Tips for New Puppy Owners at Christmas

So, you got a new puppy for Christmas? Here’s what you need to do next.

Getting or giving a new puppy as a Christmas gift is a heart-warming moment for everyone involved. But after all the parties and family gatherings are over, the reality of school schedules, work days and daily routines can be a harsh dose of reality. Now what do you do?

A puppy brings with it a 12-15 year commitment for you and your family, and so the more proactive you are now, the happier everyone will be in the long run. The Good Dog Hotel & Spa team loves helping new dog owners, and are happy to help with these tips for getting off to a good start. We wish you all a wonderful holiday season.


One of the first things you’ll need to do for your puppy is schedule a routine physical exam. This not only helps you establish a relationship with a veterinarian, you’ll also receive a good assessment of your pet’s current health. These are some of the things you’ll discuss.

Immunizations. Veterinarians usually recommend an immunization schedule between six to eight weeks of age. Routine vaccines offer protection from eight diseases including: distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza, parvovirus, Bordetella, rabies, and leptospirosis.

De-Worm. Unfortunately, intestinal parasites are common in puppies – they can be infected before they’re even born through their mother’s milk. A stool sample exam might be a part of your first visit, and de-worming products will be recommended as needed.

Flea Control. You’ll learn when and how to administer flea medications, many of which also offer protection from heartworm, whipworm, roundworm and hookworm.

Nutrition. What type of food should you feed your puppy? You’ll discuss the options and learn more about feeding schedules and diet specifications.

Spaying & Neutering. Preventing unwanted litters of puppies is important, but there are other benefits to these procedures. Research shows that spaying significantly reduces the chance of your dog getting breast cancer and uterine infections. Neutered males are less likely to be aggressive or roam in search of females. Neutering also greatly reduces the risk of prostate cancer and infections. Your dog may be spayed or neutered after four months of age.

Crate Training. One of the fastest and most effective ways to house train a dog is with crate training. Behavior issues can be reduced and prevented by confining your puppy when you are unable to supervise. The crate also serves as a safe haven, offering comfort and security. If you’d like to talk to someone at the Good Dog Hotel & Spa about crate training, we’d love to help.

Basic Training. You can start teaching your dog simple commands, like sit and stay, from as young as seven to eight weeks old. There are lots of online resources and local puppy training classes that will help you start the process.


Heathy Human Interaction. It’s important for your puppy to form a healthy attachment to humans and other animals. The critical time frame for this begins at three weeks, but diminishes by 12 weeks. The six-to-eight-month time frame is also an important period for socialization. Make it a point to introduce your puppy to new people in a variety of situations.

Doggie Daycare. Once your puppy is ready, consider taking her to doggie daycare, where she can get exercise and socialize with other dogs. Our Good Dog Hotel & Spa Dog Daycare accepts puppies that have been spayed or neutered and are current on all their vaccinations. It is often not understood that some dogs who are not spayed or neutered emit pheromones, and can be picked on by other dogs.


Better Behavior. If your puppy doesn’t get enough exercise, it can lead to destructiveness and other behavior problems. Taking your dog on regular walks is an excellent activity, as he will also get used to a collar and leash from the get-go. Selecting an appropriate amount of play and exercise will depend on the type of your dog. Remember to keep your puppy away from stray dogs and neighborhood parks until all vaccinations are finished.

Good luck to you and your new puppy family member!

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