Bringing your puppy home
Puppies don't come with a set of instructions
A new puppy in the house is fun and exciting, but just like a new baby, he doesn't come with an instruction manual. So we've put together a few basic essentials you'll need to know to help you in the early days and weeks.

Love and affection
Your puppy will find the move from his litter to your home exciting, but it can also be quite overwhelming. He'll need lots of attention, reassurance and tender loving care to help him settle in. He'll crave attention, and you must give him as much as possible at this stage. Praise him all the time and call him by his name. Show him you love him, but at the same time, if he does anything unacceptable, stop him with a firm 'NO'

Sounds and Scents
Some puppies miss the familiar smells and sounds of their litter, and if your puppy seems unsettled it may help to use a special pheromone spray called DAP (Dog Appeasing Pheromone) which gives a sense of familiar well-being to your puppy. But always use sparingly and in moderation because it's important for your puppy to get used to his new environment. It may also be useful to play a radio on low volume near his bed throughout the night.

Just like babies, puppies need their sleep, so it's important to provide a warm, quiet place for him to rest in during the day as well as at night. Family life can seem overwhelming for a small puppy and he'll need some time on his own. Put his bed somewhere he will feel safe and secure. Puppies often like an enclosed space to sleep in, so you might opt for a puppy crate. You can put a soft bed inside it and it'll double up as a safe haven when he wants some peace and quiet.

The first year of your puppy's life is the most important. And so is his first food.
When you first bring your puppy home, it's best to carry on feeding him the food he’s been used to. But not all puppy foods are the same; some provide much better quality ingredients than others, so you might want to gradually change your puppy over to a food that your vet recommends. You'll need to do this over five to seven days, your vet will advise you on this, but essentially all you do is mix the new food into her current food in gradually increasing amounts until only the new food is fed.

Puppy food is available in wet or dry forms, and what you choose will largely depend on yours and your puppy's preference. But take care that you choose a food that gives him everything he needs to grow and develop to his full potential. Look for foods that are 'complete'. This means you can feed it without the need for supplements or additional food.

As with our own food, pet food varies in quality, so make sure you read the packaging to see what benefits it offers your puppy. Some foods contain antioxidants to protect the immune system. You should always check that the food doesn't contain any excesses. For example, too much salt is harmful for the kidneys and bladder, and too much calcium may be harmful to bone development. If in any doubt at all - ask your vet's advice.

Whatever food you choose, you'll need a couple of good quality, non-tippable feeding bowls; one for food and the other for water. A feeding mat is also a good idea to protect the floor.

Dry or wet?
Dry food is made up of small biscuits called kibbles. It's very convenient to serve and keeps well. It's also cost effective, as you can buy it in large bags. As long as the food you choose is "complete", it will contain everything your pet needs, with no need to feed any other type of food alongside. If you want to add variety you could feed a complete wet food alongside the dry. But always make sure you check the correct feeding amounts to avoid over feeding.

Wet foods are available in cans or pouches, and a good quality, complete wet food will also provide your pet with all the nutrients he needs. It's a little less cost effective than dry, but many owners like to offer it alongside dry food to provide variety.

