Congratulations! You’ve found the perfect new puppy to bring home. This is an exciting time, but also one that can become overwhelming. This can be especially true if you’ve never transitioned a puppy to domestic life before. Don’t worry, this isn’t the first time someone has signed adoption papers and thought “Well what do I do now?” Here are some helpful suggestions to ensure there is more enjoyment – and less frustration – for both of you in the days and weeks to come.
By adopting a new furry friend, you’ve made a commitment to provide the basic requirements to keep it safe and healthy. These are some of the items that will satisfy your dog’s core needs, and should come home with you or already be in the house:
Food – Most dogs, and especially puppies, don’t react well to sudden changes in diet. If possible, ask the kennel or breeder what food they have been feeding. If you don’t want to keep using that food permanently, at least consider mixing it with any new food to help them transition. If you’re still unsure, ask your vet.
Bowls – A puppy will drink more water than you think, especially after intense play. Unless you plan on filling it constantly, that little salad bowl form the cupboard isn’t going to cut it. Get a sturdy bowl your pup can have constant access to. For food, if you find they are devouring kibble too quickly, try a maze feeder which will slow them down.
Leash and collar or harness – If you choose to potty train outside, a new puppy is going to need to go a lot, and also needs some exercise. This means numerous walks a day, so a leash and collar that is comfortable for both of you is important. If your puppy is a strong puller, consider a harness instead, which will put less strain on the dog’s neck.
ID tag – Puppies can be magicians. Whether it’s jumping a fence, or squirming out of a collar, they may surprise you. Being in an unfamiliar location, they may not know where to return to if they run. A tag with your phone number can be helpful in getting reunited quickly.
Phone number of veterinarian – If there are other animals in the home, you probably have a trusted vet already. If this is your first animal, be proactive and find a local provider ahead of time. In some states, a vet visit is required to get certain vaccinations if the puppy hasn’t had them already. Regardless, it’s good practice to schedule an initial visit within the first few days.
If you haven’t already noticed, your puppy likes to sniff and explore everything. This often leads to chewing or eating everything. Protect your home and provide a safe environment as your puppy acclimates with these items:
Crate – This is especially important if you will need to leave puppy unsupervised for any amount of time. Be sure to get a crate that is the right area for your puppy’s current They should be able to stand up and turn around easily.
Pen or gate – These help to keep a dog confined to certain areas while under limited supervision, while providing more room than a crate and the ability to play and move around.
When deciding how to begin potty training, you can start with one of two methods. The first is teaching puppy to go directly outside. The second is training them to use designated pads inside your home. In either case, sticking to routine and repetition is key. Keep in mind a puppy has very little bladder control, and will need to relieve itself much more often that when it gets older. Potty training will take some work, and there will need to be communication and patience with each other no matter which method you choose.
Outside – This involves routinely taking or letting your puppy outside and praising or rewarding when they relieve themselves. Eventually, they will associate going outside with potty time. They can then to “cue” you when it’s time by standing at the door or even ringing a bell .
Inside – This method involves placing pee pads in a designated areas of your home, and teaching puppy that is where they need to potty. Again, routine and repetition is critical.
The method you choose may also depend on factors such as your schedule, where you live, what size yard is available and whether it’s enclosed or not. Even if training is going well, accidents are inevitable. Keep a good stain and odor remover handy for quick cleanup, and remember to reinforce positive behaviors rather than focusing on negative actions.
With all that out of the way, now is the time to think about all the fun you are going to have with each other! Whether it’s keeping puppy stimulated and occupied or it is playtime together, there are numerous products to provide endless enjoyment.
Grooming – Depending on the breed, grooming may become more of a requirement, but all dogs love to be brushed regardless!
Clothing – Want to express both of your personalities? Dress your pup in something cute like a graphic t-shirt or polo .
Treats – Introduce your puppy to a delicious treat , especially to aid in training reinforcement. There are all sorts of tastes, shapes and sizes, but they will love you for them no matter which one you choose.
You and your new friend are going to have years of enjoyable memories to make. By having these recommended items ready, it will help make sure that your first memories together are filled with smiles and wet-nosed licks!