Bringing a new puppy home is incredibly exciting, to say the least. It’s thrilling – what will this new member of your family be like? You’ve probably visited the pup and made plans to bring it home – but what should you do first?
Preparing for a puppy is really not very different from preparing for a baby. Your puppy is small, curious, and vulnerable at this time in its life. It’s up to you to keep your new addition safe, and you should get a start on this before you bring your pup home.
Here are six things you should do before the pup arrives in its new home.
1. Puppy-Proof Your Home
Start by puppy-proofing your home. Puppies are especially prone to eating things they shouldn’t and chewing things like wires, furniture, and shoes. Your pup chewing your shoe is annoying but chewing a live wire can be a fire hazard, or even fatal for your pup.
Try and keep your home as tidy as possible, to avoid your pup picking up and eating something hazardous. This might include foods that will harm your pup, small things that they could ingest or choke on, or exposed and chewable wires.
Puppies explore using their mouths, and you definitely want to keep small objects away from your pup.
2. Create A Safe Sleeping Space
Make sure you have a dog crate or pen available. At this age, your puppy really shouldn’t have the run of the house. Letting your pup go anywhere they want is dangerous, as puppies need to be supervised at all times.
Your pup is also not yet toilet-trained and might be prone to chewing or destroying things. Keeping them in a safe space – such as an enclosed, safe room, a pen, or a crate – when you go out will keep your pup safe.
Crate-training your pup can help with separation anxiety and toilet training. A comfy crate, with water available, plenty of blankets, and toys will give your pup their own safe space, letting them feel safe and comfortable while you’re out. They’ll also be reluctant to do their business in their bed, so your pup will be more likely to hold their bladder until they can do their business outside.
3. Have Emergency Numbers Ready
As your puppy grows, they’re most likely to have some sort of accident, possibly eating or swallowing something they shouldn’t. It’s important to have your pup registered at a vet as soon as possible, ideally the day they come home. You may also need to get pet insurance, to cover your puppy for any accidents.
Have the number of your vet and possibly a poison control centre to hand. Obviously, we all hope that our puppies won’t need to make an emergency visit to a vet or a call to a poison center, but accidents happen. It’s always best to be prepared.
4. Have Food and Supplies Ready
Obviously, you need to have food and puppy supplies ready. Reputable dog breeders usually offer a few servings of the puppy food that your pup has been eating. This allows you to mix it in with whatever food you’re using (assuming you don’t have the same brand of food) so that your pup’s stomach has time to adjust.
Good dog breeders will usually offer a blanket and possibly a toy along with the pup. The blanket should smell of the puppy’s mother, and this can help the pup settle in better in a new environment.
Here are a few things you must have before bringing home a new pup:
· A crate or puppy pen
· Dog blankets
· Toys (preferably puppy-friendly toys)
· Puppy food (not adult dog food, as this is not suitable for pups. If you already have an adult dog in your household, you must feed your puppy with different food)
· Puppy pads (for accidents indoors)
· Dog bowls
· Leashes and collars (and possibly a dog harness)
· A car harness (if you plan to drive with your dog in the car, your pup must be properly secured and not left loose in the car)
Feel free to visit a vet and ask for more information about what your puppy should need.
5. Establish Rules in the Household
Puppy training starts on day one. Make sure that everybody in the household is on the same page as to what your pup will and will not be allowed to do. This helps with consistency and will help your pup to learn quicker.
For example, you might decide to implement a “no dogs on the couch” rule, “no dogs upstairs”, or “no feeding the pup from table scraps”. That’s fine, but make sure that everyone in your household knows this. Otherwise, your pup can get confused about what they can and can’t do, and this will slow down their training.
Have a game plan about who will take the lead in training the dog, where they will sleep, and their daily routine before your pup comes home. This means you can hit the ground running when it comes to training.
6. Make Sure You’re Buying From a Reputable Breeder
Last but certainly not least, make sure that you’re buying from a proper dog breeder. This is listed last, but it’s something you should do long before you bring home a puppy. In fact, you need to do this before you put down a deposit for your pup.
Some dog breeders are in fact puppy farmers or covering for puppy farmers. Puppy farms are cruel, illegal, and surprisingly difficult to avoid. Buying a puppy farm dog can lead to future health and behavioural issues, as well as creating a demand for an evil and cruel business.
For more information on how to recognize and avoid puppy farms, talk to your vet or search online.
Bringing a new puppy home is a big day for everyone in your home. It’s exciting and more than a little nerve-wracking. So long as you do your research and prepare properly, bringing a new puppy into your home can be the best thing you’ve ever done.