Hill's puppy food
Hill's puppy food is specially formulated to make sure your pet gets the right balance of nutrients. It contains the right balance of all the vitamins and minerals to help puppies reach their full potential. It also contains natural DHA for better brain and visual development.
Great tasting and available in both dry and tins, your puppy will love every meal.
A puppy friendly home
Your new puppy and home
You’ve chosen your new puppy, said your ‘goodbyes’ to the breeder and your puppy’s remaining brothers, sisters and mother, and you’re heading for home.
Hopefully, the excitement at the prospect of bringing your new companion home hasn’t made you forget to make some important preparations. That’s because this is likely to be the first time your puppy has been away from familiar sights, smells and surroundings and it’s a very stressful time for him. So in the days before you bring him home, you need to make sure everything is ready, just as you would if you were bringing home a new baby.
Puppy’s bed: Firstly, it’s important to consider where your puppy is going to sleep. Most puppies prefer an enclosed sleeping area to act as a refuge if things become too stressful, so think about getting a crate to put his bed or basket in. Make sure it’s warm, dry, comfortable and draught-free and provide a nice blanket or dog bed to keep your puppy cosy. Now you must decide on the best place for it to go, before your puppy tries to sleep on the sofa. (After all, it’s easier to get into good habits rather than try to change bad ones.) If you use a puppy crate, it’s the perfect place for your puppy to spend some time to get away from it all when life gets too hectic; when he does makes his retreat, remember to tell your family not to disturb him. And make sure his bed is far enough from yours, preferably outside of your bedroom. Don’t be tempted to have your puppy in bed with you while he’s little; it will be hard to break this habit later, and your puppy needs his space as much as you do.
Your puppy at night: A lot of puppies have a habit of crying at night, especially during the first week in a new home, so the warmer you can make his bed, the more comfortable he will feel. Try putting a hot water bottle in his bed, or a cuddly toy that’s safe for pets.
Others in your home
Even if you have other pets in your home, it’s important to let your new puppy explore his new surroundings first. And when you do introduce him to other pets, do so gradually, and make sure you’re around to keep an eye on the proceedings. And when your puppy is introduced to children, don’t let them get too overexcited. See that they respect the little creature and not treat him like a cuddly toy.
Leaving your puppy alone
No puppy, or dog for that matter, should be left alone for long periods of time. Dogs that are left alone for significant periods can develop anxiety and can’t cope with being separated from their owners.
So teach your puppy to tolerate short absences; leave him in a room, close the door and walk away. After a few minutes, go back in but don’t greet him. When you’ve done this several times, extend the absences to 30 minutes. But if he does begin to get distressed, and starts barking, chewing, or scratching at the door, you should shorten the absence period.
Before you leave: Walk your puppy or play with him in advance of leaving so he has a chance to settle down. And shortly before you go, provide a meal, so he’s more likely to be sleepy. And leave him something to chew, to keep him occupied. Some growing puppies will be comforted by familiar sounds, so you could try leaving the radio on, or even record several minutes of your family’s conversation. But if your puppy has growing concerns about being left alone, even for short periods, please ask your vet for advice.
Will your puppy be safe in the garden?
Your garden should be a safe, fun haven for the whole family, and that includes your cuddly new puppy. Many commonplace garden products can be dangerous and sometimes fatal to dogs. Slug pellets are especially toxic, as are several weedkillers, so please, read the instructions carefully and above all, keep these products well out of reach of your pet. If he is unlucky enough to come into contact with something, or you only suspect he has, contact your vet immediately.
Your puppy and plants: Many common plants can be poisonous to pets, and some are fatal. If your puppy is tempted to root out a bulb, for instance and start chomping away, stop him; they’re very dangerous. Here are some other plants that are toxic to dogs, in some cases severely so:-
foxglove, primrose, yew, ivy, rhubarb, wisteria, lupin, sweet peas, poppy, chrysanthemum, laburuheum.
You can obtain a more comprehensive list from the Royal Horticultural Society on 01483 224234.
Your puppy and garden tools: If your puppy is playing in the garden, never use a lawnmower or strimmer as these can cause severe injuries. Never leave tools with sharp blades and points lying around; if your puppy stands on one, he can be badly injured. And to protect you from getting a soaking, don’t leave the hose pipe out for him to chew on!
Your puppy and water features: Make sure your water features and ponds are covered while your puppy is young. He could have trouble getting out of the shallowest water and injure himself or (heaven forbid) drown.
Your puppy and fencing: One of your garden jobs should be to check that your fencing is puppy-proof before he can be let out. The last thing you want is for your new acquisition to get lost or injured on the roads. And if you are using a wood preservative such as creosote, keep your puppy away until it is properly dry, and make sure tins aren’t left open for him to drink from.
Socialise your puppy and give him the best start in life
Socialisation. It looks and sounds like a big, important word. And indeed it is, when it comes to ensuring that your puppy will mature into a friendly, adult dog that’ll live life to the full.
Now that you’ve taken on your puppy, you owe it to him to make sure he grows into a well adjusted dog, happy in the company of people and other animals.
You can’t start socialising soon enough
The benefits of early socialisation simply cannot be over-emphasised, but the good news is, it’s easy and can be fun for both you and your puppy. All you have to do is take him out and about as much as you can and as soon as possible. And with first vaccinations being offered at six weeks, you can take him out of the house earlier than ever before. A word of caution, though, try not to do too much too soon; build up your puppy’s new experiences slowly at first.
Your puppy and other people
It might be stating the obvious, but people are different; different ages, different shapes and sizes. And your puppy should encounter them all. Get him used to strangers, but be careful they don’t overwhelm your new pet in their show of affection.
It’s important that your puppy becomes acquainted with children, too. Even if there aren’t children in the house, get him to meet some outside. One proven suggestion is to take him to the vicinity of a school; children will need no encouragement to make a fuss of your cuddly new charge. But don’t forget that puppies can become tired quickly, so make sure that meeting times with other people are kept quite short, and give your puppy time to rest.
Let your puppy go to the dogs
A crucial aspect of socialisation is the introduction of your puppy to other dogs and indeed, other puppies. However, it’s important that he meets other animals that you know are well socialised; a nasty experience can have a lifelong affect on a youngster.
By being around adult dogs, your puppy will learn to respect his elders, even going so far as being “told off” by an older dog if he gets a little over-excited.
But be careful that your puppy doesn’t become overwhelmed by a bigger, playful dog. The last thing you want is for him to be frightened, so make sure you’re on hand to crouch down to his level and provide a safe haven if necessary.
There’s no reason why your puppy shouldn’t meet other four-legged friends, such as cats, horses and even farm animals. This kind of exposure will pay dividends as your puppy grows into a confident, friendly adult dog.
Your puppy and other places
As part of the socialising process, get your puppy used to a variety of environments, sights and sounds. To a pet that socialises well with humans, this should happen naturally. Getting him used to cities, the countryside, traffic and car travel should be an enjoyable experience for both of you; just remember not to do too much all at once.
If you would like more detailed information about socialising, your vet will be happy to recommend further reading. You might like to consider enrolling on a puppy socialisation class which many vets hold. You can attend when your puppy is between 12 and 18 weeks old.
Out and about
There are so many more opportunities to take your puppy away with you on holiday these days. In fact, in most newsagents you’ll find publications that list holiday accommodation where you and your pet will be made most welcome. You can even take your pet on holiday abroad, thanks to the Pet Passport Scheme (PETS). This means that pet dogs that live in the UK can go to, and return from, European countries without quarantine. But organising a pet passport can take about eight months, so planning ahead is essential.
It almost goes without saying, but whether you intend to take your puppy on holiday at home or abroad, you should ensure he has the correct vaccinations before travelling, and that they’re up-to-date. If you’re in any doubt, then please consult your vet.
Preparing your puppy for the journeyIt’s essential that your puppy is fit and healthy before he travels. However, during long journeys, dogs can become sick and show symptoms of distress. It would be advisable to ask your vet about travel sickness remedies, even tranquillisers if your dog isn’t a good traveller.
And as you’d expect, it’s important to get your puppy used to the car before he travels. Once he’s used to his household surroundings, place him in the car to sleep for half an hour, or allow him to explore the inside. When he’s used to the surroundings, you can take him on short journeys, gradually increasing them over time.
Before you hit the roadYour puppy should be fed well in advance of any travel. If this isn’t possible, you may like to consider putting off feed time until you arrive at your destination. And make sure he’s wearing a collar and tag with your address and contact numbers.
You might like to consider microchipping, too.
Basically, microchipping is an effective and simple way of linking your pet to you, and is a virtual guarantee of you both being re-united if your pets gets lost, strays or is stolen. A simple injection of a tiny microchip the size of grass seed is inserted under your pet’s skin. It cannot be seen but it can be read by a scanner. Your vet will be happy to give you more information about microchipping.
Now that you’re on your wayYour puppy should always be transported in complete safety, preferably in a purpose-built cage safely secured to the car (in the luggage department if you drive an estate car). However, if it’s not possible to put your puppy in a cage, he should be securely placed in the back of the car in a special dog seatbelt or harness. Alternatively, in an estate or hatchback, put him in the space behind a fitted dog guard. But always remember that your pet should be able to stand up and turn around, and sit and lie down comfortably. And please, never shut him in the boot or keep him in the front unless he’s secured.
Give your puppy a breakIf you’re going on a long journey, take a break; stop the car and let your puppy have a drink of water and a little exercise. And if you’re making a short stop, for a meal or the toilet, never leave your pet in a hot, unventilated car; leave it in the shade with a window partly open. And don’t forget: The sun’s position changes throughout the day. Your car may have been in the shade an hour ago, but could be in the full glare of the hot sun now.
Home alone is not an optionYou should never leave your puppy alone for any length of time. According to the RSPCA, more than one million dogs become distressed, noisy and destructive, often messing the house, when they are left alone. So if you’re going away on holiday, or even just for the weekend, please don’t let your arrangements get in the way of your pet’s needs. So plan ahead.
Kennels: Put your dog in a reputable boarding kennel and you’ll be assured of reliable care and attention in a pet-friendly environment run by people who love dogs and know what they’re doing. All they’ll ask of you is an up-to-date vaccination certificate. And make sure they or you have current pet insurance, just in case your pet needs emergency care in your absence.
Your vet will be able to advise upon the best kennels in your area.
Friends: You might be fortunate enough to have friends, or family, who’ll offer to look after your house, and your puppy, while you’re away, and come and stay. But make sure they know what’s involved and that they will get on with your pet. This is an ideal solution should your pet find it too unsettling to be away from home.
Grooming your puppy
All puppies should be groomed daily, and not merely to improve skin and coat condition. Grooming helps to teach your puppy to accept being handled; it also enhances the bond between the two of you. And regular handling will allow you to get to know your puppy’s body. This can be particularly useful as it can help you to detect any health problems in the early months of your puppy’s life.
Get going with grooming
Grooming your puppy should be carried out every day, whatever the length of his coat. This will come as no hardship; most dogs enjoy being groomed and stroked, especially if started early.
With your puppy’s own special brush, start grooming for short sessions, just sufficient to touch him once over his whole body. Gradually lengthen the sessions, and when he accepts what you’re doing and has stood still for a while, stop and reward him. This could be a walk, a game or a meal; it’ll help to make your puppy realise that standing still brings rewards, which makes grooming easier and more enjoyable for both of you.
Tabletop grooming: If you occasionally groom you puppy on a table, he’ll get used to that position, which could be useful when you visit the vet or a groomer.
Sensitive areas: Your puppy’s head area is very sensitive, so be extra gentle when you’re brushing there. And if you notice any discharge from ears or eyes, consult your vet.
If your puppy starts to wriggle, hold him firmly with both hands until he stops. Talk to him and praise him whenever he is still.
Keeping your puppy trim
You might want to trim your puppy’s coat now and again, particularly the hair around his eyes, ears and feet. This is something you could be perfectly capable of doing yourself, but if your breed needs a special haircut or trim to keep him looking his best, ask for advice from a professional dog groomer.
Nails: Your puppy’s nails need to be checked regularly and kept properly trimmed, to prevent nasty snagging and painful tearing accidents. Again, this is something you might feel able to do, but if you’re not quite confident enough, your vet or a professional groomer will do it for you.
If you do decide to cut your puppy’s nails yourself, take care not to cut them too short. The top of a dog’s nail is sensitive, and they could bleed or become painful.
Your puppy’s bath time
The bathing products available for dogs today are almost as numerous as those for us humans, and they’re much better suited to a dog’s skin type than human shampoos. So choose a special dog shampoo that’s best suited to your puppy’s hair type. (Long-haired breeds are more likely to become matted and get dirtier more quickly and more often, and will require frequent bathing.) Take care not to get any soap in your puppy’s eyes while you wash him.
Safe bathing: If you buy a non-slip rubber mat and place it on the bottom of the bath, your puppy is a lot less likely to suffer slips and falls, and it will give him confidence during bath time.
Should you consider a groomer?
Most of the time, with most dogs, you can carry out the grooming yourself - it’s an enjoyable experience that brings you and your pet closer together and you’ll be happy to make time for it.
But if your puppy is going to grow into an adult with a long coat, he’s going to need more maintenance. Hair cuts and trims might be best carried out by a professional groomer. Obviously, you’ll want a groomer who’s going to make the grooming enjoyable for your puppy. You’ll also want to enquire about his or her experience and training, and perhaps see other dogs that have been groomed by them.
If you’re interested in a professional groomer for your puppy, your vet will be able to advise you and make some recommendations.
Seasonal healthcare
Seasonal setbacks: protecting your puppy
Throughout the weeks and months of your puppy’s first, formative year, he’ll encounter a vast variety of experiences, most of them happy and pleasant, but not all. So to help you prepare for the days ahead, here are a few pitfalls to watch out for, and some advice should your pet have the occasional not-so-nice experience.

