Congratulations, you took the leap and adopted a new puppy! Get ready for an inspiring and wonderful experience that is both tiring and exciting. It is like coming home with a new baby in arms. You get the semi-sweet package: joy and lifestyle adjustment. A puppy requires time, patience, and extra love in order to establish healthy and “good boy” habits. The first few weeks might be hard but it is worth every sleepless night.

Find a vet and make the most of your first visit

You will need to find a great vet that you are comfortable with because you three will get to know each other pretty well. Take your new puppy to the vet as soon as you can to check for any health issues or birth defects and start his vaccination record. Ask other pet owners or dog shelters for vet recommendations if you are stuck in a rut and cannot find a vet yourself.

Take advantage of your first visit with your puppy’s vet and ask all and every question you desire. Inquire about food brands, feeding amounts and times, house training tips, parasite control, and whatever else you are unsure about. Remember to spay or neuter your puppy at six months of age or more.

Choosing quality dog food

Your pup will be growing rapidly the first year of life so he needs special formulated food during this time. Most dog foods that meet nutritional requirements for young dogs are specifically labeled by the Association of American Feed Control Officials. Apart from raw dog food, your puppy needs fresh water and lots of it available all day. Feeding times vary but most require four meals if younger than three months; three if between 3-6 months; and, two if between six and twelve months.

Taking Care Of Your New Dog

Setting up a bathroom routine

Housetraining should be a priority for owners and pups alike. You can find many tutorials online that will guide you through the process step by step. The important thing to remember is that you need to be patient, use positive reinforcement, and be consistent. Also, always clean up accidents correctly and right away! Though the odor might be unperceivable to you, your puppy’s nose can pick up the smell and go to the bathroom in the same spot again. Eliminate any possibility of detection to properly train your puppy and do not expect results soon.

Remember to make a routine out of it and to select a place for him or her to go that is clean and secure from other animals. You can start taking your pup outside to do “the business” after waking up, right before bedtime, after eating or drinking, after nap taking or physical activity. Routine means you do it daily so your puppy can make the appropriate associations.

Obedience and social training

It is never too early to start training with simple commands like sit, stay, down, and come. As the owner, you are responsible for your puppy’s behavior. A well-trained dog will instantly make life easier than an uncontrolled one. Look for local training programs near you or seek help online. Introducing your puppy to new situations, people, and animals should be done as soon as possible. Encourage good behavior with positive reinforcement, including praises and treats.

Florin is known as a freelance writer and foodie whose work has been featured in blogs, websites, magazines, and TV ads.