Hooray! You’ve been waiting for this day to happen for a long time, and finally your cute little puppers is ready to come home. Life is about to get exciting and will never be the same again!
Taking care of a puppy is a rewarding endeavor, but not without its challenges. Hopefully, with this article you'll be well prepared to tackle your first few days with your puppers.
Proof your home
First things first, you’re going to need to puppy proof your home just like you’d do if a baby was on its way. Make sure to stow away anything that can be accidentally swallowed, or items you’d like not chewed on. Be sure to have all your electrical wiring safely enclosed so that your puppy won’t actually chew on it and block access to any areas you’d like your puppy not to chew, pee, or poop in.
A pro tip is to also check hidden areas which your puppy might be able to venture into. This small nooks, crannies, and under the bed/sofa areas also need vetting.
Next step is to also have a local vet in mind to register your puppy and kick start the vaccination/shot process. Ask friends or family that may already have pets who their go-to vet is and book an appointment.
Similarly, also be sure to check where the nearest animal emergency clinic is and be sure to jot down their details.
You’re also going to need to stock up on some essential puppy supplies. You’ll definitely need the following before your pupper arrives:
· Bed for your puppy to sleep in. Ideally, buy two so you've got a rotation going where one's in the wash while the other is in use – cause it’ll get dirty often trust me!
· Food bowls, ideally one for food and the other for water. Ceramic or stainless steel work best.
· A few toys your puppy can’t swallow.
· Tons of cleaning supplies such as gloves, wet wipes, tissues, and disinfectants. You’re going to need these quite a bit. A pro tip is to get some pet-centric ones that are useful in wiping away any carpet stains.
· A nice spacious crate to help with potty training.
· Treats that also help with the training.
· A well reputable brand of pet food, ideally the puppy variety so they are getting the right nutrient while they grow super fast.
· A collar and leash for when your puppy is out and about.
· A brush/comb for grooming.
Puppy training program
Now that you’ve got the essential steps out of the way, the remaining key things are all about training. This will be ongoing but it’s very necessary you start early and train often so your puppy picks up and sticks to these habits as they grow.
There’s a reason we asked you to buy a crate above. A crate is a great way to train your puppy in knowing it has a space in your home that’s theirs. Be sure to buy one that’s just big enough so they don’t start using corners to poop or pee, and place a nice bed and blanket inside.
You want the crate to be a positive place so never force your puppy into a crate when it doesn’t want to go, and entice them into entering through treats as an example.
Carry out most of your daily routines such as feeding and grooming in the crate, and if your puppy cries don’t let them out as this could signal to your puppy that crying gets them out of the crate in the future.
Ideally only keep your puppy in a crate for four-hour stretches and use it as a way to give your puppy their own personal territory in the home.
Puppies will naturally bark but a barking puppy can get annoying quickly to both you and your neighbors if you have them nearby. Some good tricks to help teach your puppy to not bark is to never reward them with treats or activities when they bark. Know that your puppy may bark from time to time as it’s exploring this new found voice, but as they learn barking isn’t rewarded this should dissuade them.
If your puppy is barking quite a bit, a good trick is to also show them a toy they can chew on and by getting them to bite the toy they’ll stop barking. When they’ve got the toy, be sure to reward them, so in the future they’ll run and pick up a toy instead of barking at you to get your attention.
This one is important and an entire 10-page article on this could be written by itself. However, the basics of potty training are to watch your puppy like a hawk and whenever you see them beginning to pee or poo, whisk them outside. If you can’t watch your puppy, be sure to keep them in the crate. Set decent intervals for when you can take them outside for a walk, and try to schedule one in 30 min. after a meal, right in the morning, and before bedtime.
Also whenever your puppy does go to the toilet in the right place, be sure to give them a treat and repeat the word ‘toilet’ so they’ll slowly start to associate toilet with the action of going outside, and a reward for when it’s done properly outside.
Chewing is an important activity for puppies but chewing on your expensive furniture isn’t great for your well-being! The best way to handle this is to provide an outlet for your puppy to chew such as with chew toys. Have plenty of these and if you think your puppy is chewing cause he’s bored, be sure to play with them and give them plenty of engagement so they don’t resort to chewing all day.
Getting your puppy comfortable with a leash is important. Whenever you’ve leashed your pet, to help them learn to walk with you always lead the way by walking forward with your puppy on a leash. If your puppy runs ahead, change direction and signal to your puppy to go in the other direction with you. Always try to keep the leash slack so your puppy realizes it needs to be aware of your direction and not which way the leash pulls. This helps them learn resistance against the leash either by running ahead or in any direction isn’t rewarded and it’s better to get to places by walking to your heel.
Now by no means is this an exhaustive guide on getting you prepared for your puppy but it’ll hopefully kick things off in the right direction and take care of the essentials. Do your own research and read more on how to take care of and train a puppy. The wonderful journey of having a pet is just getting started!