New Puppy? 28 facts all dog owners should know…

Bringing home a new puppy is an exciting yet overwhelming occasion. What do you need to know as a new puppy owner?

Here’s a list of 28 must-know facts you should know if you’re buying or have brought home a new puppy.

  1. If you notice your dog scratching his ears, it may not be fleas. Itchy ears, yeast, or scratching in general can be an issue with the dog food fed by you or the breeder, or it could even be ear mites. Check your food, and if in doubt – check with your vet.
  2. Many dogs are mildly allergic to perfumey scented shampoos. Consider using a mild oatmeal based shampoo when bathing your dog or you may end up with an itchy pup!
  3. If you notice your dog having an unusually foul odour, don’t assume he or she is not clean. He may have an ear or skin infection, or again this could be a dietary intolerance. The smell of infection is somewhat comparable to vomit and mildew.
  4. Dogs naturally like to play keep-away better than fetch. You’ll need to train your dog to play fetch, but not keep-away.
  5. Most dogs really don’t like to play dress up. Sorry. (Though there are exceptions to this rule)
  6. Some dogs need their anal glands expressed or else you will witness a “scooting” behavior. This is where they rub their backsides on the ground (usually your favourite rug). It may be diet-related, such as poor nutrition or fibre-related. Expressing anal glands is a simple procedure which can be done by most groomers or your vet. Probiotics may help prevent scooting.
  7. Dogs with deep wrinkles need to be washed daily as dirt can build up leading to odour or infection.
  8. Dogs don’t understand pointing. They focus on the tip of your finger, not the item you’re pointing at.
  9. Just like people, dogs have phobias too. Some examples of phobias we’ve encountered include thunder, stairs, hair dryers, water, lawn mowers, vacuums, balloons, and buses.
  10. You may think your dog’s racist if he barks at specific people (especially in today’s culture!). When dogs bark at strangers it is often because they are unfamiliar with their body type or skin colour, and the uncertainty makes them uneasy.
  11. Not all dogs are born swimmers. Some dogs need to be encouraged to swim. Some breeds are more natural swimmers than others.
  12. Body harnesses actually encourage pulling. While they may seem like they give you more control, the pressure points on a harness make your dog respond by pulling forward.
  13. Dogs dislike being bored and easily get into trouble when left to their own devices. Think of creative ways to keep your dog’s mind active.
  14. Dogs need mental stimulation as much as physical stimulation.
  15. Dogs often react differently to human males and females.
  16. Dogs can know you as much by scent as by eyesight (if not more!), and you can help them feel secure when you leave by providing a soft object that has your scent on it. (A sweatshirt or blanket you sleep with)
  17. Social status is very important to dogs and many canine behaviours are determined by their attempts to establish their roles (belly up submission, standing tall/over another dog, jumping on, standing ground and not flinching)
  18. Dogs can get jealous. They may try and interrupt a hugging couple or bark for attention when you are on the telephone!
  19. Dogs can be trained not to beg at the table. Never feed your dog off of your plate as it only encourages begging behavior.
  20. Dogs are creatures of habit. They like familiarity and form expectations and schedules.
  21. Dogs like to playfully taunt to encourage play (especially keep away). The classic play stance is the ‘bow’. A dog puts his front paws down on the ground and his tail end up in the air.
  22. Most dogs love car rides. Be sure to keep your dog secured with a seat belt or other safety device
  23. Some dogs lick their paws and then rub their paws on their head to clean themselves, much like a cat!
  24. Many breeds are escape artists – if you’re not careful, your dog might decide to take a swim in the neighbour’s pool, or bring home a new toy. Basenjis and Border Collies are especially known for their ability to escape from yards.
  25. An unsupervised dog will get bored in a back yard very quickly. It’s never safe to leave your dog unattended in the yard.
  26. Dogs bark for many reasons, but usually to get attention from other people or dogs. Some other reasons dogs bark include: to protect their territory, express a need, or to initiate play.
  27. Dogs communicate with their tail. A wag can mean many things – an aggressive dog may wag their tail, but it will be held high and moving rapidly. A playful dog will also hold his tail high, but it will be wagging in big arches from side to side. A dog who is afraid will hold his tail low and may wag it stiffly back and forth.
  28. Most dogs don’t like their own poop and will intentionally avoid it. Hey, dogs aren’t dumb!

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Gina & David

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