Taking care of a 6 week old puppy is both a challenge and a delight. You’ll have many rewards but you’ll have your complications and frustrations too. Use this guide to 6 week old puppy care to make it as easy – and rewarding – as possible.
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Before you do anything else make sure you have the right supplies on hand. They include but are not limited to:
Your particular brand may require additional supplies. For example, a long-haired pup may need a brush right off the bat.
Your puppy needs time to get comfortable with their surroundings so it’s up to you to create a comfortable environment to assure they feel as safe as possible. Start with a safe spot that’s guarded by some kind of boundary.
They’ll often need a break from the attention they’re sure to get, so create this safe spot – which could be their crate, part of a room, or a room to themselves. Starting small gives you the chance to easily establish boundaries regarding what’s okay for your pooch and what’s off limits.
You also want to make sure to move anything that could hurt him. This includes things that will be obvious and things you may not have thought of like chairs. Remember that 6 week old puppies have delicate bodies and can be easily hurt.
If you live in a home with other people then it’s important for you to set guidelines on puppy care and make sure that everyone follows them. If you don’t, then your puppy will get inconsistent messages and won’t be sure what they’re supposed to be doing and what is a no-no.
Different puppy breeds need different amounts of food so your vet will be the best person to talk to about your puppy’s nutrition.
However, as a general rule, 6 week old puppies are just starting the process of moving from their mother’s milk to solid food. You should use food that’s made specifically for puppies because they need more calories per pound than adult dogs do.
The most important thing to search for in puppy food is that meat is the primary ingredient – not corn! – and that there are other good veggies in it.
For the first few days your puppy is in your home you’ll want to supervise them as much as possible. Ideally you’d bring them home on a day you can devote to their acclimation. For people with 9 – 5 jobs, a weekend is the best time to bring them home.
The two most important skills to start with are:
Remember that puppies generally respond best to training when there’s an element of play involved. Whatever method you choose, it’s important to be patient and to train them gradually. Puppy behavior classes can also be helpful.
Remember that your puppy is similar to a child in that they have a very short attention span. Training is best accomplished when doled out in short bursts.
Some people wait until a puppy is older to start potty training but the truth is that you don’t want your puppy to ever be comfortable releasing themselves wherever they want. The best way to start potty training is to place them in a crate for an hour and then release them to their potty zone.
Tell your pooch to eliminate themselves and then give them a few minutes to do it. If they’re successful, praise him energetically both vocally and with rewards like treats and play. If you stick with a routine and have a good reward system, puppies are generally fairly easy to potty train.
In addition to teaching your puppy how to behave at home you also need to train them to behave and socialize among a wide range of people and animals. Remember that, biologically speaking, they’re still learning how to survive in the first six weeks of life so things can be scary.
Though you are welcoming a new member of your family, remember that your pooch has been separated from their siblings and mother so you don’t have to get started the moment they get in your home.
The best rule of thumb is that by three months your puppy should have meet numerous people. Start by inviting people over. Throw a pooch party where folks can come over and hand feed him for you. When you expose your pup to many people he learns many skills including:
That said, socialization shouldn’t just take place with familiar faces. Your pooch should also be regularly taken on walks so they can get comfortable strangers. A lack of socialization can be serious and can even lead a dog to become dangerous.
No matter how much time you spend at home, at some point your pooch will need to be left alone. You have several goals you want your puppy to learn:
There are several steps you can take to ensure your pooch is comfortable when you’re not home:
Puppies who aren’t supervised or trained to be alone can become hyperactive and anxious, while confinement encourages them to focus on approved chew toys. Puppy pads or doggy toilets give them an approved place to relieve themselves when necessary.
If your 6 week old puppy initially suffers from separation anxiety by howling or barking, try to be patient and consist. Before you know it, they’ll be perfectly behaved whether you’re home or not.