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Your Very First Puppy - First Steps

There's every chance that right now that you're being pestered, or doing the pestering, in order for you to get your very first puppy. But before you fall in love with a gorgeous puppy, we have some essential tips for you, to make Your Very First Puppy a fantastic experience.

In this episode, Dr Chris Brown gives some fantastic advice on what to look out for when picking a new puppy, including avoiding puppies that are:

- Bossy
- Aggressive
- Shy and nervous

You can tell what a puppy will be like as an adult dog from what it is like as a puppy. Some other considerations before you should consider before choosing a puppy include:

- Size of your home. But remember, it isn't always a case of small dog being best for a small home. A Great Dane would be better for a smaller home than a Jack Russell!
- Grooming. Some dogs' fur need more attention than others and they can shed profusely.
- Exercise Requirements. Consider how much exercise will you be able give your new dog each day.
- Genetic Defects. Some dogs are more predisposed to certain health issues than others.

Once you have selected your puppy, it time for some fundamental steps to ensure it has a long and healthy life. Vaccinations are really important, as up until this point, their mum has been protecting them with antibodies in her milk. By giving them a vaccination between 6 and 8 weeks of age, you protect them from Parvovirus and Hepatitis Virus, both of which can be fatal.

Worming is another 'must do', so once you have your puppy home, worm them every three weeks until it is 16 weeks. You can follow up every three months after that.

In terms of what to buy your puppy, you should ideally purchase:

- Collar (with ID Tag)
- Lead
- Toilet pads
- Bowls
- Toys
- Treats
- Bed

Be careful, it can be very expensive getting started with your new pooch!

Cockatiel plucking her feathers

Hi! I hope you can help me with my cockatiel, I write from Spain and here they aren't that common so vets don't know much about treating them. I have a 5 years old female cockatiel and she is very affectionate, 2 years ago I had to spend a couple of months at a hospital and my parents during that time were either working or visiting me, so she felt lonely and started plucking her feathers. Even after I went back home she continued with this behaviour and hasn't stopped. I took her to different vets, they told me to give her small amounts of a syrup that was meant for calming itching and an antibiotic in case it was something producing an itching, but neither worked. I also tried a spray called "Pluck-no-more" with the same results. In case she was lonely we got her a mate, but it may be also female since they don't pay attention to each other at all. She rubs her cloaca on the perch often but the other tiel ignores it (the pet shop said it was male but they said the same with her and then she laid an egg...). The layer that covers the feather while growing (not sure of the name in English) doesn't grow normally, looks more like bland plastic than a hard cover like the ones on my other birds pin feathers (besides her, I have another cockatiel and a lovebird). Is as if the feathers on the plucking areas aren't growing correctly. The areas she plucks are under the wings, the part where wings join the body, and the body area that is covered by the wings while resting. While plucking she lets out small cries. The fluff covers these areas so by just looking at her isn't easy to tell, unless you watch her while preening. I let her play outside of the cage very often, but lately she can't fly well and I think it may be caused by the loss of these feathers. As I said, vets in this area are more specialized in cats and dogs and know little about parrots, so I hope you can advise me since these birds are native to Australia. Is there some kind of balm or spray I can apply on her skin to soothe it? Some medicine I can ask my local vet to use? I love her and it hurts seeing her in pain everytime she preens. Any advice would be much appreciated. Greetings from Spain!