So you've fallen in love with that adorable little bundle of cute fur with his melting eyes, tiny paws, and muzzle, a tail wagging in small little wriggles, and you want to bring him home? However, before getting that puppy home, you need to be aware that, that cute little ball of fur will be completely reliant on you for regular and frequent feeding, attention, training, guidance, plenty of time, and lots of love.
Many people do not realize the kind of responsibility that is involved in puppy care. An eight-week-old puppy (do not get puppies younger than that, as they are weaned when they are eight weeks old, and taking them away from their mother before that makes them unhealthy) requires as much love, care, and attention as a human baby. Therefore, before getting yourself a pup, you will need to decide whether or not you can commit yourself and your time to him. Once you are sure, here are a few tips that will help you along the way.
Preparing for Your Puppy's Needs
It is a good idea to get the things you will need for your puppy before bringing him home. Here are some of the basic things that will be required:
A bed for your puppy. You could get a wicker basket lined with soft towels, a nest to snuggle in, a crate with a pillow, and soft rugs or blankets. No matter what you choose to get, ensure that everything is dry, comfortable, and soft.
Two bowls. One of them is for water and the other for food. Generally, stainless steel is better than glass, since it does not chip. Make sure to wash the bowls everyday using a little dishwashing soap and warm water. This helps prevent bacteria, and hence, protects your pup against illness.
Stock yourself with puppy food. Determine beforehand what food your puppy will require and stock adequate amounts of it.
Basic tools for grooming. Buy a comb, bristle brush, pin brush, dog shampoo, nail clipper, nail powder, dog toothbrush, and dog toothpaste.
A tag and harness. Buy a metal tag and a nylon harness. A collar should not be used when you walk your puppy, because it can hurt his neck. Wait until your pup becomes at least 6 months of age, before using a collar.
Treats for your puppy. Keep a stock of soft and crunchy puppy treats. The crunchy ones are good for keeping your puppy's teeth clean, and the soft ones will be useful during training.
Toys for your puppy. Puppies have lots of energy, so get plenty of toys to keep him occupied. However, ensure that the toys are the indestructible kind, not sharp, and not too small, or your puppy may choke on it.
Bringing Home Your Puppy
One of the most important things to do is to bond with your puppy. This will create a deep emotional tie, which in turn will make it easier to obedience train him, as well as enhance the relationship you have with your dog. Remember, your pup may display stress the first couple of nights or so. After all, it is a new environment for him. He may wake you up a number of times by barking, crying, or even howling. He's just insecure and scared. He may even need to urinate or defecate. Be caring and comforting. Most importantly, do not get impatient or yell, for it will only exacerbate his stress. Soothe his fears away gently. He will settle down soon enough.
Give your pup a name and call him by it frequently, and soon you will be delighted by the way he will respond to it. In fact, this is one the best ways to begin training him. Obedience train your pup firmly, but gently. Never hit your dog or treat him harshly. Feed him with three meals a day along with lots of affection. Later, the number of feeds can be reduced. Make sure to take him out soon after feeding to allow him to defecate. Take your pup for short walks of 10 - 15 minute duration; any longer will exhaust him and make his limbs hurt. Take as much pleasure in the walks you have with him. Be playful when exercising him, not like a stern drill master. Enjoy the playful antics he gets up to. Brush and comb him gently and lovingly. The more loving care you bestow on your pup, the more he will return that love and affection, as only dogs can.