool, and
- what sort of lead, collar and toys to use.
Here are a few hints to help you get started.
Firstly choosing a puppy from the right source is very important for your puppy’s long term well-being. Ideally choose your puppy from a breeder that is happy to let you meet your puppy’s parents and the puppies. Look for breeders that handle their puppies from an early age and allow their puppies and their parents plenty of environmental enrichment, such as access to outdoor runs, toys, digging pits etc. Avoid purchasing puppies from pet shops and online especially if this involves air transport as research has show that puppies from these sources are more likely to have long-term behaviour and health issues.
Food: Choosing a good quality puppy food that is balanced for growing bodies and developing brains is important. It is vital that the nutrients are balanced for healthy bone growth and muscle development, but also that the diet is rich in Omega Oils, Lysine and L-Cartenine, as well as B Vitamins and Antioxidants so that your puppy’s brain develops normally. You can feed your puppy to be smarter!
Vaccinations: Puppies need to be vaccinated to develop immunity against many diseases. The essential vaccinations are for Distemper, Hepatitis and Parvovirus so it is safe for them to go for a walk, but also Canine Cough vaccinations are important so it is safe for them to socialise with other dogs and learn proper dog etiquette for later in life. Vaccinations are usually given at 6-8 weeks of age, 10-12 weeks of age and again at 16 weeks of age. Puppies should not go out into public areas until after their second vaccine is given.
Worming: Puppies need to be wormed at 6,8, 10 and 12 weeks of age and then monthly until they are 6 months old. Worming should cover all of the stomach worms and heartworm. At 6 months of age a heartworm injections may be given so that the routine worming medication only needs to be given every 3 months. If you want to continue with oral heartworm prevention, worming needs to continue monthly.
Fleas: We are lucky in Canberra as fleas do not tend to be as much of a problem. However once you get fleas on your pet the environment can quickly become contaminated requiring months of treatment to resolve fully. There are now many combination products available that will worm and flea your pet at the same time, so its easy to cover all bases.
Training: Puppies need environmental enrichment and socialisation from a very young age. Ideally the breeder will already have begun this before you get your puppy. But once you get your little bundle of joy it is important to gently expose him to lots of different things so he learns that new things are good and enjoyable and nothing to be scared off. Get him used to different surfaces such as tile, wooden floor boards, carpet, grass, tan bark etc. If he seems worried about any of the surfaces gently coax him onto the surface with some treats and feed him his favourite treats when he walks over the surface. Invite friends over to hang out with your puppy so he gets used to men and women of different ages and sizes, kids too but make sure they are closely supervised and very gentle and quiet when handling your puppy. Once the second vaccination has been given gently introduce your puppy to the outside environment. Puppy preschool is the ideal way to help you and your puppy with training, but don’t think a 4 week class will get the job done, keep working with your puppy and continue to socialise for his first year of life so he has every chance to develop into a happy, well adjusted and polite canine companion. Your hard work early will be rewarded with a lifetime of happy dog behaviour.
Leads and collars: Introduce a collar to your puppy early on. Start by putting it on when you are feeding him or playing a game so he is distracted from it and given positive associations, then gradually leave it on for longer. When he has accepted his collar start introducing his lead. Initially coax him forward with a toy or treat if he seems reluctant to walk on the lead and once he is used to it in the house and backyard start taking him for walks with it. Don’t use the lead to drag him though if he stops, continue to coax him with a toy or treat if he stops until getting the lead out results in a happy dance.
Please call us and discuss any questions you have regarding your new puppy with one of our helpful staff.