10 things to know before getting a puppy

Betty-puppyOkay, so you want a puppy. Yes, you have to consider all the sensible stuff, but it’s also worth bearing in mind that:

  1. They need the toilet all the time – You’re up and down like a yo-yo because they can’t open doors or congratulate themselves for going outside and not on your carpet. You also have to stand there repeating cue words.
  2. They may need 4 meals a day – For the smallest breeds, their tummies are so small that you may need to feed them up to 4 times a day. Consider how feeding at, say, 8am, 11am, 2pm and 5pm may fit into your schedule
  3. Dogs are not like cats. They don’t fall as well – Lap dogs will fall off your lap, where as a cat will happily save itself the embarrassment by embedding its claws in your leg. If you want your puppy to be safe, get a carry pouch.
  4. They eat everything. Even poo, stones and plastic – Dogs are scavenging carnivores and will eat almost anything. Seemingly innocuous foods can be dangerous, like chocolate, grapes and onions.
  5. You need to introduce them to loads of things as soon as possible – Try to introduce your puppy to one new, potentially scary thing a day. This process is called “socialisation”. Find a puppy socialisation class so he can play safely with other puppies.
  6. You can’t walk them outside for weeks – Until your puppy is fully vaccinated, he shouldn’t walk where other animals have been. Instead, you can carry him in a pouch and attend a puppy socialisation class.
  7. Long walks are for much later on – Too much exercise can damage growing joints. The rule of thumb is 5 minutes of exercise, per month of age, twice daily – so at 3 months old, that’s just 15 minutes, twice daily.
  8. Betty puppy 2Their teeth are like needles – Teething puppies experience pain and discomfort and chewing makes it feel better. Buy teething toys but be careful if you hold them, as an unintentional bite is very painful.
  9. They change every day – Your puppy’s behaviour will test your limits but being consistent and staying firm will help. Growth spurts can be alarming, but just remember you should see a waist, not ribs.
  10. They want to lick your face – To a puppy, the best greeting they can give you is a lengthy kissing session. If you like this but visitors don’t, then your puppy can learn to behave differently with you than others.

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