Puppies have many irresistible qualities, but these cuties are also a big responsibility. They need proper preparation and consistent training to help them become well-behaved, well-adjusted adult dogs. Our team at The Pet Clinic of Salem wants to help ensure your puppy is the best puppy they can be by providing tips to set your puppy up for success.

#1: Provide routine veterinary care for your puppy

To be the best puppy they can be, your puppy needs to remain healthy. After you bring them home, your next step should be making an appointment for a wellness exam at The Pet Clinic of Salem. We will perform a thorough physical exam to ensure they are healthy, and determine an appropriate vaccine schedule for them. By keeping your puppy’s vaccines up to date, you are protecting them from many dangerous diseases. We will also recommend an appropriate parasite prevention protocol for your puppy, to protect them from nasty external and internal parasites. Having your puppy microchipped is also a good idea to provide reliable, permanent identification should they go missing.

#2: Have your puppy spayed or neutered

Spaying or neutering your puppy protects them from several dangerous conditions, such as uterine infections, mammary cancer, and prostate issues. In addition, spayed and neutered pets are less likely to roam and exhibit undesirable behaviors, such as aggression and urine marking. Most puppies can be spayed or neutered between 6 and 12 months of age, but some breeds need to have the procedure when they are older. Ask our veterinary professionals when your puppy should be spayed or neutered.

#3: Feed your puppy an appropriate diet

Puppies need specific nutritional requirements to grow appropriately, and you should feed them a well-balanced diet specifically formulated for puppies. In addition, large- and giant-breed puppies can acquire developmental disorders, such as hip dysplasia, if they grow too fast. Our team at The Pet Clinic of Salem will be glad to offer advice on your puppy’s nutrition to ensure they are fed appropriately.

#4: Crate train your puppy

Dogs are den animals, which means they instinctively seek a quiet area where they can escape to rest and recuperate. A crate is a great substitute for your puppy’s den. Crate training provides a safe place for your puppy if they get scared or nervous, keeps mischievous puppies out of trouble when they are unsupervised, and helps housetrain your puppy, since they are unlikely to eliminate where they eat and sleep. The crate should be large enough for your puppy to sit, stand, lie on their side, and turn around comfortably, but not large enough to use one end to go potty, and the other to sleep and eat. 

#5: House train your puppy

Puppies need to eliminate every few hours, especially after eating, drinking, playing, and napping. To help make timing bathroom breaks easier, feed your puppy on a consistent schedule, so you know they will need to go outside about 15 to 30 minutes after eating or drinking. In the initial training stages, take your puppy to the same location to eliminate, praise them, and give them a treat when they do their duty. Correct your puppy only if you catch them eliminating inappropriately in the house. If you correct them after you find waste material, they will not be able to connect the mistake with the correction, which will only cause them stress and anxiety.

#6: Socialize your puppy

Socialization is acclimating your puppy to people, other animals, and experiences they will encounter in their adult life. This involves gently exposing your puppy to many different people, pets, animals, and experiences, so they aren’t afraid or anxious when they encounter these circumstances as an adult. The best time to socialize your puppy is between 3 and 14 weeks of age, during which time they form relationships and attachments easily. Put your pet in situations they may experience as an adult, such as veterinary visits, car rides, being in a carrier, grooming procedures, meeting new people and pets, and encountering new toys. Ensure their experience is positive by offering praise and treats during the process. Never punish your puppy during these experiences, and don’t force them to interact if they act fearful. Simply remove them from the situation and try again another day.

#7: Handle your puppy frequently

As soon as possible, start touching your puppy all over, to get them used to being handled. Ensure they are comfortable with having their feet, ears, and mouth handled, to facilitate veterinary visits, grooming sessions, and nail clippings. You can also start teaching your puppy to accept toothbrushing, to ensure they maintain good dental health.

#8: Start puppy obedience training

Puppies need consistent training to learn good manners, and how to be well-behaved adult dogs. From the moment your puppy comes home, set boundaries, and ensure they know what behaviors earn rewards. Puppy classes are a great way to help train your puppy and strengthen your bond.

A puppy is a wonderful addition to your home, and these tips will help ensure your puppy becomes a well-adjusted and good-natured adult dog. Contact our team at The Pet Clinic of Salem, so we can meet your new puppy, and start them on an appropriate wellness plan to keep them happy and healthy.