10 Tips for Your New Holiday Puppy!

if you're a new puppy owner, here are 10 tips just for you!

Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliate links. I may earn a small commission to feed my hounds, if you use these links to make a purchase. You will not be charged extra, and you’ll keep my pups happy! So, it’s a win for everyone, really.

“It takes a village.” This quote is usually associated with raising kids, but it absolutely applies to raising a puppy too. Raising a puppy can be exhausting and tough, and you don’t have to do it alone! I highly suggest that you create your own village, which may include a trainer, veterinarian, and family or friends. Be selective in building your village, though, as too many cooks may cause overwhelm rather than stability.

And, you won’t need any help with the overwhelm. Trust me. There will be times when you’re ready to just give up! However, with the help of these tips and your established village, I know you’ll be breathing easier already.

black and white image of puppy with a bow tie yawning. 10 tips for your new holiday puppy
10 tips from the pros on what to do after you bring your new puppy home!
You’re the parent

While you may not know everything about raising your new furbaby, trust your gut when it comes to building your village. If you’re not feeling great about a situation, get a second or third opinion. You don’t have to settle, just because someone was referred to you or they are closest to you. You want to find someone easy to talk to and seek advice from. They should be open to and interested in hearing your fears, concerns, and want to help you. Do research on anyone you’re interested in adding to your village. Make sure their values and the way they work match yours. It’s better to find those trusted sources now, rather than settling and then scrambling when something major comes up.

Finding The perfect Veterinarian

I asked Sarah Bason DVM, a small animal vet and small human mom in Prescott, Arizona, for her tips on locating the right veterinarian for your family. “You’ve got your dog, now you’ve got to find your Dogtor! Ask fellow dog owners who they use for medical care and why – you want to find a veterinary practice that fits with your needs. Consider their hours (are they open on weekends if you need them), their services (do they offer boarding or grooming), and mostly their approach to medicine. Some of this can be gleaned from their website, but don’t be shy to ask for a tour if you’re considering a couple of different practices. We love touring clients around because we’re proud of what we do!”

scheduling with your veterinarian

According to Sarah Bason DVM “Your puppy should have its first wellness visit within 48 hours after it comes home. This allows your veterinarian to identify any issues, gives the staff a chance to meet and snuggle your puppy and give them lots of treats so that they love us, and set up a vaccine schedule. Expect your pup to come in for vaccinations every 3-4 weeks until they are around 5 months old, for full protection against all the nasty diseases out there. Until that series is finished, I always tell people to keep pups in arms only in public places.”

Research your new puppy’s breed
Dogs are bred for specific “jobs” and it’s important to know what that job may be to best understand who your new puppy is. As Teresa Hanula, a DC Metro area dog trainer and owner of A Dog’s World Training & Pet Care, Inc., shares “dogs are all bred to have a certain job. And, when they become our pets, sometimes we forget that they have needs too! A Spaniel with no birds to hunt, a Labrador with nothing to retrieve and a Border Collie with no sheep to herd can find themselves their own hobbies, which typically end up being hobbies that we, as pet owners, don’t agree with!”
puppy on leash in a wooded area on a trail. does your puppy have a job?
Giving your puppy a job can keep them from being bored!
Give Your Puppy a Job
Did you know unemployment is the major cause for undesired puppy behavior?! But there’s a solution, according to Teresa Hanula! “Have your puppy earn all of this food and attention. Food is the money of the dog world and shouldn’t be given out for free. Have your pup learn behaviors like watch me, sit or down. Set up fun food trails for them to seek out and hunt their food. Hand feed them so they develop positive associations to men/women, training and hands! Slow bowl feeders and Kongs are wonderful tools to stuff and have your dog work on that puzzle! So many opportunities for work that there should be no need for dog employment furloughs!”
Food absolutely matters
I’ve mentioned this key piece of advice in regards to raising a senior dog, so it makes sense that it matters for your puppy, too. Sarah Bason DVM agrees and gave thoughts on how to choose the right puppy food for your furbaby. “Please choose a puppy food that is appropriate for your little buddy’s adult size, and choose a high quality brand that has undergone feeding trials. Your Great Dane should be eating a giant breed puppy food, your German Shepherd a large breed puppy food, and your Beagle or Chihuahua a regular puppy food. If you adopted a mixed breed puppy, your vet should be able to help you determine based on the puppy’s current size, just what you’re going to be dealing with, size-wise as an adult (but we don’t guarantee it!). Puppies should be fed at least twice daily, and should be encouraged to eat slowly – sometimes hand feeding for the first couple of weeks when you have time can help with this.” And, those same slow feeding bowls mentioned earlier would also be beneficial here, too!
Toys and Treats Aplenty
Just like with food, a puppy’s treats and toys matter, so how do you know what to look for? As Sarah Bason DVM says: “Everyone wants to give puppies snacks – it’s human nature and they love them! A soft, low calorie, breakable treat is best for puppies during training, because your puppy is going to be a good dog 1000 times per day and you want to be able to reward them without also overfeeding them. For chewing toys, the main risk is the fracture of those sharp little delicate baby teeth or the potential for ingestion of part of the treat. Stick with the firm rubber balls and toys, especially if they are able to be stuffed with smaller treats to keep puppy busy. Stay away from rawhide chews and actual bones or antlers. The rule of thumb is that if it hurts when you hit it directly across your knee, it’s not safe for your puppy, or adult dog’s teeth.”
Day to Day Schedules
Figure out the household’s schedule and how does it apply to your puppy. Do you need to hire someone to come in during the day (once or twice) to maintain scheduled outdoor visits? Do you have a safe space for the puppy to stay while you’re out (or even when you’re home)? Talk with your village members to see what is going to be best for your four-legged family member and your specific situation. Puppies (and many dogs) do well on a fixed schedule. Make sure whoever helps with your puppy is willing to maintain specific training, too.
Get your home ready

Have you puppy-proofed your home? It’s a very critical step as your puppy becomes curious. As with babies and toddlers, you’ll need to make sure your house promotes a safe environment for your puppy to grow in. Puppies will want to put everything in their mouths. Make sure you are putting away things that could harm them (cords, chemicals, and shoes are just a few things). Find toys and items safe for puppies to play with. Work with them to learn the appropriate things that are theirs vs items that aren’t.

