March 23 is National Puppy Day, and if it wasn’t already obvious, we’re IN! Around here, we love dogs in general, but there’s something about a puppy that gives us all the feels! Here are some things every puppy should have (or know) and how to help YOUR puppy live his best doggo life!
Ahhh…puppy breath. Is there anything more adorable? Okay, okay…forget the fact that they’ve just licked their butts. They’re just so stinking cute, it’s hard to even think about anything but how adorable they are. As adorable as they are, though, they’re still significant responsibilities and members of our family! Just like any other family member, there are things that every puppy should have to ensure his life is the best he can live!
Your puppy needs socialization! It’s your job as the best puppy pawrent ever to ensure your dog knows the world is happy and safe, and that’s done through socialization. Take your puppy to different places with different sights and sounds and animals and humans. Make sure he sees these opportunities in positive ways; there’s a reason we still refer to Pavlovian conditioning to this day. We want our dogs to love the world and all the people and animal friends in it, so we want the associations they make with different scenarios to be positive ones. The best time to get your puppy really socialized is between 3/4 weeks to about 13-14 weeks.
As most puppies aren’t in their forever homes until at least 8 weeks, you’ll want to spend those next crucial weeks ensuring your sweet furbaby has positive experiences in well-managed situations (so you can make sure of the outcome) and remember that the goal is POSITIVE feelings with every new experience. This will make for a well-balanced and adjusted dog as he grows!
2. Positive potty training!
Whether you’re crate training, tethering or even just keeping the best eye on your baby every second of the day, teaching how to go potty OUTSIDE is important and again, needs to be a positive experience. The key is to making sure your dog has WAY more bathroom opportunities than she likely needs and giving LOTS of “HOOORAYYY” when she goes potty. Trainers believe a good rule of thumb is to start with every 45 minutes-hour for a while and gradually lengthen the time in breaks. Remember a baby dog’s belly (and bladder) are small, so plan on a potty break pretty much within minutes of meal time. Make sure you encourage her to go in different places (outdoors–grass, dirt, gravel–in case you travel to places lush backyards are not available) and give lots of positive encouragement when she goes.
Freedom in the house (not being crated or tethered or leashed, etc.) should come as you see she gradually stretches her potty needs too, and remember, she’s a baby and she WILL make mistakes. When that happens, do NOT react strongly with ‘Bad Dog’ attitude–she’s not being a bad dog, she’s being a baby dog. That loud, negative reaction may make her so nervous and worried she’ll start trying to go where she can hide it, or she’ll just not go at all because she’s afraid to disappoint you.
Potty training is frustrating, we know. But remember…these days will pass and the better the experience early on, the easier it will be for the long haul.
3. Choose chews wisely
Puppies chew. Heck, adult dogs chew. It’s what puppies do, though, and a lot of it is because they’re teething (those little puppy teeth are sharp)!
Choose chews that will keep them busy and chewing–it’s great for their teeth and their play time, and also for your furniture.
The more you offer her to chew (bones/antlers/chews/etc) to see what she likes, the better you’ll be able to protect the things you don’t want chewed–shoes, furniture, etc. Again, many pet pawrents turn to crate training so they can help keep the wrong chewing to a minimum, and dogs actually do love their crates as they’re ‘den’ creatures. Still, remember your puppy will want to mouth and chew EVERYTHING so make sure she has lots of things she’s ‘allowed’ to chew to cut down on what she’s not.
4. Reinforce recall
Recall. It’s likely the single most important thing you can teach your puppy, as it could potentially save her from something like getting hit by traffic, or in another dangerous situation. The best way to teach that fast recall that works every time is to make it a HIGH REWARD action.
And we’re talking HIGH reward. You want your dog to come to you instantly and quickly every time you say, “Here!” or “Come!” or “Touch” or whatever your recall word is…and the best way to do that is to teach your puppy QUICKLY that when they respond by coming to you, it’ll be WELL worth it every time. Love on them. Give them the treats. Don’t use the word over and over and over for EVERYthing–you know if your dog is fixated on that little butterfly and their little puppy brain isn’t going to respond no matter what.
Work with them in an enclosed space with no distractions little by little and make sure that no matter what else they’ll learn (or not), recall is a definite.
5. Give your puppy a good gut
Sure, sure…would we even be Bernie’s Perfect Poop if we weren’t worried about your puppy’s gut? But that’s because we KNOW that good health begins in the gut and it’s so important to ensure your puppy’s gut gets a good start.
Your puppy will likely get into all sorts of stuff he maybe shouldn’t, and his gut will be put to the test.
Additionally, you want to ensure that he absorbs ALL the nutrients he can from the food you give because it’s a pivotal time in his life. His digestive tract and microbiome are just getting started on their lifelong obligation to digest food appropriately, fuel his body as it should and keep his immune system and overall health and vitality in check. As science continues to show the importance of good dog gut health, the reality is that you should start from puppyhood.
And that’s why giving your puppy Bernie’s Perfect Poop can benefit.
Perfect Poop is a unique blend of premium fibers, pre- and probiotics and digestive enzymes that start the best foundation for gut health your dog can have. Often, puppies suffer from things like constipation, diarrhea and even Leaky Gut, as they’re weaning from Mama, adjusting to food, taking medicines and vaccinations and of course–getting into stuff.
Perfect Poop strengthens your puppy from the inside out, helping him digest his food appropriately, move it through his digestive tract as it should and exit his adorable little poop chute in just the right consistency. The pre- and probiotics in Perfect Poop will help establish a firm balance of good bacteria to support a healthier immune system and that’s good for overall health too.
And, the more he’s able to absorb all the nutrients he should, the more energy and vitality he’ll have for all that adorable puppy play.
Puppies are the best and the only thing bad we can say about them is that they grow up TOO SOON! But the good news is that with a few simple tips, you can enjoy every second with your little fluffer!