A small bundle of happiness appeared in your house – a mischievous puppy? Now the most important thing is taking care of the puppy and taking care of his health.
How to organize caring for a puppy, how to compose a diet and form a dog’s first aid kit, read our article.
Choosing a breed
Often the choice of the breed is mistakenly based on the exterior, and the nature and characteristics of the content and grooming of the puppy are not taken into account. When choosing a breed, it is important to consider how these qualities correspond to the future owner’s own habits and preferences.
For example, a miniature pinscher, a fox terrier, a pygmy spitz are good for people leading an active lifestyle, and for owners who prefer a quiet leisure, dogs with a phlegmatic temperament are suitable: French bulldog, Pekingese, Japanese chin, pug.
It is also necessary to take into account the needs of the pet itself and the capabilities of the future owner: if, for example, a Chihuahua or a toy terrier can do without a walk in cold weather, content with a diaper, then a miniature schnauzer needs an indispensable daily run in the fresh air and active physical activity.
The same applies to wool: the long one looks elegant, but it takes time and additional costs for puppy care. Hairless breeds (Chinese Crested Hairless) do not cause such trouble, but they freeze in the cold season.
Are you sure none of your family members are allergic to dogs? The fact that it can only manifest itself on long and fluffy hair is a common misconception! Sometimes allergies occur to the epithelium of the skin (dandruff), even to fatty secretions.
At what age to take?
As practice shows, the most suitable age for a puppy to find an owner is 2-3 months. Often they are in a hurry to take the baby home from the nursery as soon as possible, and the breeders do not oppose this: they give their monthly crumbs to new owners, who do not suspect how much the hurry harms the animal.
At this age, puppies can already eat on their own, but they still continue to receive breast milk, which contains essential enzymes for health. Weaning from their mother before two months deprives them of their required nutrients, which affects the problems of immunity and digestion.
The psychological aspect is important: at the age of about eight weeks, the first stage of socialization in dog society ends. Learning to build relationships with brothers and sisters, establish a hierarchy, he at the same time gets the first experience of communication with people. And if the baby spent this period of his life in the company of his mother, feeling himself completely safe under her protection, this has a very favorable effect on the development of the character of an adult dog in the future.
By this age, as a rule, the first vaccination is made, which is important for the safety of caring for the puppy during the period of moving to a new home.
Buying a puppy from four months of age and older brings with it other difficulties: grown-up babies are more difficult to socialize – unaccustomed to everything outside the kennel, when they find themselves in an unfamiliar environment, they get stress and are hard to adapt to new conditions, as a result, caring for them is more difficult …
In addition, often the breeder is not able to devote enough time to communication with each puppy, limiting himself only to hygienic care, and with age, they need more and more attention.
A two-three-month-old baby is ready to follow a person, as he followed his mother before. During this period, when the nervous system has already been formed, the puppy actively learns the world around him, assimilating patterns of relationships, memorizing objects that he often encounters, and acquiring skills necessary for life.
This process of cognizing the world through the immediate environment is called imprinting: he receives from the owner the information he needs about the norms of behavior towards people, as he received such information from his mother regarding behavior among his fellow tribesmen.
Place for a puppy
All plans for keeping the puppy in the apartment begin with the choice of the place. A permanent place where the baby will sleep should not be located in remote rooms. In addition to proper puppy care, it is important for us to give him communication with people. It is better to equip the couch in a quiet corner of the common room, for example, in the living room, but not on the aisle. Avoid places near batteries and in drafts.
As a sleeping place, you can make a not too soft mattress with a removable cover that is easy to wash, or buy a ready-made bed.
If you intend to leave the puppy alone for a long time or travel with him to exhibitions, the question of buying a cage will inevitably arise. In this case, the right decision would be to initially equip a place in it.
The word “cage” often causes a storm of indignation and protest among inexperienced owners, as it is associated with bondage and violence against animals. This is a misconception, and with the right approach, the cage becomes a cozy refuge for the dog, in which it can hide from noisy children, annoying guests, or just relax.
If the cage is not used as a punishment (which is unacceptable), then the puppy will easily get used to it. His bedding and toys placed there will have a calming effect on him even when he is away from home while traveling.
Keep the cage door always open so that you can enter it at any time. Before leaving your baby in a cage for a long time, you need to actively play with him. After outdoor games and hearty food, the puppy will probably fall asleep in its usual place in the cage and will not be worried that the door is closed this time. And soon he will get used to such content.
If the pet is left to himself in the apartment, you need to remove and hide all electrical wires, sharp, glass objects, as well as small ones that can be swallowed. Valuable items (money, jewelry, documents, expensive shoes, electronics) are also better placed in an inaccessible place.
