Do you have a puppy? Or will you have a puppy soon? Raising a puppy and taking good care of it gets easier with these smart tricks. 

Puppy in the house

Raising your puppy starts with the right preparation. First, we would like to give you a few smart tricks to give your new roommate a good start and to make him feel at home in a new environment.

1. Make sure you have the right supplies for your puppy

Make sure you are well prepared and that you have everything before you pick up your pup. For example, a dog needs its own place in the house, like a crate. Of course it’s not the intention that your dog sits in a crate all day, but it can be a good solution for a moment of peace. A crate should be a safe place for your dog and is therefore not meant as a place where your dog will serve his punishment. A puppy will have to get used to a crate, so don’t just leave him in a crate without proper training.

For example, a dog should always be able to sit up straight in his crate – and don’t forget that puppies grow fast! You can also choose a basket instead. In that case, make sure to provide a good pillow or blanket for your puppy. It’s also wise to buy some chewing material, because puppies love chewing and materials like that are good for their teeth. If they don’t get any chewing material from you, they might chew on your shoes! In this regard, a puppy is like a small child. Keep a close eye on him and be consistent.

2. Make your home puppyproof

Look around your house before you bring your puppy home. For example, look at the flowers and plants in hour house. Some plants can be very poisonous to dogs, so make sure they can’t reach them. Also, make sure you clean up well. Don’t leave any food remains on your plate that can have unpleasant effects on your puppy.

3. Getting your puppy used to the house

Getting a new puppy in the house can be very exciting, both for you and for the puppy itself. He has just left his familiar environment, so he needs some time to get used to the new situation. That’s why it is important that your house is quiet before your puppy gets home. A house full of people who want to cuddle him, with all good intentions, can make your pup very anxious and restless. Give him some time to go out on his own to investigate.

Note: if he finds it very exciting, he can pee a bit out of fear. It's a young animal, so don't punish him right away. He is nervous and hasn't learned where to pee.

The first night

The first night can be very stressful for the puppy, but also for you. Your puppy has never been alone before and can start squeaking. You may want to sleep next to your puppy the first night so he doesn't feel alone, or you can take him to the bedroom and put him in a crate. By putting a warm jar in his crate, wrapped in a blanket, your puppy will have something he can lie down against.

Don't reward your puppy for his squeaking, but make sure he knows where you are. Reassure him, talk to him or touch him for example. The average young puppy can only hold his pee and poo for two to three hours, so during the first nights you'll have to get out and let your puppy do his needs.

Puppy opvoeden en verzorgen

4. Already another animal in the house?

Are you bringing a puppy into the house while you already have another animal? Let them get used to each other carefully upon arrival and for the first few days. Don't force anything. When animals grow up together, they usually have a very strong bond. New dogs have to get used to each other. Give them space and, for example, give them their food separately in the beginning.

Do you already have a cat at home? Be sure to stay with your puppy, so you can protect him when things get out of hand. The cat should be able to hide if it doesn't feel safe, so don't lock them up together.

5. Transporting your puppy

There are three ways to transport your dog safely: in a kennel, in a travel bench or with a special seatbelt. Make sure they are safely placed in the car and securely fastened. A dog should be able to sit upright in the car and look outside, even in a crate or kennel. You can also transport your puppy on the back seat, but make sure you click his harness into the seatbelt. There are special extensions made for this.

Raising and training your puppy

6. Socialization of your puppy

Did you know that a puppy's personality is 65 percent determined by his environment? Puppies have to learn to deal with everything that happens around them. Socializing is what we call it: getting used to everything you can encounter in life. That's an important task for both the breeder and the owner.

The world of a puppy is getting bigger and bigger: the first weeks are spent in the litter, deaf and blind at first. After that, the dogs explore more and more of the environment. Up to an age of about twelve weeks, puppies are mainly curious and are very open to new impressions. So let your puppy get acquainted with many different situations:

  • Surfaces such as carpet, tiles, sand and gravel.
  • Objects such as a large and a small ball, hard and soft toys.
  • Locations, from house to garden to forest and shopping mall.
  • People, from young to old, but for example also someone in a hat or in a wheelchair.
  • Animals, big and small dogs for example, but also other animal species.
  • Challenges, such as climbing over a tree trunk or walking through a tunnel.
  • Sounds, like the radio, traffic or a rolling garbage container.

Up to about twelve weeks, puppies are very open to new impressions.

The trick is to get your puppy into contact with everything he may have to deal with in the most positive way possible. People, children, other dogs from big to small and black to white, the passing motorbike, the noisy vacuum cleaner, the horse in the meadow... they all belong here. However, it’s important that all these introductions take place in a calm and dosed manner, because a puppy cannot store too much information.

Everything gets scary...

From the age of twelve weeks to six months, your puppy enters a phase that is characterized by a certain reluctance. Your puppy previously opened up to new encounters and experiences, he can now react less open and enthusiastic. Things he wasn’t afraid of at first, like a garbage container, suddenly are very scary. It’s up to you to keep on guiding your dog, so he can continue to have positive experiences. A good dog school can help you with this!

