1 The commitment of bringing a puppy into your home is a serious one that will last the entire lifespan of your new pet. Do all you can to ensure you’re starting out on the right foot by investigating the breeder or shelter before committing to taking on one of their animals. You also need to make sure that the entire family is on board to share the duties of a new puppy.
2 Be ready for your puppy’s homecoming. A bed, collar and lead, water and food bowls, food, appropriate puppy treats and toys are essential from the moment the puppy enters your home.
3 Get your home puppy-ready by blocking off any areas that they should not have access to and safeguarding items from sharp teeth. Making a safe space for your puppy, with comfortable bed, toys, water and food will aid them in their transition.
4 If at all possible, it’s best to have a few days with the puppy to help them through the challenges of the changes and allows for bonding to begin. See if you can arrange a couple of days off from work or arrange a pet sitter to help.
5 Enrol your puppy in a reputable puppy school that uses positive methods of reinforcement to allow socialisation to continue even after leaving the litter.
6 Avoid an upset tummy by continuing to feed the same food that the puppy has been eating (unless it is truly not acceptable to you). Once the pup is settled, if you need to switch to another brand, do so gradually over one to two weeks.
7 Start training as early as possible. And this doesn’t mean through the puppy school – every interaction at home is an opportunity to train your puppy. Have treats ready to reward the behaviours you want to encourage.
8 Find a vet that is close by and one that you are comfortable with, then keep up their vet visits to ensure the best start to life.
The Pet Food Industry Association of Southern Africa (PFI) is a non-profit, industry association made up of industry players who commit to the same principles and ethics of the PFI: to uphold safe, quality pet nutrition, which has the best interests of the pet as its sole purpose. A list of members is available on www.pfisa.co.za
Get It Magazine (Ballito/Umhlanga) May 2018