To start off with let me congratulate you on adding a new furry, four-legged member to your pack, or as we say in human terms, your family. Raising a puppy is by no means an easy task. It’s a journey filled with loads of laughter, wonder, amusement, (and since I got all the positives out of the way) hard work, frustration and oh SO much patience. It’s definitely not going to be a walk in the park, let me tell you! There are, however certain ways to make this journey easier and more enjoyable not just for you, but also for your new puppy!
I am a pet parent to two lively boys. The elder one is four and a half and the younger baby is all of eight month old. It’s been a fantastic journey with them and I would definitely love to share a few tips with you if it helps make your life easier. Some of these I figured out myself, while others have been suggested to me.
- Before getting your new puppy home, just do a thorough check for any low lying items around the house. Things such as wires and footwear racks are at risk of being chewed up. Same goes for any cleaning items – bottles of phenyl or brooms or other such materials. These, when ingested are a hazard for your new puppy, who as puppies go, love to get their paws on anything and everything.
- The moment anything falls on the floor is the same moment it will get swallowed! Through the crucial first few months of house-training your pup, this is something you will need to be vigilant about. It will just save you the hassle of upset stomachs and bouts of vomiting, if not some other serious issues.
- Consult with your vet not only about your puppy’s vaccination chart, but also keep a few medicines handy such as syrups for indigestion, upset stomachs and minor wounds. Isn’t it always better to be prepared? Keep a lookout for allergies that your pup might have. This of course is not easy to figure out right away. It just comes with time. The day my six month old Labrador came back from the garden with his face ballooned up to twice it’s normal size is something I will never forget! A quick vet visit confirmed that he had been stung by a bee! So we now keep allergy medication handy!
- As much as possible, keep a steady routine. Stick to a schedule of not just food time, but also the other not so pleasant aspect of pee pees and potty time! Young pups will want to eat several times a day and it’s pretty much a cycle of what goes in must come out. When it comes to cleaning up the “what comes out part”, what can I say? Well, don’t throw out your newspapers! I vaguely remember the time when a trip to the raddiwala used to make me richer by a hundred rupees. Well… not anymore! While one can’t figure out when a puppy is going to relieve himself or herself, there are few times when they will definitely want to go – right after a meal and immediately after they wake up. Picking them up and putting them in the spot you want them to go will make toilet training an easier task. I’m not trying to discourage you, but this may take a while! You just have to stick to it.
- Never take your puppy out for a run or any type of exercise immediately after they have eaten. This can cause a build-up of a lot of gas in the stomach which causes bloat and twisting of the stomach. This can be potentially fatal! This is especially prevalent in large and giant breeds. Some puppies are marathon eaters! A mere second might pass before they wipe their bowls clean! Since this can also cause excess gas build-up, it is something that needs to be monitored.
- To discourage your pup from chewing on anything and everything, keep a few puppy friendly chew sticks handy to handle teething issues. Anytime you catch them chewing on things they are not supposed to, just distract them with a chew stick. There are also several toys available these days that can help out as well.
Raising a puppy is not just all about showering love and attention. It has to be a see-saw of love and discipline. Discipline also does not mean you start hitting your pup. All it means is that you have to be firm and your puppy has to understand that NO means NO! I think it’s about trial and error. Some things will work out for you and your puppy while others won’t. Just improvise! Go with the flow and see how your puppy changes your life for the better!
Happy pet parenting.