Caring for your new puppy can be challenging. Before you bring your puppy home, make sure you have already taken care of some very important things.
Hide electrical cords behind furniture.
Pick up anything you don't want eaten.
Hide cleaning products, pesticides, insecticides, anti-freeze, and rat and snail baits.
Check to make sure the yard is enclosed completely. Look for loose boards and clearance under fences.
Close off pools or ponds.
You should prepare a place that will be just for him. One of the best investments you can make is to purchase a crate. It will greatly ease the process of house breaking, and it will give you a safe place to leave him when you can't watch him. You will want to protect your home from puppy, and puppy from the home. The crate should be big enough for him now and later.
If he is a large breed dog and will grow quickly you will probably need to block off part of the crate while he is small. A crate shouldn't be too big or it defeats one of the main purposes, which is to work with his instincts of not wanting to soil where he sleeps. If he can get far away from an ‘accident’ he will have little reason to ‘hold it’ for very long.
His crate should always be a happy place to be. You can give him treats there, feed him, give him favorite toys in there. This should NEVER be a place he's put when scolded. A very young puppy might benefit from an alarm clock wrapped in a towel, or a warm bean bag to curl up by. Just make sure he won't chew on anything that is in his bed.
There will be plenty of things that you won't want the puppy to do, so make sure you have plenty of things around that it is alright for the puppy to do. There should be all kinds of toys and chew things available. Stay away from rubber toys that are easy to chew up and swallow. They pose a threat if ingested. Plush squeek toys are much more advisable, as well as tennis balls, tug toys, and nylon bones. . . but not rawhide, this also can create huge problems when swallowed.
You should schedule a first puppy exam within a few days of bringing your puppy home. You will want to have him checked over to make sure he is healthy and free from congenital defects. The veterinarian will look for juvenile cataracts, hernias, a cleft palate, deformities, heart murmurs, parasites, and general body condition. These are things you want to rule out right away.
If your puppy has a clean bill of health you will probably start him into his series of vaccines and deworming at this time, depending on his age. Puppy should have his first set at six weeks old and will continue about every three to four weeks until he gets his rabies shot at four months old. Be sure to follow the schedule as closely as you can, a break in vaccines can render him much more susceptible to viruses as his immunity will be compromised.
Your puppy should NOT go out in public until he has completed his vaccines. Parks or anywhere other animals might go are potential hazards as viruses will be prevelant.
Deworming is also a very important part of the necessary schedule of things to do. 98% of all puppies are born with intestinal parasites, and you probably won't see them so don't be fooled. Intestinal parasites create many problems such as malnutrition, a supressed immune system and poor body condition. They will not allow him to grow well or be very healthy so be sure to deworm him at least two times, two weeks apart.
Unless you plan to show the puppy, you also need to schedule either HER spay or HIS neuter by the time the puppy is six months old. There are serious medical and behavioral concerns that associated with un-altered dogs. Problems range from aggresion and territorial marking to ovarian, mammary, uterine, or prostate cancer. Pyometra is another dangerous condition which effects un-spayed female dogs. These are potentially fatal and completely avoidable conditions so be sure you make these are some things you keep from happening.
Feeding is another big question that new owners have. The best plan is to either continue with what the breeder was feeding or slowly wean to a high quality food of your choice. Make sure you look for one that is formulated for puppies, and look for quality. Pet stores are usually good places to look, avoid the grocery store aisle. A young puppy should eat 3-4 times a day for the first couple of months, and decrease to twice by six or eight months.
He should be allowed to eat about as much as he wants in 10- 15 minutes at a time. Don't leave left over food down. It will attract animals or bugs, and it will spoil. Make sure puppy eats on a regular schedule so you can monitor his appetite. It is often the first thing to go if he gets sick. Don't just leave food out.
There are often special conditions to consider with giant breeds of dog and with toy breeds of dog, make sure you avoid adding anything to their diet unless you clear it with the vet first. Also, when you decide on a food, stick to it, changing his diet can wreak havoc on his digestive system.
Mostly, remember enjoy him. There will be plenty of time to learn all the rules. Be consistent with him and set clear expectations but remember he is a baby and it will take time. Love him, play with him, talk to him and make sure he knows he's special. He will always have your back.