Bringing home a new puppy is an exciting event for most people, especially those families with children. The much anticipated event is finally here, and it’s time to welcome the new ball of fur into your home. But Wait!
Read these pointers first hopefully before the big day.
No worries if you were not able to read before puppy’s arrival, there are still things you might find helpful.
Before bringing home a new puppy, let’s look at some ways you can prepare – yourself, your family, your home, and even the puppy (assuming the breeder agrees).
After years of bringing puppies into the world and also bringing home puppies myself, in my opinion, these are the eight essential tasks you must do ahead of time, if not shortly after puppy comes home.
We’ll cover each at length. You can read through the page or use these links to hop around.
Some people prefer to pick the puppy’s name after they have him home and can observe his behaviors.
Others want to choose a name long before the puppy leaves the breeder’s home.
Either way is fine, but there is an advantage to picking out a name early on. If the breeder agrees, let him/her know what name you will use and ask the breeder to start using that name.
By the time the puppy arrives at your home, they will already know their name. Here is more information about naming a puppy.
Few people miss this step because it is the most fun to do.
Whether this is your first puppy or your 21st, a new puppy needs some basic supplies all of his own.
If you have children, they will want to be in on this shopping spree.
Talk to your kids ahead of time and make a list. You really don’t want to go overboard because many of the items you purchase today will need to be replaced as the puppy grows.
It is fun to go into a large pet store and browse all the isles or visit a small specialty shop to look for something unique before bringing home a new puppy.
Others prefer to take their new puppy shopping with them. Either way works, but I don't recommend taking the dog shopping on your way home from the breeders. That may be just a bit too much excitement and stress for a young puppy.
As you shop, though, you are likely to realize that the best prices for dog items will be online.
Be realistic about your budget and what you pup really needs. Splurging on a $50 (USD) collar for a tiny puppy may not be practical if you will need to replace it in a month.
On the other hand, some items you buy will last a long time, such as a crate or puppy stroller. Shop for those larger items carefully and purchase the best quality you can afford.
What are the items that puppies will need from Day One?
These are the basics. You may want to check out our other page on supplies needed for puppies.
That sounds like a daunting task doesn’t it?
But don’t worry about the entire house or apartment just yet because your new friend is not likely to be allowed free access to all areas.
Chose the room or rooms that you think your puppy will eat, sleep and play and concentrate on those areas first.
Puppies like to chew, tear and pee.
Anything that they can chew on, they will until they are taught otherwise.
Be sure any electrical wires are out of reach. Antique tables or chairs or expensive furniture that you don’t want little teeth marks on should be moved out of the way.
Puppies also seem to masters of finding small objects (children's toys, etc.) left in corners, so a thorough cleaning before bringing home a new puppy is recommended
Wall trim is another favorite, and that is not something you can move.To preserve your home, purchase a bottle of Grannick's Bitter Apple for Dogs Spray Bottle, and spray anywhere your puppy might chew.
Chewing is a normal behavior, and you can eliminate much of the destruction by buying chew toys.
Visit our puppy proofing page for
Trash cans can be a great toy for a curious puppy. Small, lightweight cans can be easily tipped spilling out a feast fit for a king (or tiny puppy).
Either place an open trash can outside the permitted area or purchase one with a tightly fitted lid.
The best news for people bringing home a new puppy that is small is they are not likely to be able to knock over small tables, steal food and other items from little tables, or swish their tail so feverously to knock over a small child.
(We’ll save those behaviors for larger breed dogs.)
People rarely think about the outdoors when preparing for a puppy.
Look around the area where your puppy will be permitted and be sure there is nothing there that could cause harm.
Poisonous plants can make a young puppy sick in a very short time. Avoid fertilizers and yard treatments before you bring your dog home.
If your yard is fenced in, will the size of the fence keep the puppy in?
Some breeds are so small that they fit quite comfortable between the slats in a fence or gate.
Do you have a garage where you keep potentially hazardous items? The easiest way to assure safety is to prevent the puppy from entering the garage.
Luckily most small breed dogs can be carried from the home to your car preventing them the opportunity to taste antifreeze or paint thinner.
Pools, Ponds, Streams? Any type of water can be a problem and puppies have been known to drown in even a small amount of water.
If you haven’t had time to do this one step before arrival, supervise the puppy carefully, both inside and out.
Puppies feel most secure when they have a
place they can call their own.
It doesn’t need to be big if you are dealing with a small breed puppy, but there should be enough room to fit a crate, bed, water and food dishes, and a place to eliminate.
Many small breed dogs enjoy a little blanket to snuggle with, and others enjoy a stuffed toy. Either ask your breeder to provide a "Mama scented" blanket, or send one for her to use and return to use when you bring your puppy home.
Both give the puppy the feel of snuggling with litter-mates. If the puppy is left alone for awhile in his area, provide a variety of toys and chews.
You can prepare this one area in the corner of a room using a puppy play pen or X-pen.
