Bringing home a new puppy is exciting, but if you aren’t prepared for your new family member, you can go from happy to harried in a heartbeat.
To ensure a smooth transition for your furry friend, here are our top tips for new dog owners.
Before bringing your new pup home, you need to prepare your home and buy needed supplies.
Get Food: Ask the vet ahead of time if your new puppy has any specific food issues you should know about and what the best diet for him is. In addition to buying the right kind of food, you will need a food and water bowl.
Get Shelter: Putting your dog in a crate or confined space will give him a sense of security. Add a dog bed to make it more comfortable and cozy.
Get Supplies: Make sure to have a dog collar, leash, and ID. Having a few pet toys is also a great idea.
Puppy Proofing: Assume that your new puppy isn’t house trained. To limit damage to your house when you’re not home use gates, crates and ex-pens to keep him confined to certain areas until he becomes potty trained. If you’re gone for hours at a time, consider potty pads in case the new pup can’t wait until you get back. When you are home, take your dog out of the confined space and reward him with treats each time he goes outside to do his business.
Pick the right Homecoming: Plan to bring your puppy home on a weekend or another day when you have an appreciable amount of time to devote to getting your new guy settled.
The First Weeks
Create a routine: Dogs need order. Moving to a new home with new people can be unsettling, creating a daily routine will help your puppy adjust. This could mean feeding and walking him at the same time each day, putting him in his confined area at the same time for the same length of time each day, and daily playtime.
Reward him: When your puppy does something right, like goes to the bathroom outside, doesn’t bark, or follows rules, reward him in some way whether with a treat, toy or with positive words and touch.
Train him: No one likes a disobedient, out-of-control dog. It’s your responsibility to train your new puppy. Consider signing up for obedience classes at your local pet store or hire a private certified dog trainer.
Exercise: Walking is the best exercise you can do with your dog. Also, incorporate other types of physical activity into your playtime with your new friend.
Patience: Just like a human baby, a puppy is going to make mistakes, make messes and generally screw up until he learns your rules. You need to expect that and be prepared to roll with the punches a bit in the beginning.