Your Puppy’s First-Year Milestones
Congratulations on becoming a pet parent! Chances are you are eager to get your puppy home and introduce them to the rest of the family! Your new furry family member is going to need some time to adjust to their new pack and home environment. As a pet parent, you are in control of creating a beautiful life for your pup which is one of the most exciting aspects that welcome you to pet ownership.
While you create a healthy, kind, safe, and loving home for your puppy they will be experiencing many milestones including the ones listed below.
Adjusting to A New Home
Your puppy is being separated from their canine mother and siblings for the first time and often experiences nervousness. You are their new pack now and they need to know who the leader is and require a safe place in the house to call their own. When you bring your puppy home place them at the front door and allow them to explore their new surroundings as they walk, run and sniff around.
It’s wise to have a doggie bed, toys, plus food and water bowls already in place so they can immediately understand these items are for them only.
Tip: Puppy proof the house before bringing your furry family member home.
Make sure you establish sleeping arrangements from the first night. Since dogs are pack animals they will instinctively want to sleep in the same bed as their pack. However, if you don’t want your puppy sleeping in the bed with you, create a safe sleeping environment for your pet.
An excellent option as a sleeping environment is a kennel. Dogs are pack animals and prefer den-like environments that make them feel safe. You can make a kennel cozy and cute by adding a dog bed, blanket, and toys for them to cuddle and sleep.
Getting to Know the Veterinarian
The veterinarian will become an important support system throughout your puppy’s life. Some pet parents feel comfortable with a general veterinarian while others prefer a holistic veterinarian. As a pet parent, the choice of the veterinarian is yours. However, you need to check the local laws and requirements for domestic dogs in your area. For example, vaccinations are often required for most domestic pets.
Try to make the first visit to the veterinarian for the first time a calm experience. This will help set the foundation and reaction to future veterinarian visits. Staying calm during the process, speaking in a soft voice, and holding your puppy in your arms help them feel safe. You can also reward your dog with treats during the process and treat them to a new toy after the office visit. This type of routine will establish the thought in your puppy’s mind that the veterinarian’s office is where they go to meet the doctor, eat treats and get a toy.
Puppies need structure and to learn acceptable behavior. Your household and experience as a pet parent will be smoother if you obedience train your puppy.
Dogs are highly intelligent and most breeds are eager to please their pet parents. Basic obedience training can be done at home by using the reward system. There are plenty of online videos that help guide you in the process of training your pet.
If you don’t feel comfortable training your pet by yourself, you can hire a professional dog trainer to assist with the process. Also, most pet stores offer training classes in a group setting.
Socializing with Humans and Dogs
At first, your instinct as a pet parent might be to protect your dog from people and humans. However, it’s best to socialize them from the first day to ensure they feel confident navigating through society in a friendly manner.
Socializing your puppy might sound overwhelming but it is actually quite easy. Gradually introducing your puppy to new environments, walking paths around the neighborhood, and new people as well as pets they come across is essential to their overall well-being.
If you notice your puppy is highly nervous in social settings, contact a professional trainer for further guidance.
Loosing Baby Teeth
Your puppy’s sharp little teeth will naturally fall out one at a time as their adult teeth grow as the replacement. During this process, your puppy might hesitate to eat crunchy kibble food due to sensitivity. However, you can soften the food by adding water or serving wet puppy food to make chewing easier.
As the baby teeth fall out you will find them on your floor, it’s wise to pick them up immediately to prevent your puppy from trying to eat the sharp tooth. If you suspect your pet has swallowed a tooth, contact a veterinarian.
First Birthday Celebration
Your puppy’s first birthday is an important milestone to celebrate. By this point in their life they have adjusted to their new home, pack, humans, furry friends, sleeping habits, eating habits, playtime, and more. You should also pat yourself on the back for raising a healthy happy puppy!