Hi, Welcome to JustAnswer. I'm a licensed veterinarian and I'll be happy to help. How exciting for you and your family! Since this came in under dogs veterinary, I'm assuming your new pet is/will be a dog? What breed and how old?
Hi Dr. Barbara, my dog is a german daschmund and he is 1 year old.
I am very excited. This is my first pet!
Thanks so much! How exciting!
Don't know really how many suggestions I have, am I limited to 5? :)
No, you aren't limited to a number. I'd just really appreciate any good tips you have for a new pet owner!
Great! First of all medically, you want to make sure your little guy is up to date on his vaccinations. There is a series of vaccinations dogs get as a puppy ending at about 16 weeks of age, and then they get annual vaccinations beginning at 1 year. Your vet there will know what your little guy needs for your area.
The next medical tip is to have your dog tested for heartworm and tick borne diseases at 1 year, and then start giving him monthly heartworm preventative and tick preventative (which will also work for flea control). Again your vet will know what a dog in your area needs and will have the medications you need.
Thanks! How can I get my pet to be more comfortable at home?
Your dog should also have a fecal test run to see if he has any intestinal parasites. It is a good idea to prophylactically deworm your dog also (actually what is your dog's name?) but your vet will know the risk and treatment for your area.
My dog's name is Henry.
That is a great name! Also, unusual. . .not sure I've known another Henry before! The best way to make a dog comfortable is to allow him time to adjust and get him plenty of exercise. How long have you had Henry?
Do you have any specific problems or questions? Like is he alone a lot and barking, or is he chewing up stuff?
Is Henry house trained, or is he having accidents indoors?
I've had Henry for a week. He is alone a lot and barks. He hasn't been house trained yet.
I'll just keep chatting here with suggestions. . .you're probably at work? I recommend feeding a top quality adult food at this age twice daily. I'd measure out just a little less than what the manufacturer recommends. You want a food that has done DIET TRIALS according to the AAFCO (a regulatory agency). Make sure that the bag doesn't say "meets the AAFCO standards". You want a food that has done the diet trials.
The first thing to try for barking is leaving on the radio or the TV when you are gone. When you are home, there is noise and activity. But when you are gone all is silent. . .so the TV or radio can be calming. It has been shown that dogs like classical music and country music. . .really!
The best way to potty train a dog is with positive reinforcement. . .but this does require your time. The times that a dog is most likely to need to go is when they first wake up in the morning and after naps during the day, and after each meal. You should go out with him and when he does go praise him big time and give him a treat. He'll see how pleased you are with his action and want to repeat that. . .his instinct is to please you, he just needs to know how.
Where is Henry when you are at work?
Wow. I had no clue that dogs liked classical and country music. I'm def. going to try that. Henry stays at home with my housemate when I'm gone. I would eventually like to bring him to work with me.
Would your roommate be willing to take Henry out at the above times and do the waiting, praising and treats?
Definitely! We're both big dog lovers and I know she's interested in training him.
Last question: How often should I take my dog for a walk?
If he is fully vaccinated, then it is safe to walk him outside, and I'd recommend at least twice daily. Right now tho' he will need to get outside at the above times so he learns where he should go potty. Also, it is a very good idea to always walk him out the door you want him to use when he has to go. I'd also walk him through that door, don't carry him.
I also recommend that the 2 or 3 of you attend a dog obedience class. . .these are fun and you'll learn how to train Henry to sit, stay, come and heal. It's great when he knows how to please you. . .you're happy and he is thrilled!
Socialization is also important, although at one year of age Henry may already have some dislikes or fear of certain animals or people. Henry should be around other dogs (obedience class) and around all sorts of people. Dogs see children and adults as different species. . .children move differently. So the more he is around children (for example) the less fearful Henry will be. Really, any aversions that Henry has can be overcome by desensitizing him with familiarity. Of course, he should avoid dangerous situations!