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  • Writer's pictureGardens Animal Hospital

Bringing home a new puppy.

Bringing home your new pet is an exciting time! The decision to add on a new family member may have been an easy one or something you agonized over. Either way, congratulations!

What next? Here are some tips to get your pup started on the right foot and set up a structured routine for success.

1. Diets: The top three brands of dog food we recommendation are Purina ProPlan, Royal Canin, and Hills. These brands are devoted to research and development and undergo rigorous feeding trials to ensure the recipes are complete and balanced. Make sure to match the diet to the size and age of your puppy. i.e.: large breed puppies should be fed large breed puppy formulas. For puppies that weigh 10 pounds or less, we recommend feeding three times per day. You can decrease to twice daily feeding once your pup is over 10 pounds.

2. Crate training: Crates are your friend and your pup's safe place. The right size crate will be just large enough for a dog to stand up, turn around, and lay down. If the crate is too large, it gives pets the opportunity to have an accident on one end and sleep on the other, defeating the purpose of the crate. For this reason, they are a crucial training tool during potty training and housebreaking. You also want to make this a space where they want to spend time by offering high value treats in this space. One great idea is a frozen Kong toy stuffed with peanut butter. The crate should not be used as punishment and they are not a substitute for training.

3. Potty training: Set your pup up for success by making sure they have plenty of opportunities to go outside. A good rule of thumb is to take them out for a potty break every hour per month of age (i.e.: every 2 hours if 2 months old). Make sure to keep a stash of treats on you while on walks or in the yard and praise immediately. High reward treats are especially useful for hard to train or less food motivated pets. The ideal timing for a reward is within 15 seconds of the act. The old wives’ tale of punishing a dog by pushing their nose into the accident pile will only set you backwards as pets do not have the ability to understand this type of rationale. They will know you are upset but not be able to link the accident to the punishment. This leads to fear and anxiety but no improvement in training.

Last but not least, set up a new patient appointment for your pup so we can go over vaccine recommendations, heartworm/flea/intestinal parasite prevention, etc. and answer any additional questions that may be lingering!

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