All the doors on the cabinets should be fixed at least for the first time, it is still unclear how enterprising and active the little pet will be. Wardrobes and bedside tables deserve special attention, where medicines and household chemicals are stored.
To minimize the risk of damage to property, you should provide it with a supply of toys for dogs, especially during the absence of owners. Very often, babies gnaw on objects around them because their teeth are teething, and special rubber toys will be very useful here.
Before the puppy arrives in the house, you should ask the breeder if the baby has been properly vaccinated. If vaccination is carried out, the breeder must give the buyer a veterinary passport with notes on vaccinations.
In the case when not all vaccinations are made, or not done at all (which is undesirable), vaccination becomes your task.
- if the puppy has already been vaccinated once, revaccination should be done 2 weeks later with the same vaccine that was used for the first time;
- a week before vaccination (both the first and the second), an anthelmintic should be given to the pet;
- the vaccination is done only in completely healthy animals that are not infected with skin and intestinal parasites. If the puppy is weak or sick, you should wait until he recovers completely;
- stabbing in a veterinary clinic is undesirable ─ there is a risk of infection from neighbors in turn. It is better to call a veterinarian at home or seek help from a breeder;
- before vaccination, between the first and second vaccination and 14 days after it, quarantine must be observed. Exclude walking on the street, especially in places where many dogs congregate, minimize contact with objects that pose a threat of infection with infectious diseases (street shoes, bags, bicycles, etc.).
If vaccinated by the breeder and the puppy’s quarantine period has expired, you can walk from the first day.
At first, food is one of the key aspects of caring for your puppy. Breeders’ views on feeding dogs with natural food differ, there are a lot of dry food varieties. Therefore, from the very beginning, you should find out from the breeder what he fed the puppies and what their mother eats. If the mother of the puppy eats quality food or natural food, and the breeder is happy with the result, it is worth trying to feed her pet the same way.
But it happens that even the highest quality feed is not suitable due to individual characteristics. In case you are in doubt about whether the food is suitable or not, it is advisable to seek advice from your veterinarian. He will help you choose the food individually.
In addition to dry food, there are so-called “wet food” and canned food for dogs. They are an alternative to dry food ─ convenient to use and more attractive to many pets, but do not require preparation like natural food.
Natural food involves the preparation of food by the owner himself. At the same time, the owner always knows what the pet’s diet consists of. On the other hand, the purchase of food, cooking and, most importantly, the preparation of a full-fledged diet is a troublesome and costly business in terms of time and money.
Such feeding is inconvenient during travel, which is important, especially for the regulars of exhibitions. Therefore, many dog breeders prefer mixed feeding, when natural foods and dry food are combined in the diet.
The health condition of many dogs excludes natural nutrition, and we are not talking about weakened after illness. Unfortunately, there are often cases when the puppy’s body is initially unable to assimilate natural food, and he is doomed to eat only dry food all his life, and the owner has to take care of the already sick dog.
First days at home
From the very beginning, it is important to decide what the baby will be allowed in the house and what not, and unanimously adhere to the chosen line of raising the puppy. It is categorically impossible to punish him for what was allowed yesterday.
Pets, whose owners have not defined clear boundaries of what is permitted and not allowed, for the most part grow up as nervous, wayward dogs, accustomed to cunning and by any means to achieve their goals, not excluding outright aggression. And the most ideal physical puppy care does not compensate for the owner’s mistakes in psychology.
In the first days of life in a new house, the puppy yearns for his mother and brothers and at night does not give anyone rest until he is taken in his arms and cuddled.
It would seem that the easiest way out is to arrange the baby in his own bed. Indeed, under the owner’s blanket, the little crybaby will quickly calm down, fall asleep and … settle there forever.
It will be problematic to expel an adult dog from the master’s bed on the grounds that he is “already big” and “used to home” and can now sleep in his place. Moreover, such behavior of the owners will be regarded as an infringement of his legal right. And, she will desperately defend her territory.
The first walk is a long-awaited event for the owner, but it is equally important for the baby. Regular walks are essential for proper puppy care, regardless of breed, as well as quality nutrition.
Choosing friends is a responsible business. Communication with dogs is necessary for socialization: without it, a puppy, having met another dog already in adulthood, does not know how to behave. He shows fear or unreasonable aggression, which gives a lot of trouble to the owner and others.
In order for a pet to enjoy communication and at the same time avoid injury during the game, it is better to choose a company, focusing on age or size.
On the street, the puppy should not be occupied only by other dogs. Personal communication, games with the owner, he also needs. Therefore, we advise you to retire with him and devote at least 15-20 minutes to joint games, education and training before or after a walk.
