There is always excitement when a family member receives a new puppy for Christmas. However, there are many responsibilities that come with dog ownership including a lifetime commitment.

Please take the following points into consideration before you give any member of the family a new, four-legged friend.



  • Purchasing a puppy or shelter dog should never be an impulsive decision. Many shelters are inundated with thousands of unwanted pets and abandoned animals each year after the festive season is over. This includes our own Wingecarribee Shelter in the Southern Highlands, Goulburn Mulwaree Animal Shelter in the Southern Tablelands and various vets and animal hospitals.
  • Before making any commitment, it is recommended that you choose a suitable breed that would complement your family’s lifestyle.


Setting Up Your New Addition Into Your Home

  • You may consider adopting a rescue puppy, an older dog or even foster a dog in desperate need of re-homing.
  • You should also take into consideration young children when introducing the puppy or dog to the home [especially if the children are excitable]. Also factor in other household pets and introduce the new family member with care.
  • Puppies are usually introduced to the family between eight – 12 weeks of age. It is imperative that you establish household rules and boundaries along with important socialising cues [such as toilet training]. More importantly, by establishing consistent leadership, trust and giving lots of affection, you will help create a long-lasting and loving relationship.


Living space

  • Create a cosy sleeping area where your puppy or new pooch can safely hang out and sleep while they settle into their new environment.
  • Make sure that you have a variety of colourful toys and dog-chews for stimulation.
  • Always have fresh water readily available in a designated area.
  • Establish consistent toilet access such as a special toilet tray [a pet-safe loo] with grass or a doggy door if there’s a safe enclosure outside [that’s been puppy-proofed].


Toilet Training

  • Toilet training your puppy requires patience and will take some time. Make sure that the training is reward-based [small treats] and with consistent and positive reinforcement.
  • Maintain a regular feeding schedule so you toilet training will be easier [also take away his food between meals].
  • Take your puppy to a familiar toilet area straight after its meal, upon waking up or after a walk. Also, be consistent so that this becomes an automatic routine.

Choosing a Vet – Building up a Lifetime Relationship

  • Nutrition
  • Vaccinations
  • Desexing at six months [please discuss the time frame with your vet as this will vary with each breed].
  • Health Insurance. Make sure that you allocate a budget for health and grooming
  • Puppy’s education –
    • eight-16 weeks – Puppy Preschool
    • six-18 months – Adolescent Behavioural Program.

DogSmart Australia will be pleased to play a very proactive role in puppy’s development and learning. Please give me a call on 0413 452 622.