Caring for a puppy

A Guide To First-Time Puppy Parents

Caring for a puppy is a huge commitment and responsibility. By the time you bring your puppy into your household, he is likely eight to 12 weeks old.

Like a baby, caring for a puppy at this age are requires a lot of care and attention as they are just coming out of their infancy having been away from their mother. They are also learning about new environments and requires a lot of care and attention.

Get your household puppy ready to welcome this new member into your family.

caring for a puppy supplies

Just like a baby, welcoming a new puppy requires a list of essentials. Things you need are:

Dog Bed  –  Do get two as one is for use while the other is a stand-by when the other needs a wash.

Crate  –  You need a crate for toilet training.

Food and Water Bowls  –  Like dog beds, get two sets for use and stand-by for when the bowls are washed.

ToysAvoid small toys that are easily swallowed.

Cleaning SuppliesDisposable paper, clean wipes, pet-friendly disinfectant and deodorant.

FoodChoose puppy food that is age appropriate.

TreatsYou need treats for puppy training as a form of reward.

Leash and Collar Get you puppy acquainted to a leash and collar early.

Brush and Comb Grooming starts early so your puppy is well acquainted during a visit to the pet groomer.

crate and caring for a puppy training

Crate training is important in caring for a puppy in his early development. The objective of crate training is to teach a puppy that their crate is his special happy place, a den where they look forward to spending calm, relaxed time there.

Once crate trained, your puppy will voluntarily go in and out of their crate, feel comfortable being locked in occasionally and will be calm inside their den stress and fuss-free.

A crate should never be used as punishment such as leaving your puppy inside for more than four hours at a stretch.

Firstly, ensure the crate is comfortable, safe and positioned away from heat and direct sunlight. The crate should be big enough for the puppy to lie down with their legs out-stretched. Make the crate comfortable and welcoming by lining the base with a mat or bedding.

Make the crate a happy place by hiding treats inside and let your puppy nap in the crate with the doors open. Never lock your puppy in the crate against their will. Feed you puppy inside the crate by having their food bowl at the back.

Close the door only when your puppy is happy to go inside. Reward your puppy with treats for being calm and open the door again. Your puppy may cry during this process so remember to only open the door when they are quiet. Slowly extend the lengths of time with praises and treats.

potty training and caring for a puppy

Using a puppy pad is a great way to house-train your dog inside an apartment, if getting outside takes several minutes. Put a disposable puppy pad, in a corner of the kitchen, laundry room or in the crate.

Watch your dog closely for signals that he needs to relieve himself. When you see your puppy sniffing around, pacing and circling a particular area, immediately carry him outside or place him on the puppy pad.

Confine your puppy to the kitchen area to monitor his behavior, and correct accidents immediately. Block their access to the rest of the apartment with a baby gate, and slowly expand his access as he becomes house-trained.

Reward your puppy with treats and praise when she toilets on the puppy pad. She will quickly link peeing in the right place with a reward.

If you start at eight weeks, many puppies pick up potty training by 12 -16 weeks.

how to prevent excessive barking

Barking in an apartment is a nuisance to your neighbours. If your dog barks at the door. Instead of trying to punish her into being silent, try scattering treats by their bed. Then tell them “go to your bed” instead of barking ferociously at scary people or noises.

Using treats when the doorbell rings and after any guests enter the house can also make them more comfortable when strangers enter, which will also make them safer dogs for your guests.

basic commands and caring for a puppy

Teach your puppy basic commands such as “Sit”, “Stay”, “Come”, and “Look” from eights weeks old, as a game. At around 12 weeks, your puppy’s concentration will be better.


Hold a treat in front of your puppy’s nose then raise the treat over the puppy’s head until their butt sinks to the floor. As this happens, say “sit” and reward your puppy.

With repetition, your puppy will learn to sit and associate it with a reward.


When teaching “stay”, have your puppy sit longer by a few seconds before giving the reward. Stretch out the time your puppy waits to get a treat and say “stay”.

Once the puppy is able to sit still for one minute, take one step away then return to the puppy’s side. Increase the distance between you and your puppy, gradually stepping further and further away, while your dog stays put.


When teaching your puppy to “come”, start by running away from them.

As your puppy runs to you, say “come!” loudly, praise and give a treat when they get to you.


When teaching your puppy to “look”, move a treat from the puppy’s eyeline up to your nose. As your puppy watches the treat say “look”.  Count to ten, praise your puppy and give them the treat. Extend the time your puppy stares before giving them the reward.

feeding your puppy

Always feed a puppy age appropriate foods. A balanced diet is important for a growing puppy and can be offered as wet or dry foods. Choose foods that list meat as the first four ingredients and use the feeding guide on the packaging.

A general rule of thumb, a puppy’s daily food intake should be divided into four portions spread out throughout the day. Reduce to three portions per day when they reach three months old and twice daily feeding when they are six months old.

walking on leash

Start leash training early. Put your puppy on a leash and walk forward.

Continue walking forward, as long as the leash stays slack. As soon as puppy pulls or runs ahead, change direction and call to your puppy to come.

Your puppy will soon learn that pulling halts progress and gets them nowhere fast. They will also learn that walking to heel will get them quicker to an exciting place like the park instead of pulling and resisting.

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