If you’re about to adopt a new puppy, congratulations! You’re about to begin an exciting, fulfilling adventure with your new companion. In the coming year, the two of you will share many adventures and build a strong bond.
Puppy-proof your home
The first thing you’ll want to do is puppy-proof your home. Put away anything that could be dangerous, and make sure electrical cords are covered. Keep your dog away from kitchen counters and trash cans (so they don’t get into any food or dirty dishes). Also keep them out of your plants, garden, and pool—you know how much fun it is for dogs to chase things!
If you have a new puppy in the house, find creative ways to make sure he or she understands what’s off limits. For example: If there are things on the floor that shouldn’t go near my mouth (like shoes), then I shouldn’t put my mouth on those things!
Preparing for your puppy’s arrival
The first order of business is to make sure your puppy has everything he needs. Here are some things you’ll want to have on hand before pick-up day:
- Getting a collar and leash and other basic gear
- Giving him some toys to play with while he adjusts to his new surroundings in your home (make sure they’re safe—no small pieces!), and having special treats handy in case he gets particularly anxious or excited at mealtime or bedtime.
- A bed or pad for where they sleep/lay down during the day. It should be comfortable, but not too soft. The purpose is to keep them off your furniture! Also make sure it’s easy to clean; puppies like to chew on everything, so something that can take a beating may be best here. Also try a blanket rather than one with stuffing if possible—puppies love fluff!
- Food dish and some food (your vet will tell you what type). This should last at least 3 days; don’t worry about running out if your vet doesn’t give precise instructions—most will suggest about 5-7 days worth of feedings in advance.
The first day is all about socialization and bonding. The goal of this puppy’s first day is to give her a chance to get used to her new surroundings, meet some people and other dogs, and learn what toys are for.
First impressions are important in dogs as well as humans, so here’s how you can make sure your pup gets off on the right paw:
- Take her on a tour of your house so she can see where everything is located. Introduce her to any other pets or family members who will be living with you, too. Make sure everyone greets each other nicely (this means no growling or snapping).
- Take her outside for walks around the neighborhood—on leash until you know she won’t bolt away from home! If there are children playing outside nearby, let them play with your puppy while she gets used to being around other people again. It will help build trust between both parties later on down the line when they’re hanging out together without supervision.
Housetrain your dog with the help of a crate.
The first 30 days of your puppy’s life are the most critical for training and socialization. During this time, you’ll teach your dog basic obedience commands like sit and stay as well as how to behave around other people, pets and children.
Housetraining your new pup requires patience and consistency from day one. It’s important to use a crate during housetraining so that you can give him or her their own space to sleep in at night so that accidents don’t happen during their first few nights at home.
You will also want to use a crate when leaving your puppy alone at home or taking them on errands with you so they won’t chew on furniture or other things while you’re not there to supervise them directly (like when out running errands).
Set up a vet check (within 48 hours).
The first few days with your new puppy are exciting and hectic. You have a lot to learn about your dog and what his needs are. Before you start, I recommend setting up a vet check within the next 48 hours. This will give you plenty of time for any immediate issues to be addressed before he starts settling into his new home.
The following things should be checked at this appointment:
- Worms and fleas
- Signs of illness (pale gums, diarrhea)
- Signs of injury (scratches/bites)
- Pain/discomfort (inability to walk normally)
Set up socialization opportunities for your puppy.
Socialization for puppies is important for their health, their mental health and even their physical health. A puppy needs to be around people so that it can learn how to interact with humans.
It’s important for owners to set up opportunities for socialization because it makes the puppy feel safe around a variety of people and other pets which helps prevent fear-based aggression later on in life!
Give him a chew toy to love.
It’s not uncommon for a puppy to gnaw on your favorite shoes, but you can use this tendency to your advantage. Puppies need something durable and safe to chew on so they don’t end up chewing on your belongings, but it also needs to be something small enough that will wear down over time.
These types of toys are especially helpful for teething puppies who will find relief from sore gums by chewing on them; plus, many dogs are instinctively drawn toward these items due their resemblance with prey animals such as deer (which might explain why some dogs like rawhides).
Now that you know more about living with a puppy, it’s time to start the fun. Just remember these few things: set up your home, take him to the vet, and get an awesome chew toy. With all of that done, you can settle in for what will hopefully be years of happiness with your dog.