Brought to you by Maxi Zoo.
Bringing home a new puppy is a major event.
There’s so much for you (and them) to learn and so many unfamiliar situations to adjust to that it can be tempting to dive right in.
Experts believe the first 16 weeks are the most important in forming a puppy’s character. While that doesn’t mean that it won’t be capable of learning some new tricks later in life, it’s still an excellent time to feed your puppy’s brain with important information.
The key is to take it slowly and be consistent, leaning on expert advice when things get tricky. We asked the pet pros at Maxi Zoo to tell us the tried-and-tested tips they share with all their new pet owners in-store.
1. First things first…
“Before you start, first give your little pupil one or two days to get acquainted with its new home,” explains Maxi Zoo Midleton manager Kieran Mangan.
“Make sure it has a fixed place of its own, where it can rest undisturbed. Even effervescent puppies need their peace and quiet and should not be constantly bothered by members of the family. Give it one or two toys appropriate to its age. That is more than enough.”
2. Potty training: The basics
As a general rule, puppies need to go after eating, drinking, playing and sleeping.
If your puppy becomes unsettled indoors and starts sniffing around in circles, this means he wants to go out. Even if your puppy seems very relaxed, you should go out with him at least once every two hours (including at night!) for the first few days. Show him the place where he’s allowed to go to the toilet and choose a particular word to say to him each time, “pee-pee” for example. Lavish your dog with praise and rewards for doing his business.
In case a mishap does occur in the house, get rid of it without commenting on it and treat the area with a special stain remover, which will neutralise the smell. This will ensure your dog doesn’t think this is his own personal toilet area due to the smell of urine.
3. Choose the right canine cuisine
You’ll need one feed bowl and one water bowl; an anti-slip base makes eating easier for impatient puppies. Then it’s time to choose a pet food that’s designed for your breed.
“Juvenile dogs require extremely high-quality food specially formulated for the puppy’s needs (such as Select Gold Junior),” said Kieran.
“In case of large breeds, the food ration should be determined using growth tables. Even the best quality food can cause growth problems if you feed too much of it. The three important components for healthy growth are protein, minerals and energy.
4. Walkies: Keep your strolls short at the start
A puppy is not yet as strong as a full-grown animal, so it’s important that your puppy’s first walks are short.
“Even if your frisky companion appears by no means tired you should not demand too much of them,” said Kieran.
“Also the puppy should not be walked for more than five minutes at a time for each month of their age. Jogging or running with the bicycle should only be started when the dog is fully-grown. Generally, a three to four-year-old dog can be walked three times daily for a maximum of around 15 minutes.”
5. Help them to make friends
Introducing your puppy to people or other dogs early can help them become more comfortable around strangers later on in life.
“The dog’s socialisation phase takes place from the fourth to sixteenth week of its life. During this time the dog should get to know as many other dogs as possible, but should only have positive experiences with them,” said Maxi Zoo’s Ballincollig store manager Mark O’Donnell.
So when is the right time to meet some new buddies? “It’s when your puppy has settled into his new home,” said Mark.
“Your little friend will need to orientate itself to its new environment. With our four-legged friends, that can take a week to two weeks.”
6. Monitor nap time
“Dogs and cats spend a lot of their time sleeping, but staying in all day and sleeping can really affect their personality. We recommend regular walks and daily playtime to solve or prevent behavioural problems,” added Mark.
Ask about the Maxi Zoo New Pet Starter Kit
If you need some advice on keeping your pet active, happy and healthy during the lockdown, Maxi Zoo’s in-store pet experts are always on-hand to help.
There’s even a special deal for new pet parents; next time you’re in-store, ask about the Maxi Zoo New Pet Starter Kit. Customer can get a 10% discount when they purchase a product from each of the six product groups – nutrition, sleep, play and training, hygiene and care, safety, travel. *Terms and conditions apply.