Getting a new puppy is a special experience. You think about all of the great things that come with having a dog, and you are understandably excited to welcome a new puppy into your home.
As exciting as this experience can be, you also have to recognize that the first month is the most important time for you and your new puppy. Your puppy will need your help to adapt to a new environment and you will have to give your dog a chance to get used to you as well.
No matter how happy you are to have a new puppy, these next few days are going to be challenging. With the following tips, you can prepare yourself, your home and your family to accept a new puppy.
Preparing to Bring the Puppy Home
If you want the transition to go smoothly, you will need to take a few steps to make sure your home and family are ready.
Set the Rules
Moving to a new home is going to put the puppy under some stress, so it is going to need to be able to look to the humans in its life for consistency and stability. In the interest of making the transition as easy as possible, you need to set some rules before bringing the puppy home. Otherwise, you and your family will be improvising the rules as you go, and this will make the puppy’s first days confusing and more stressful than they have to be.
Consider things like what areas of the house the puppy is going to be allowed in for the first few days and whether you will let the dog on the furniture or not. Decide on who is going to walk the dog, times for the dog’s walks and who will take responsibility for caring for the dog. Along with that, you will also want to set a vocabulary for talking to the dog and giving commands.
You should get all of the basic supplies for the puppy before bringing it home. You don’t want to get the puppy home only to realize that you need to run a bunch of errands to make sure it has everything it needs.
Your list of puppy supplies should include the following:
- Food and treats
- Dishes for food and water
- A dog bed
- A crate if you plan to do crate training
- A collar and a leash
- Baby gates if you plan to exclude the puppy from certain areas of the home
Prepare Your Home
It is a good idea to set a designated area where the puppy will stay for the first few days. This way, you can puppy-proof the area to create a space that is safe for the animal. Remove things the puppy could damage from the area. Make sure there isn’t anything that could make the puppy sick. If there are electrical cords in the area make sure they are secure or taped back.
A kitchen is often the ideal place to set up this temporary living area for a new puppy. The floors are easier to clean if they make a mess, and most of the electrical outlets are above the counter. You’ll just need to remove anything that could be harmful and set up gates to keep the dog from accessing the rest of the house.
Plan the Ride Home
A car ride can be stressful for a young puppy that has never been in a car. It is a new and unfamiliar experience and it is with new people. If the puppy is used to being in a crate, it can be a good way to handle the car ride home. You will just need to make sure the crate is secure. You should also try to bring another person with you so they can comfort and soothe the puppy during the ride.
The First Few Days
Once the dog is home, it is time to start teaching the animal about its new environment and what it can expect from you as an owner. These first few days are important, so you want to make sure to handle them the right way.
Plan to Take Things Easy
Try to keep things calm for the first few days. Moving to a new home is stressful enough for a puppy, so you don’t want to overwhelm the animal with a bunch of guests or trips to the park. It would be good if you could take the first few days off from work. This will give you a chance to stay around the house relaxing with your new puppy and getting to know each other.
Introduce the Puppy to its Living Area
Take your puppy to the area you prepared. Show the dog his or her bed and maybe feed the puppy a small amount of food so it can see where its food bowl and water bowl are. If you are planning to crate train your dog, just leave the crate open and let the animal explore it on his or her own terms.
Start Potty Training
Take the puppy to the area where you expect it to do things like poop and pee. Spend some time with the puppy so it can get used to this area and give it time to explore. Try to give the dog plenty of time to relieve itself. If it doesn’t, you should plan to bring the animal back to this area later.
Follow the Routine
You should try to start your puppy’s daily routine from the first day. Feed the dog at the scheduled time, take him out to play and make sure the dog has a consistent schedule for walks. You should also work on basic obedience training to get your puppy familiar with the commands.