Christmas: not such a happy time for a puppy
Unfortunately, Christmas could be the worst time to bring a new puppy into your home and life. A new puppy needs extra attention and a stable environment, but Christmas is so busy and sometimes chaotic. Your puppy needs round-the-clock feeding, housetraining and time to be comforted and reassured and this is virtually impossible at Christmas. But if you’re considering having a puppy in the house at this time of year, here are some of the hazards he may face:
·                 ;     Doors left open and people coming and going could allow your puppy to run away
·                 ;     Your puppy will be constantly underfoot and vulnerable to trodden paws or worse injuries
·                 ;     Housetraining will be difficult, with daily routines interrupted by festivities, causing your pet and you, unnecessary stress. Also mid-winter doesn’t provide the best conditions for housetraining
·                 ;     Beware of the additional safety hazards; holiday decorations, gifts, ribbons, wrapping paper and children’s toys. Puppies love bright objects and could end up swallowing one of these with sometimes fatal consequences
·                 ;     Watch out especially for those chocolate tree decorations. It will be very tempting to treat your new puppy, but chocolate is not good for dogs, and too much could be poisonous to him
·                 ;     The same goes for too many titbits from the table, or a kitchen cupboard left open invitingly. You don’t want your day spoiled by your poor puppy’s upset tummy.
·                 ;     Turkey bones could choke your puppy, get stuck in his mouth or tear and cause damage to his oesophagus or stomach. Don’t leave the leftovers lying around.
·                 ;     That crucial period of time for forging a bond between you could be compromised. A puppy needs the best start in life if you’re going to avoid bad habits developing
·                 ;     The holiday activities will impinge upon your ability to supervise interaction between your puppy and your children. The probability of a sick, frightened or injured puppy biting a child is a real one
Fireworks: they don’t work for your puppy
When your puppy (or any other pet for that matter) becomes exposed to the unpredictable bangs, cracks and flashing of fireworks, he experiences high levels of stress and his behaviour can in turn, be unpredictable. Your puppy won’t know what’s going on and will be scared. And these days, fireworks are no longer an annual event, but here are some steps you can take to make your pet’s life more pleasant when the rockets go up.
·                 ;     Create a safe, cosy den area, with plenty of blankets for him to burrow in. It should be as far away as possible from the fireworks, and take him there a few times beforehand; feed him there occasionally, and let him settle there with a toy or a chew. And make sure the den is accessible on the night
·                 ;     Take your puppy for a walk before the display begins. And feed him an hour or so beforehand, to make him feel sleepy
·                 ;     Music played at a moderate level can mask the noisy bangs, but if it appears to make your puppy more stressed, turn it off
·                 ;     Don’t try to soothe him by stroking if he’s looking stressed; this will reward his behaviour and he’ll think it’s okay to be scared. Try not to show your concern
·                 ;     If he doesn’t settle in his den, distract him with a game or a little training, but don’t force it
·                 ;     Think about setting up the TV in a “safe” room and sit with him; normal family company will be soothing
·                 ;     If your puppy wants to hide in a corner or under furniture, let him
·                 ;     Make sure he’s wearing his collar and tag, and is microchipped, in case he runs off
·                 ;     In case your puppy panics, ensure there are no dangerous areas close by, such as glass doors or fires
If you already know your puppy will be scared, ask your vet about the Dog Appeasing Pheromone, a plug-in device that releases calming pheromones into the air. Switch it on in the room where your puppy will spend most time up to two weeks before the fireworks. You can also buy a special CD with fireworks noises, which you could play occasionally to help him get used to the sounds before the big night.

Your puppy at Easter
Easter is the time of year when there’s an awful lot of chocolate around, to say the least. It’s also the time when it’s very tempting to share some of the chocolate with your puppy. In a word, don’t. Tempting though it may be to give in to those doleful puppy eyes, even a few squares of dark chocolate could kill a small dog. The milk chocolate in most Easter eggs can also prove fatal. Give your puppy his usual doggy treats and keep the chocolate eggs to yourself and your family, and everyone will have a happy Easter.

Help your puppy enjoy a safe summer

We all like to spend more time outside when the weather warms up. But summer can be hazardous for your puppy and as he’s unaware of the dangers, he’s going to need your help.

