So you’ve decided to add a puppy to your family? Congratulations! Taking care of a puppy is an adventure from the very first second, with cute overload highs and frustrating “not again on the carpet!” lows. To help you prepare for bringing your puppy home, we’ve got advice to ease the transition, from puppy-proofing tactics to knowing when to call the vet.
Preparing for Your New Puppy
Before your puppy arrives there are a few arrangements to be made and rules to decide on, those include:
Buying the right supplies. You will need a crate and/or bed for your new puppy to stay in. Food and water bowls are a must. Healthy and complete puppy food is important, and your vet can help you decide the right food for your breed. A collar, tag, harness, and leash are important for taking them on walks, however, you may need a harness as you train your puppy. A car restraint is important for their safety if you’ll be traveling often. Puppy pads are helpful for house training, and poo bags are needed for outside.
1) Dog Food. To prevent tummy upsets, start by feeding your new dog the brand they were eating prior to coming to your home. Then, you can gradually transition to another dog food, depending on your veterinarian’s advice and your dog’s own preferences. (Not sure what food your new dog needs? Learn more about the ages and stages of dog food.)
2) Food and Water Bowls. The best dog food and water bowls are both useful and lovely to look at.
Collar. A collar is an essential piece of safety equipment for all dogs. It’s where you’ll display their ID tag with their name and contact information, in case they get lost, as well as any health tags required by the city or county where you live.
3) Leash. For outdoor walks with your pup, these are a necessity. Start with a standard 6-foot leash, which will keep your dog close and safe while you learn more about their outdoor behavior.
4) Poop Bags. Leaving your dog’s waste on the ground isn’t just rude; it’s a public health hazard. Don’t be that guy.
5) Dog Treats. Whether you’re training your dog to sit or just showing them a little love, say it with a dog treat.
6) Dog Bed. A cozy place to sleep will help get your new pet settled in your home.
7) Toys. All dogs need toys for mental and physical exercise, whether it’s chewing, chasing or snuggling.
8) Nail Trimmers. Clippers can keep your pet’s nails comfortably short and safe.
9) Dog Crate. A crate can be a space your new puppy can call their own—and is necessary for crate training.
10) Potty Pads. A house training essential, potty pads can save your floors and give your pet a place to do their business indoors.
11) Chew Toys. Give your puppy an appropriate outlet for their natural chewing instinct with plenty of chew toys.
12) Puzzle and Treat-Dispensing Toys. Mentally stimulating toys that make your puppy work for a payoff can help keep them occupied (and out of trouble).
13) Training Treats. Bite-sized, low-calorie treats are made specifically for training situations, so you can reward your dog’s progress as much as you want. One Ingredient Puppy Treats are best.
14) Dog Clicker. This common training tool makes a unique sound that lets dogs know when they’ve done something right.
15) Dental Products. A toothbrush and toothpaste made especially for puppies can help them get used to having their teeth cleaned and prevent dental disease.
16) Puppy Shampoo. Select a shampoo made just for puppies to give your new dog a gentle scrub.
17) Stain and Odor Remover. Accidents will happen. But happily, enzymatic cleaners are made just for puppy messes.
18) Calming Aids. Ease the transition to your home with products like supplements, apparel that provides constant pressure, a calming dog collar or sprays infused with anxiety-settling pheromones.
Puppy-proof your house. Decide where your puppy will be sleeping. Crate training is a popular method to make them feel like they have a safe, quiet place to rest. Choose your puppy’s eating place. Make sure their food is out of their reach. If there are certain parts of your home you don’t want your puppy in, then baby gates can help set boundaries. Check your home for potential puppy hazards like poisonous plants, cleaning products, cables, or other things they might chew on that they shouldn’t.
Find a veterinarian and trainer. Putting your puppy on a routine and early training can create a well-behaved dog. It’s important to get them checked out and up-to-date on their vaccinations as early as possible. Finding the right vet for you and your puppy will make these trips easier.
The Big Day
Once you’ve picked up your new puppy and are bringing them home, you’ll want to set them up for success. Making it through the first night can be the toughest part. However, the joys they will bring you will far outweigh the struggles in the beginning.
Starting a routine and sticking to it will help your puppy have a successful transition. Here are tips for surviving the first 24 hours:
Introduce them to their family. Let your puppy explore designated areas until they’re familiar with the house. Introduce family members one a time, to avoid overwhelming your puppy. Let them know where they should potty, and reward them when they go. Introduce them to other animals in your house slowly to avoid aggression or irritation. Avoid other dogs outside until your puppy has all of their vaccinations. Note that this could take a few months.
Start enforcing rules. Teaching your puppy the house rules from the beginning will help them understand the boundaries. You will need to decide where they will sleep, if they’re allowed on furniture, or if they can have table scraps. Sticking to a schedule for mealtime, potty breaks, playtime, and nap time will help your puppy feel secure and confident. Puppies need plenty of sleep, and giving them a safe place to rest will help them.
Surviving the first night. For many, the first night is the toughest. Some puppies may cry for the first few nights. If you’re crate training, you may want to take them out and console them. However, letting them cry in their crate will help them understand the rules. You can put their crate in your bedroom so they know you’re close by. Some puppies may not be able to hold their bladder through the night. You can solve this by taking them on a potty break before and after bedtime.
Building strong bonds. Positive reinforcement, plenty of affection from the family, and consistent rules and routine will help your puppy adapt to their new “pack.” Scolding, yelling, or even hitting will not create a good relationship with your new puppy. Maintaining positive mannerisms even when they have done something wrong will be better for you and your puppy.
Starting on the Right Paw
After bringing home your new puppy, the real fun begins. Sticking to a consistent schedule and training them will help the two of you bond. From potty training to learning new tricks, using positive reinforcement will help them learn. Enrolling them in classes or programs can ensure good behavior later on.
Socializing your puppy when they’re young and after they’ve been fully vaccinated helps their behavioral development. Their experiences as a puppy will shape how they act when they get older. Creating positive encounters will help them be a friendly dog.
It’s also important to get your puppy on a flea and worm treatment. It’s common for puppies to have worms, however, they can be easily treated by medication prescribed from the vet. Necessary vaccinations will also protect them from infectious diseases.
Be vigilant about your puppy’s health. Make sure they have regular vet appointments and checkups. Monitor their health at home, and take note of any concerning behavior. Learn the health risks of your specific breed and take steps to recognize the onset of any diseases or conditions. Your puppy relies on you for their well-being. In return, your healthy puppy will provide joy to you and your family.