Is your puppy beginning to drive you a little nuts? Everyone knows that chasing around a new four-legged friend can be an absolute blast but, just like being a parent, it has its ups-and-downs.
Raising a dog is certainly a challenging feat to take on, but it can most certainly be accomplished--especially with the help of some handy tips and tricks. In this list, we’ll cover some of the main things you need to keep in mind and also some solutions to common problems that every pet parents is far too familiar with.
#1 Successful Potty Training
Depending on the material, you might not always be able to completely prevent or remove a stain caused by your pooch going potty where they shouldn’t. The key is to get to any accident quickly and address it with the appropriate cleaner. Rolling up any prized area rugs and covering up your flooring with cheap temporary ones is also a good preventative measure to take.
However, when it comes to teaching your pet where to go potty, it’s not really the visual stains that cause the problem. Rather, it’s the scent of your pet’s urine or feces that they can smell in a previously marked area that can get them into the bad habit of using the bathroom indoors, in all the wrong places.
Fortunately, there is a way to remove the smell of their markings even if the stain seems to be a lost cause. Dry the area by blotting up any liquid, and then use a blacklight to spot the stained areas. Apply an enzyme solution to break it up, then follow with a stain and odor eliminator. A carpet cleaner (not a steam cleaner) can then be used when needed for a final finishing step.
#2 Achieving Proper Nutrition
Hopefully you’ve already had a conversation with your vet and found the perfect puppy formula for your new dog. In the coming months, they will need to be transitioned to adult dog food that matches their activity level and any special nutritional requirements that may come with their breed, genes, or lifestyle.
However, even with the right food all picked out, many pet owners make the mistake of “free feeding” their pet. While some dogs can pace themselves even with an always full food bowl lying around in constant reach, you’re best off rationing your dog’s food, especially if they’re a couch potato most of the time.
Just like people, dogs can learn to eat out of boredom, stress, and excitement. That means you should keep food out of your dog’s reach all together except at specific times of the day. Plus, feeding your dog when you eat means they won’t ever get into the habit of begging for table scraps.
Setup a designated feeding area and portion the right amount for your dog based on their weight. You might divide their daily portion up into one or two servings depending on your lifestyle, just be sure to keep it consistent. Routines are very important to puppies and adult dogs alike!
#3 Finding an Active Balance
Not everyone can make it out to the dog park every day of the week, and some breeds require more activity than others, but how much activity is “good enough” for your dog? That’s a question that will vary greatly depending on your puppy’s genes and personality, but no matter what, every dog requires activity on a daily basis.
This activity can take place inside or outside of the home depending on the weather and your lifestyle. A daily walk is a classic favorite for dog owners, but when you can’t make it out, be sure you don’t get in the habit of skipping this crucial physical activity all together. Especially as puppies, dogs need the physical and mental stimulation that activity brings.
You might play a game of fetch in the backyard or even some tug-of-war inside of the house. Whatever you choose to do, make sure you get them up and actively moving with you for at least 20 minutes each day. This is something that should be worked into their routine, and yours!
Figure out something that you can stick to and set an “activity goal” for you and your dog to meet. Most people find it’s easier than they think, and your dog might even serve as a source of motivation for you to get out and get some more activity yourself.
#4 Make Obedience A Habit
Similar to exercise, many new dog owners juggle all the newfound responsibilities of being a pet parent and obedience training sometimes gets pushed to the side during the first few months of ownership. However, this is by far the most critical time for you to establish the new house rules.
It’s far easier to teach obedience when your dog is a puppy as it means you won’t have to “unteach” them bad learned behaviors later on. But, many owners allow things to slide while their dog is a puppy simply due to their little puppy dog eyes. However, you’re only doing your dog a disservice when you put off training them.
Socialization with people and other animals is a key role in having a dog that’s happy and healthy. You should also begin incorporating basic commands, like sit and stay, into your daily routine. For instance, you might have them stay as they are leashed up and sit down before feeding.
It’s the little things that really add up when you’re raising a puppy. Go the extra mile and remember that, no matter how cute, it’s your responsibility to start teaching your dog their manners from day one in order to ensure that they live a happy, thriving life alongside their fellow friends.