ENVIRONMENT

Your puppy’s new home will take some getting used to - for your puppy and your family! Allowing time for your puppy to adjust to their new environment is crucial to set a foundation for good behavior and habits. Be sure to create a space for your puppy to call their own such as a crate, pen, or designated bed area to help reduce stress and anxiety while your puppy adjusts to their new home. You can prepare the rest of your home for your puppy’s homecoming by puppy-proofing your house: secure trash cans, ensure that all electrical cords are out of your puppy’s reach, put away any chewable items (like shoes and purses), and restrict access to your home and slowly introduce your puppy to new spaces under your supervision. Setting these boundaries and limits can help your puppy explore their new environment in a controlled manner.

Check out our printable checklist before bringing your furry new member of the family home!

Pro Tip: If your puppy is not used to crates, leaving it out to let your puppy explore on its own and get used to it over time is best.

BATHING

Acclimate your puppy to good hygiene practices while they are impressionable and easy to handle. Creating these habits will make hygiene less stressful for you and your puppy in adulthood. 

Be sure to use lukewarm water and give treats and lots of upbeat affirmations while bathing your puppy to help them associate bath time with a good experience. Avoid your puppy’s eyes, nose, mouth, and ear canals to prevent irritation. At three months old, it is time to find the right shampoo and conditioner for your puppy’s coat. Some breeds require more oils and minerals in their bathing products to promote healthy skin and coats. 

Bathing your puppy too frequently may strip the natural oils from their coat which acts as a protective layer aiding in skin irritation prevention. Resisting the urge to bathe your puppy more than once a month can help  keep their coats and skin healthy and reduce itchiness!

Pro Tip: Instead of using a shower head or spray nozzle, use a cup to pour water over your puppy to reduce overstimulation. Remember, air drying is best! 

GROOMING

Introduce your puppy to new grooming tools like brushes, combs, and nail clippers by showing them the tool, allowing them to sniff the tool, and following up by giving them a treat. Repeat these steps a few times with new grooming instruments until they seem comfortable with the tool in your hand. Begin to use the tool for a short period and reward their good behavior with a treat. For example, after introducing a brush to your puppy, brush for a few short, slow strokes along their back and reward your puppy for any good behavior they demonstrate while being brushed. Slow introductions to new grooming instruments can help your puppy develop positive relationships with tools and getting groomed. 

Pro Tip: If cutting your puppy's nails at home, cutting small portions at a time is best. This helps distribute the pressure and avoids causing any discomfort.

DENTAL CARE

Brushing your puppy’s teeth regularly is a critical part of helping maintain their health into adulthood. Brushing your puppy’s teeth while they are young will make the process much easier and have long-lasting health and behavioral benefits for a lifetime! We recommend brushing your puppy’s teeth on a weekly basis if possible and maintaining this hygiene habit throughout adulthood. 

Pro Tip: Your puppy will go through a teething stage just like human babies. Freeze bottled water with some treats or fresh vegetables such as carrots with it. Cut off the plastic and let your puppy play outside with this frozen treat. It helps numb the gums causing comfort. 

EXERCISE

Daily physical and mental exercises are key for a puppy’s growth and development (and to burn off some of that excess energy!) but since their bones are still growing, it is important not to over-do it. Playing games with your puppy like tug-of-war, fetch and hiding treats can provide both physical energy-burning exercise and cognitive stimulation. 

Since puppies typically have more energy than adult dogs, but are still developing and growing, it is best to take your puppy on short walks throughout the day and and spend short periods of time playing with your puppy several times per day. This will help reduce bursts of energy and allow their little bodies the rest they need to  grow!

Pro Tip: Wait to walk your puppy on public ground until all of his/her vaccines are complete (Parvo can live in the soil for up to one year).

SOCIALIZING WITH HUMANS

Socializing your puppy with members of your family and other humans is instrumental to training your puppy to become a well-adjusted and safe dog in adulthood. Puppies who are not introduced to other humans can experience anxiety, stress, and fear in adulthood when involved with humans they don’t recognize. 

You can begin socializing your puppy as early as 3-weeks old. The best way to introduce your puppy to anything new is slowly + gradually! Introduce your family and friends one person at a time by having them approach your puppy slowly with treats on-hand as rewards for good behavior. Be careful not to over-stimulate your puppy with too many people and/or introducing them too quickly.  If your puppy shows signs of fear or aggression (which can mean they’ve been over-stimulate), take a step back and begin the process over again at a slower pace. Allowing your puppy to adjust to new people at their own pace will help them adapt in a less stressful manner so they learn new friends are good (and usually come bearing treats and belly rubs!). 

Pro Tip: When introducing children to your puppy, make sure they are calm and seated allowing your puppy to approach them at their own pace. This allows your puppy to build confidence and reduces stress.

LEARN MORE ABOUT OUR FOODS FOR PUPPIES

Our veterinarian-formulated foods are designed to meet and exceed the unique nutritional needs of puppies. Every batch of gently-baked COAST+RANGE foods is made in the USA with high levels of quality animal protein and no synthetic vitamins, minerals, or amino acids. We test every batch we bake to ensure we meet or exceed AAFCO requirements for growth and reproduction of puppies (including puppies of large breed dogs - 70 lbs or greater as adult dogs).