Puppies are weaned at about 2 months of age and so are ready to be adopted at this time. Check that your pup has clear eyes, clean ears and a clean nose! The little one should be healthy in appearance; playful and energetic not listless and lethargic. For this reason, you should be in contact with a vet from day one.
Once your pup is home, make a check list of all his needs.
A nice, cosy place to sleep and hide when he is tired. A basket with a small soft mattress or piece of blanket will do. If it is in the bedroom, he might sleep more soundly at night, hearing everyone else breathing. On no account should he sleep on your bed, he will never leave it and later on he will take up a lot of space! As he gets older and bigger, give him a comfortable mattress or soft carpet to sleep on in his designated area.
Small puppies should be confined to a certain area. In the day, he should have a nice safe place to explore which is also easy to clean. Perhaps an area in the kitchen when that work is going on. He/she should not be kept in the hot sun, but have plenty of shade and should always have a bowl of fresh water handy. Don't forget to change the water every day, as the water should always be clean to protect the pup, and later the grown dog, from getting sick.
Socializing your pup. Your chosen one should meet as many people as possible, as early as possible. Let visitors carefully hold the pup, stroke and talk to him/her. The little one should meet other dogs as well to become as 'social' as possible for later in life. The pup should also have 'family time' to socialize with all the members of the family together, this does not need to include rough games but merely sitting and enjoying one another's company where he/she is also part of the family circle.
House Training : Puppies have a strong, natural instinct (however small they are) to avoid soiling their own area.Be CONSISTENT and PATIENT and you will have a happy, co-operative pet that causes few problems for you. He goes to the toilet area as he finishes eating - a newspaper set down in a secluded corner / a litter pan / or in the toilet.
He also 'goes' after waking up from a nap
After extreme excitement
After drinking water
After prolonged chewing on a toy
And last, if he starts sniffing around for a good spot
After about 4 days of training, he will probably head to the proper place on his own. If feeding times are consistent, that is, the same time every day, he will learn when to go. If he makes a mistake don't yell or turn violent. Clean up when he is not looking or he will treat this as a nice new game - he 'goes' and you clean up.
Teaching Good Behaviour : Don't use punishment and negative energy like anger, to teach. Instead always use kindness and persistence when teaching. Praise and reward (with a pat or a small treat) for an action completed, such as 'come', 'sit', 'down'. Adjust your lifestyle to allow time for your dog's basic needs - love, training, excercise. Your dog is just wanting to please you and needs limits and boundaries which should be lovingly indicated by you. No excessive barking, no jumping up on guests, no begging at the table for food and so on. When he understands what you want and don't want him to do, he will learn to be very well behaved.
TIP : When leaving for the day, sit calmly for a while. Showing any type of emotion will build up emotional stress in the pup/ dog, often vented in destructive chewing. Get up, ignore your friend and leave - don't say goodbye! Arrive home the same way. Ignore him / her at first. Even if things are chewed, behave calmly. Clean up later when he's not watching. Do not build up allround stress by scolding.
Young growing pups love to chew, so hide your shoes and get him chew toys, thick rope and so on. Don't encourage tug-of-war or play that involves biting. Control pup behaviour by praise for obeying - he /she will learn and enjoy himself / herself in the process.
Meals : A 2 month old pup can be fed 3 times a day. A larger dog can have a small meal in the morning and the large one at night. Don't help him form bad habits by feeding table scraps and endless treats - it will effect his health and behaviour. Consult your chosen Vet about his meals and vitamin supplements and so on.
Vaccinations : These are a most important part of your pet's life. Keep careful medical records of all vaccinations given. Medical records are important for the Vet to consult in case of any illness.
Grooming and Exercise : Make this a daily routine for both of you to enjoy. Other members of the family can be involved in the pleasant task of grooming your dog. Simple combing and brushing is a great way to bond and keep your furry friend nice and clean and well groomed at the same time. Dogs are extremely energetic and need a lot of exercise - preferably 2 longish walks a day. Try not to delegate this important and happy time to a paid 'walker'. You are missing out on a lot of things. This helps you yourself to keep in shape and bond even more with the companion who loves you more than anything in the world. The walker may not even be walking much. Such employees can be spotted here and there, sitting and smoking, listening to music, talking to friends, while the poor animal stands aimlessly, missing out on his vital exercise.
Last of all, do consider spaying or neutering your dog. This is good for the dog and you in many ways. It is a way to avoid undesirable behaviour as it reduces aggression in male dogs. Your female dog will not have pups that are very difficult to get adopted in any case. No, your friends are not dying to get a new pup from the large litter that she might have and there is every danger that the little ones you manage to sell or give away will be mistreated by their new guardians. Your dog's personality is not effected in any way - he/she will be as energetic and playful as before.