A bundle of joy with four paws

If you’ve made the decision to take home a puppy or a kitten, there is a lot that you need to know, plan for and take into consideration. We’ll help you succeed in building the foundations of a happy life together.

Little kittens are particularly cautious and the first thing they usually do is to look for a hiding place where they can take in their new surroundings. So don’t worry if your new arrival needs a bit of time before he can leave the pet carrier, or if he scampers straight to his next hiding place. Just leave your new addition in peace and wait till your little one comes to you on his own. In order to keep stress to a minimum, you should also allow him to explore only one room at first, rather than giving him free run of the whole house straight away.

Your pet’s first steps into his new home

You should adopt similar behaviour with puppies: allow them to explore their new home at their own pace. The only thing you should show them straight away is the toilet area, because when puppies get excited it goes straight to their bladder! And if you are dying to show off your precious little one to all your friends and family, refrain from inviting everyone over for the first few days, as all the commotion will only scare your new arrival. It’s better to get to know each other in peace and quiet and establish a basis of trust.

To make sure puppies and kittens don’t experience any nasty surprises as they explore, the house or apartment must be made dog or cat-proof before they arrive. For example, it’s important that you remove any poisonous house plants or power cables, which could be chewed. If you have decided on a puppy, you should also temporarily remove your carpets as puppies particularly like relieving themselves on a soft surface.

The starter pack for kittens

You should already have bought all the basic equipment for your pet. You’ll need a basket or sleeping den, a soft blanket, a litter tray, a food bowl and water bowl, among other things. It is also a good idea to offer cats a scratching post from the very first day to ensure that they don’t even think about looking for alternatives – such as your favourite sofa. Please don’t forget to buy cat food in advance. Kittens should be fed with junior feed, which you should divide into four or five portions throughout the day. Your kitten also needs toys to play with from the very first day. Shared activity is not only fun, but also strengthens the bond between cat and owner. Your basic equipment must also include a cat litter tray with litter that locks in odour and moisture. If the space allows it, you should even provide your cat with several litter trays in the house.

The starter pack for puppies

Puppies like to cuddle and prefer a basket or bed with a raised edge, as this “wall” gives them a sense of security. In any case, you should keep the dog bed near to you at night time to make sure your little guy doesn’t get lonely. This also means that if you’ll know much sooner if he needs the toilet. Puppies must also be let out several times during the night. Some people let their puppies sleep in a pet carrier, which can also be used for them to travel safely with you in the car. Our tip: Leave one of your old, worn T-shirts for your puppy in the place where he sleeps. The familiar smell will ensure that your little one feels like you are looking after him. You can also use this trick when training your dog to stay home alone. Giving your dog a piece of clothing that smells like his new mum or dad will cut the challenge by half for him. Incidentally, this is also the reason why many dogs carry their owner’s shoe into their basket when they are out: the familiar smell makes them feel safe.

When buying the basic equipment for your dog, don’t forget a water bowl and a food bowl. Ask the breeder or previous owner what feed your little one was given previously, because you should try to avoid changing his diet at first if possible. A new home and unfamiliar food – that can have an effect on your dog’s stomach. You should offer your puppy food three times a day at first. You can reduce this to two times a day within a few months. You will also need a collar or a well-fitting harness and a leash. Don’t forget toys, chew bones or treats either.

