Bringing home a new puppy is an exciting time for all the family to enjoy. However preparation and patience is important for your new furry little friend. Here you can find friendly tips and advice for your new pup!

At what age should I bring my puppy home?

Ideally, puppies should stay with mum and the litter until at least 8 weeks of age. By this stage, it should also have had its first vaccination, including a vet check, and a microchip implanted.

  • If this is not the case or you are not sure, we recommend you bring in your puppy, with any paperwork you received, to see one of our vets.

Must have puppy supplies

  1. Water and food
  2. Sturdy, non-spill and non-chewable bowls

  3. Toys for your puppy - We recommend toys that “make puppies think/work”, such as a Kong.  Avoid toys with small parts that your puppy could choke on.

  4. Good-quality food, appropriate for age/breed

  5. Collar and lead
 - The sooner your puppy gets used to these, the easier it will be to train them.

  6. Grooming tools
, such as shampoo, comb and nail trimmers
  7. A quiet and warm place they can call their own - This can be a bathroom, a laundry or a corner of the lounge room. It needs to be easy to clean and puppy proof. The area should be away from light and noisy evening activities.

In this area, you need:

  • a bed for your puppy. You may want to consider crate training
  • a spot for its food and water bowls
  • a play area
  • a toileting area (newspaper or puppy pads can be used) 

And don't forget an appointment for vaccinations, worming, desexing and microchipping.

How do I restrain a puppy in the car?

Your puppy may not have been in the car before, so please keep it well restrained.

If it is a long ride, please make scheduled stops. It is not yet safe for your puppy to wander around public areas, so consider carefully where you plan rest stops.

On arrival home, introduce your puppy to your backyard. Allow it to take some time to sniff the surroundings. Carry some yummy treats so that if it toilets, you can offer instant reward with treats and pats.

What food do I feed my puppy?

Your puppy will need to be fed between 2 to 4 times daily, depending on age and breed. Fresh, clean water should be freely available to your puppy at all times.

We recommend a premium puppy food designed for your type of puppy. The following brands are excellent quality nutrition for your puppy: 

  • Hill’s Science Diet
  • Royal Canin
  • Advance (Australian made)

Your puppy can have both dry and canned food, all dry food or all canned food. The most important thing is to work out how much your puppy should have for its size and age per day.

If you have trouble with this, please contact us or visit the clinic for a chat. It is useful if you can bring in the food packet that you are using for accurate advice.

We recommend that your puppy gets fed a large part of its daily food in a treat toy, such as a Kong. This way, your puppy spends at least some of the time you are away entertaining itself by trying to get to its food.

Puppies do not need dairy in their diet. But if you are keen to offer some milk, there are dairy-free puppy alternatives available.

How do I settle my puppy at night time?

The first few nights will be an adjustment for your puppy.

It is best to try and keep your puppy awake in the evening. After some fun play time, dinner and a trip outside for a last ‘wee’, put your puppy to bed. You may consider giving your puppy a favourite chew treat/toy to take to bed.

This routine should mark the end of interacting with your puppy for the day. Even if your puppy cries or barks (a little), you should avoid giving it any attention. The more consistent this routine is, the faster your puppy will learn to settle down for the night.

If you have trouble settling your puppy, please contact us.

Top Ten Training Tips for Puppies

  1. Set up for success - Train in an area with few distractions. Train before dinner or breakfast so your puppy is willing to work for their reward.
  2. Be consistent with your commands - Use the same tone of voice and the same words.
  3. Be clear - Use simple, one-word commands said clearly. Don’t use long sentences.
  4. Reward good behaviour - If you reward good behaviour, you increase the chance of that behaviour being repeated. Food is an excellent reward for a puppy.
  5. Ignore unwanted behaviour - Ignore bad behaviour, so it isn't repeated. Punishing your puppy for bad behaviour confuses them and may lead to them avoiding you.
  6. Socialisation - Allow your puppy to meet as many other new people and animals as possible before they are 16 weeks of age.
  7. New experiences are positive - Reward your puppy when they are well-behaved around new things.
  8. Short training sessions - Your puppy has a 3-second attention span. Keep your training sessions short and frequent.
  9. Listen to your puppy - If your puppy is anxious they can't focus on learning. Watch this video about puppy body language.
  10. Join puppy pre-school - Puppy pre-school is an excellent way to socialise your puppy in a safe and friendly environment, while learning basic obedience.

Does my puppy have behavioural problems?

There are two ways to classify problem behaviours in puppies.

A problem behaviour is a natural behaviour that is unacceptable to you for a particular reason.

Common problem behaviours include:

  • jumping on people
  • barking
  • toileting in inappropriate locations
  • digging
  • chewing objects
  • play biting

Problem behaviours are normal dog behaviours, but because they are expressed in an inappropriate way, they can cause a lot of issues.

Problem behaviours can be resolved through training and environmental management. We have a range of handouts to help your and your puppy with problem behaviours.

True behavioural problems are abnormal behaviours that are damaging to your puppy’s health.

Some behavioural problems include:

  • noise phobias, including fear of thunderstorms
  • separation anxiety or a fear of being left alone
  • obsessive compulsive behaviours, such as tail chasing or pacing
  • aggression towards other dogs or people

True behaviour problems can be treated with a dedicated behaviour modification plan. Some dogs may require medication to help with their behaviour problem.

If you think your dog has a behaviour problem, please contact us for more advice or to book a behaviour consultation.

More information

For more information, please contact us at Glen Iris Veterinary Hospital & Cattery.

We are conveniently in the City of Stonnington and Glen Eira. The pawfect location for pet parents living in Glen Iris, Malvern, Toorak, Kooyong, Armadale and surrounding areas!