Puppies are cute. It’s a fact. Our Star of Texas Veterinary Hospital team has yet to meet a puppy that hasn’t made us swoon. If you’ve recently welcomed an adorable pup into your family, you’re probably feeling pretty popular these days. And, we’re guessing you’re pretty smitten with your four-legged family addition, too. While everything they do is so darn cute right now, your puppy can easily develop some bad habits that won’t seem so cute when they’re all grown up. Now is the time to set the stage for your puppy’s behavior and overall wellbeing. Our team has four tips for preventing behavior problems.
#1: Know thy puppy breed
We’ve established that, yes, every puppy is adorable. However, “adorable” should not be the only box your puppy checks. Spending time researching dog breeds before making a decision is essential, to ensure you and your puppy are a great fit. Consider the following when assessing a breed:
- Energy level
- Compatibility with children and other animals
- Common behavioral issues
- Size and coat type, especially if you are an allergy -sufferer
- Common medical conditions
Of course, every puppy’s personality is unique, and if you’re adopting a puppy, you may not know their exact breed mix. But, keep an open mind, and understand that you play a crucial role in your puppy’s personality, but—like people—no dog will ever be perfect.
#2: Stock up on essential puppy supplies
As is the case with most things in life, preparation will make your life much easier. Set your puppy up for success, and make their transition into your home as smooth as possible by having the essentials on hand. A quick internet search will bring up an endless number of “must-haves,” but don’t be overwhelmed. Start with the basics, and add items based on your puppy’s changing needs.
- Leash, harness, and adjustable collar — Avoid your puppy getting loose or lost by keeping them securely on a leash with a collar and identification tags.
- Crate — Instead of giving your puppy free roam of the house when you are away or cannot supervise them, leave them in a secure crate. You will need to train your puppy to accept their crate.
- Food and water bowls — A healthy, happy puppy’s needs include regular access to water and an age-appropriate diet.
- Puppy food — Ask your veterinarian for recommendations.
- Baby gates — Puppies like to explore, and many household items, such as electrical cords, can be dangerous. Use baby gates to block access to potentially dangerous areas or items—and items you would rather not be chewed.
- Dog bed and blanket — Supervise your puppy in their bed or crate initially, to ensure they do not nibble on the bed or blankets.
- Chew toys — It’s no secret that puppies like to chew. Appropriate chew toys help prevent your puppy from chewing on your furniture, shoes, and other belongings.
- Carpet cleaner — Let’s get real—potty training can be a slow process, and chances are your puppy is going to have some accidents. Accept this as a reality, and invest in a quality carpet cleaner.
#3: Start training your puppy
Puppies don’t come with training manuals and rely on you to teach them boundaries and appropriate behavior through positive reinforcement. Find a qualified dog trainer who can train your puppy and teach you the skills you need to continue the training process. A good trainer should help you address the following:
- Inappropriate chewing
- Nipping and biting
- Potty training
- Crate training
- Leash manners
- Meeting new people and animals
- Mental and physical enrichment
Many pet supply stores also offer puppy classes that provide socialization and behavioral training. Group classes are a great way to meet other puppy parents while your puppy makes furry friends.
#4: Be consistent with your puppy
Training your puppy requires patience and consistency. Before you bring a puppy home, ensure you have time and resources to adequately train your puppy and set them up for success. A consistent and positive training approach can teach your pup the skills they need to be a model doggy citizen, while forming a lasting bond.
If you are thinking of adopting a puppy or are currently in the throes of puppyhood, contact Star of Texas Veterinary Hospital, and bring them in for cuddles. We will conduct a thorough puppy wellness visit while we’re at it, but cuddles come first!