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Caring for Puppy 101

Thereís no denying that puppies are adorable. Itís easy to get pulled in by a pair of deep, dark eyes, four oversized paws, and a warm, pink tongue eager to lick your face.

But, caring for that sweet puppy can take more time and energy than many people expect. To keep a puppy healthy and happy, youíll need to make sure youíre thoroughly prepared and equipped.

The first, and most important, thing all puppies need is loving attention. And they need a lot of it. Puppies wonít be satisfied with an absent-minded pat on the head when youíve got a spare minute. They demand your full attention, and they demand it quite frequently.

If itís not forthcoming, your puppy will look for ways to get that attention, like showing you how good he is at ripping your newspaper to shreds or how talented he is at making messes on your carpet. Sure, he wonít get the type of attention he wants, but at least heís got your attention!

Before you bring a puppy into your home, make sure you have plenty of time to housetrain him and teach him how to behave like the well-mannered dog you want him to grow up to be.

The second thing all puppy owners should have is patience. Even if you give them plenty of time, attention and love, they will occasionally get into mischief. Theyíre full of energy and curiosity, and theyíre still babies, after all.

Of the more tangible puppy requirements, the most important are bowls for their food and water and a nice, cozy spot for sleeping. You may want to invest in a dog crate, both for travel and as a useful housetraining tool. There are also a variety of dog beds on the market, but anyplace the puppy is warm and comfortable will work.

You may want to consider consulting a veterinarian before choosing a puppy food, especially in light of the recent pet food contamination. And while youíre talking with your vet, you should be sure to set up an appointment to get your puppy his necessary shots. A happy puppy is a good thing, and a healthy one is even better.

Next up, youíll need a collar and leash, along with some plastic baggies, so that you can take your puppy for walks and get him the exercise heís going to need. You can use the baggies to clean up after him should he make any messes along the way.

Walks probably wonít tire your puppy out for long, so youíll want to make sure he has plenty of toys. Puppies love to fetch, and itís a great way to use up some of that excess energy. An added benefit is that if your puppy has several chew toys from which to choose, he wonít be quite so tempted to exercise his teeth on your favorite pair of shoes.

Another good way to keep your puppy from chewing up shoes and otherwise getting into mischief is to start him on a training program. Puppies can begin learning at a very young age, so it might be a good idea to stock up on some basic puppy training books and some treats to use as rewards.

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