Your puppy will probably love to lie in the sun but you must see that he doesn’t become overheated, or even sunburned. At the hottest part of the day, encourage him to lay in the shade, or keep him indoors. And don’t let him spend too long in a conservatory, either; he should have access to a cool, shady area at all time during hot weather.
White dogs with thin fur and pale ears and/or noses can be particularly prone to sunburn. Your vet will be able to advise on the use of sunblocks and sunscreens if your puppy is vulnerable. He will recommend a non-toxic formulation as dogs will instinctively lick off anything on their fur or skin. If you come across an unfamiliar lesion on your dog’s skin, get your vet to look at it, as it may be skin cancer. If caught early, skin cancers can be removed successfully.

Summer walks: When you walk your puppy in hot weather, carry some water and a bowl. Stop frequently to let him drink and stay cool. Dogs can suffer from heat exhaustion if they’re exposed to extreme heat for too long; if he’s not treated quickly, he could collapse into a coma. If you think your puppy is suffering from heat exhaustion – symptoms include excessive panting and drooling – bathe him in cool water, wrap him in a damp towel, and call your vet right away.

Summer refreshments: In hot weather, your puppy can lose moisture through panting and he’ll want to drink more water than usual. Make sure he’s got fresh water in his bowl and perhaps put an extra bowl outside the kitchen door. But remember, water evaporates quicker on hot days, so keep it topped up. As far as food is concerned, throw away leftovers to avoid contamination by flies, and to avoid food “going off” in hot weather.

Summer parasites:
Parasites abound during hot weather, so you’ll need to look out for fleas and ticks. Check your puppy’s fur regularly, and don’t forget his bedding, too. Your vet will advise you on the best preventative products to use.

Summer sores:
You’ll probably take more walks in the summertime, so check your puppy frequently for cuts and sores which could become infected if they go unnoticed. Also, grass seeds can become deeply embedded in ears, and between paw pads; they can even penetrate the skin and move causing infections. Small stones could also get stuck between your puppy’s paw pads. These can cause problems if you don’t remove them. Get treatment and advice from your vet if necessary. A little extra grooming in the summer will give you a chance to discover any small injuries.

Summer stings: Playful puppies find insects of all shapes and sizes irresistible and will pop any they find on the ground into their mouth. If your puppy gets stung or bitten in his mouth or throat, or you suspect he may be allergic to stings, get him to your vet’s surgery straight away.

