How to take care of your puppy

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Dr. Katy Nelson discusses puppy 101, including basic health, safety and psychological needs. Understand the way your dog sees the world so you can understand him and his behavior.

How to take care of your puppy It’s important to understand and meet your puppy’s needs. Here are a few things to keep in mind when taking care of your puppy:
  1. Basic health: water, specifically formulated nutrition for puppies, sleep, immunizations and regular check-ups are recommended to ensure your puppy’s health.
  2. Safety: Keep your puppy in a safe environment.
  3. Psychological: Your puppy’s greatest psychological need is to socialize and be part of a group with other dogs.
You want to understand the way your puppy sees the world so you can build a strong relationship – and be the guardian your puppy can depend on.
  • Tip: Get down on your hands and knees to so you can better protect your puppy from ingesting hazardous materials or damaging your things.
  • Spend time out in the yard making him run in short bursts, go on walks or play fetch.
  • Play and socialize your puppy to get him used to being touched, handled and even used to having hands and inedible things in and near his mouth so that he behaves in all situations.
  • Be consistent. Emotions are contagious
Transcript Hi. I'm Dr. Katy Nelson for Iams with Howdini. Today we're going to talk about how to take care of your puppy.
 
First and foremost, you want to understand and meet your puppy's needs. Here they are in order of importance.
 
Number one, basic health-- water, nutrition specifically formulated for puppies, and sleep. Also, immunizations and regular check-ups are recommended.
 
Number two, safety. As with small children, you need to keep your puppy in an environment that is safe for him. Puppies explore with their mouths and they learn about different textures by gnawing. Also, chewing helps massage their gums. For your puppy's safety, keep things that he or she should not be chewing on out of reach.
 
Number three, psychological. Your puppy's greatest psychological need is to be part of a group and be socialized with other dogs. However, to do this successfully you need to be a guardian he can depend on. Once your puppy's basic needs are met, you want to understand the way he sees the world so that you can build a strong relationship. Your puppy does not understand the world to live in, so you cannot expect him to.
 
Two things you need to understand is that to them everything is edible, and they will lunge at anything exciting. You, kids, guests, and other animals until you train them not to. Praise him exuberantly to encourage the right behavior. Give him treats, pet him, play with them, and be stern to discourage the wrong behavior. Ignore him, stop petting, or stop playing. Most importantly, be patient and consistent. Don't be harsh.
 
Puppies have lots of energy and it's healthy for them to use it. Periodically helping your puppy release energy will minimize his urge to dig and chew on things. Spend time out in the yard making him run in short bursts, go on walks or play fetch.
 
Puppies are used to playing with their brothers and sisters. When they're separated they're looking for their next playmate. Playing with your puppy will also make him more focused on you, improving your bond and making training easier. It teaches him new behaviors, self-control, and will help him gain self-confidence.
 
Like play, socialization is also fundamental to raising your puppy. This is why socializing your puppy as soon as you bring him home is important for both of you. Socialization teaches your puppy to be calm in stimulating circumstances, and to obey when instructed. It also gets him used to being touched, handled and even used to having hands and inedible things in and near his mouth so that he behaves around other people, kids, and his veterinarian.
 
Also, know the puppy's are sensitive. They can read facial expressions and emotions. Be consistent about what things your puppy does that make you express happiness. Also, be careful not to give your puppy reason to think he's at blame for negative emotions you have from other areas of your life, like when you've had a bad day at work. Emotions are contagious. The happiest puppies tend to be in the most positive and loving households.
 
I'm Dr. Katy Nelson for Iams with Howdini. I hope that you found this helpful as you welcome your new addition to your family. For more information on puppy care and training, visit iams.com/puppy.
meet theexpert
  • Dr. Katy J. Nelson

    Dr. Katy J. Nelson Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Dr. Nelson is an associate emergency veterinarian at the Alexandria Animal Hospital in Alexandria, VA where she works with a wide variety of pets and pet problems. She is the co-creator of the hospital’s Pawsitively Fit program. more about this expert »

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