You've Bought A Puppy! What Comes Next?

Bowser when he was about six weeks old

You've just brought home a new puppy? Congratulations! The next few months will be both demanding and rewarding in equal measures, as you get to know your new best friend and teach them about the world. Hopefully you've done lots of research about the breed you've chosen and made plenty of purchases in advance to make everything run as smoothly as possible, but as much as you prepare you're still bound to face challenges along the way. Here are a few things to consider now you have your very own dog.

Visit The Vet
One of the first things you should do after getting your new puppy is to take them to the vet. Get all of their details registered, and have them checked over and microchipped. They will need two sets of injections over the space of a few weeks, these are very important and you shouldn't take them for walks outside of the house until both of them have been done. All dogs are at risk of diseases, but puppies have weak immune systems that have not properly formed and so are especially vulnerable. Vaccinations will protect against a range of infections and diseases, some that are potentially fatal. 

Start Training
Training should begin immediately, right from the start you need to show your puppy that you're their leader. Remain strong, calm and consistent to allow for a well adjusted and happy pooch. Basic tricks such as 'sit', 'lie down' and 'wait' along with toilet training can be taught over the period of a few weeks with repetition and lots of praise when your pup does what you ask. Most dogs will also benefit from dog obedience classes, where a professional is able to point you in the right direction with their training. Classes like this also allows your puppy to socialise with other dogs. If you want your dog to be calm when they're being bathed, happy on car rides or well socialised with cats and other animals- start introducing them to these things right away while they're still small and find it easy to adjust.

Get Insured
Owning a pet can be expensive, and costs will mount up extremely quickly if there are any accidents or health problems throughout their life. Having insurance gives you peace of mind that if anything does happen, you won't be left with huge vet bills. Insurance costs will increase year on year, so it could be a good idea to budget ahead for the next bill.

Secure Your Home
Puppy proofing your home is so important- your puppy can and will get into just about anything and so make sure their environment is safe. A dog crate, puppy pen or child gate will keep them contained to one area and will ensure they're not off getting into mischief when you're asleep- or times like when you're in the shower and can't directly watch them. You will need to remove dangerous chemicals from low down cupboards, move loose wires and pick up anything that could be harmful if chewed or ingested by your puppy. Have a very good scope around your garden, remove hazardous plants and make sure there are no gaps or holes in any of the fencing (bearing in mind a tiny puppy can squeeze through the smallest of gaps!) 

Stick to a Routine
Creating a routine will make your puppy feel more secure and will help with training. Get up, feed, walk and put them to bed for the night roughly the same time each day so your puppy knows what to expect. If you plan on them sleeping in their own bed at night, get them used to doing this right from the very beginning. Just a few nights of 'oh it wont hurt to let them sleep in our room tonight' can be the start of bad habits that will be tough to break later down the line. The same applies with letting them on the furniture, once they've been allowed up on the sofa you'll find it's hard to keep them off it (speaking from experience here, my dogs constantly hog my sofa and I often find myself squished up in a ball at one end!) 

Do you have any tips for new puppy owners?

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