Summer poisoning:
Your puppy is more likely to stray into sheds and garages in the summer and who knows what he might stick his nose in. Ensure your garden chemicals are safely out of harm’s way. And keep your puppy indoors if you’re spraying plants, lawns, or sprinkling slug pellets.
If you think your pet might have been poisoned, take him to the vet immediately. And take the packaging with you, if you think you know what he’s eaten. This will help your vet identify the right antidote.
Your puppy is becoming an adult
By one year old, your puppy will be an adult dog. He may still act like a mischievous puppy, but his needs will have changed. Now he's fully-grown, he'll need a grown-up food to provide him with all the nutrients, vitamins and minerals he needs.
Adult dogs don't use as much energy as puppies, so continuing to feed a puppy food could cause him to become overweight. Your vet will be happy to advise you on your pet's diet and recommend a suitable adult food. It’s best to change over to the new food gradually over a 5-7 day period. This way he’ll get used to any change in taste and consistency.
If you do not intend to breed from your dog you should consider neutering. Your vet will be happy to talk you through the advantages neutering has for your dog and will tell you about the procedure and what to expect after the operation.
At approximately 14 months of age, your vet will also recommend a booster vaccination to make sure your dog's immunity from disease is maintained. This is also a good time to make sure your dog is protected from parasites by updating his flea and worming treatments.
Now that your dog is bigger and more muscular, regular exercise is essential to keep him fit and healthy. Exercise doesn’t just keep his body in shape, it also keeps his mind active, healthy and happy.
Early training
The rewards of early training
There’s no doubt that puppies are little bundles of adorable fun, but to make sure they grow up into happy, sociable dogs, they need training. Puppies learn very quickly, so it's important to start teaching them good behaviour as soon as possible.
There are hundreds of books on the subject and you'll find puppy-training courses available in most areas. Your vet will be able to advise you on what's best for your pet and he or she may even run courses themselves. There are many different ways to approach training, but there are some golden rules that everyone follows:
There's no such thing as a "bad" dog
Puppies love to have fun, and this can often include things that you won't like him doing. Chewing the furniture or your shoes, for example. But he doesn't know that this is bad behaviour - he just thinks it's a game. So you'll need to teach him that he's not supposed to do it. If your puppy does something you don't approve of, remove him from the object he's chewing or the area that he's not supposed to be in, and do not pet him or talk to him. Show him objects that he is allowed to chew, or places he's allowed to go and then praise him. This will reinforce to your pet what you consider acceptable behaviour
Just say NO
If there's one word you want your puppy to learn it's 'no'. If your puppy does something potentially dangerous or extremely destructive, you should interrupt the behaviour with a firm 'no'. There's no need to shout, just use a low, assertive tone. Once he stops the behaviour, reward him with lots of praise.
Housetraining: It’s never too early to begin
You should begin housetraining your puppy from the very first day of his arrival. In fact, even before you take your puppy indoors, show him a place in the garden where you want him to do his business, and even encourage him to go there and then. If he does go, give him plenty of praise and attention, but don‘t worry if he doesn’t; things will fall into place with a little patience.
Keep your puppy regular: A regular routine is the most important aspect of early housetraining. Feed your puppy at the same time each day, and make sure you’re with him for up to 30 minutes after each mealtime as this is the time most puppies need to pass faeces. And remember, puppies eat several small meals a day so he’ll need to pass faeces several times, too. So you should allow at least two hours a day for your puppy to go to the toilet.
Exercise helps: During playtime with your puppy, take a break and go outside, to encourage him to do his business. If you introduce a short command when you take him outside, he’ll quickly learn that this means he should go to the toilet now.
Confinement and supervision: These are two important aids in housetraining your puppy. Watch him at all times and if you see him sniffing and circling the ground, lead him outside to his designated toilet area, but don’t pick him up, as he needs to learn to take himself to the door when he needs to go.
When to go: Every time your puppy wakes up, at the end of each meal and after every game, take your puppy outside to the toilet area. When he’s had a successful trip, heap plenty of praise on him.
You can’t always be around: Obviously, there will be times when you won’t be able to supervise your puppy closely and spot the warning signs that he wants to go to the toilet. At such times, put him in a small area with a floor you can wash, or put down an absorbent training pad. But please don’t leave your puppy alone for long periods, as he’ll begin to feel isolated.
Accidents will happen
Toilet training is never going to happen overnight and accidents are bound to happen. What is important at such times is how you react to the situation. You must never punish your puppy, never rub his nose in his “mistake”, shout at him or lose your temper. Clean up after him and try not to leave him alone for so long in future. If you’re not around to supervise him and he gets into the habit of messing indoors, such “accidents” aren’t your puppy’s fault; they’re yours.
The good news and the reward of your supervision and patience will be a happy, housetrained puppy inside four weeks.
Ground rules
Ground Rules 
Pandering to his every need is not a good thing
As your puppy grows, so will his need to assert himself. Puppies often choose mealtimes as a battle ground. But giving in to him is a mistake. You need to make sure he knows that you won't respond to his every demand. You'll also need to get him to accept you and the rest of the family getting on with life around him. For example, puppies can become very territorial and possessive over their food bowl and will make a fuss is approached while eating. This behaviour can become quite difficult and anti-social, so you must put a stop to it. It's not too difficult to achieve, it just takes patience. Follow the steps below and your pup should develop perfect table manners.
Less is more
Put a small amount of food in your puppy's bowl and move away. When he finishes it, go over to the bowl and put in a little more. This will help him to eagerly anticipate your approach.
Keep him happy
You'll know he's happy when his tail starts wagging as you get nearer, but now you'll need to get him used to you approaching while he is eating.
All together now
Now you're ready to put his whole meal down all at once. Stand, or sit near him and add a special treat to his bowl as he eats. Speak to him softly and stroke him as you drop the reward into his bowl. Repeat this once every few meals until your puppy is totally at ease.
The extra mile
Your puppy needs to learn that people around him, particularly small children, can be a bit unpredictable. But he needs to accept that this behaviour is not threatening. You can help him do this by imitating a child's behaviour: try stepping quickly towards his bowl - then drop in a treat. Gently bump into him, while he's eating, or roll toys nearby - anything to cause a distraction, but drop a treat in the bowl to reward him for continuing to eat calmly. Do this every so often, but not at every meal. If your puppy freezes mid mouthful, growls or glares at you, stop and try again another time. If this continues, it's best to seek advice from an animal trainer.
Puppy psychology
Probably the most important thing you can do for your puppy is to learn about the psychology of your new companion. An understanding of dog psychology can help you to live happily and harmoniously with your dog. We’re not expecting you to become a dog psychology expert, neither is it necessary. But a little understanding will go a long way, and if you need help and advice before a small problem becomes a large one, your first port of call should be your vet.
Reading your puppy’s body language
Dogs have always communicated with each other by using body language. This involves facial expressions, body postures, noises and scents. Dogs will use their mouth, eyes, ears and tail to express emotions. And one of the reasons why they make such good pets is the way they’re able to communicate with us humans. Your puppy will see you as an extension of his own canine family, and will be extremely quick to interpret your moods and intentions. So by learning how to interpret his body language, you can, in turn, interpret your puppy’s intentions.
Big dog: If your puppy is feeling brave or aggressive, he’ll try to make himself larger by standing tall, with his ears and tail sticking upright. He’ll also push out his chest and raise the hair on his neck and back (his hackles). He might also growl and wave his tail slowly.
Small dog: On the other hand, a submissive dog will try to make himself appear small and act like a puppy; that’s because an adult dog will ‘tell off’ a puppy but not attack him. So submission will take the form of a sideways crouch near to the ground, his tail held low but wagging away. He may also try to lick the face of the dominant dog or human. He may even roll on his back.
Your puppy’s tail: now there’s a tale. Most of us recognise that tail wagging is a sign of friendliness and pleasure. However, exaggerated tail wagging, as we’ve mentioned, can be seen in submissive dogs, as well as those with very short tails. But the tail can indicate other moods, too. If it’s waved slowly and stiffly, that’s an expression of anger; clamped low over his hindquarters means your pet is afraid. An anxious or nervous dog may droop his tail but wag it stiffly.
The normal way a dog holds his tail varies from breed to breed but generally speaking, a tail held higher than 45 degrees to the back expresses alertness and interest.
Reading your puppy’s face: Your puppy’s face will tell you so much about his mood; whether he’s frightened or anxious, excited or playful, and many more emotions.
Pricked up ears, for example, indicate alertness or listening; flattened ears on the other hand, could indicate pleasure or fear. So to read his mood correctly, you must look for other body language. If your dog’s eyes are half closed, that’s a sign of pleasure or submission; when they’re wide open, that’s a sign of aggression.
Let’s look into your puppy’s eyes: In the wild, dogs stare at each other until one backs down or makes a challenge. So you should never attempt to outstare your puppy, especially if he’s nervous, but regular eye contact will reinforce your relationship and reassure him.
Is that a smile? Submissive dogs and some breeds such as Labradors often open their mouths in a kind of lop-sided “grin” and indeed, it is a sign of friendliness. But when lips are drawn back tightly to bare the teeth, that’s aggression, make no mistake.
Play, please: If your puppy wants to play, he’ll raise a paw or bow down and bark to attract attention. Or he might offer up a toy, or bound up to another dog to get him to join in a chase.
Your body language: If you want to improve communication with your puppy, you can improve upon your own body language. For example, crouching down with arms opened out is a welcome sign. But towering over him and staring is a sign of threat. Your puppy will watch you to read your body signals more than he will listen to you, and he’ll quickly learn what you’re feeling even without you speaking.
How your puppy learns
Everyone wants a puppy who’s well behaved, happy and sociable, but you’ll only get from him what you give. That’s why it’s very important to start training early. Indeed, training will have probably started before you’ve collected him; your puppy may have been taught some basic obedience as well as toilet training. But now it’s over to you.
Your puppy will learn very quickly, so it’s important that he learns how to behave straight away. It might be stating the obvious, but your puppy cannot learn without being taught, so from day one, you’ll need to teach him how to behave.
Good boy: Dogs learn by association, so if your puppy does something good, reward him. Then the action is much more likely to be repeated. But the reward must be linked to the action, so he must be rewarded quickly, within a second or two. The reward itself can be food or praise, or both; it can even be a game.
