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Bringing home a new puppy can be a lot of fun. However, while some may want to focus on spending time with their adorable new pet, and enjoying just how cute they are, the reality is that a puppy can bring a lot of responsibility along with it. Not only is there the task of potty training to deal with, but helping your puppy adjust to a new life can bring with it other challenges as well. The upside is, though, that it doesn’t have to be hard for either you or your new pet to adjust. By focusing on what is important, you can help ensure that your pet becomes adjusted to its new life easily and that you can spend time having fun with your puppy, rather than feeling stressed.

Potty Train the Right Way

One of the most challenging parts of getting a new puppy is making sure that you potty train it correctly, right from the start. Potty training is important and can take some dedication and patience to get right. Additionally, some dog breeds may be easier to train than others, so being aware of the expectations for your specific breed can help you adjust your approach as you begin to potty train.

While there are different methods for potty training your new puppy, one of the most common ways to potty train is crate training. With crate training, you will be required to keep your puppy in a cage or crate unless you are able to supervise them directly. This can help ensure that they do not have any accidents in your home. As they get better at controlling their bladder, they will need less supervision around the home. Once your puppy is fully potty trained, you can then opt not to use the crate, and can instead allow your puppy to move more freely throughout the home without supervision.

When you are crate training, it is important not to let your pet spend too long in the crate at one time. Ideally, you should not leave your puppy alone in a crate for more than 3 or 4 hours. Leaving your dog in a crate for too long can be bad for their health, and may cause them to have negative associations with their crate. By giving them regular opportunities for potty breaks and for play, you can help ensure that they don’t think that spending time in their crate is a punishment.

Make Sure That Your Puppy Gets Enough Sleep

Along with making sure that you are taking the right approach when it comes to potty training, you also need to make sure that your puppy is getting enough sleep, especially through the night. What many may forget is that puppies are babies, and much like human babies it may take them some time to get on a regular sleep schedule.

However, there are some things you can do to help ensure that your puppy is set up for sleep success. One thing you need to do is make sure that you know the benefits of weighted blankets and another is that you provide your puppy with a comfortable place to sleep. By giving your pet a quiet space to rest and an appropriately sized dog bed, you can ensure that you are giving them what they need to relax. Additionally, it can also be beneficial to make sure that evenings are relaxing at your home. If there is too much light, noise, or other forms of stimulation, your puppy may not get the cue that it is time to go to bed.

Something else that makes a difference when you are trying to get your puppy to sleep is making sure that you have given them enough exercise throughout the day. From long walks to plenty of playtime, making sure that your pet gets the opportunity to move and wear themselves out is important if you want them to actually be tired at bedtime.

Another thing to take into account is that even if you do everything right, your puppy may still struggle to fall asleep when you want them to. The reality is that your pet’s nerves may be on edge as they are busy adjusting to their new life and new environment. The upside is, though, that this stage often does not last long, and that in no time your pet will adjust to its new home life and get on a better schedule.

Regular Vet Visits Are a Must

Even though most pet owners are aware that vet visits are important, they may not realize just how big of a difference they can make. Even if your puppy seemed healthy when you picked them out, the reality is that they may still have health issues that could be hard to detect. Taking them to a vet soon after you bring them home can be a good way to ensure that they are healthy.

Beyond that, taking your pet to the vet on a regular basis after their first visit is also important for making sure that they stay healthy. This is due to the fact that many health issues can creep up slowly. By taking your pet to the vet you can help ensure that you are catching these health concerns before they are too advanced, and while they can still be easily managed.

Start With Socialization Right Away

Proper socialization is also necessary when you have a new puppy. Socializing them when they are small can have a significant impact on their overall social development, and also what their personality will be like as they grow older. When socializing your puppy, you want to make sure that you are exposing them to a wide range of environments, as well as people and other dogs. However, while you want to expose them to many different places and things, especially places that they are likely to spend lots of time at, later on, it is also important to make sure that you are doing so in a slow and gentle way.

It can be a good idea not to expose your new puppy to too many different places and people within one day. The more that you can gradually introduce them to new things in a way that doesn’t cause them anxiety, the better behaved your dog is likely to be, and the easier it will be for them to adapt to new situations.

Consider Your Pet’s Diet

In addition to proper socialization, considering your puppy’s diet is also important. There can be different things that you may need to consider when it comes to deciding what to feed your new pet. Some breeds may need special diets, and smaller dogs may need food that comes in smaller pieces that is easier for them to eat. While some may want to talk to their vet about what the best diet is, others may simply need to try out a brand of dog food and see how their new pet responds to it.

Additionally, if you ever feel that your puppy’s diet isn’t working or that you need to switch to a different type of food, you need to make sure that you do so gradually, and that you introduce more and more of the new type of food mixed with the old one until you can make a full transition. This will allow your pet’s digestive system to adjust better and help prevent any issues that could come from changing their diet abruptly like stomach upset or diarrhea.

Give Your Pet Plenty of Attention and Exercise

Something else that is highly important when you have a new pet in your household is making sure that you are giving them plenty of attention and exercise. Of course, it can be a good idea to do some research on your particular breed so that you understand exactly what their requirements are. Generally, large breed dogs will need more exercise than smaller ones but there may still be many small breeds that need vigorous exercise to be healthy. Some good ways to help your pet burn off some extra energy and stay physically healthy are to take them for walks or to spend some time playing with them with some of their toys, either indoors or outside.

Not only is making sure that your pet gets lots of exercise important but so is giving them plenty of attention. There may be some breeds that are naturally more emotionally connected to their owners than others, but the reality is that all dogs will need plenty of attention on a regular basis. Even though it may not always be possible to give your pet as much attention as you would like due to your schedule, you still need to make sure that you or someone in your household is available to spend time with your pet regularly.

Playtime and Socialization

We would be remiss to not include the way of the healthy re-adjusted dog which is optimizing playtime and socialization for your pup.  Dogs have a puppyhood just like children have a childhood where play is an essential need for development and happiness! We recommend meeting neighbors, getting on a site like NextDoor (feel free to upload your pets pic), attending a puppy socialization group at your local dog daycare or finding a dog park where other pups and their parents gather to socialize their dogs.  Playing with your pup can be fun too- we like to recommend games like fetch, rolling a ball (grounders are so fun), running around the apartment– just NO to tug-o-war.

The Bottom Line

Bringing home a new puppy can be exciting, but it can be a big responsibility, as well. The good news is that while it may not feel easy at first, by taking the right steps you can help ensure that you are taking the best care of your new best friend.

photo credit: mathis-jrdl-5yAhL8ViUVg-unsplash

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