Congratulations — you are the proud new parent of a fur-baby! As anyone can tell you, bringing your new puppy home is in many ways just like bringing a human baby home. There are feedings, naps, learning and stimulation activities, poopies to clean up … and all of the joys and challenges of guiding this young one into the big wide world.
The fact that you are on the Internet right now leads us to assume that you are aware of the great new tools that are available as the result of technological advancement. That is to say, "smart phone" applications — or apps, for the really tech advanced amongst you. Now, apps are not just games for spending time that would otherwise be wasted in abject boredom — no more. Apps can be used for education, for communication, and for almost anything you can think of.
We chose some of the best apps for new puppy parents, to help you and your fur-baby travel the road to social success.*
1. Daily Planners
It’s important to get your puppy used to a consistent daily routine right away. Walking, feeding, potty breaks, weekly play dates and training classes. All of this can be made easier with a daily calendar that you can set to remind you and track as you get it all done.
My Daily Planner for the iPhone, and Routinely for the Android are two calendar planning apps that allow you to set lists of tasks and alarms to remind you to get them done, as well as mark them off as they are done.
Raising a puppy isn’t cheap, and you probably want to keep track of your budget so you can make sure that you are covering all the bases. You may be asking: What could I possibly need to keep track of? There’s the toy allowance, the food bill, the clothing (leashes, collars, booties, etc.), the health insurance, the veterinarian (vaccinations, checkups, etc.), the sitter and/or walker, the groomer, the trainer, the candle stick maker … you get the idea.
The Spending on My Dog app for the Android helps you to keep track of all of your puppy related spending and view it in chart format or export it onto a spreadsheet.
3. Playing and Exercise
You might remember that when you were a kid, you always spotted the playgrounds from your back seat in the car. Dog playgrounds are not as easy to spot from the car, but thank goodness we now have a way to find them with these great apps. No matter where you are, you can tap in the local zip code and find the closest park to take your puppy to for some needed run time.
The Dog Park Finder by DogParkUSA.com has a Google powered map that leads you right to the park, and Dog Park by Dogster.com promises not only to get you to the park, but also has social tools for chatting and meeting with other puppy parents. Both are for the iPhone.
4. Health and Emergencies
We don’t recommend treating a true emergency with home treatment over professional care, but not every little cough is an emergency. With so much knowledge now available at the tap of a finger, it’s good to know where to go when your puppy does one of those queer little reverse sneezes.
PetMD’s Dog First Aid can lead you through just about all of the possible emergencies your pup can find himself in. With concise descriptions so you know what to expect, and so you can begin emergency treatment before you can get to the clinic.
5. Pet Services
Say you have an emergency and you’re away from home. Or you’ve never left your puppy with a sitter, but you need to go away for the weekend and you can’t take her with you. What to do?
Have no fear, the PetMD Pet Services Finder is here to save the day. With categories in Dog Walking, Veterinarians, Emergency Clinics, Groomers, and yes, even Dog Parks, all of your pet needs can be taken care of in only a few taps.
6. House Training
Training starts from day one. Not the intense obedience training that ensures that your dog will be welcome almost anywhere, but the basic puppy stuff. The first step is getting your puppy to learn to poop and pee on a schedule — a daunting task that makes early inception all the more important.
Puppy House Training for the iPhone has a daily log to help you keep track of the potty schedule, track your puppy’s progress as the days pass, and offers house training support for when you or your puppy stumble.
Think you know how to whistle? Well, maybe you do have one of those really impressive New York whistles that can hail a taxi from a block away, or grab the attention of even the most ADD afflicted dog, but not all of us have that talent, thank you very much. But we can guarantee that even you cannot emit the kind of high frequency whistle that only dogs can hear. So there.
The Dog Whistler app, for both iPhone and Android, has a nifty slider for frequency sounds, you can create your own specific whistle frequency or use one of the presets and then save the one that works best for your dog. You can also use the super high frequency setting to get dogs’ attention, and reportedly, to keep mosquitoes away.
8. Clicking (training)
One of the best training tools known to humans — other than being a superior "pack leader" — is the clicker. And now, there is one built into your smart phone.
With the Clicker Training app for the iPhone, there will be no more busting up your thumb joint clicking the hours away until your puppy gets the command. It’s also useful even after your puppy has gotten the hang of things, when you just need to remind him every now and then to pay attention to you. The Clicker app also includes training tips and videos to help you along.
Watch My Puppy Grow for the Android creates a video of your puppy, captured in daily or weekly images by you, to make a fun morph of your puppy from her first day to her full growth. You can also have it made into a slide show. The pitch is that the image is taken and stored, and a transparent overlay is created for the next image that is added so that each image is in the same position as the one before it, highlighting the changes as they take place.
Maybe you would like to have longer and more in depth conversations with your puppy, but you just can’t get the hang of her dialect! The Dog Translator, a free app for the iPhone (there are several others as well), will help you and your dog to get over those frustrating language hurdles in no time. Just record your dog’s "words" and voilà! You and your furry pal are having a real conversation!
*Note: Most of the iPhone apps can only be accessed through your iTunes account, not through a basic Internet search.
Image: Iwaitforyoutocomehome / via Flickr