Keep your teaching session short, say two minutes, but have five or six sessions a day. And train your puppy in different environments; in and out of the house and on walks, but make sure there aren’t any distractions around, to give your puppy his best chance of understanding your requests.
Not so good boy: Your puppy needs to be taught what he can and can’t do. Chewing, for example is part of his exploratory behaviour (click here for article on chewing) and he’s not born knowing what he can or cannot chew. You need to ignore such unwanted behaviour, but that doesn’t mean you should shout at him or smack him or glare angrily at him. You just pretend he’s not there.
However, some types of behaviour may be too dangerous to ignore, such as chewing an electric cable. Again, shouting or smacking isn’t the answer; you must interrupt with the word “No”, get his attention and reward him when he stops and pays attention to you.
Understanding barking
Barking is a totally natural aspect of a dog’s behaviour and you must expect your puppy to grow into a dog that will bark. It is unrealistic, even unfair, to think you can train your dog to stop barking, but you, your family and neighbours will be happier if you can bring it under control.
“Stop barking”: It’s hardly surprising many people have barking problems with their dogs; dogs have no idea whether barking is something good or bad. That’s because, sometimes when a dog barks, he is ignored; at other times he is shouted at to stop; then again he may be encouraged to bark if, for example, there’s a suspicious stranger nearby. So to help your dog know the rules, here’s a helpful rule to start with; barking is acceptable until he is told to stop. “Stop Barking” should be considered as a command for obedience rather than a telling off. You should let your dog bark two or three times, praise him for sounding the alarm, then say “Stop Barking” and hold out a treat in front of him. Your dog will stop straight away because he can’t sniff the treat while barking; after a few seconds, give him the reward. Gradually increase the time when the barking stops to the giving of the reward, and you can stop your dog barking for as long as two minutes in just one training session.
However, if you become worried or concerned about excessive barking that you have no control over, you should seek advice from your vet about next steps, such as specialist training or therapy.
Whining: You should understand that going to comfort your puppy when he whines will actually make things worse. He’ll think he’s being praised for whining, and get into the habit. In fact, you can help him learn to stop by not going back to him when he whines. By ignoring your puppy, and only giving him attention and praise when he stops whining, he’ll learn that whining and whimpering is not the way to solve things.
Collar and lead
Although it will be a few weeks before you can walk your puppy outside on a lead (prior to vaccination, you should carry your puppy so as to avoid the risk of infection), you can get him used to a collar when he’s had a few days to settle into his new home.
What type of collar?
Your puppy’s first collar should be one with a buckle, and definitely not chain or choke collars. When you put it on, you should be able to get two fingers between the collar and his neck.
When to put it on
Choose a time when something pleasant is about to happen to your puppy, such as feeding him, playing with him or taking him outdoors. You must be prepared for him to try and get rid of it at first by scratching at it. But you should ignore this and, as soon as he stops, lavish praise upon him. After a short time, divert his attention with another pleasant event and take the collar off and put it back on again later.
Getting accustomed to his collar
It should only take a few days for your puppy to get used to his collar. When he begins to ignore it, you can leave it on all the time. But there are two things to remember at this time; firstly, your puppy will almost certainly grow at a tremendous rate, so check his collar every few days, to make sure it isn’t too tight and restricting. And secondly, your puppy can so easily get lost in his early weeks, so it’s important that you attach an identification tag. Besides, the law says that all dogs must wear a tag with their owners’ contact details on at all times when in a public place.
Later on, when your puppy gets used to being handled, begin getting him used to being restrained by his collar. Hold his body with one hand, to stop him trying to pull away from you and twist your fingers in his collar. Try to ignore his wriggling around and, when he stands still, praise him. By gently restraining him like this, he’ll learn and accept that he can’t get away if he’s being held by his collar.
Time for the lead
Once your puppy has got used to being restrained by his collar, you can attach a lead. So that he gets used to the feel of his lead, let him drag it around during a few play periods. You can pick up the lead now and again but keep still when you do. That way, your puppy will learn that being on the lead means he can’t go wherever he wants to because he’s attached to you. Once your puppy has accepted that he’s restrained, give plenty of praise before letting him go again.
How do I introduce a new food?
If you are already feeding another puppy food and wish to change to a Hill’s Science Plan, it's best to switch gradually over a 7 day period. Each day, decrease the proportion of the food currently being fed and replace it with an equivalent amount of the Hill’s food, until at the end of a week only the Hill’s Science Plan ™ puppy food is being fed, in the recommended amount. Always give food at specific mealtimes (3-4 a day to start with, two a day later).
Can I feed my puppy wet and dry food?
Yes, it is possible to mix wet and dry foods. However, because wet foods (e.g. canned foods), are relatively more expensive to feed, most owners prefer to feed puppies of the larger breeds solely on dry foods.
An easy way to mix wet and dry foods is to feed half the recommended amount of each type of food.
Keeping your puppy healthy
Keeping your puppy in tip top health 
You're the best person to keep your new puppy bouncing with health and vitality. Not only are you responsible for his day-to-day health care, but you're also the person who knows him best of all. This makes you the ideal 'eyes and ears' of your vet between visits.
Mouth and dental care 
Dental disease is common in dogs so one of the best things you can do for your puppy is get into the habit of regular teeth cleaning. You can buy canine toothbrushes from your vet as well as special toothpaste. The latter is important. For a start, your puppy will prefer the flavours (think meat rather than mint). Secondly, human toothpastes foam too much.
Problems you should report to your vet include bleeding gums or foul 'dog breath.'
Whilst on the subject of your puppy's mouth, don't make the mistake of thinking it's just human babies who can suffer with teething. Puppies teethe between 3-7 months of age and it can cause them considerable discomfort. You can help alleviate this by providing your puppy with specially designed teething toys to chew on. Some can even be put in the freezer and so help to numb sore gums.
Adolescent chewing is different to teething chewing since it occurs once all the needle-like puppy teeth have fallen out. Adolescent dogs often have an uncontrollable urge to chew and there are different theories as to why. Whatever the cause, if you want to safeguard your slippers, it's a good idea to provide your puppy with things he's meant to chew!
Ear care
You should wipe the insides of your puppy's ears once a week using a separate piece of cotton wool for each ear. Don't use cotton buds which can easily damage the ear. Your puppy's ears should be free of excess ear wax or discharge and should not smell unpleasant.
If you suspect your puppy has any ear problems such as an infection, canker or ear mites, don't hesitate to take him to your vet.
Signs of a healthy puppy
A healthy puppy has bright eyes, a shiny coat and is full of energy.
Remember your puppy can't tell you if he's poorly, so it's up to you to keep a close eye on him. Worrying signs include a sudden loss of appetite, changes in behaviour, rapid weight loss or gain, any unusual lumps or bumps, vomiting or diarrhoea, or any problems with your puppy's eyes or ears. Trust your instincts and always call your vet if you're in any doubt.
Puppy stress
It may not be a physical condition but seeing your puppy exhibiting signs of stress can be equally distressing.
It's normal for a puppy to cry and whimper the first few nights he's in your home. Remember, he's left his mum and his litter-mates and everything is very new. Give him heaps of love and reassurance and make sure his bed is as cosy and warm as possible.
Once you're past the initial stages, other factors can stress your puppy. Separation anxiety is a common problem, for example. Once again love and reassurance are the best medicine and if the problem continues or seems severe, talk to your vet.
Prevention is better than cure
Your puppy should have started on a course of vaccinations before he gets to you and your breeder or rescue centre should give you a vet's certificate to prove this. Keeping up your puppy's vaccination schedule is on of the most important things you can do to keep him healthy. A regular worming programme is also important, as is flea control.
And, of course, one mustn't forget the role of exercise and a healthy diet. Hill's Science Plan Puppy Formula is specially formulated to meet the needs of growing puppies and give them an excellent start in life.
Meet the vet
You've chosen your puppy, now it's time to choose his vet
One of the first things you'll need to do once you've got your new puppy home is make a vet's appointment for him. But how do you find a vet who’s right for you? Recommendations from family and friends can be helpful but, in the absence of those, you'll need to trust your instincts. Do the staff seem friendly, knowledgeable and helpful? Is the surgery convenient for you to get to and does it have good provision if your puppy happens to be unwell outside of surgery hours? You should also find out whether the surgery specialises in certain areas, or if your vet will be able to refer your pet to a specialist if needed.
Ensuring the first visit goes smoothly
Your first visit to the vet is likely to be quite stressful for your puppy. He'll have to travel in the car, come across new people and new smells and put up with a certain amount of poking and prodding.
You can help in a number of ways. The first and most important is to be calm yourself. Next, make sure your puppy is safely restrained in the car either by using a travel crate or a puppy harness and a seatbelt. It's also a good idea to pack some toys and treats to reward your puppy for good behaviour. That way he'll see that going to the vet isn't all bad!
Vaccinating your puppy against life-threatening diseases is essential and is one of the most important things you can do to keep him healthy.
Your vet will provide you with an exact schedule of vaccination but expect your puppy to receive his first vaccinations at around eight weeks and his next at 12 weeks of age. He'll need to be kept inside and away from other dogs until 7-10 days after that.
To maintain protection, annual booster shots must be given from then on, though some are only required every other year. Your vet will advise you on this.
There are two types of worms that will infect your puppy: roundworms and tapeworms, so you’ll need to start treating him as soon as possible. Your vet will advise you on a regular worming programme. Because some worms can also infect people, it is important that you stick to the worming regime recommended by your vet.
If your puppy's harbouring unwanted visitors, he'll probably scratch a lot. You may also notice flea dirt in his coat when you're grooming him. You're unlikely to see the actual fleas though which are red-brown, about 2-3mm long and move very fast.
If you think your puppy does have fleas, seek advice on how to treat him from your vet. Modern flea preparations are very effective and you should be able to get rid of the fleas pretty quickly. You'll also need to thoroughly treat your home and your vet will provide you with a suitable spray or powder.
Puppy first aid
Hopefully your puppy will never seriously hurt himself but, being the high energy little bundle that he is, he's bound to get himself in a few scrapes now and then and it's useful to have a knowledge of basic first aid.

