It has been said that bringing home a new puppy is a lot like bringing home a human baby—the puppy is hungry all the time, poops a lot, cries, and keeps its people up all night. On the other hand—or paw—a new puppy is entertaining, loving, delightful, and a source of sunshine in our homes, which makes up for all the other stuff. And you’re gaining a new best friend. The keys to a successful embarkation on your lifelong love affair is preparation (LOTS of preparation), organization, and establishing routine. Here are our top tips when bringing home a new puppy.
Start Preparing Well Before Puppy Comes Home
Make Key Decisions NOW So There Isn’t Confusion Later
The last thing you want to have happen is for the children to upset the puppy by fighting over his care. Decide NOW where the puppy will sleep, who’s in charge of feeding/watering, and where in the house the puppy can and can’t go.
Have Everything Ready at Home So You Don’t Have to Stop at the Store
- Food/water bowls
- Chew toys (LOTS of chew toys)
- Baby gate or “playpen” lockable enclosure
Create your Puppy’s Separate Living Space
Until your puppy’s house trained, he shouldn’t have free run of the house since he might have potty accidents, get into something toxic, or even get hurt. That living space should include his crate. When you can’t be with him, he should be in that living space.
Make Arrangements for Puppy School, Puppy Home Care, and Vet Care
If the puppy will be at home alone for significant amounts of time each day because you’re working, you may want to research options and then arrange for a dog walker who can give your pet company and strengthen their house-training lessons. While you’re at it, make sure you have reserved a spot for puppy school and lined up your new puppy’s veterinarian.
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Bringing Home your New Puppy: First Things First
Keep It on the Down Low
As much as you—and your human kids if you have them—want to play with your puppy, keep the exuberance level to a minimum. Remember, he’s in a strange place and hasn’t gotten used to home yet. Rather than overwhelm the little one, keep things quiet and calm.
Training Starts on Day One
This means getting used to his crate, establishing a routine for house training, and learning good manners. Consistency and positive reinforcement on your part are the keys to getting your puppy’s training off on the right paw.
Routine, Routine, Routine
Like with people, routines make puppies comfortable and are reassuring to them. The big world becomes less scary for a little creature when they know what to expect from day to day. Stick to a schedule as much as possible when it comes to meals, walks, potty breaks, and playtime. You can start mixing up their activities more as they get older and more confident, but in the beginning, it’s all about reassuring them with a familiar routine.
Tip of the Tail
Bringing home a new puppy is a big deal, so being ready with a plan just makes sense. But sometimes a curve gets thrown into even the best-laid plans, so be prepared to adjust a little. Happy puppy-ing!