Bringing Home a New Puppy

Author: Bernadette Emery Co-Author: Mark Siebel

Are you planning on bringing home a new puppy? After doing your research, finding a dog breed and a puppy that is right for you, there will still be several things that a dog owner should do to get ready to have and care for a new puppy. It is important to be prepared when the puppy gets home that way you can spend your time taking care and playing with your puppy. First you will need to puppy proof your house. Then, you will want to purchase or get a crate, toys for your puppy, and puppy food. Finally, you will also want to set up and establish a schedule to make potty training easier.

Puppy proofing your home will help protect your puppy and your home. Puppies are just as curious about their environment as young children. Puppies will get into anything they can get their puppy paws or teeth into. It is easier to take tempting objects away, than it is to correct a puppy’s natural desire to put everything into their mouths. Start with anything that can be poisonous to your puppy. The last thing any new owner wants is for their new puppy to get into anything that could ruin this happy time in their puppy’s life. Put any household cleaners or other toxic chemicals out of your puppy’s reach. Some puppies will learn how to open cabinets so make sure there are no poisonous items inside. Inside and out, look for hazardous or poisonous plants that your puppy might get into. Some of these plants include: cactus, dumbcane, mistletoe, philodendron, poinsettia, azalea, boxwood, cherry seeds, daffodil blooms, honeysuckle, horse chestnut, holly, lily of the valley, morning glory, rhododendron, rhubarb, skunk cabbage, tulip bulbs and wild mushroom. ALSO: NO chocolate, raisins, grapes, or onions.

Puppies like to chew on electrical cords, so be sure to move cords out of reach of your puppy, not only will this damage your equipment but a shock can be fatal to a small puppy. Pick up anything that your puppy will be able to swallow such as sharp objects or items that can get stuck in the puppy’s throat or intestines. Keep your garbage out of reach from your puppy, especially when it comes to garbage in your kitchen. Your puppy will be able to smell spoiled foods inside and it is tempting to a puppy. Your puppy will get into other garbage cans as well, so keep those out of reach from your puppy.

Get down to your puppy’s eye level, if you see anything that might interest your puppy pick it up and get it out of the way. It is better to keep temptation away, that way no bad habits will form. Also, you might want to keep some of your home off-limits to your puppy so you might want to get a baby gate to keep him out of these areas. Keeping him out of these areas will not only help you keep an eye on your puppy, but it will prevent him from sneaking off to potty or destroy furniture in other parts of the house. When your puppy gets older and better behaved you can extend his boundaries, but gating off areas of the house now will help keep destructive behavior at bay.

Next you will want to get a wire or plastic crate for your new puppy. Crate-training is a great way to help housetrain your puppy, it can help reduce destructive behaviors, and it is a safe way to travel with your dog, in the car or on a plane. You will want to buy a crate that a puppy can grow into, unless you want to buy more then one crate. A puppy or dog that is not fully housetrained should only be allowed to stand up and turn around in their crate. If a crate is too big the puppy will eliminate on one side of the crate and sleep on the other, block off extra areas until your puppy gets bigger. It takes time to crate train your puppy. You need to ease him into crate training. You can unscrew the top part of your plastic crate, or keep the door open to the wire crate. Then, put some treats and fun toys for your puppy to play with inside the crate. When your puppy goes inside the crate praise him, do not close the door right away. Let your puppy explore and get used to the crate. Once he is used to the crate you can practice closing the door when he goes inside. If your puppy starts whining or crying do not yell or bang on the crate because that will only scare him. Also, you do not want to let your puppy out as soon as he starts crying. Doing so will only teach him that crying works. After about ten minutes in the crate let your puppy out, praise him, and then bring him to the designated potty spot. Even if your puppy does not go potty it is good to establish a routine. Once your puppy starts to get used to his crate you can start putting him in the crate for longer periods of time. Do not leave your puppy in the crate for too long, because you do not want him to have an accident. It is natural for a puppy not to eliminate in his den, but a puppy may have an accident if he is left in a crate for too long. This will only hinder potty training.

Along with a crate you will need to get chew toys, bedding, and good puppy food. You will need bedding that is easy to wash, hard to destroy, and a material that is soft for your puppy to lie on. You will need a food and a water dish. If your puppy is going to get bigger you may want to get a stand to put the food and water dish on, it makes it easier for big dogs to digest their food. Speaking of dog food, you will want to get a good quality puppy food. If your puppy is used to another brand of food introduce your puppy to his new food slowly. Start with a mix of ¾ old kibble and ¼ new kibble for 2 days, then ½ old kibble and ½ new kibble the 3 rd-4 th days, finally ¼ old kibble and ¾ new kibble before feeding your puppy a new brand of food. It is hard for your puppy to digest new foods so slowly introducing a new food will help keep your puppy from getting sick. Chew toys are another great accessory for your puppy. He is naturally going to want to mouth everything he can. A great way to keep your puppy from chewing on your favorite shoes is to give him a chew toy and praise him for chewing on it. Hard/Durable-Nylabones, Billy Beef Sticks, Kongs filled with cheese or peanut butter, tennis balls, and hard-meat bones are all good chewing toys for your dog.

Now that you have your house ready for your puppy, it’s time to get you and your family ready. You need to sit down and make a schedule that everyone in the family can stick to. Not only will the schedule help to make sure that your new puppy is not getting over fed, but it will also help housetraining. If you know when your puppy’s last meal was you will know when your puppy needs to go outside. A rule of thumb with puppies is that they need to go outside every time they finish doing something. Every time they finish chewing, playing, sleeping, drinking, and eating they need to go outside. The fewer accidents your puppy has inside the less likely he will associate going to the bathroom indoors. Many people like to bring their new puppy home on the weekend, this way they have extra time to devote to housebreaking and settling their puppy in. LESS IS MORE!!!

Now that you have done the research, and you have a game plan you are ready to bring home your new puppy. The first year of raising a puppy will be the most challenging, but if done properly you will soon find that you now have a happy, well-adjusted, well-mannered, and furry member of your family.