Congratulations on deciding to add a puppy to your family! Being well prepared for this happy event is the key to making the addition an easy one. Looking for a few tips on what you need to know as you embark on your journey to raising a happy and healthy puppy? Education, and a lot of love and patience, is the key to success. It can be a lot of work up front – but you’ll have a best friend for a long time to come, and we think that is priceless.
Know Her Personality: both the breed's and the individual's.
When you select a new best friend, you want one that has a personality and activity level that meshes well with yours, your family’s and your overall lifestyle. You may prefer a calm and confident dog who is sensitive and more of a home-body. Or maybe you want a dog who is more energetic and likes to explore. Talk with the shelter or breeder about the breed or breed mix you are considering. Check out our Breed Library to get started!
Meeting the Two-Footed Family Members.
Introducing your new best friend to the family is an important event. Remember, meeting everyone can be very overwhelming for your puppy! It may be best to try this outside, as your puppy may get overexcited and have an accident. Introduce no more than 3-4 people at a time. Have everyone sitting down and being quiet. Keep the puppy on a leash and let her explore for 15-20 minutes, having the chance to see everyone. Family members should talk gently and positively to the puppy as she visits.
Introductions of the Dog Kind.
If you already have a dog in your family, you'll need to introduce the new puppy to him. One way is to put the puppy in her crate. Let the other dog out and let him discover her. You can then put them each on a leash. Let the dogs smell around and learn about each other for a short time. If that goes well, proceed to let your puppy off her leash for unrestricted (but carefully watched) playtime. Don’t leave your puppy alone with an adult dog unless you have supervised them for some time.
Food Is Energy.
Puppies have special nutritional needs while they grow and develop. The first year of life is critical as growth takes place so quickly. That's why it's so important to start her off with a high-quality puppy food. Look for a puppy food with a high quality protein, like real chicken, as the first ingredient. Bil-Jac has three varieties to choose from Puppy Select, Small Breed Puppy and Large Breed Puppy. As a matter of fact, 12 pounds of real chicken are used to make a 15 pound bag of our Bil-Jac Puppy Foods!
Stress = Bonding Opportunities.
The first week should be dedicated to allow for ample time to grow together, and to build a long-lasting bond of trust between you and your new puppy. The safe feeling your puppy gets from you and your family will eventually become the bond that binds you together. In fact, many experts believe that this heightened time of stress actually opens bonding pathways in your relationship. So remember: spend a lot of time with your new best friend, playing, petting, praising and bonding.
Build A Schedule for What to Train ... and When.
First and foremost, teach your new puppy her daily routines: where her food and water dishes are located, the times of the day that she can expect to eat and go outside, where her bed is, and more. The most important words to be taught from the start are "No" (which means "Stop whatever you're doing") and "Good" (which means "I like what you're doing").
Patience is the Key.
Know that repetition is the mother of skill. Whether your puppy is 3 months old, 6 months old, or 9 months old, the order of training must start with the same vocabulary words and positive reinforcement. Train your puppy with: routines, correction and praise words, a crate, housebreaking, acceptance of being handled, gentleness, and household rules. Stick to the basics, master them and demonstrate patience throughout the process.
Manage Her Energy: Exercise is for More than Just Fitness.
Exercise's main purpose is energy release. Regular exercise is as important for puppies as it is for humans. Once again, it's important to put puppies on a schedule, making sure not to have a marathon running weekend after a few weeks of being a couch potato. Be sure to watch your puppy carefully – ensuring they don’t overheat, overrun themselves or hurt their sensitive puppy paws.
At Bil-Jac, we want your life with your new family member to be a positive experience, every step along the way. As a result, we always recommend a well rounded approach to training, nutrition, health and exercise – a regimen that will start your best friend off right and help keep her as healthy as she can be. We’re excited to be a partner in this exciting journey!