The best way to house-train your little ones
big concern for people who have decided on a puppy or a kitten is: How do I house-train my pet? This is usually relatively straightforward with cats. Simply show your kitten where the litter tray is and he will seek it out himself when he needs it. However, if an accident should occur once or twice, don’t scold your cat, simply place your kitty in the litter tray and he will get the hint. Cats are clean animals, they have an almost innate sense of cleanliness from the day they’re born. Important: If your armchair tiger is avoiding the litter tray you’ve provided, it could have something to do with where you’ve placed it. Cats like to do their business in secluded spots. What’s more, they won’t be able to go if their litter tray and their food bowl are located in the same room. With dogs, it usually takes a little longer until they are house-trained. While they’re are learning, the main thing is to be consistent and fast. If your puppy becomes unsettled in the apartment and starts to sniffing around in circles, this means he wants to go out. And as a general rule, it is often the case that puppies need to go after eating, drinking, playing and sleeping. Even if your puppy still seems very relaxed, you should go out with him at least once every two hours (including at night!) for the first few days. Show him the place where he’s allowed to go to the toilet and choose a particular word to say to him each time, “pee-pee” for example. Lavish your dog with praise and rewards for doing his business.

In case a mishap does occur in the house, get rid of it without commenting on it and treat the area with a special stain remover, available in pet specialty stores, which will neutralise the smell, to make sure your dog doesn’t think this is his toilet area due to the smell of urine.

Training with little ones

If you don’t want your dog to lie on the sofa or your cat to jump on the dining table, you must teach them this right from the very beginning. That means: You can’t leave it a few weeks before you start training, you must start right on the first day. For example, always be consistent in relation to “prohibited areas” and don’t allow any exceptions. And avoid punishment.

A cat can generally be discouraged from any unwanted behaviour with a clap of the hands and a sharp “No”. Furthermore, you should reward your cat with a treat each time he demonstrates the desired behaviour to make sure he learns, for example: “It is better for me to stay on the the chair than to jump on the kitchen table.” And forget cat books that advise you to punish your kitty by shocking him with a squirt of water. The main thing that will register with your cat is what you’re doing to him, but not necessarily why you’re doing it. In the worse case scenario, the relationship between you and your pet will be destroyed in the long term. Therefore, you’ll be far from getting rid of your cat’s unwanted behaviour.

“Positive reinforcement” is also the magic word when it comes to dog training. This involves rewarding your puppy when he does something good with praise, treats and petting. Unwanted behaviour such as jumping up and begging should be ignored and dismissed, so that the dog learns he won’t be rewarded for it. Punishing your dog, on the other hand, only seldom leads to success: Your dog will refrain from such behaviour when you’re in the room, however he will also be scared of you in future. A trusting relationship is quite different. Make sure you are always caring and consistent in your training, and never rough or out of control – whether you have a dog or a cat.

The first trip to the vet’s

The first trip to the vet’s is an extremely unsettling experience for kittens and puppies. You must make sure your pet carrier is tempting for your pet. Place a soft blanket inside and lie your puppy or kitten on it. Of course, there should be a special tasty treat inside as a reward. To increase your pet’s acceptance of the pet carrier, you could place it in your house as a hiding place or sleeping area for your pet over the long term. In this way, your pet will quickly adjust to it and develop positive associations with the box.

If possible, you should make sure the first visit to the vet is a positive experience with no vaccinations or unpleasant tests. Ask your vet whether you can call in quickly to look around so that your little one realises: It’s really not that bad. Perhaps the friendly veterinary nurses could also give out some treats so your baby pet develops positive associations with the vet.

But here’s our top tip: Please have patience. Give yourself and your pet plenty of time to adjust to new situations and to learn how to get along together. A trusting relationship does not develop overnight, but is based on many positive and shared experiences.

The Fressnapf puppy club

A new puppy will bring you joy, no question. But it also throws up a whole number of questions for the new owner, especially at the beginning, encompassing topics such as rearing, care, feeding and training. The Fressnapf puppy club offers you active support in the first days, weeks and months and provides you with valuable assistance on all of the key topics related to your new family member. For example, we will give you regular reminders by post, phone or e-mail about when your pet is due for his vaccinations or when it’s time to change his feed. We’re there for you, and the needs of your little one are a big priority for us.

Become a member now and we’ll send you a great welcome gift! Sign up for free and get further information at www.welpenclub.com

Call into your local store today to discuss your dogs’s personal needs with our Maxi Zoo Pet Experts