Today I would like to welcome Mathew Coulton of WileyPup.com. Take it away, Mathew!
There are few things in life more joyous than bringing home a new member of the family! Delightful and full of zest for life, pups remind us all to enjoy the little things and approach the world with a sense of wonder. Right up until they chew up the legs on your dining room table or tear up the couch cushions!
The down side of very young puppies is that they require quite a bit of supervision and care. With the right preparation in advance of their arrival, you can make life easier on yourself and free up more of your time to enjoy your new furry friend.
Plan on Crate Training
The easiest and safest way to housetrain a puppy is to crate train them. If you have the right sized crate stuffed with plenty of soft towels, you are ready to give your pup an ideal place to rest in between supervised play time and potty breaks.
The number one way to prevent a young inquisitive pup from getting into a dangerous situation is to manage their access to the house until they have learned some basic house manners and are solidly housetrained. When combined with positive training methods, crate training is humane, easy and effective.
The Right Toys
One of the most important things you can do to get your home ready for a new pup is to make sure you have the right toys on the ready. Puppies need to chew, and if they do not have a great selection of toys that are appropriate to chew on, you can bet they will be sampling the furniture!
· Teething Toys – Starting at around 12-16 weeks, your puppy will start teething. Be prepared with a wide variety of different types of teething toys to give your pup something they can chew on to sooth sore gums.
· Food Puzzles – There are so many great treat dispensing toys available on the market now. They help to stimulate your pup’s learning and keep them occupied. PRO TIP: You do not need to fill these toys with high calorie treats, instead, use kibble from your pup’s regular meal rations. Save the richer treats for a training session!
· Tug Toys – A game of tug is a great way to engage in a fun way with your puppy. Contrary to popular belief, it is totally okay to let the pup win the tug game. It builds confidence and keeps the game fun. When they get older you will be able to use a quick game of tug as a reward in your training program!
The long-term health of your dog is largely dependent on a great diet and adequate exercise. With so many different commercial dog foods now available on the shelves, it can be tricky to find a great quality dog food. Here are some tips to help you sort through all the choices to find the best:
· Real meat (not meat by-products) should be the first ingredient.
· Corn, wheat and soy are the cheapest fillers available. Too much of these ingredients is a sign of poor quality feed.
· Look for whole food ingredients that you recognize such as sweet potatoes, flaxseed, oats, peas, cranberries and carrots.
· The best dog foods on the market these days are clear about where their ingredients are sourced from. Look for domestic sourcing where possible to ensure that the ingredients are being held to a high standard of quality. Human grade ingredients? That is the best you can do for your pup when it comes to commercial dog food.
We often think of home safety in terms of security and keeping things safe for kids. However, if you have a new puppy on the way this year, take some time to think about safety for the inquisitive minds of a young dog.
Puppies under a year old are especially in need of supervision when they are out in the house. They are prone to investigating just about everything with their mouths, making them particularly vulnerable to getting into trouble and potentially hurting themselves, not to mention destroying valuable property.
Here are some tips for making a safe space for your new pup:
· Choose one room in the house to completely “puppy proof.” Use empty boxes, furniture and baby gates to block access to any electrical cords, house plants, trash, medications, and cleaning supplies.
· When your puppy is inside the house outside the puppy proofed room, consider keeping them on a long leash so that you can quickly pull them away from danger in a pinch.
· Block or wrap exposed furniture legs. You can spray the wrap with some sour apple spray to discourage chewing.
Once you have your home ready for your new pup, make sure to put the focus on fun. You will be most effective with any training program down the road if your puppy learns that playing with you and their approved toys are the best things around!
Mathew Coulton has worked with dogs for just under a decade and is the founder of WileyPup.com, a doggy lover’s website that provides great tips and advice for pet parents everywhere.