When you bring a puppy home for the first time, all you’ll want to do is shower them with affection, or just sit back and watch their funny antics. Though puppies are certainly very cute, caring for one properly is no walk in the park (pun intended!) If you’re going to be bringing a puppy home in the near future, here are some important tips for being the best owner you can be…

Vinny having fun in the backyard!

Get Housetraining Done ASAP
Puppies, unfortunately, aren’t all that receptive to wearing diapers, so housetraining should certainly be a priority once they’re part of the family. While there’s a lot of helpful advice out there for housetraining, there’s no really easy way around it. It’s going to take a lot of patience, positive reinforcement and planning. It’s also not a bad idea to stock up on carpet cleaning supplies, as there are going to be accidents here and there. Until your puppy’s been vaccinated, it’s best to find a spot outdoors that’s inaccessible, or near enough, for other animals. This will help to reduce the chances of any viruses and diseased spreading. When they do their business outside, be sure to give a lot of positive reinforcement, and try to refrain from scolding him or her when they have any accidents indoors. This isn’t as helpful as it was once believed.

Feed Them Right
Like a child, your puppy’s body is going to be developing in some very important ways in these early years, which is why it’s important to pick out food that’s made especially for them. Start reading up on the nutritional requirements for your puppy, and checking the packaging to make sure you’re getting the best food for them. The best treats for puppies can also be very useful for reinforcing good behavior! While small and medium sized breeds of dog can start eating adult food after they’re roughly a year old, larger ones should generally stick to junior food until they reach the age of 2. You also need to be feeding them more frequently than you would a grown dog when they’re younger. From 6 to 12 weeks, puppies should eat 4 meals per day. From 3 to 6 months, this should go down to 3, and finally to 2 when they’re roughly a year old.

Teach Them Obedience
As cute as puppies can be, they’re also very naughty! If you don’t make a point to teach them obedience when the dog is still young, you’ll only be leaving space for more serious obedience problems in the future. Teach them good manners now, on the other hand, and you’ll ensure a lifetime of great social interaction. Furthermore, going through the rhythms of obedience training will bring you and your puppy closer together, and form a stronger bond, which is especially important when they’re young. Getting your puppy to sit, lie down, etc. on command will not only be a lot of fun, but will also help to keep the dog safe and under control in situations where they need it.

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