Helping You Help Animals!

What and When? Your Puppies First Year (Part 1)

You have just adopted or bought a brand new puppy, what now?  Many owners spend months researching what type of dog they want, the best breeders or shelters, and what they should have ready when they bring their new addition home.  However, many people are much less informed about what will happen in the puppies first year of life with you.


Here are a few things you should always do with your puppy from a young age:

  • Bathe your dog
  • Brush your dog
  • Leash your dog
  • Brush their teeth – this will make them accustomed to your hands in their mouth, making brushing and pill giving easier!
  • Clip their nails – doing this from a young age will help desensitize them to it and make them less nervous when it is nail-clipping time.
  • Leave them alone for short periods of time – this helps limit anxiety they will feel when you are absent for longer periods of time.
  • Start socializing your dog as soon as they have had their shots, but not before.
  • When your puppy is eating, take away their bowl, and then give it back. This teaches them to tolerate others touching their food, as food is one of the biggest things dogs will get protective over.

Puppy Timeline:

3-7 Weeks Old

Unless there are extenuating circumstances, most people will not have a puppy this young.  Breeders usually will not sell a puppy, and shelters will not adopt them out, until the puppy is at least 8 weeks old.

The puppy is just starting to wean, eat solid food, and is growing more independent.  This is the time when your puppy has started gaining awareness of his or her surroundings and is starting to play and socialize with littermates.  In these early weeks your puppy will begin barking, walking, playing, chasing, growling, and wagging their tail.

Vaccines:  At 5 weeks, if the dog is at high risk, they will administer a Parvovirus vaccine.  Otherwise, at 6 weeks all puppies will get a combination vaccine that usually includes adenovirus, cough and hepatitis, distemper, parainfluenza, and parvovirus.

If you are interested in receiving more information about working with puppies or other animals, start here!

Click Here To See Part 2: 7-9 Weeks Old!