Puppy With His Toy

5 Steps to Take 2 Weeks Before the New Pup Arrives

The day is here! The new puppy arrives! Getting a new dog to join your family is an important event in both your life and the dog’s life, an exciting time for both man and beast!

Hopefully you’ve taken the time to consider the best breed for your lifestyle or the size of your home, particularly if you live in an apartment. It’s handy when your personalities match as well. Most of the time, anyways.

After all, puppies come with growing pains. The good news is you can avoid a lot of problems by following a few simple guidelines.

1. Puppy-Proof Your Home

Not only do you want to avoid the destruction of a pair of expensive shoes, more importantly, you don’t want your new pup to get his teeth on something that could harm him. Dogs chew for plenty of reasons, one of them being the simple desire to explore, just like a baby. Some breeds like to chew more than others, but all puppies will get their teeth into something they shouldn’t at some point. Get your pup a variety of toys and encourage chewing of ‘his’ things, not yours.

2. Respect the Neighbours

Your dog will bark. It’s going to happen. If you live in an old apartment with thin walls then it’s probably a good idea to look for a breed that doesn’t bark at his own shadow. Either way, it’s a good idea to slide a note under your neighbour’s door to let them know of the impending arrival. They’ll be a lot more likely to cut you some slack when the barking starts.

3. Set Up a Private Base

Everyone needs a quiet place to which they can retreat when they get tired or overwhelmed. A crate or a bed your dog can call his own will give them somewhere to nap or relax. The natural denning instinct in dogs is different than humans – we don’t like being confined, but dogs need their own space where they can feel safe and secure. If you have young children, it will also help them learn to respect their new roommate’s space.

4. Mental Prep

Before the new pup arrives, and even before you give strong consideration to adopting a new member of the family, it’s crucial to ask yourself the tough questions.

      • Can our home handle it?
      • How will we react when he chews up the remote control?
      • Will we be able to give him all the comfort and attention he needs?

Welcoming a new member of the family is always accompanied by good moments and difficult ones. There’s no need to hide from the those tough moments like barking, chewing, slobbering or bathroom accidents, but it’s just important to be aware of them and prepared for them.

5. Set Up A Support Network

This one is easy – people love puppies – and crucial. Finding a neighbour or a cousin or a co-worker to puppy-sit or take your pup for walks shouldn’t be too hard. Just make sure you prepare them for potential issues, like barking at other dogs or running wild off-leash. It’s ok to seek assistance with a new dog because we all need breaks sometimes. Plus, being busy with life and work shouldn’t make dog ownership impossible.

We need to make sure we’re prepared when a new pup arrives so we can spend time enjoying the new addition. Following these simple steps will alleviate stress for everyone.

Now, do you feel prepared? Yes? Then there’s only one thing left to do!

Puppy Chewing

4 Tips to Deal With Chew-happy Puppies

For most dogs, chewing a toy or a stick or a bone isn’t just a hobby for young pups, it’s a naturally ingrained method of cleaning and strengthening their teeth.

Plus it’s the funnest thing ever, right? I mean, I’d way rather spend an hour chewing a plastic toy then brushing my teeth for 3 minutes. Wouldn’t you?

What was I talking about?

Oh yeah, tips for aggressive chew-happy puppies. If you’ve got a young pit bull terrier, a golden retriever or a beagle, then you’ve likely come home to a chewed up shoe or remote control on more than one occasion. There are plenty of breeds of dogs who take chewing seriously, and there are plenty of chew-happy pups who couldn’t care less what their breed is.

Fortunately for pet owners everywhere there are special ways to help you avoid a shredded couch.

1. Try to Determine the Problem

Sure, maybe your pup is going through a stage that he or she will outgrow. But what if it’s not a phase caused by youth? What if there’s another factor at work?

Ask yourself:

  1. Are your dog’s teeth clean? Dogs will try to work off excess material by finding new things to chew.
  2. Is your dog hungry? Often it’s necessary to restrict, um, chubby dogs to calorie-reduced diets. We all know what it’s like being on a diet.
  3. Is your dog lonely? Dogs will find something to chew to deal with separation anxiety. If your buddy is spending too much time alone, look into a day-care shelter or pay a neighbour to take your buddy for walks.

2. Keep a Calm & Consistent Attitude

Just like children, dogs rarely respond how we think they’ll respond. Yelling and losing your temper will only confuse your dog. It could even encourage them to find something else to chew even better. This is particularly true in the puppy stage when the young’n’s are learning about their surroundings through taste and they’re teething.

Punishing your dog after they’ve chewed something does not help the situation. Remember, he’s a dog – he won’t associate the punishment with an act he already committed. People believe dogs act guilty because they know what they’ve done, when in fact they’re acting that way because they’re frightened by their owners’ threatening demeanour. No, if you don’t catch ‘em in the act, then it’s too late.

3. Exercise & Fresh Air Always Helps

Your dog might be tearing up the sheets because he’s bored, but that’s not his fault. Consistent exercise outside will tucker your dog out and give him an appetite for real food. Dogs who don’t get enough exercise based on their breed, their upbringing and their individual characteristics don’t simply decide to chill out on the couch. A dog with energy needs to do something with that energy, even if it means gnawing on your brand new shoes.

4. Toys!

Finally, the simplest solution of all. There are so many different types of dog toys on the market that the hard part is deciding which works best. Nothing works off the stress like biting into a hard rubber object for hours on end. There are plenty of natural bones on the market, plus rawhides, pig ears, dental-specific KONGS and other teeth-friendly items.

Make sure you avoid table scraps like wings or ribs – these can splinter and be dangerous on the way down.

Sounds like a fun way to grow up! Remember that puppies are just like little kids – they’re trying to figure everything out as they go. It’s not their fault their instincts tell them that your particular shade of green couch will be delicious. Be patient, puppy-profs your house and keep your little buddy moving and your chewing days will be over soon!

photo credit: Puppy via photopin (license)