Tips for Surviving the Puppy Years
There’s nothing more exciting than bringing a cute little fur baby home for the first time.
Puppies are so cute and cuddly, and they bring so much joy into our lives. However, they can also be little monsters, especially for those first few months. Puppies chew on everything and do their businesses everywhere, and they can really test your patience if you’re new to being a puppy parent. However, there are lots of things you can do to better survive the puppy years. Here is a list of just a few of them:
#1. Invest in a crate.
Puppies are curious and mischievous, and the last thing you want to do is to leave a puppy unsupervised while you’re out at work all day long. To some dog owners, crate training can seem cruel, but it actually helps to protect your puppy from getting into something that could endanger or hurt them. But, it’s important to note that you shouldn’t leave your pet kenneled for more than a few hours at a time, so only crate train your dog if you’re able to go home and let them out frequently throughout the day.
#2. Get your pup on a schedule.
It’ll be far easier to train your dog properly if you are able to establish a routine. Having a routine ensures that your puppy knows exactly what to expect. This will help to ease any anxiety they might be feeling, and it’ll make potty training a whole lot easier. If your puppy knows that you’ll be home to take them out soon, they will be able to hold it for longer.
#3. Designate a small area for your puppy.
An entire house will often be big and overwhelming for a small puppy. For the first several weeks that your puppy is with you, limit their roaming space to a smaller area. This will help them to get comfortable around you and in your home while also minimizing the risks of accidents and damage to your home.
#4. Utilize potty training pads.
Even if you crate train your puppy and you’re always good about taking them outside every couple of hours, accidents are going to happen from time to time with a puppy around. Utilizing a potty training pad will help to protect your floors, upholstery, furniture and more from accidents. Additionally, these pads make potty training a puppy much easier, which is perfect for first-time puppy parents.
#5. Give your puppy meals.
Instead of allowing your puppy to simply graze all day long and eat whatever they want, feed your dog at specific times of the day, like in the morning and at night. Many people mistakenly believe that their puppy will stop eating when they’re full, but that’s not the case for many animals. Allowing continuous access to food is a surefire way to end up with a sick, overweight pup.
#6. Invest in plenty of chew toys.
When your puppy chews on your shoes, furniture and other possessions, it’s not because they hate you and they want revenge. It’s because chewing is healthy for their teeth and helps to keep them clean. However, that doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice your favorite pair of shoes for the cause! Provide your puppy with lots of chew toys, including many different types, to keep your pup entertained and their teeth in great shape.
#7. Use positive reinforcement.
It’s not always easy to train a puppy; in fact, it can be downright frustrating. What makes it even more difficult is that your puppy may not always understand why they’re being punished, even if it seems clear to you. Also, punishments could end up making your puppy afraid of you, which is the last thing you want. Instead of punishing your puppy for having an accident or making a mistake, reinforce their good behavior with love, treats and lots of praise. Positive reinforcement is much more effective, and it’ll save you a lot of heartache and frustration.