Once again, I'm participating in the Pet 'Net Adoption Event 2012 running this whole week. This is the 5th anniversary event in which pet bloggers join together to promote good cat and dog care issues. But Petside.com is doing something extra-special. WIN $5000 FOR YOUR LOCAL ANIMAL SHELTER by clicking this Hub Link to browse all the other great blogger contributors, and enter your zip code. The winning shelter will be announced on Dec. 17. You can enter your zip code once per day, for the entire week.
Congratulations, you are now the proud Pet Parent of a spanking-new baby dog! Puppies go off the charts on the cute-icity scale and there's a very good reason for that. You see, puppies are works in progress, and they make mistakes in order to learn--and that cute-factor keeps new owners smiling through the chewed up shoes, potty accidents and clueless behavior. We're willing to forgive (if not forget) the mistakes in exchange for a snuggle but puppies grow up and what's cute and forgive-able in a baby can cause a loss of patience or even the puppy's home if you don't address these issues now. Here are my Ten Top Tips for New Pups to keep you smiling, him wagging, and you both loving each other for years to come.
- Find A Vet. This professional will be a partner with you for the lifetime of your puppy, offering preventive medical treatments that save and extend his life. Veterinarians are a terrific resource for training resources, boarding and pet sitters, grooming needs and more. Take the time to establish a respectful, sometimes even a friendship with your veterinarian, and this article about finding a vet can help you decide what's important for you.
- Puppy proof your home. That's one of the most important things you can do to ensure the safety of the little one, protect your home, and keep your sanity. Puppies explore their world by tasting and biting objects, so a good rule of 'paw' is to strap on knee pads and crawl around your home to get a puppy-eye-view of what might be appealing to the little guy. Check out more tips in the article about puppy proofing your home and yard.
- Pick good food. Your veterinarian is the go-to source for health care advice and your shelter staff or breeder also can be a terrific resource. Ask what food the pup has been eating, and get recommendations for the specific nutrition needs for your pup. Changing food too quickly can upset puppy tummies and cause diarrhea. The best food ensures your baby dog grows up strong and healthy. Here are all the must-knows about puppy foods, diets, how they're made, and ways to choose the best one for your pet.
- Teach Potty Etiquette. What gets eaten has to come out somewhere, and puppies have to "go" when they ...uhm, need to go. Youngsters have less capacity to hold it, and eliminating is a normal and expected urge. It's up to you to teach your pet WHERE it's legal, and reward the little guy when he's productive in the right spot. When my Magic was a baby, we followed this plan and he has never had an "accident in the house. Follow these tips for fool-proof puppy potty behavior.
- Deal with Chew-Aholics. All dogs chew as recreation and to relieve boredom. It's nearly as second nature as breathing for your pet. When they're teething, puppies also chew to relieve discomfort. You won't stop the behavior but you can give the baby something legal to gnaw so he'll leave your shoes and chair legs alone. Here are all the must-know tips about puppies and chewing.
- Curb the Bites! Those puppy teeth are needle-sharp and HURT even when the new pet doesn't mean to. Mouthing is normal--remember, that's how they explore their world--but they need to learn bite limits and how to inhibit their mouthing. Teach your puppy the right way to mouth with these puppy biting training tips.
- Learn to Speak "Dog." Well, your puppy probably doesn't speak "human" very well, either. Communication is key so that you understand what that whine or wag means, and the pup understands what you want him to do. It's important to learn as much about puppy talk as possible--since he's the baby and you're the responsible adult. Here are 7 kinds of puppy talk to help bridge that communication gap.
- Stop The Jumping. Aww, isn't it cute when the puppy jumps up to great you? But what happens with that 10-pound bundle of energy grows into a 60-pound lug that knocks Grandma off her shoes? Puppies jump up to reach your face and give you a smooch--that's a polite puppy greeting but doesn't always translate into acceptable polite human behavior. So you can ground your jumping-jack pup with these tips to stop jumping up.
- Chill Diggidy Dogs. Is your puppy a digging fool? Terriers evolved to excavate for varmints so don't blame your Dachshund for kicking up dirt. Boredom and loneliness when left alone in the fenced yard can also tempt puppies to dig out of the enclosure and go exploring. Learn all about the reasons behind problem digging and how you can provide a legal outlet for the pup without your yard becoming a cratered moonscape. Here are tips to stop puppy digging.
- Check for Happiness. Hey, that's one reason we adopt them, right? Their job is to make us smile and keep us happy, and we simply return the favor. But how do you know if your puppy is happy or not? Here's an article that helps you judge your puppy's happiness quotient, enjoy!
This is just the tip of the furry iceberg when it comes to caring for your puppy. For other questions, just type in the topic and search the site to find answers--or add a comment to this blog about what you'd like me to address in future articles.
Image © Amy Shojai, CABC