An intriguing phenomenon occurs in the days and weeks following the holidays: neighborhoods are packed with families on their evening walk…with a new puppy in tow. Vets get slammed with new pet mom and dads, eager to get their little furballs checked. And store sales for basic puppy gear—food, adorable bowls and plush squeaky toys—goes through the roof.
Yup, it’s the post-holiday pet craze, and it’s a real thing. But in the midst of all the excitement and new pet squeals, many new pet owners forget about a lot of the do’s and don’ts of the early days. You know, the practical stuff like protecting your furniture, training them and getting that new pooch adjusted to the kids.
Good thing we’re here to remind you. Read on for a roundup of our favorite tips for caring for that new Christmas pet. Most of these tips apply to new puppies, but many can go a long way to making any new pet feel more at home.
Give Them Time To Process
Just like a new baby, you’re going to be pining for new puppy snuggles. But try to practice a little restraint—after all, your puppy has just entered an entirely new world! The days are likely overwhelming for him, so follow his lead. If he goes into his crate, give him time to himself and allow him to stay for as long as he wants.
Warning: No Bladder Control
No, really. You probably know you need to take your puppy out for potty breaks often, but remember it’s a biological limitation. Puppies simply don’t have bladder control yet. That means that they won’t know when to go, or that even little bouts of excitement can cause them to have an accident. To combat this, get into the habit of playing with them outside, or taking them outside for a break at least every 20 to 30 minutes, and right after every meal. You may feel like you’re overdoing it at first, but the diligence will pay off (and save your carpet).
Introduce Them To The Kids Slowly
The kid-puppy introduction is a two-way street—you want to avoid injuries and bad feelings on both sides of the table. Toddlers can be especially challenging. They walk funny; they’re unpredictable; they’re infinitely curious. They want to touch (and tug!) on everything.
This will be a learning process. Work with your kids on talking quietly around the puppy. Teach them to be gentle, to have boundaries. If you can, get them to sit before they’re allowed to interact with the puppy. It will force them to think about their actions and slow down.
Socialize The Heck Out Of ‘Em
There’s a lot for your new pet to learn at home, but the world beyond your walls offers just as much education. This includes playing with kids, meeting neighbors, car rides to the vet or the store. Every interaction with a new person marks a step forward in the critical socialization process. Allowing your pooch to meet a range of people—of all ages and personalities—rounds out his perspective on the world and allows him to sail through a variety of circumstances.
Hit The Vet, Pronto
Don’t delay your first visit to the veterinarian; try to get in the door within a few days of bringing home your new pet. You’ll want to immediately get a sense of health issues and any special care that may be required. Read the small print in your contract—many purchase or adoption contracts state that an exam is immediately required.
Train Them With The Scollar App
You’ll need to think of a training strategy. Just a reminder (okay, a shameless plug!): the Scollar platform includes free training tutorials. Count on us to walk you through the tough early days, or feel free to simply check in if you get stuck along the way.