Another option is to choose a small room that the puppy will stay, usually with a floor surface that is easy to clean.
Some people also convert a small closet for a dog room and make it cozy and comfortable. Whatever you decide based on the layout of your home will be okay as long as you follow these simple suggestions:
You’ve chosen a puppy, picked out a name, purchased some supplies and fixed up your home.
No doubt you’ve been talking about this puppy with neighbors, co-workers, and friends every time you are given a chance.
Soon everyone knows about the new puppy. Some may even give you a puppy shower.
It is a good idea to let everyone know the day the puppy is to arrive. You will do this as a courtesy to them and the puppy.
Tell your friends that they can come see the puppy later in the week or even in a week or two.
Puppies need to get to know their family first. These are the people the puppy will build the strongest bond.
Don’t overwhelm a small puppy with too many visitors. There will be time for that later as you begin to socialize your new puppy.
One important question you should ask the breeder involves the purchase contract.
Is there one?
What is the health guarantee? (There are many more issues to ask a breeder, and you can read about them here.)
Many purchase agreements stipulate that new owners arrange for a vet visit within a short amount of time, typically 48-96 hours after purchase for the contract to remain in effect.
Appointments with favorite vets can be scheduled a week or more out, so it is important to call ahead of time so you don’t miss your window of opportunity.
Even if there is no clause about getting the puppy vet checked, it is still a wise thing to do.
Your vet is a good source of information and will explain vaccination schedules and proper puppy care.
Be prepared to take a fecal sample when you go to your first appointment, so they can check for internal parasites. Ask if your puppy should take a heartworm preventative or flea treatment/preventative.
While this is not necessary before the puppy arrives, it is always advisable to begin socialization and training from day one.
Puppy classes can teach you how to train them and at the same time provide some valuable socialization skills for your new puppy.
Most metropolitan areas have many different types of dog training facilities, but they may not always be easy to find.
Look for classes given by pet stores such as your big box stores, your local shelter, or even your veterinarian.
Doggie Day Care facilities also often advertise training classes and larger boarding facilities do as well.
If you know, you will be going beyond basic puppy kindergarten and obedience, consider contacting a kennel club in your area.
Many kennel clubs are associated with the AKC and offer all breed training. Others are breed specific. Your breeder may be able to direct you to an appropriate class.
Training classes may be harder to find in rural areas. Even if you can’t find a good class, you should not neglect your puppy’s training. The internet is full of information on dog training, or you could purchase a good book about dog training.
Any parent can
tell you that kids that are on a structured schedule do better overall. Dogs Too!
Scheduling doesn’t need to be rigid, but a puppy will respond better to eating, sleeping, playing, and learning if he can predict what will come next.
Schedules are different for each family, so it would be difficult to print a one-size-fits-all schedule.
Here are a couple of guidelines to help you plan your puppy’s day.
If you have other pets at home, bringing home, a puppy may be a little more challenging.
Your other dog, cat or pet may not be as excited to see a new family member and they are likely going to let you know it.
Plan ahead how you will make these introductions and respond to the older pet and new puppy.
Plan these meetings on a neutral site so the older dog does not feel as if he must guard his own territory.
This advice can be tricky because you don’t want to choose a dog park but a quiet park with few distractions might work.
Please visit my page on Getting a Second Dog for more information. Or
Alternately, if you have a friend or neighbor willing to lend you their yard, take them up on offer.
Unfamiliar territory puts both the new and the old dog on equal standing.
Don’t get worried if both ignore each other. (That has been my experience).
Just keep it friendly and upbeat. Give both dogs a treat and a drink of water and then head to your home.
Expect a little jealousy and some minor fights during the coming weeks.
Watch body language. The older dog may give a quick, sharp bark.
If the puppy lies down and rolls over on his back and the older dog walks away, all is good. If the older dog continues to attack when the puppy has assumed this position of submission, jump in to protect the puppy.
If you are introducing a puppy to a much older dog, it may be the older dog you will need to protect from the rambunctiousness we call youth.
The most important thing that you can do during the coming weeks is to supervise carefully.
Don’t get lured into a false sense of security if all goes well during the first day.
We call that the “Honeymoon” period when everyone is on their best behavior.
The big day has finally arrived, and you are likely to be excited and maybe even a little nervous.
Chances are good the puppy is feeling the same way, so take his needs into consideration. What Puppies Need is a quick read that you might want to check out?
Will you be going to pick up your new dog?
Many people do have to travel either by car or plane to get a new puppy. Plan for the trip, even if it is a 30-minute car ride.
Very young puppies don’t have the experience of a moving car that we take for granted.
Pack a puppy bag to take with you. Even if you are picking up your puppy from an airport, these items are recommended. What should you bring?
Expect the worst and be pleasantly surprised when you don’t need any or all of the items below.
The Adventure Continues...
May we suggest you check out these other pages with useful information about puppies.