Positive reinforcement: best for you and your puppy

I’m most definitely an advocate for positive training methods. They have worked very well with my own dogs and friends’ dogs. Studies have shown that this training style is better for the human and dog bond, especially for the animal’s welfare. You can learn more about the style and psychology around positive reinforcement training here. Teresa Hanula is a positive reinforcement trainer in the DC metro area with a variety of training services, including puppy kindergarten where she introduces positive reinforcement training.

Final thoughts

First, I want to send a huge thank you out to our two pros, Teresa and Sarah! Second, I really hope these tips will give you peace of mind and confidence in raising your new furbaby. And, finally, I just have one last piece of advice to add. There may be times when you’re questioning everything, but just remember: you’ve got this!

xoxo,

Kayla

Did you get a new puppy for Christmas? These tips from the pros are perfect for the new dog dad or dog mom!
four images of different puppies; if you got a new holiday puppy, then these tips are for you!
If you have a new puppy, these 10 tips from the pros are for you!!

Upholstery Fabrics Not Pet-Friendly

worst fabrics to use in a pet friendly home

Earlier this week, I discussed the “Best Fabrics for Pet-Friendly Spaces”.  Now it’s time to chat about the worst fabrics for upholstery in pet-friendly spaces and why! Scroll down to see my “Worst Fabrics for Pet-Friendly Spaces” list!

Silk

In my research to see what others online are saying, I noticed several resources say that silk is pet hair resistant.  While that may be true, silk is a very fragile and high maintenance fabric. It can easily stain, rip or tear. And it doesn’t respond well to liquids, making it very tough to clean, too. Due to these factors, and the expense (!), I personally do not recommend silk on upholstery. And, depending on the client and the space, I often don’t recommend it at all in a pet-friendly space (i.e. window treatments or pillows, etc).

worst fabrics for pets, don't use these fabrics in a pet friendly home
cat on stool
Velvet

While a luxurious upholstery fabric, Velvet, is another fabric I don’t recommend. It is a high maintenance and delicate fiber for anyone, but especially pets. It’s super easy for the fibers to be damaged and crushed. Any rough playing, cleaning, or scratching/digging on the fabric can permanently damage the fibers. Professional cleaning is also recommended, and that can add up quickly! And on top of all that, pet hair clings to it like a magnet!

worst fabrics to use in a pet friendly home
dog on chair
Loose Weaves

The Loose Weaves category include many types of fabrics. These include linens, cottons, tweed, chenille, and many other open weave upholstery fabrics. The looser the weave, the more likely these fabrics will snag or unravel. Claws easily get caught in the fibers, while dirt, hair, and dust get trapped. And, over time, that trapped debris embedded into the fibers, will cause the furniture to smell. It is best to save the open weave fibers for machine washable knits or fabrics to use as accents in your space, like removable pillow covers and blankets that you can easily and regularly clean.

Suede

I’m sure many of you think that suede should be a good option for upholstery due to its strength and durability, however, it is not something I’d recommend with pets. Water spots from cleaning, wet pet hair, licking, etc. make this fabric one to skip when furniture shopping. Please note, ultrasuede is a whole other subject, which you can read about here. 

worst fabrics to use with cats
cat sunbathing on sofa

Have you had experience with any of these fabric types? Let me know your real life examples in the comments below!

xoxo,

Kayla

it’s time to chat about the worst fabrics for upholstery in pet-friendly spaces and why!
Have a dog? Avoid these 4 fabrics for upholstery!

Meet the Hounds in My Life!

Why Homeward Hound interiors?

As I’m sure many of you are wondering, how and why did I end up naming my interior design firm, Homeward Hound Interiors?

The answer is relatively easy…my love for dogs, especially my dogs, sparked the need for a name for my firm that would incorporate my furbabies.

In Memoriam…

Before I introduce the 3 pups in my life right now, I want to take a moment to spotlight and remember my sweet angel girl, Pebbles. She was taken from us way too soon last August. Pebbles was in my life for many career and personal struggles. She was the first dog that was truly mine, not just a family dog. She helped me get through so much and I thank her for the years she gave me. Though, I still miss her every day.

The oldest of my herd is Maggie (aka Mags, Old Lady). She’s 18 years old and still going strong. She loves to sleep, but lives for breakfast and dinner. Such a sweet girl! We adopted when she was 13, but it seems like we’ve had her forever!!

Next, we have Maggie 2, aka Maggie, who is 10 years old. She came to us in 2016 having lived with several other families, 3 in 6 years. Needless to say, she has indeed found her forever home with us!! She’s 75 pounds of lap dog. And, we call her an honorary beagle, because she truly believes she’s one of them 🤣

And our baby is Blue, almost 5 years old, but indeed is the baby! He originally came from Florida, but seems to enjoy all 4 seasons here in Virginia. He loves to hunt in our back yard, and the neighbors know him well because of it 😂

If you follow me here on the blog, Instagram, and Facebook, you’ll get to see more of the herd…and often 😉

xoxo

Kayla