Road Traffic Accidents

If your puppy has been involved in an accident, you should call your vet straight away. Your puppy may be in shock and could react unpredictably. So approach him slowly and carefully. If possible, lift your dog onto a blanket (or use the mat from the car foot well), then get him to the vet as quickly as you can. If he cannot be moved, you may have to ask your vet to visit the scene.

Bones, Sticks, Balls
Bones, sticks and balls can get lodged in or across the roof of a dog's mouth. If this happens, you may notice your dog pawing at his mouth, or he may find it difficult to close his jaws. You might be able to remove the object by hand or with tweezers, but if not, you'll need to get your vet to do it. He or she will use sedation to make removal easier. As always, prevention is better than cure, so never let your dog play with small balls and avoid throwing sticks.

If your puppy gets burned by hot water, oil, chemicals or ice, he'll need immediate attention. Minor burns can be treated at home - clean the affected area with a mild antiseptic and apply a soothing cream or gel such as aloe vera. Severe burns will need veterinary attention, so take your puppy to the vet straight away.

First Aid Box

You should always keep a few basic items on hand for emergencies, such as: cotton bandages, cotton wool or lint to clean wounds, mild pet-friendly antiseptic to wash wounds and a pair of tweezers for removing stings or objects from the mouth.

Cuts and wounds
Puppies may suffer from cuts or wounds particularly to their feet if they run on something sharp like broken glass. Clean the affected area with as dilute disinfectant such as Hibiscrub and apply a bandage if necessary. Consult your vet if you cannot stop the bleeding or the wound is severe.

Fractured or pulled-off claws
These can be very painful and tend to quickly become infected. Bleeding is often profuse. If possible try to apply a bandage to the foot and then take your puppy to the vet as antibiotics are often required and the claw may sometimes need to be clipped back under sedation or anaesthetic.

Dog bites
If your puppy is unlucky enough to be bitten by another dog, it's always worth getting him checked over by the vet. Make a routine appointment if the bite or bites are minor and make sure your pet is seen as an emergency if they're severe.

Stings and insect bites

If your puppy has severe swelling around his mouth, nose or throat that could cause breathing difficulties due to a sting, you should get him to the vet's immediately.

If the sting or bite isn't causing any serious problems, you can alleviate your puppy's discomfort by applying a cold compress to the affected area.

If your puppy is obviously in pain and can't put any weight on his leg you should take him to the vet immediately to rule out the possibility of a fracture.

In less severe cases, check the pad for thorns, embedded grit or cuts and look for damaged nails.

A fit can be recognized by sudden, uncontrolled, spasmodic movements, often with champing of the jaw, and salivating. A fitting dog will usually fall onto its side and not be aware of its surroundings.

If your puppy does have a fit, don't try to restrain him. Instead, try to remove any furniture or hard objects around him he could hurt himself on. Turn off all stimuli such as lights, radio, television, washing machine etc, and darken the room so he can recover quietly.

You should always consult your vet if your puppy has a fit.

Ear problems
Your puppy's ears should be shiny, pale pink inside and free from wax or discharge. They should not smell unpleasant.

All ear problems require the attention of a vet.

Eye problems
If your puppy has any problems with his eyes such as a scratch or conjunctivitis, you should see your vet. Try to stop your puppy rubbing his eye if you can.

Heat stroke
The best advice as far as heat stroke is concerned is that prevention is better than cure. Make sure your puppy doesn't stay out in the sun for too long on hot days and that he's not out in the midday heat.

If, despite your best efforts, he does get mild heatstroke, cool him down as best you can with wet towels or a fan, get him to drink plenty of cool water and make sure he gets lots of rest.

Serious heatstroke will require the attention of a vet.

Puppies are very inquisitive and there's always the possibility your puppy will get hold of something he shouldn't. Like heatstroke, prevention is better than cure and you need to puppy proof your home and garden to ensure he can't get at things that could be harmful like slug pellets, bleach or human chocolate. If you suspect that you pet has digested something that he should not have done then always bring the packaging to your vet as this will help him identify the problem and help him to source an antidote.

