Bringing Home Fido

Ten tips for taking care of a new puppy.

Every holiday season, many people around the country get a new family gift that lasts for the next 15 years or so. When they opt to add a puppy to the family, it may start out as exciting, but may lead to numerous questions once the initial play time wears off and it’s time to go to bed. Getting the right answers to those questions, however, can make a world of difference.

“Depending on where you get the answers to the questions, it can make a big difference in the relationship you create with your puppy,” explains Robert Misseri, president of Guardians of Rescue, an organization dedicated to helping animals in need. “You want to get things off to the right start and help everyone adjust well, so it is important to stick to a few basic guidelines to make it happen.”

Here are the top 10 tips for taking care of a new puppy, right from the start.

  1. Crate your dog right from the beginning in order to help train. Many people feel badly about putting him in there, but this is the best way to work through the training process.
  2. Work with a professional dog trainer to get consistent and reliable puppy-training advice.
  3. Plan to walk the puppy frequently. After all, he needs to urinate every hour because his bladder is so tiny. Also, limit water intake after 9pm in order to help him make it through the night. Fido also needs frequent walking to get exercise.
  4. Introduce the new puppy to other pets in the home. This should be done gradually and with patience. Often, it can take months before pups become completely comfortable with each another. Discuss any concerns regarding this with the professional trainer.
  5. Avoid biting. Puppies tend to communicate with their mouths, by biting. Therefore, be sure to teach your new fluffy friend not to by saying “No bite!” Pups learn quickly.
  6. Plan to spend time with the new puppy. He requires a lot of time, love and patience in order to be properly trained. Those who work should find a dog walker or an area teen who can spend time with the puppy each day.
  7. Consider, in advance, whether there are any allergy concerns regarding having a pet in your home. If you find there is an allergy concern, visit your doctor and get medication to alleviate symptoms. Sometimes people just need an adjustment period to desensitize their immune response.
  8. Train your dog from the beginning in the behaviors that are expected. If you don’t want a full-grown dog jumping up on the couch or your bed, or gnawing on your hands or shoes, then start by teaching the puppy not to do it.
  9. Make sure that you are committed to this pet before bringing it home. Pets are living creatures and are a long-term commitment, both financially and regarding daily involvement. If things don’t work out, and you have exhausted all options and must re-home, then take personal responsibility for finding a loving home to place him in, or locate a reputable no-kill shelter.
  10. Be patient. Puppies take time to adjust and get trained. Give the time, love and patience your new dog deserves.

“You will get out what you put in tenfold,” says Dori Scofield, vice president of the organization. “Animals naturally want to learn and please you. Taking the time to train your dog properly will reward both you and your pet with a lifelong relationship filled with love and companionship.”

Guardians of Rescue provides assistance to animals out on the streets, helping to rescue them, provide medical care, food, shelter and find foster home placement. They have also been instrumental in helping the animals that were impacted by Hurricane Sandy. Many families are still struggling to recover from the storm, making it difficult to care for their pet, either financially or while living in temporary housing. To learn more, or to make a donation to support the Guardians of Rescue, log onto www.guardiansofrescue.org.