What to know BEFORE you take your puppy home

1. Puppies are VERY time intensive.

Puppies require more time than a lot of people think. Most puppies have to be fed three to four times a day when they are between 2-3 months of age. They require potty breaks every 1-3 hours (general rule is number of months old = number of hours between potty breaks, until 6 months of age). They require training, socialization, and they are constantly learning! They will want your undivided attention every couple of hours.

2. Potty training doesn’t happen overnight.

Potty training can take several weeks to months, and most likely you will have a set-back or two. It is important to be consistent, stay positive, and invest in a good cleaner – especially if you have a fully carpeted home.  We recommend the Carbona Carpet Cleaner and the Folex Instant Carpet Spot Remover for urine stains.

3. You have to socialize a puppy to everything.

Dogs don’t automatically know anything. They have to be taught about everything – and the key to this is to have hundreds of short and positive experiences. Your puppy should meet tons of different people, wearing different clothes and holding different objects (hoodies, hats, umbrellas, shoes that clack and clop, etc). Your puppy should meet young respectful children, the elderly, and people of different ethnicities. If your puppy doesn’t have these positive experiences while they are young – they could be fearful of those experiences in adulthood.

4. There are a ton of dog foods out there.

As a new puppy owner, one of the first decisions your make besides naming your new puppy – is what to feed him/her. Nutrition when they are young is very important. Look for bags labeled for “growth” not for “all life stages”. If you have a large-breed dog like a Great Dane, look for food bags labeled for “large breed dogs”. If you have particular concerns about your pet food, and if it meets you pet’s needs bring it up with your vet during your puppy’s first visit – they should be able to tell you what to look for, and what to avoid.

5. Leash training should start the week you take them home.

Don’t delay on leash training! You can start training a puppy to walk on a leash at 8 weeks of age. Using gentle, positive reinforcement teach them to heel while on a leash. We highly recommend to use standard leashes and not retractable leashes (flexi leashes). Retractable leashes teach dogs to pull, and can put dogs in unnecessary danger by crossing streets before owners, or placing dogs too far ahead of owners and possibly into the path of an aggressive dog (or coyote!).

6. Crate training is a must.

If you don’t work from home, or your pet is ever boarded, hospitalized, or kenneled for an extended period of time crate training is a must. It teaches puppies to remain calm when you, or someone he/she is attached to is not around. It also gives your puppy his/her own space to sleep during the day, or at night. Dogs not properly crate trained can have anxiety when their owner is away.

7. Puppies need Mental and Physical Exercise.

Puppies need to be kept busy, either by mentally challenging them with puzzles, chew toys, enrichment toys, or squeaky toys. Or by giving them twice daily walks. Young puppies less than 6 months old will need shorter walks, which can be gradually increased overtime. Once a puppy is close to full sized, walks, runs, and fun games of fetch or Frisbee are great tools to tire out your pup so they don’t find themselves in trouble.

Do you have any additional questions about your new puppy?

Contact us via email at twinoaksanimalhospital@gmail.com OR call us at 760-591-0901.

Find out more about our Puppy Wellness Package on are website.

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