Puppy’s first year

Puppy’s first year: A step-by-step guide

During your puppy’s first year, every day counts as you teach him how to become a well-behaved and trustworthy pet. The first 52 weeks with your new dog will be filled with kisses, snuggles, laughs and definitely a mess or two, and are also a critical time to focus on building healthy habits. Here’s how.

Puppy-proof the house. Puppies love to chew on shoes and other objects left around. Be sure to remove any potential temptations before bringing him home.

Find a veterinarian. Identify a veterinarian you trust and schedule an initial appointment. Take any health records you have for your new puppy with you and work with your veterinarian to ensure that your pet receives all necessary vaccinations, flea and tick control products and heartworm disease preventives. Your veterinarian and veterinary technicians are the best resource to answer health or behavioral questions about your new dog, so ask as many questions as you can up-front.

Set a schedule. Create a daily schedule for feeding, toileting, napping and playing – then stick to it. A schedule will help both you and your dog manage expectations, and a routine will help your furry friend thrive.

Give him space. Whether it’s a crate or a puppy-proofed area, make sure your dog has a safe place in which he can spend time and call his own.

Get personal with him. Spend time every day when your dog is young touching all parts of his body – inside his ears, between his toes and even in his mouth. This will make it easier for your veterinarian, groomer and you when you’re providing care for him because he will be used to this type of touch.

Teach him manners. Sit, stay, play nice – these are all important steps in your puppy’s growth towards becoming a happy adult dog. Teach him to practice these good habits early.

Use training and discipline to create a happy home. Dogs need order. Stay patient and calm while training your new puppy so he’ll be more inclined to obey.

Reward him. When he does something great, let him know! Positive reinforcement is key during the first year of training.

Get out and play. A puppy needs a lot of exercise, so make sure to set aside playtime each day. Find an activity the two of you love to do together and make it happen.

Show affection. Puppies can never have too many hugs, kisses or cuddles, so make sure you’re generous with yours.

Help protect him from fleas and ticks with a flea and tick control product like NexGard® (afoxolaner). NexGard is a soft, beef-flavored chew that kills both fleas and ticks for a full month that can be used with dogs eight weeks of age or older and weighing four pounds or more. For more information, ask your veterinarian or read more.


NexGard (afoxolaner) is for use in dogs only. The most frequently reported adverse reactions include vomiting, itching, lethargy, diarrhea, and lack of appetite. The safe use of NexGard in pregnant, breeding, or lactating dogs has not been evaluated. Use with caution in dogs with a history of seizures or neurologic disorders. For more information, click here for full prescribing information.