Advice for New Puppy Owners

Getting a new puppy, whether it’s your first, second (or tenth!) is an exciting experience. It can also be very daunting knowing that you are responsible for the care and well being of an animal that is going to be with you for many years to come. By starting on the right foot you and your puppy will be set up for a very happy and enjoyable life together. Our guide below will point you in the right direction, and to seek out any additional help or advice call your local Severn Edge Vets surgery at any time.

Start house training from day one
The earlier you start, the easier it will be. Jump to our House Training 101 guide below.

Get a collar
Ensure your puppy wears a well fitted collar, ideally with a phone number on a disc. Ideally you should also get your puppy microchipped in case he is found so that he can be returned to you as quickly as possible.

Take your puppy outside
Take him to the garden every hour or after sleep / food, and stay with him for 5 – 10 minutes to get him to go to the toilet. If you have no joy, bring him back in, and keep trying at regular intervals, or if he looks like he may have an accident in the house.

Be patient and calm
Praise him when he gets it right, but ignore any mishaps, he will not understand rubbing his nose in it means don’t do it again! Remember that he will be worried and uncertain at times. Try not to make this worse by extra attention or excessive ‘comfort’ as this can unnerve the dog more – just act as though it is all normal.

Give your puppy confidence
Get him used to being apart from you when you’re not in the house, and gradually build it up so when you go out he doesn’t get upset. Only leave the house when you are happy that he can be in another room away from you without being anxious, and start by going out for a few minutes, gradually building up the time he is on his own.

Never leave a dog alone with very young children
Animals can be unpredictable and even a puppy being playful could cause injury to a young child. Don’t take the risk, always be present when children are around.

Be consistent with rules
Do not allow your puppy to do anything now that you do not want him to do as an adult – i.e. jumping up, getting on furniture – it will only confuse him later when he is told not to do it, and could lead to problems. Keep him on the lead until his recalls are 100% – an extension lead is a useful tool for training. Encourage your dog to play and chew toys, and hopefully he will be less likely to chew your things. Always initiate play with your dog, and put toys away when you have finished so your dog learns that you initiate and play games.

Be the alpha dog, but give your puppy space
Allow your puppy to have space to himself without crowding him, and give him his own bed area where he can go when he needs time out. This area should not be used as punishment when he does wrong. Call him to you rather than approaching him in his bed – that it his space. However, you should be allowed to go near to the bed without problems – you can try sitting in his bed when it is vacant, so he learns that you can go where you want, as you are the leader of the pack.

Be careful with food
Try to feed a good quality food and avoid frequent changes of brands etc. Any changes should be introduced by gradually mixing old and new foods with increasing proportions of the new food, and decreasing the old food over the course of 5 – 7 days. If your dog doesn’t eat the food straight away, leave it down again later – you say when it is feed time, because you are the leader of the pack!

Ask for help
Always call us for help and advice rather than struggle with problems – most can be overcome with time and effort.

House Training 101
House training can be one of the most stressful training exercises to be performed. It is also one of the most important. It is essential that the owner(s) remain calm during this time, to ensure continuity of training and low stress levels in the puppy.

Although there are always bound to be a few mistakes, following the guidelines below should help to make training your puppy or dog a relatively easy and stress-free part of ownership.

Step1: Take your puppy out into the garden at regular intervals
We usually recommend every 40 minutes or so
Especially after playtimes
Especially after waking from nap

Step 2: Closely supervise your puppy at all times and watch for signs that your puppy may wish to pass urine or faeces:
Restlessness
Sniffing areas, i.e. floors
Circling
Scratching the floor
And finally squatting

At times when you are unable to supervise your puppy it should be;
Confined to a puppy safe area
Access to newspaper to urinate upon if necessary
Have access to water to drink-this will not make house training harder if they have access to water. ALL PETS MUST HAVE ACCESS TO FRESH CLEAN WATER AT ALL TIMES
YOU MUST NOT LEAVE YOUR PUPPY ALONE FOR ANY GREAT LENGTH OF TIME

Step 3: Never punish your puppy, if you return home to find a motion
Do not show your puppy what he/she has done
Do not shout
Do not point
Do not rub his/her nose in it
Your puppy will not understand what you are saying
He/she just understands that you are not happy with him/her

If you were to catch your puppy or dog in the act of passing a motion, it is recommended that you do not shout at them.
But you can:
Say “NO” in a deep, firm voice…DO NOT SHOUT!
If you have a small puppy and you are close to the door, simply pick up your puppy and take it out into the garden

(BE AWARE THAT YOUR PUPPY MAY CONTINUE TO URINATE OR SOIL WHILE YOU ARE MOVING HIM/HER!!)

Further Advice