Congratulations on the arrival of your new puppy! Both of you are in store for many happy years together, so let’s get started on the right paw to ensure a lifetime of happiness.

Of course, you need to immediately focus on potty training and teaching your dog not to nip or chew on the wrong things.  In addition to these basics, preparing them for other life skills will be critical in their development. Proper dog care begins in your home….and extends to ours when you are away from them and need cage-free boarding.  Let’s work together to ensure happy tails!

     A good rule of thumb:  “100 new events in the first 100 days”.

Socialization:  The most important element is to socialize your puppy at a young age –if you want your furry friend to be friendly with others, he needs to be introduced to other people, kids and pets early on.

While you wait to complete vaccinations, careful and controlled socialization is easily accomplished via puppy obedience classes.  As soon as possible, enroll in a class for basic training and introduction to other dogs.  Continue training by inviting friends & neighbors over with their healthy and friendly dogs for playdates.  Pack your pup up and visit dog-friendly restaurants, patios, coffee houses, and retailers (Home Depot & local pet stores are full of furry shoppers). Walk them daily, as soon as your Vet says it’s o.k. to do so.  Dog parks should be carefully considered and not the best place for a youngster.  (Visit our Dog Park link & tips in this regard).  A good doggie daycare program, with trained and ample staff, should be considered.

At a young age, puppies should also learn to like bath time, car rides, Vet visits & grooming.

Bath Time:   

All dogs should love a bath!

All dogs can learn to love bath time if given early introduction and patience.

Before baths, take a long walk first: your dog will enjoy the feel of cool, rushing water after a day in the sun!  Make it fun: Dogs like to mirror the attitudes of humans.  Don’t attempt a bath if you are pressed for time or you just discovered that your puppy was playing in the mud and now the bath is mission critical to protect your clean floors or carpet. Budget time for their bath, use a dog mitt that will add a massage element and include water toys for extra stimulation.


Car Rides:  

Pugs in car

Practice entering and exiting your car with calm trips to fun places.  Help your pet learn to wait while you open the door and wait for an exit “cue”. Remember that their young ear structures are still developing, so keep the windows up (always) and play calm music on the car radio. Dispense treats before and after the ride. Associating a good stimulus with any experience will help your puppy enjoy them more.

Grooming and Nail Trims:  
Yorkie being groomed

Regular grooming and nail trims are important for your dog’s health-at any age.

Some breeds require more frequent grooming than others. However, it is still important for puppies to get used to grooming and being touched all over, especially their paws.

Begin by introducing grooming tools to your puppy.  Allow your dog to sniff the tools first. Give him some treats so he associates the grooming tools with yummy rewards.

Touch the nail trimmer to one of your dog’s nails while you talk soothingly and dispense a treat. Repeat this process several times, before you begin the trim. Take it slow….keep calm and if he resists, step back and try again.

The same process applies with the brush. Start slow, with a few gentle strokes. Remember to dispense treats with praise. Stop if he wiggles or pulls away uncomfortably.  With patience and practice, you should be able to brush him all over.

Vet Visits:  

photo by

Preparing your dog for health exams is similar to grooming. At the Vet’s office, he will have his ears and teeth checked, he’ll be weighed and vaccinated.  In most instances, his health exam will require that he be restrained.

Practice by slowly introducing your dog to being held while various parts of his body are examined. Use pleasant tones of praise and treats to get him comfortable with being touched and handled. If he seems uncomfortable, back up and repeat later.

Gentle training tips:

  • Hold your puppy as if you are burping a baby
  • Hold your puppy in your lap while resting your palm on the top of his head
  • Stroke and pet him from his head to his back…and his toes too!
  • Lift his ears and look inside.
  • Lift his muzzle to check his teeth.
  • Gently hug the puppy, while holding him still

You might also consider Pet Insurance; particularly at a young age.  For a free quote, visit our Resources tab for a link to Pet Insurance/Healthy Paws.

Enjoy your new family member in good health and happiness!

FOR A FREE E-BOOK ON PUPPY TRAINING, PLEASE E-MAIL US and we’ll send you “Before you Get Your Puppy” by Ian Dunbar. ..a valuable and in-depth resource on puppy training.

Happy tails always,




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