Your New Family Member
It is important to make an appointment at the vet for a health check as soon as possible.
This appointment usually consists of a thorough check of your puppy, advice regarding worming, your puppy's diet and your puppy's first vaccination. Another appointment will need to be made for the second vaccination in two to four weeks time depending on age.
A period of isolation from other dogs will be necessary from the first appointment up to and following the second vaccination. Your vet will advise you on this.
Vaccinations need to be topped up annually with a booster given at the annual health check up.
A second vaccination is available known as Kennel Cough, this is given once annually for dogs that are boarding or living in areas that are known for high levels of kennel cough i.e. Dun Laoghaire, Dublin.
1st Vaccination 6-8 weeks of age
2nd Vaccination 10-12 weeks of age
Training and Socialising
Training and socialising your new puppy can be an exciting and pleasurable experience and it is an important one.
Start by calling your puppy by its new name this is the first step.
After having all his necessary vaccinations, it is time to take your puppy out into the world, take care at first to find quiet areas away from busy roads and noisy traffic as these could make `your puppy nervous. You should build up your puppy's exposure to these new environments slowly.
For your own peace of mind and the safety of your puppy, it is essential that they learn to walk on a lead and collar sooner rather than later and should be done within the confines of your home and garden.
Start with a soft collar without a lead placed around the puppy's neck, it is best to allow two fingers between the neck and collar, for approximately ten to fifteen minutes at a time. Repeat this throughout the day for a few days. Once your puppy is comfortable with their new collar, you can attach the lead and encourage them to follow you. This will probably be greeted with a look of confusion, pulling, or even laying down for the first few times, but with encouragement and positive reinforcement, in just a short period or time your pup will be walking quite happily on their lead.
Once your puppy has gained in confidence it is a good idea to take him out and about with you to get used to other dogs and the noise of traffic and people. Local training classes can also be useful for socialising and putting you on the right track too
If you own a car the sooner your puppy gets used to it the better. Start with short trips to the local park building up to longer trips as time progresses. He will need a harness t keep him safe in the car, this will attach to a seat belt and keep them from moving around the car and distracting you while you drive.
House training should start the moment your puppy arrives in its new home and newspaper training is usually the best way to behind this.
Place sheets of newspaper on the floor leafing to an outside door, over a short period of time slowly reduce the sheets of paper until only one remains next to the door, then outside. You play a big role in helping your puppy to be clean in the house so do be vigilant at all times and offer praise and encouragement when they get it right. The most usual times that a puppy will need to relieve itself is on waking from sleep and after finishing a meal, but all puppies are different and you will soon get to know the characteristics of your own.
It is a good idea to groom your puppy regularly from an early age, this will get him used to being handled and examined. Use a soft brush when they are young and be gentle, make it a pleasant experience for the pup. Examine the ears, eyes, and anal region and get the pup used to their paws being held. This is something they can sometimes be uncomfortable with when older but will often need their nails cut, being accustomed to having their paws handled form a young age will make it a less stressful experience for both the pup and the groomer or vet!
You should consider your dogs breed when thinking of grooming. A lot of breeds will need frequent grooming i.e. Bichons need grooming every 8-12 weeks while a German Shepard may only need grooming every four months. Starting your dogs professional grooming experience begin at six months of age.
Things to avoid
It is essential at this time not to overdo your puppies exercise, his bones are still soft and to much muscle build up can lead to deformity of the bones. Do not allow your puppy to walk up and down stairs and jump off of high places, as this can cause serious damage to his bone that may not become evident until later in life.
Please also read our section on neutering .
If you have any questions or problems with your puppy , contact your vet where a staff member will be happy to help.