Find a good vet: The first place you and your new pet should go together is the vet for a checkup. This visit will not only help you determine your dog's health but it will help you take the first steps towards a good preventive health routine.
Make the most of your first vet visit: Ask your vet for food recommendations, how often to feed and portion sizes. Set up a vaccination schedule, discuss safe options for controlling parasites, learn which signs of illness to watch for and ask when you should spay and neuter (if it is not done already).
Shop for quality food: Not all dog food is created equal, be sure to check over the ingredients and nutrient values before purchasing. www.dogfoodadvisor.com is an independent website that rates and explains the quality of nearly every dog food brand.
Establish routines: Whether it be scheduled feeding times, bathroom breaks or playtime, a routine is very effective in aiding the training of pets.
Watch for signs if illness: Puppies are especially susceptible to sudden bouts of illness, but any of the following signs/symptoms could warrant a call or trip to your vet: lack of appetite, weight loss, vomiting, swollen abdomen, lethargy, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, wheezing or coughing, pale gums, swollen red eyes, nasal discharge, inability to pass urine or stool.
Obedience training: By teaching and enforcing good manners, you'll set your pet up for a lifetime of positive interaction and create a strong bond between you and your dog. Teaching commands such as sit, stay, down and come will help keep your dog safe and under control during potentially hazardous situations.
Be sociable: For puppies especially, proper socialization helps avoid behavioral problems down the road. At approximately 2-4 months of age, puppies begin to accept other animals, people, places and experiences. Socialization classes are an excellent way to rack up positive social experiences with your puppy.