What To Expect in The First Year of Puppy Parenting

What To Expect in The First Year of Puppy Parenting

A whirlwind of learning and growth! Your puppy's first year is crucial for shaping them into a well-adjusted adult. Their curious minds soak up everything – sights, sounds, smells – as they develop social skills and learn important commands. It can be a challenging time, but with patience and plenty of love, you'll build an incredibly special bond with your puppy. Let's dive into some key milestones, training tips, and potential hurdles to navigate during this exciting first year.

The first 1-4 weeks at home

Basic first-day training

Welcome home puppy! Now what happens?

Here are some handy tips to get you started…

Sniffing intently around the ground may mean your puppy is looking for somewhere to go to the loo. If you notice this, take your pup to their designated loo area and give them lots of positive reinforcement during the process. You should also always praise them when responding to their name.

Understanding separation anxiety: how to comfort your puppy

Dogs can experience separation anxiety at any time, but being weaned from their mother and taken from the comfort of their siblings can be a significant adjustment for them and understandably so. 

There are many ways you can do to help your puppy through this transitional period, like giving them plenty of playtime, making their space comfortable and safe, and keeping them busy with high value healthy treats and toys.

When picking up your pup, we recommend scheduling time off work or have someone at home for the first few weeks to help your new puppy settle in and create a routine. 


4 weeks to 6 months at home

Time to start training

Training your puppy is all about consistency. Toilet training is essential, but you can also start teaching basic commands like sit, lie down and shake.

Start socialising your puppy so they get used to lots of different people. Once they are fully vaccinated (usually at about 16 weeks), you can take them to the local park to explore and meet other dogs. We also suggest enrolling them in a puppy preschool to help with training, basic commands and of course socialising.

First bath

Some puppies love bath time, while others aren’t as keen on it. Take your time and be gentle.

Depending on your pup’s lifestyle, we recommend giving your dog a bath at least every one to two months, and always using natural skincare products that won’t itch or irritate their sensitive skin. A silicone dog shampoo brush is also a very handy tool for your dog's bath time.

Once they’re comfy with bath time, it’s a great chance to trim your pup’s nails and check their body for any health concerns.

6 months onward

Out-of-house leash training

Leash training is a skill — sometimes it feels like your puppy is training you! The trick is to keep them on a short leash in the beginning, which encourages them to walk beside you, not in front. As they get the hang of it, you can loosen the leash. Make sure you reward them when they heel at your side. Retractable leashes are a great way to manage walking time and work on leash training.

Vet checks

Make sure to take your puppy to the vet for a health check-up and a recommended weight gain assessment. This is also a great time to discuss your pup's nutrition and portion sizes, as well as their flea, tick and worming treatments, and ensure they aren’t having any adverse reactions.


Socialisation and sensitivity training

Build daily play opportunities with other dogs into your puppy’s routine to encourage safe interactions and playtime.

At this age, dogs can often develop certain fears, like small children. Try desensitising them gradually by starting off small, and slowly increasing the scariness of one characteristic. Incorporate positive reinforcement like treats and praise alongside this process until they become more comfortable.

If your puppy fears the car or has a noise phobia, create an area where they feel safe and secure, surrounded by their favourite toys and blankets, and even some calming music can be helpful. 

Here is a helpful Puppy Essentials Checklist when bringing home a new puppy plus links to all our recommended online stores:

Beyond the Checklist: Preparing Your Home and Your Heart

With your puppy shopping spree complete, let's get your home ready. Puppy-proof your space by tucking away electrical cords, stashing away tempting shoes, and blocking off any forbidden zones. Next, establish a routine for feeding, potty breaks, and playtime. Consistency is key for a happy and well-adjusted pup.

Remember, puppies are little explorers with boundless energy and a penchant for chewing. Be patient with potty training mishaps and redirect bad behaviour with chew toys and positive reinforcement. Most importantly, shower your pup with love and attention. This is the start of a beautiful journey together!



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