ADOPTING A PUPPY AND WELCOMING THEM INTO YOUR HOME
The arrival of a new pet is a milestone for both the family and their new four-legged friend. But it can also be a stressful time for a puppy, especially a baby who has to leave their mother and get used to a new environment. Therefore, in order to adopt a puppy with complete peace of mind, several things must be taken into consideration before and after their arrival into your home.
Be Prepared Before Adopting a Puppy
To adopt a puppy responsibly, first and foremost, you need to be well prepared. This is a new adventure that should bring you and your new pup a lot of joy. However, before even thinking about adopting a puppy, you need to carefully consider whether or not you're ready to take on such a big responsibility. After all, this is a long-term decision. Most dogs live for about 10 to 15 years, so adopting a puppy is not something you should do on a whim. As the old saying goes, "a dog is for life, not just for Christmas".
In this sense, the first thing you need to do to prepare is psychological: you must ask yourself all the right questions in terms of time, budget, space, etc. And be honest with your answers! Don't adopt a puppy if you don't have time to take care of it. As a general rule, you also need to be able to afford the cost of your dog's food and veterinary care.
It's up to you whether you decide to rescue a puppy for free from a shelter, adopt a puppy from a private individual, or buy one from a breeder. While we do encourage you to visit your local animal shelter when deciding whether to adopt a puppy—shelters are full of dogs up for adoption who will often be otherwise destined for euthanasia—it's very rare to find a puppy at a shelter, as shelter animals are systematically neutered. As such, if you wish to adopt a puppy or even a purebred dog, you will probably have to seek out a professional breeder. Here are some tips for identifying reliable, ethical breeders:
The dog is in perfect health
You contact and visit the breeder directly
The premises are clean and in good condition, and the dogs are treated well
The breeder shows you the puppy's parents or at least their documents (as a rule)
Dog breeding kennels that are not "dog factories" should only have about 2 or 3 dog breeds and the litters should not be too close together
The breeder cares about their dogs and asks questions about you to find out if you’re ready to adopt a puppy
The puppy has received its primary vaccination and the parents have also been vaccinated
Puppies should be fully weaned before being adopted (weaning normally lasts about 6 weeks)
There are also other special circumstances to take into account when adopting a puppy. For example, if you already have other pets in the house, you need to be sure that they will accept a new family member. Likewise, if you have children. This is an important decision that should be made as a family. Adopting a puppy means making a place for it, at home and in your heart.
Once you've made the exciting decision to adopt a puppy, it's time to embark on more concrete preparations for the arrival of your new four-legged friend! Here are some essential purchases you should make in advance:
Dog basket and blankets
2 bowls (one for food, one for water)
Lead and collar or harness
Dog tag with your contact details
Bone to chew on
Dog food and treats
Games and toys
Finally, it's important to make sure your space is secure before adopting a puppy. Do not leave dangerous objects lying around, for example. If you have a garden, make sure it's securely fenced. For your dog's safety, they should not be allowed to venture too far alone for the first few weeks.
Attitudes to Adopt when Welcoming a New Puppy
Give Them Their Own Space
Your puppy should have a space of their own where they can go to rest and be by themselves. This space should b e quiet and easily accessible without your permission. Like all babies, puppies need a place to sleep where they feel safe. The ideal space is a little narrow, warm, and very comfortable. Remember to also find a place where your puppy can go to eat in peace.
Your Home Should Be a Safe Haven
Although it's natural to be excited about adopting a puppy, try not to pamper your new friend too much when they arrive. You should take good care of them, but also let them breathe. Your puppy will already be a little bewildered by the upheaval, so it's best not to add any stress. Be extra careful if you have children: avoid screaming and other excessive loud noises, even happy noises. Never leave your puppy alone with a child; it can be dangerous for them both. Don't invite too many friends to visit at the beginning; your puppy needs to first fully understand who lives in the house and whom they must obey.
Give Your Puppy Attention
When you first adopt a puppy, your little furball might feel lonely away from its mother and siblings. Be sure to give them enough love and attention that they quickly feel comfortable and secure. Just don't overdo it!
Take Your Puppy to the Vet
As soon as you adopt a puppy and welcome them into your home, you need to find yourself a trusted veterinarian. Schedule a consultation for a general health check and proceed with your puppy’s primary vaccination if it has not already been done. Take the opportunity to speak with your vet about antiparasitic and deworming treatments, neutering, and other vaccines, etc. Also, remember to take care of your dog's eyes and ears.
Show Your Puppy Their New Surroundings
Little by little, take your puppy to explore all the places in the house that they have access to. Also, take regular walks with them outside so that they become acquainted with their new environment. You then need to teach your dog to be independent and be left alone. If you don't have a garden for them to do their business in, be sure to take them out 3 to 4 times a day.
Be Firm from the Start
You have to establish your authority right at the beginning so that your puppy learns to understand the new rules. Often, a firm "no" is enough. Wait a few days after adopting a puppy before teaching them the basics of community living:
Potty training: praise your puppy when they poop outside
Teach your puppy their name
Get them used to the everyday noises in your house
Train your puppy (positively!) not to bite, not to behave aggressively, not to go to certain places, not to chew on anything they find (which they will certainly do in the beginning, due to the stress of moving), etc. To do this positively, refrain from physical punishment. Instead, use a firm "no" to reprimand them and reward good behaviour with cuddles and words of praise or treats.
It may take around 2 or 3 weeks after you adopt a puppy for them to feel completely confident in their new home. So, be patient with them!
Adapt Your Puppy's Diet to Their Growth
When your puppy first arrives, give them the food they're used to so as not to disrupt their routine too much. You can then start to mix their food with whatever new food you want to feed them. In this way, the dietary transition will be gradual and (hopefully!) smooth. Allow between 5 and 7 days to completely change their food, which should always be adapted to their breed, age, weight, physical activity, and growth. Offer your puppy a healthy, balanced diet to avoid any risk of obesity.
What Do I Do if My Puppy Cries During the Night?
Place a ticking object near them to remind them of their mother's heartbeat: this can be something like a ticking clock or a specific heartbeat puppy toy
Give them a hot water bottle to keep them warm
Give them a blanket from where they were born
Avoid going to them: this might lead your pup to believe that you'll come if they cry
Just wait, they will eventually fall asleep
If you can't resist letting your puppy sleep in your room at first, move their basket further away little by little each following night
PUBLISHED 23.12.2020 - HECTOR KITCHEN, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
By the Hector Kitchen medical and scientific team
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