Bringing home a new puppy is an exciting time, but can also be stressful if you’re not prepared. Taking care of a puppy is an adventure from the very first second, with cute overload highs and frustrating “not again on the carpet!” lows. From puppy-proofing your house to starting potty training the right way, it’s easy to become overwhelmed with your responsibilities to make your puppy’s transition a success.
Supplies for Bringing a Puppy Home
Ask anyone who’s added a puppy to their family, and they’ll tell you that puppies need a lot of stuff. From toys to treats to grooming and beyond, the choices can feel overwhelming, especially if you’re a first-time puppy parent. Start with one of the most important items to purchase: a crate, which can give your puppy a space to call their own
Start by crate training immediately after bringing home a puppy, giving your fur baby a “safe space, home base, happy place.” First, introduce the puppy to the crate room and to the designated potty spot in the yard. Have lots of reward treats loaded and ready in the treat pouch on your belt (you have one, right?) to positively reward pupster for using the potty spot, settling in the crate, or listening when you say “leave it” as she chews the corner of the couch. Introduce one area of the house at a time over the next week or two to avoid “puppy sensory overload” and remember… reward, reward, reward. Sign up for puppy classes – it’s a great way to meet new people and puppies.
Other supplies include Puppy food (Start with whatever your pup was eating at the breeder or shelter, then ask your vet for recommendations. Get more info on what to feed a puppy here.) Toys, especially ones for teething (a common puppy instinct) Treats for training and fun, a leash and collar with ID tags, a bed.
Rules for Your New Puppy
Here’s the thing about bringing a puppy home: It’s a lot of fun—and a lot of work. “Everything is brand-new, so your puppy is going to jump up and nip and mouth and want your attention. You have to set the rules early on so that you get what you need from the dog.
Before you do anything with your puppy, start with a potty break first! In the beginning, your puppy will need to potty more often, be shown where to go again and again to establish the habit, and be taught how to “hold it” for longer periods as they grow. (The crate can be a big help with this!) Keep in mind that puppies can typically go longer overnight without as many potty breaks because they’re resting.
As a guideline, take your puppy’s age in months and divide it in half to determine how many hours they can hold there for. (Example: A 3-month-old puppy should be taken out to relieve themselves every 1.5 hours.) This is a great starting point to build into the daily puppy schedule that you can adjust as your puppy grows and can consistently hold it longer!
Why is your puppy chewing on everything in sight? Between 4 and 6 months old, when puppies’ tiny needle teeth begin to fall out and their adult teeth come in, the chewing instinct kicks in hard. they certainly want things to chew on and massage their gums and help those teeth to break through.
The solution? Provide plenty of safe chewy toys and restrict access to the things your pup shouldn’t gnaw on, like your furniture, rugs, or shoes.
Puppies need to get used to different dogs and different people early in life, to reduce the chances that they’ll react fearfully or aggressively to others later. Plus, socialization is so crucial to their mental and emotional development. Before you take your puppy to walk or play in a crowded space, you can introduce them to sights and sounds by carrying them to the park and letting them get used to the people and pets there at a safe distance.
You can begin basic puppy training—sit, stay and lie down—as soon as you bring your puppy home. Even 8-week-old pups can learn new tricks. They're super absorbent of all those things when you start when they're very young. If you can afford it, have a trainer show you a few basics. Usually, your puppy is safe to attend a training class about a week after they’ve had their first set of vaccinations.
Now that you’ve got the lowdown on what to expect, you’ll be ready for the challenges of bringing a puppy home. But most of all, you’ll be able to enjoy watching your dog grow and flourish as the bond between you and your pet gets stronger every day.
If you already have one or two puppies, then you may think: how do I celebrate this day with my beloved fur family members?