Puppy Care and Training Advice from the Pros

Dr. Sheldon and Purina Pro Plan team up to give you expert puppy care tips

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No company is as committed to a pet’s health and well being as Purina. So when they asked us to join them for a doggy blogger event at Purina PawsWay in downtown Toronto, we grabbed our in-house veterinarian, his pug, and our cameraman, and off we went!

While Dr. Sheldon happily gave some expert tips and advice to new puppy owners in attendance, PawsWay’s trainers ran these adorable dogs and their excited parents through exercises for early learners. As everyone was having a great time, we could already see the puppies’ progression, quickly adapting to new routines and learning new commands. Of course, with lots of Purina Pro Plan on hand, every puppy was performing their heart out and happily enjoying their rewards.

With eighty-five years of research and innovation under their belts, Purina Pro Plan has developed products that are built around the overall health of our pets. To take things a helpful step further, Purina has launched MyPuppy.ca to give new puppy owners a leg up with support from experts plus free products and coupons to start your puppy off on the right foot.

Because there’s so much to keep in mind when you get a new puppy, we’ve compiled an easy checklist with the help of our Veterinarian, Dr. Sheldon, and the experts at Purina Pro Plan. We hope you’ll pass it along to anyone you know who has embarked into the wonderful world of puppyhood!

Puppy proof your home

There are a number of things you should think about before letting a puppy loose in your living space. The most important: poisonous substances, garbage and harmful waste. Keep all cleaning supplies and medications out of reach and in sealed containers. Also a good rule of thumb is if you don’t know, Google it!

Find a great veterinarian

Review our top 5 tips for choosing a veterinarian. Building a trusting relationship with your vet clinic is one of the best things you can do for you and your pet.

Choose a trusted diet

Your vet is the best person to talk to about your pet’s dietary needs. Purina Pro Plan has a great selection of real meat options that have been specially designed to increase the vitality and longevity of a pet’s life.

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Set up a routine

All trainers will tell you that the easiest way for a puppy to learn is by establishing a routine! Start them on one early and you’ll be sure to see results with each phase of your puppy’s growth.

Can you swing it?

Many people don’t realize how expensive owning a pet can be. Since pets are meant to increase our overall happiness levels, there’s no sense in getting a puppy only to become stressed out at the financial aspect of pet ownership. Do your research first!

Vaccinations

Many adoption services take care of vaccinations on their end. Otherwise it can be a bit pricey so be sure you know what you’ll need to spend before bringing home a new family pet as you definitely want it to be as safe healthy as it can be.

Exercise

If you’re taking on an active breed, make sure you have the time to dedicate to giving it the exercise it needs. This can be a really positive thing in your life, but you have to stay committed! Dog walkers are another great option but be sure to go with a reputable service. This is another instance where talking to people at the dog park is your best option.

Deworming

Ahh, puppy life. This is just one small issue your puppy may have and something you should anticipate having to deal with. Don’t stress! Just know what to look for and be prepared.

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Chewing and biting management

Like babies, puppies teeth. But eventually those cute puppy bites will start to hurt not only you but your bank account (furniture is expensive!). It’s best to teach them early that some things are meant to be played with and other things (especially your skin) should not be chewed on.

Microchip your pup

We never want to think of the worst case scenario, but if it ever happens, you’ll be glad you did. Microchipping your puppy could easily save a lot of heartache in the future and we highly recommend it!

Be social

Your puppy needs to learn how to get along with other dogs and other people early on. Incorporate trips to the dog park as part of your training to get them used to dogs of all sizes. Also invite friends over to get to know your puppy! The more they socialize, the calmer they’ll be.

Use Technology

There are great sites and apps that can help you to better manage your puppy. We like MyPuppy.ca which gives you access to great freebees, allows you to track important appointments and vaccination schedules and even store photos of your puppy as he grows.

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Spay/Neuter

Bob Barker was onto something. Spaying and neutering your pet isn’t cruel, it just makes sense. You’ll find your dog is better behaved and more relaxed for it.

If your city requires registration be sure to do so

Do you know if dogs need to be registered in your city? If you don’t know, best Google it! This will ensure you avoid fines and could help you find your dog in the worst-case scenario.

Take your puppy to a proper training school

Ask around at the dog park for a reputable trainer and then look them up online before making a commitment. This is the easiest way to know you and your puppy are in good hands.

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Look for a dog park near you that has a separate small dog/puppy area

Great for puppies just learning to socialize and safer too! This way you can slowly introduce them to larger dogs and eventually, the dog park world is yours!

Consider using a command clicker

Clickers are a proven tool in getting a dog’s attention. You don’t have to use it for long but it speeds up the training process if used correctly.

Focus on positive affirmation rather than punishment

Puppies quickly associate good behavior with positive affirmation. It’s a more enjoyable training process for you both and even though it may take some dedication and patience, the benefits are worth it!

Always carry healthy treats that your puppy loves

Hand in hand with positive affirmation is treats! You’ll want to make sure you always have them handy because for puppies, training never really stops.

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Don’t stop training after obedience school

If you stop using training commands for a prolonged period of time, your pup can quickly slip into some bad habits. Be sure to continue to use the protocol that you learned together throughout your dog’s life. A great tip is to teach them a new command monthly. This will keep their mind sharp and ensure they stay well trained.

Be consistent

If they’re not allowed on the sofa, don’t let them up on the sofa! Don’t let something small slide and expect to be able to enforce it later, you’ll make it that much harder for yourself and that much more confusing for your puppy. Keep things consistent and you’ll find that training will only get easier with time.

Use Biodegradable waste baggies

These are widely available and just make sense!

Tackle bad habits from an early age

Every good trainer will give you homework that will make your home life easier if you tackle it head on. Things like barking at visitors and begging at the table are habits that will be near impossible to break if you let them slide at an early age.

Get a portable water container

Dogs can easily become dehydrated and it’s good to be able to give them water on the go. Remember that if you’re thirsty, your dog probably is too.

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Make exercise a priority

There are many health benefits to pet ownership but the biggest is the added exercise in your routine. Get your puppy used to a daily walk or jog at an early age – you’ll both reap the rewards!

Provide lots of cuddles and affection

Puppies need to feel safe and loved. If they’re raised with affection, they’ll be there for you when you need it back. Plus who could resist cuddling a puppy!?

Give (and get back) unending  love

There really isn’t anything like the love we can share with our pets. Make them a part of your immediate family and enjoy all the happiness they’ll bring to your life.