...and now he doesn't listen anymore!

Between the age of six and twelve months your cute and sweet puppy can turn into a rebellious adolescent who does everything but listen. To a large extent this is due to hormones, which peak at this age. Don't despair, but keep giving your adolescent the guidance and help he needs right now. Hang in there! If you get through this period well, your puppy will turn into a super dog!

A good example

Dogs learn a lot from each other. Good things, but also unwanted behavior! With peers, puppies often cause mischief. Your puppy learns a lot from a social adult dog who sets the right example.

7. Puppy potty-training

How quickly your puppy is potty-trained depends on how much attention the breeder has already paid to this in the first weeks of your puppy’s life. Is your puppy still not potty-trained after six months? In that case it’s safe to call a veterinarian to rule out a medical cause. Here's more info about how to potty-train your pup.

Regularly take out your puppy for a walk, at least after eating, playing and sleeping. Does your puppy stand at the door, squeak or go around in circles ? Recognize these signals in time to prevents accidents!

8. Let your puppy come to you

Don't: get angry or run after him if your puppy doesn't come when you call him.

Do: apply these five tips!

  1. Run away yourself, in the other direction.
    Bet your puppy will come after you right away?
  2. Sit on your couch and pretend to pick something up.
    Your puppy is probably so curious that he's standing right next to you in a minute.
  3. Call your puppy without any reason to do so.
    That way he learns that coming here does not mean that the fun is over.
  4. Hide yourself behind a tree or bush.
    Your puppy will learn in a playful way that he has to keep an eye on you.
  5. Don't forget your face!
    You'd rather walk up to someone who has a bright smile than an angry head!

puppy opvoeden uitlaten puppy opvoeden trainen

9. Giving attention in the right way

Let your puppy find out for himself where his behavior leads.

  • Jumping? No attention. Staying with four paws on the floor at a greeting? Attention!
  • Barking when you grab the belt? Then the belt is hung back. Quiet? Let’s go out!
  • Your dog wants to grab something out of your hand? Close your hand with the treats in it. Does he wait quietly to get a treat? Hand opens again.

Maybe you need to hang the belt back three times. Maybe thirty times. Hang on. Because the clearer and more consistent you are, the sooner your puppy will know what you mean!

10. Reward your puppy

Puppies take in a lot of unnoticed calories during training. Did you know that, in terms of calories, two cheese cubes for a dog weighing ten kilos are comparable to a hamburger sandwich for an average woman? Smart reward tip: break your rewards in half before you give them, and possibly in quarters. This way you can reward at least twice as much with the same amount!

Play and move

11. Playing with your puppy

Does your puppy bite into your hands or trousers? Don't get angry, but stop the game or the interaction. Biting = game over! Busy puppy in the house? Chances are he's over excited and needs rest. Give your puppy his own place where he can retreat and relax. Make sure this place is comfortable and spacious enough, your puppy needs to be able to sit up straight and lie outstretched. Being able to sleep well is very important for a puppy to process all the impressions of the day!

Having contact and playing with peers is important, but watch out for wild frolics and chasing games, where your puppy can be trampled. Only play in a safe, controlled environment with dogs of about the same size. Chasing a ball, making short turns, braking to get a toy, getting into a ditch and jumping in or out of the car are movements that put a huge strain on your puppy's joints. Avoid them and rather play a game where your puppy has to find his ball instead of running or catching it.

12. Movement with puppies

Puppies grow in all directions. First they shoot in height, after that they grow in width. Don't panic, they'll come back in shape by themselves! With small dogs the skeleton is often already fully grown after 12 months, with large dogs this can take up to 24 months. Build up and expand your puppy's movement activities easefully. Playing frolics and chasing games are very stressful. Walking, strolling around at your own pace or looking for a toy are calmer forms of movement.

Movement is important

Exercise is important for the development of your puppy’s condition and muscle strength. Take regular short walks at low speed and with plenty of time in between, so your puppy has time to sniff and discover all sorts of things. Especially if your dog can walk loose safely, he'll have the opportunity to develop his mobility. Walking on sand, gravel or grass or through shallow water, stepping over branches or stones: it all helps your puppy learn to coordinate his body. Many dog schools work with special balance tracks, where puppies learn to walk on boards or step over beams. You can help your puppy with this, and this mikado exercise is perfect for that:

  • Place a pair of sticks, for example broomsticks, slantwise on each other on the ground.

  • Allow your pup to step over and through the sticks, so he learns to put his feet down well.

  • If desired, you can sprinkle some sweets between the sticks and let your puppy look for them.

  • Make sure your puppy doesn't jump wildly over the sticks. This exercise is all about rest and concentration.

Have patience

Depending on the breed and size, a dog is only fully physically mature from the age of 12 to 24 months. Only then you can start thinking about serious activities such as cycling and active sports. Again, always build up all forms of movement slowly and look carefully at the things that your dog can handle. Don't forget that it can take much longer before your dog is also mentally mature. He will remain a big baby for a long time!