The main thing in keeping a puppy is to help him understand what you want from him. As soon as he learns his name, you can gradually get used to the command “place”. This is not difficult to do. The nickname is pronounced, and at the same time, the baby is given a sniff of a piece of his favorite treat. Next, the command “place” is given, the yummy is ostentatiously placed on the bedding and fed to the puppy after the command is executed.
For complete assimilation, it is enough to do the exercise 3-4 times a day in the form of a game. Do not bore the baby with repeated repetition.
You can and should do training at home. But the skills that a toddler gains at home need to be honed in a variety of settings, including away, outdoors, in public places where there are more distractions than in an apartment.
When reinforcing commands during a walk, make sure that the pet is not tired and does not begin to be burdened by education. Repeat the command no more than two times in a row, alternating training with 10-minute breaks per game.
The most important command for a walk is “to me”. She can come to the rescue in emergency situations: for example, being carried away by the game, the puppy can suddenly run out onto the roadway, rush as fast as he knows where behind the cat.
Therefore, this command must be repeated daily, regardless of the age of the pet and the level of training at which he is at the moment.
This technique brings a very good result: while playing in the company of other dogs or alone, the owner unexpectedly calls the pet from time to time to encourage it with a treat, and then lets go to play again. This exercise reinforces a positive attitude towards the team and creates a relationship of trust between the dog and the person.
In no case should you punish and scold if you refuse to approach. You need to call him in an affectionate voice, and when he nevertheless comes up, loudly praise and encourage with a delicacy. If the puppy stubbornly refuses to approach, you can pretend that you are running away from him: instinct will make him run after. All training should be unobtrusive, in the form of a game.
On the eve of the first walk, each owner is faced with the question: what to choose as ammunition? Collar or harness? Classic leash or tape measure?
From the point of view of the comfort of the pet’s content, it would seem that a harness and a tape measure are the perfect combination. Nothing constrains his freedom and does not hinder his movements. But this medal also has a downside: in training, it often becomes necessary to influence the pet instantly, reacting to negative behavior with a jerk of the leash. It is impossible to do this in a harness, just as it is impossible to teach him to walk beside him without pulling on the leash with all his might.
Having received almost complete freedom of action for a walk, the puppy will not fail to use it. The owner’s belated reaction to barking by passers-by or picking up scraps from the ground will not bring any results other than bewilderment and, possibly, reciprocal aggression.
The myth that a collar injures a puppy’s neck or threatens him with suffocation is unfounded. Wide quality soft leather collar will not harm your pet.
For the same reason, the tape measure is not good for the puppy. His behavior is unpredictable: he can rush after a flying sparrow and fall under the wheels of a car, suddenly run to a large unfamiliar dog, which is fraught with consequences.
The leash with a clearly fixed length allows the owner to easily contact and control the dog, instantly sensing a change in tension. Roulette does not provide such an opportunity, so we will save it for up to a year.
Many pets need warm clothing during the cold season. Sometimes you have to put on your baby’s overalls in damp weather in order to protect the long coat from contamination and save yourself from the tedious puppy care of it. However, no matter how much the owner wants his little friend to look elegant and fashionable, clothes should still be used only if necessary and chosen according to the weather.
You should not dress up your pet in summer sundresses just because it looks funny. Excess clothing hinders movement and causes discomfort. Do not forget that this cute baby is a living dog, not a doll.
During the winter, owners often wear dog shoes for their dogs to protect the delicate paw pads from the chemicals sprinkled on the streets. The boots prevent micro-injuries from ice chips and snow adhesion between the pads in long-haired breeds and are perfect for adult dogs.
But for the puppy during the growth period, until the foot is formed, the use of shoes is not recommended. It is better to just move it through dangerous or particularly dirty places on your hands, and after the street wash your paws thoroughly.
Hygiene and grooming
Competent puppy care includes procedures to which it must be accustomed from the first day. Only if he is used to being combed every day, cleaning his eyes and ears, regularly bathing and drying with a hairdryer, cutting his claws, he will calmly take these manipulations.
We do everything confidently and carefully so as not to hurt and not reinforce a negative attitude towards the process.
Especially important is the attitude to grooming among show pets. Before entering the ring, sometimes you have to stand on the table for hours while the groomer finishes his work.
The kid should be accustomed to the exhibition stand from childhood, as well as to the examination of the teeth (plus the testicles in males) and, in general, to the touch of strangers.
Trust in the owner and the habit of various manipulations will come in handy if the dog gets sick. The veterinarian will help much more quickly if she behaves calmly during the examination, and does not desperately resist, not allowing herself to be touched. In some cases, the life of the animal may depend on it.