How to Care for & Train a Puppy

Puppies need regular veterinary care.
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Preparing for veterinarian care, puppy-proofing your home and socializing and training your puppy to be obedient are all important tasks for a pet parent to accomplish. Establishing a comfortable place for your puppy to call his own by providing proper bedding, toys and safety is one of the first things that will help your puppy get adjusted to his new home.

Choose a Veterinarian

Before you bring your puppy home, ask friends, co-workers and family members if they can recommend a good veterinarian. When choosing a veterinarian, make sure the office hours and emergency-care hours are well suited for your schedule. The veterinarian office or animal hospital should have the license displayed on the wall for customers to see. At times, veterinarians will also display their diploma and other credentials they see fit to share with the public. Positive traits in a veterinarian include a calm demeanor and willingness to answer questions and listen to your concerns. During your puppy's first visit to the veterinarian he will conduct a general exam and determine if there are any health issues to address. The veterinarian will also set up future office visits and schedule vaccinations according to your puppy's needs.

Puppy Proof Your Home

Remove cleaning supplies, plants and small figurines that can be easily swallowed; these items that can be hazardous to your puppy's health. Place a baby gate in doorways and staircases. Use a fire screen in front of the fire place to avoid a curious puppy getting burned and injured. Keep garbage can and toilet bowl lids closed at all times.

Train Your Puppy

Training your puppy to be well-behaved will build good communication skills between the both of you. Using a treat to train your puppy to learn commands such as, "Come," "Sit," "Down" and "Stay" is common practice for most pet owners. For example, use the treat as a guide when showing your puppy to sit, raising the treat above his head until he raises his head to look up at it. This body movement encourages the puppy to sit. When he sits, reward your puppy with the treat and verbal praise. Using treats as a reward for accomplishing potty training also works well. Stay positive and patient with your puppy at all times, he will learn at his own pace. Be consistent in using positive reinforcement and keep your training sessions free of yelling or aggression of any kind.

Socialize Your Puppy

Begin socializing your puppy from the moment you bring him home. Introduce him to immediate family members who he share the house with and calmly introduce him to other pets within the household. Invite friends over to meet your puppy, take him on walks to get to know the neighbors and their dogs. Allow your puppy to be exposed to everything he will experience in his daily life, such as walking around the block, going to the dog park and meeting children. Expose him to various sights, buildings, cars, noises and smells. If your puppy seems frightened, scared or begins shaking from fear or nervousness, remove him from the situation and try to slowly introduce him to it at a later time. Continue gradually exposing him to different situations until he becomes comfortable, relaxed and easily adapts to a variety of situations.