Do you have smooth floors in your house? Cover them up with pieces of carpet so your puppy can't slip on them. You can often find cheap leftovers in carpet stores!

13. Time to rest

Your puppy is developing so fast. That’s why you have to be careful that he doesn’t exhaust himself.

Make sure he gets sufficient rest. The puppy's body should be given time to recover from all the impressions and efforts. Is your puppy very busy and does he seem to want to go faster and faster? You’ve maybe exhausted him, so he can't find his rest anymore.

Dare to take a step back

You're not the only one who keeps working when you're actually dead tired. Your puppy also finds it hard to stop. You'll have to set boundaries, just like you do with children! Working slowly and/or sloppy, not listening anymore, getting red eyes or 'puffiness' under the eyes, panting loudly, barking or biting are signals that your dog's head is just as full.

Puppies are yawning a lot from their second week of life, a sign that the nervous system is in full development. Yawning happens at bedtime, when waking up and in moments of boredom and stress. It helps to stay awake and reduce tension. 

Yawning is also a way of social communication. Did you know that yawning is contagious, and that you are more likely to take over a yawn from someone you like? It could be that you brighten your puppy with your yawn!

14. Teach your puppy to climb stairs

Under your guidance, teach your puppy to walk up and down stairs. He's still small so you can guide him. But don't let him walk up and down stairs on his own, carry him up and down as long as you can. If your dog has grown too big and heavy for this, you can gently hold him by his collar and take him with you. A stair gate for children prevents your pup from climbing or descending the stairs on his own.

Nutrition and care for your puppy

puppy verzorging eten

15. The right food

At first, give your puppy the food he is used to from the breeder. Usually you get a bag of food from the shelter or the breeder, so you can start with the food your pup is used to. Very important, because it's not good for puppies to suddenly change the type of food. Too many changes at once will cause extra stress and possibly diarrhea. Once your puppy is accustomed to his new environment, you can start thinking about switching to different food. In the uterus a puppy can already perceive flavors from the amniotic fluid. His taste develops further after birth by drinking a mother's milk. A good and varied diet of the mother dog ensures a good taste development of the puppy!

The digestive system of a puppy is not fully developed at birth. Digestion of food is done by special enzymes, which cut the food into pieces. For each type of nutrient there is a different 'scissors'. The number of digestive enzymes increases as your pup gets older. A high quality food with easily digestible ingredients is therefore extra important in the first year of life!Beware of too many treats, which can cause your puppy's meal to get out of balance.

16. Avoid eating too fast

Many puppies eat faster during the growth spurt. With these tips you can prevent this to happen.

  • Soak chunks in warm water for a while. This makes eating fast more difficult.
  • Provide a quiet environment so that your puppy can eat undisturbed.
  • Offer the meal in a feeding toy or a special anti-choking bowl.
  • Fill a bowl with balls and sprinkle the chunks in between.
  • Sprinkle the meal in the grass or on the floor and let your pup search for food.

17. Puppy deworming

Worms are parasites that can live in your puppy's body. They can be found in the gastrointestinal system, but sometimes also in organs such as the heart and lungs. You can't always see them, but they can cause problems that need to be treated by the vet. Did you know that puppies can get infected with worms in the womb or through breast milk? And that some worms can be transmitted to humans? Therefore, worm your puppy regularly or have a stool examination done!

Puppies are normally dewormed after two, four and six weeks. Check if the breeder or the shelter has already done this. The next phase is to deworm him after three, four, five and six months. An adult dog should also be dewormed every three months. In some cases this can be done more often, but the vet advises this.

18. Preventing fleas with your puppy

With a puppy you also have to watch out for fleas. To check your puppy for fleas, you need a special flea comb. A regular brush is also important, especially if you have a long-haired dog. Do you have a puppy who likes to pee outside and jump in mud? Think about dog shampoo. (Using ordinary shampoo on dogs is very dangerous!)

19. Dental care

Not only the coat of your dog is important, their teeth as well. Even a dog needs to brush his teeth. They have special dog toothbrushes and toothpaste for this. Puppies are of course not used to this, so it takes some training.

Changing teeth with a puppy

From the third month of life, your puppy's first baby teeth make place for the adult teeth. Changing them can be painful! Your puppy may lose his appetite, chew on things or be a bit hungry. Chewing on something cold can bring relief. Now be careful with pulling games with your puppy to prevent damage to his teeth. Many baby teeth are swallowed or lost unnoticed. Finding a tooth is quite special! Have you ever found one?

20. Taking your puppy to the vet

Plan an introduction with your puppy at the vet. He can immediately discuss with you what to do about vaccination and deworming in the upcoming period. During such a consultation your puppy can immediately get used to the vet practice.

Is the vet going to examine or treat your puppy? Use a tube of Train & Care Reward Cream for puppies to distract your animal. Licked delicacies from a tube have a relaxing effect!

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Annerike from the CareTeam

Questions about your pet's behaviour? The CareTeam loves to help you with free advice!