Updated: Mar 12
So you want or have a new puppy. It's such a wonderful and exciting time for your family! They're just so cute and cuddly and have the most adorable helicopter tails when they see you. It just brightens up your day.
There's nothing like stinky puppy breath kisses all over your face to know that this is the puppy for you.
For us, we called Penny to us and she stumbled happily towards us and my husband said "we'll take her" without even having to ask me. When we met Charlie, he immediately jumped into my lap and fell asleep and I knew he was my little lap baby.
I know you want to make sure you have all your ducks in row, whether you're a new pet parent or just need a few extra tips.
You already know to get puppy food, bowls, collar, and leash, but there's a lot more that goes to it.
Don't worry, I've put this new puppy guide together for you so you can be an informed and prepared pet parent!
A couple of things to consider before bringing a puppy home:
Is a puppy right for your family's current season of life? Are you able to commit to the time and supervision they need right now? They're infants, after all and can't be left alone long. They need a safe set-up.
Inviting a new fur member into your family is an important decision that shouldn't be taken lightly or made impulsively. Before you adopt a new puppy, make sure you've really thought about whether you have the time, finances, and patience to commit to caring for and housebreaking them.
If you're able to, I highly recommend taking the week off of work to establish good potty training habits and to really bond with your new furbaby.
Has everyone in the household met the puppy you're interested in?
I highly recommend you bring your children and any current dogs to meet the puppy before making the final decision to bring them home.
When we adopted Charlie, we brought our dog Penny along to meet him and walked around together for a bit.
Once Puppy Is Home:
Puppies pee and poop A LOT. You'll need to establish a good potty training schedule for your puppy.
Be prepared to take your puppy out a lot for the first few weeks to establish good potty training habits.
According to DogTime,
"A general rule of thumb is that a puppy can hold it for as many hours as she is months old, plus one–for a three-month-old pup, that's four hours." -DogTime
You'll want to also leave pee pads all over your puppy's area and near the door. If you see your puppy sniffing or "dancing around," immediately say "outside" and either direct them outside or pick them up and take them to the pee pad if they are already mid-act.
If your pup makes a mistake or has an accident in the house, never scold them after the fact as they are just babies and they don't make the connection that you are mad at the act of going potty in the house.
Whenever your puppy goes potty in the correct place, praise them like your football team just won the Superbowl. Get them all excited and give them a treat so they associate the act of pottying outside with a something they love. Get something small that they can eat quickly, such as Zuke's training treats.
Even better, you can add clicker training to help speed up potty training. Clickers are an inexpensive tool in which you click the device to make a sound and treat the dog immediately (within one second) when they do what you want.
If you can't take time off and you have the means, a dog walker or pet sitter is always a good idea if no one can stop by to give potty breaks. This can really speed up your pup's learning with consistency.
Give your puppy a safe and comfortable area for when you can't supervise.
When you're gone, keep your new pet in a gated and safe area, preferably on tile or laminate flooring where they have pee pads and chew toys left out as well as a bed and/or crate. Puppies prefer to not potty near their beds so keep an area away with pee pads (unless your puppy chews them up, then don't leave those out).
Make sure the area is puppy-proofed and that they can't get into anything that could be unsafe (cabinets, trash etc).
If you can, leave them in this area and also keep a crate open (the kind with a cover on the top, not the wire ones) so that it feels like a safe little den for the puppy.
Speaking of chew toys, my favorites are usually anything by the Kong brand. Beware of animal bones and antlers, as they can have devastating consequences to your pets health by cracking their back teeth and you may not even know it!
Dr. Johnson at Birdneck Animal Hospital told me to only let my dogs chew something that has some give to it. That's why Kongs and similar brands are perfect for puppies. Buy the puppy specific ones as they are gentler on baby teeth.
To avoid your puppy getting separation anxiety, train them that it means treat time whenever you leave. Give them a treat or a frozen kong stuffed with peanut butter (avoid PB with xylitol) and puppy kibble and give it to them when you leave for the day. This will help avoid separation anxiety as your puppy associates you leaving with a tasty treat. This really helped my dogs- they actually get excited when I grab my treat bag!
Get a good quality puppy specific food.
Already have a dog and planning on feeding your puppy the same food? Think again, puppy and adult foods are formulated differently based on the unique needs of each age group.
Also keep in mind that not all dog foods are alike. Some have very awful ingredients that can be hazardous to your pets.
I trust Dog Food Advisor and read their reviews on different brands before I chose the brand I feed my dogs.
A good idea is to divide up the recommended daily amount of kibble (check the bag or can) into three meals- breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This will make sure they are getting everything they need for all their growing needs.
Another thing you can do to help the puppy relax while you're away is to leave easy listening music on for them. There was a study done that suggests that:
There are even Spotify playlists and albums available. Just search for "Calming dog music."
Remember that while your pup is learning, they will make many mistakes such as peeing and pooping in the house and sometimes vomiting when they ate something they shouldn't have.
You'll need a good carpet, hard floor, and fabric pet mess cleaner such as Nature's Miracle Stain & Odor Eliminator. I like that one because it's safe for my pets and works on any mess.
I hope that this guide has helped you gather the info you need to get started with your new furry family member.
Remember to be patient with them while they learn and don't forget to have FUN- they'll be big before you know it!
Need help keeping your puppy on a consistent potty training schedule? Paw Love Dog Services offers multiple visits per day to help keep your puppy feeling their best so they can learn housebreaking quickly, and have fun doing it!