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How to Raise a Puppy: Guide for the First Year

How to Raise a Puppy: Guide for the First Year

Puppies are undeniably adorable, yet rearing one presents difficulties. In this article, our vets in Marina del Rey offer advice on puppy upbringing, assisting you in navigating this phase and guaranteeing the development of a healthy, content, and well-adapted canine companion.

Getting Started: What to Consider When Getting a Puppy

Comparing life with a puppy to life with a human toddler, both require patience to guide them away from trouble and impart knowledge in a secure, positive manner.

Because they use their mouths to explore their new world and will be teething shortly, puppies are compelled to chew excessively as their adult teeth emerge. You may find the doggy equivalent of a teething ring in your living room rug, your favorite sweater, or even on your hand. 

Owning a dog entails responsibility for their well-being, including healthcare costs and planning for their care when you're absent. It's essential to acknowledge that dogs don't comprehend English, so phrases like "Stop chewing on the furniture!" won't register with them.

Preparing Your Home

It's imperative to prepare your home before bringing your new dog into it. Secure any electrical cords and move any potentially hazardous chemicals or plants out of reach of your dog's curious nose. Close any doors, vents, or other openings that could lead him into danger or leave him stranded. 

We also recommend being prepared to start house training your new puppy as soon as you get him home. If you intend to crate-train him, prepare the crate beforehand by lining it with blankets or a dog bed to make it a comfortable space for your new pet. Check that it's large enough for him to stand up, turn around and lie down. 

If you intend to use a crate, designate a small area in your home, such as a kitchen corner or powder room, where your puppy can remain indoors but separated from small children and other dogs. Obtain puppy training pads to manage accidents, as well as food and water bowls, a dog bed, and a couple of toys.


Part of raising a puppy is ensuring they have the proper diet and nutrition to keep them healthy and energetic. High-quality puppy food has been specially prepared to help puppies grow and develop as they should. It's a good idea to ask your veterinarian for advice about how much and how often you should feed your dog, as the appropriate amount of food will be determined by your dog's breed, size, age, and more. 

To make sure some tiny breeds of dogs get enough nourishment, it may be best to free feed. Toy and tiny breed dogs mature faster physically than larger breeds and can graduate to adult dog food and adult-sized portions between the ages of nine and twelve months. 

Larger breeds should eat many properly portioned meals daily to avoid issues such as calcium and protein buildup or stomach bloat. Here is a general guideline for a large dog feeding schedule:

  • Six to twelve weeks old: Four meals a day
  • Three to six months old: Three meals a day 
  • Six months and up: Two meals a day


Dogs have a natural inclination to keep their resting area clean. To assist your puppy in this regard, establish a routine for potty breaks, especially for small puppies who need to go outside every few hours. Take them to a designated area in your yard, away from other animals, until they receive all their vaccinations. Avoid punishing your puppy for accidents.

It's usually preferable to ignore undesirable behavior or to correct your dog with a simple but strong "no." Never smack or yell at your dog. When he exhibits bad behavior, attempt to redirect him to something positive. Consider enrolling him in an obedience lesson as soon as he is old enough. This will not only teach him proper behavior but will also aid in socialization.

Proper socialization is crucial for a well-adjusted puppy. Expose them to various people, places, experiences, and situations as much as possible. While public outings and interactions with other animals should wait until your puppy is fully vaccinated, you can start socializing them early by introducing them to new people, sights, sounds, smells, and textures through play.

Working with your dog to reduce even minor resource-guarding habits protects everyone, including the puppy. Always supervise children while they are around your puppy's food or favorite toy.

One of the most crucial lessons is to teach pups not to bite. Establishing your position as pack leader will help your puppy remember that he must earn your respect and obey you, which will assist him in controlling this behavior. Remember that your dog desires your approval but also requires your direction. If your puppy nips or bites, discipline with a calm but firm "no!"

Exercise & Play

Bored dogs are more likely to engage in aggressive or improper behavior, so provide him with puzzle toys and outdoor exercise (walking, playtime) to keep his mind stimulated. Your dog must understand his place in your home, but this can only be accomplished by consistency and a firm, caring touch.

Your First Vet Visit

If you do not have a veterinarian, seek recommendations from acquaintances, including family, friends, and colleagues. After acquiring a puppy, it is essential to arrange a health checkup with a veterinarian. At Shane Veterinary Medical Center, we are available to accommodate new patients.

Your veterinarian will most likely recommend a parasite control program to keep fleas, ticks, and heartworms at bay. They'' also advise you on when to bring him in to be fixed, which can help lessen the chance of health and behavioral issues as the puppy ages.

Additionally, they can offer advice on puppy care, including dental hygiene and nail-trimming techniques. Your veterinarian can address inquiries about dog care, such as dietary recommendations.

While you're there, you can also try to schedule his 6-month vet checkup to check on his growth and progress. They can also start to advise you on how to prepare for the adolescent years, which can be difficult for pet owners. This is also a wonderful time to discuss what to expect as your puppy matures into adulthood.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Are you the proud new owner of a sweet little puppy? Contact our Marina del Rey vets today so we can help keep your pup healthy for years to come.

New Patients Welcome

Shane Veterinary Medical Center is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Marina del Rey companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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