Bringing Up Baby: What they didn’t teach you in obedience class…

There are many common questions asked about raising a new furry child, and we hope to give you some easy answers to teach good manners and have a happy home.

It is very important to get your pup used to having its feet, ears, and mouth touched.  Teach them early in life not to be scared of pulling on toes or having your fingers in their mouth.  Grooming, as well as health care, will be much easier for you in the future, and it will help desensitize them to tugging, pulling, or pestering from children.

Nail trims are very important to start young and do frequently.  This keeps the vascular part of the nail, known as the “quick,” trimmed back and prevents trauma.  Shorter nails will also reduce wear on your floors or furniture.  There are 2 types of nail clippers: guillotine and shears.  Use whichever style works best for you, but I find that the shears are a little better on thick nails.

It is a good practice to clean their ears early and often, especially droopy-eared pups.  Moisture and bacteria can get trapped in ears and can lead to infection.  Pet stores carry many good cleaners but look for ones with a drying agent in them.  A drying agent wicks away excess moisture and keeps you from having to dig deep into the ear canal, which can risk damage to the eardrum.

Lastly, brushing your pup’s teeth is the best and easiest way to have good dental health.  Start with doggie toothpaste (found at your veterinary clinic) on your finger and gently rub it on the outer aspect of the teeth.  It’s ok if they end up licking it off your finger – they are still getting used to it. Once you and your puppy are comfortable with this, use a small toothbrush with toothpaste (a child’s toothbrush works well) and go through the same motions.  You should brush your puppy’s teeth 4-5 times weekly to prevent tarter build up.  Any less than that, and you might not be making much of a difference.

Just like human babies, these furry kids need lots of love and attention. Start as soon as you can with this simple but very important training.