Being familiar with new puppy basics can make all the difference when helping your puppy settle into your home. Knowing how to make your new puppy comfortable also helps to decrease your frustration level! Despite how much we love puppies, those first days at home can be hard work! So, what do you need to know?
New Puppy Basics: Preparation
Before bringing your new puppy home, you need to prepare. What does it mean to prepare for a new puppy? It means getting together resources, supplies, and preparing for your puppy’s months ahead!
The first thing you need to know is that the first few weeks with your puppy are going to be hard. This is normal! Having a new puppy is no different from having a toddler at home. They are going to explore, they are going to get into mischief, and they are going to need you. The most important thing to remember during this time is that your puppy is an infant. When you find yourself becoming frustrated, realize that your new pup is likely just as frustrated! They don’t yet understand their new life or what is expected of them. It is your job to help them to do that. So, prepare yourself for those moments when you have had your buttons pushed and remember to take a deep breath!
In addition to preparing yourself to be a puppy parent, you want to prepare your home for your puppy’s arrival! Puppies explore and it’s your job to make sure that your puppy is safe inside your home. Puppy proofing your home isn’t quite as detailed as child proofing, but it does mean making some of the same accommodations!
- Keep dangerous chemicals and trash out of reach to reduce the risk of ingestion or choking
- Cover wires with carpet, rugs, or wire coverings to prevent them from being chewed on
- Put any possessions and toys out of reach
- Keep the toilet seat down
- Keep cupboard and pantry doors closed
- Close doors of rooms that are not in use
Preparation also means preparing yourself with the resources that you are going to need when your puppy comes home.
- Research local vets and find one that you like or who comes highly recommended. Make a plan for your first visit even before your puppy comes home!
- Make a note of the contact information for the closest emergency animal clinic and the phone number for the pet poison hotline and keep it on your fridge.
- Set up a meet and greet with a pet sitter if you are going to be using one! We offer meet-ups with any of our pet sitters!
- Research local boarding kennels if you will be using a boarding kennel instead.
- Look into training options and decide which is right for you! You can select from boarding training programs, basic puppy classes, or one on one training opportunities.
New Puppy Basics: Supplies
The next step in preparing for your new puppy is to stock up on the supplies that you need. Many people tend to go overboard when preparing for a new puppy and buy more items than they need. Don’t fall into this trap, just buy the basics and get additional items later if you need to.
So what are the new puppy basics that you will need to stock up on?
- A bag of the same brand and type of food that your breeder or rescue is feeding.
- Two bowls, stainless steel is preferable as it helps to prevent puppy acne.
- A crate that is tall enough for your dog to stand up in and large enough to turn around in. If you get a larger crate, use a divider to make it just large enough to meet these requirements until your puppy grows larger.
- A crate mat or a few blankets to put inside your puppy’s crate.
- A couple of toys, one stuffed animal, one Kong, and a freezable toy to help with teething.
- A box of small treats that can be used for rewards and training.
- Carpet cleaning solution for accidents.
- A collar and leash.
New Puppy Basics: Training
The first few weeks with your new puppy will seem like they last forever, but they will be over soon enough. In this time, offer your puppy warmth and companionship, but also gently, but firmly, reinforce the rules of the home. Reinforcing rules is your puppy’s first introduction to training, so read up on how you can set your puppy up for success. Make a training plan for housetraining and be ready to tackle slip ups with a cool head.
Even though you may have already selected a training program or trainer for your puppy, you won’t begin this for a while. Your puppy needs to have all of their shots and reach around 6 months before they can take part in a class. This age limit prevents your puppy from contracting an illness and allows time for a little more maturing before training takes place!
New Puppy Basics: Don’t Panic
Above all, when you bring your new puppy home, don’t panic! You may feel overwhelmed at first, but remember that your puppy will feel the same way! Don’t allow yourself to become overwhelmed, just take things one step at a time and if you have any serious concerns, give your veterinarian a call! Vets are always ready and willing to give you any help you might need when it comes to raising your pup. Just don’t be afraid to ask!