If the worst does happen, see your vet as an emergency.
Vaccinating against diseases
Health problems that are vital to vaccinate against
Vaccinating your puppy can help to protect him from several major diseases. The following diseases may sound scary, but if you make sure your puppy gets all the right vaccinations, you won't have to ever worry about them.
Canine distemper
Symptoms include coughing, diarrhoea, high temperature, vomiting, sore eyes and a runny nose. Sometimes the nose and foot pads can become hard and cracked and, in severe cases there can be fits, muscle spasms or paralysis. The disease can be fatal.
Canine Parvovirus
This is a highly contagious disease characterised by bloody diarrhoea. Other symptoms include vomiting, lack of energy, depression and a high temperature. Puppies under 6 months old are particularly susceptible to the Parvo virus which can be fatal.
Canine hepatitis
Symptoms of this include coughing, abdominal pain, seizures, vomiting and diarrhoea. Eyes may appear blueish (hepatitis blue eye). Puppies under twelve months old are most susceptible to this serious and potentially life threatening liver condition.
This is a bacterial disease that can be picked up from contact with the urine of infected animals. One form of Lepto can be picked up from the urine of other dogs, another, also known as Weil's disease, is picked up from rat urine. Symptoms include depression, high temperature, severe thirst, lethargy, increased urination, abdominal pain, vomiting, bloody diarrhoea and jaundice. If your puppy becomes jaundiced you may notice that his skin is yellow – this also be identified in the white of his eyes or inside his cheek. In severe cases, this disease can prove fatal within a few hours. This form of Lepto can be transmitted to humans too.
Canine parainfluenza virus
This is a highly infectious disease that causes kennel cough. This is a dry, hacking cough that can be so severe that it may sound as if the dog is choking
Health problems you can't vaccinate against
Of course, even a vaccinated puppy can still encounter health problems now and again. Here are some you may come up against:
In the majority of cases diarrhoea is just a passing inconvenience. Your puppy could suffer from it if he's overly excited or nervous for example or if he's somehow got hold of something unsuitable to eat like the contents of the kitchen bin! However diarrhoea can be a symptom of serious illness too and you shouldn't hesitate to take your puppy to the vet if you are at all concerned. Always take him to the vet if the diarrhoea lasts longer than twenty-four hours, has blood in it, is accompanied by other signs of illness such as breathing difficulties or if your puppy becomes lethargic or ‘floppy’ as there is a risk of dehydration in puppies with diarrhoea.
Your puppy is bound to vomit occasionally and, most of the time, he'll just need a little TLC. Like diarrhoea though, vomiting can be a symptom of serious illness and you should always take your puppy to the vet if the vomiting lasts more than twenty four hours, has blood is it, is projectile or is accompanied by other signs of illness. Again, keep an eye out for the signs of dehydration as this can happen very quickly. Above all, trust your instincts and take your puppy straight to the vet if you are at all worried.
Ear infections and mites
Even if you're very conscientious about regularly cleaning your puppy's ears, he may still suffer from ear infections or ear mites from time to time.
Healthy ears are shiny, free from discharge or wax and pale pink inside. They do not smell unpleasant. If you are concerned about your puppy's ears or if he seems bothered by them (perhaps he keeps scratching his ears or shaking his head), don't hesitate to take him to the vet.
Coming into season
Managing your female puppy "in season"
If your puppy hasn't been spayed, she'll come into season for the first time at around 5-8 months. Unless you want to breed, there's no benefit for a puppy to come into season and many owners decide to have their puppy neutered before this happens. This is because the cycle, which lasts for 21 days, can cause a big change in your pet's everyday routine. When she’s in season she’ll be very attractive to male dogs, and if you’re not careful you may end up with a litter of unwanted puppies.
The signs that she is ‘’in season’’
You may first notice that she is discharging small amounts of blood from her genital area, which is sometimes called ‘spotting’. You might see her continuously licking that area, a sure sign a puppy’s “in season
How to manage the situation
For a start, unless you want your puppy to be a magnet for male dogs, you'll have to keep her confined for the whole time she's in season. If you do take her out in public, you'll need to be very careful to keep her on the leash and under control, and try to keep her away from male dogs. Your dog's hormones may cause her to be very frisky during the cycle so she may not be as well-behaved as usual.
Dental Care
Tooth Development
By three to four weeks of age your puppy’s temporary teeth, or milk teeth, will start to come through. They have 28 milk teeth in total. At around 3-4 months the milk teeth will start to come loose and fall out. They’ll be replaced by their permanent teeth.
Puppies should lose their milk teeth before their adult teeth emerge. If your puppy’s teeth are still in place when an adult tooth begins to show, you’ll need to get advice from you vet.
The first permanent teeth to come through are usually the two centre teeth on the top jaw, and the last are the big corner or canine teeth in the top and bottom jaw. Most puppies will feel very little discomfort but may salivate more when the permanent teeth come through.

The average dog's mouth has 44 teeth. There are usually 22 on the top and 22 on the bottom. These teeth are divided into 8 upper and 6 lower incisors, 4 canines, 16 premolars, and 4 upper and 6 lower molars.
Dental Problems
Because bad teeth are very common in dogs, now's the time to start paying careful attention to them. Check your pet's teeth regularly, at least once a week, and look out for early warning signs; these include:
·                 ;     Bad breath
·                 ;     Bleeding gums
·                 ;     Build up of tartar and plaque on the teeth
Brushing your dog's teeth every day will go a long way towards preventing dental problems, so it's a good idea to start straight away. Ask your vet to recommend a dog toothpaste (human toothpaste is not suitable) and tooth brush.
How To brush Your Dogs Teeth
Firstly make sure he's securely on his lead.
Position yourself and your puppy, so that you can have easy access to your puppies mouth.
Put some toothpaste on your finger and allow him to lick it off then start by gently massaging it onto his teeth.
Once he's used to this you can start using a dog toothbrush.
Gently pull back his lips and cheeks to gain access to the premolars and molars.
Brush in a circular motion, and be sure to brush where the tooth meets the gumline.
Try and get to the very back teeth, where teeth problems are most likely to develop.
It is important to keep your puppy calm and relaxed by praising him throughout.
Although this task may seem daunting initially, it becomes easier with practice and if your puppy gets used to it early in life it will become a simple task for you both.

As well as tooth brushing, there are special foods available that you can use to help keep your puppy’s teeth and gums healthy when he becomes an adult, like Hill’s™ Science Plan™ Oral Care. Specially formulated large dry kibbles are especially designed to wipe the teeth clean, helping to keep your pet's teeth free from plaque.
6 month health check
Time for a health check
At six months, it is advisable to make a vet’s appointment for your puppy so that he or she can give her a thorough health-check. Your vet will want to make sure your puppy is on track with his development and growth, so will check his weight and provide a general health assessment.
Calm puppy
Before you set off to the vet's, put your puppy on a secure collar and lead. And if you're travelling by car, make sure he has a safety harness on. Try to encourage your puppy to go to the toilet before you set off, and take a poop scoop and bag with you just in case.

By now, grooming, training and playing with your puppy will have made him enjoy being handled, but take along some tasty treats to encourage him to behave at the vet's. This will reassure him and help him learn that a trip to the vet can be a positive experience, for him and for you.

What to expect
Your vet will weigh your puppy to make sure he is growing at the correct rate and advise you if any changes to his feeding amounts is required. During the check your vet will look carefully at your puppy’s eyes, ears, paws and teeth. By this age your puppy’s adult teeth should be coming through. His baby teeth will usually fall out naturally to make room, but if this is not the case your vet will make a recommendation on what needs to be done. Your vet will also check with you what de-worming and flea control regime you have in place, and will recommend any future treatments that might be necessary.

What should I be feeding?
Your vet will be interested in what food you are feeding your puppy and will advise you on any changes that may be necessary or recommended. He or she may recommend that you switch to a high quality food like Hill’s™ Science Plan™ Puppy.

Feel free to ask questions

The 6 month check-up is a great opportunity to ask your vet any burning questions you might have. If you are not planning to breed from your puppy, you could talk to him or her about neutering. This simple procedure is one of the best things you can do for your puppy's long-term health. If you have a male puppy, any territorial habits, including the tendency to want to roam and fighting with other dogs will be prevented. In female puppies, neutering helps reduce the risk of womb infections and mammary tumours.

Something else that you might consider is micro-chipping. This tiny, invisible device is easy to fit and will give you the peace of mind that your puppy will be easy to find if he gets lost.

Pet insurance
If you haven’t already, now’s a good time to consider pet insurance. It can be reassuring to know you’re covered for any health problems your puppy might have in the future. Just make sure you read the small print before you buy, and check it’s the right policy for you.

Quelle: Hill’s Science Plan

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