You’ve gone through the process of deciding which breed of dog you want. And you’ve chosen an actual puppy from a breeder. Now it’s time to welcome the latest family member to your house. There are a few things you need to consider and put in place before bringing home a new puppy though.
Bringing home a new puppy
Before you bring your new puppy home, you’ll want to make sure you have all the necessary supplies in place. These include:
Collar and ID tag
You’ll need a collar for your puppy. I recommend looking at Martingale collars as these are easier on your dog’s throat than choke collars.
It’s also a good idea to have an ID tag attached to the collar in case your dog gets lost.
Although many people put their puppy’s name on the ID tag, it’s not recommended. It makes it easier for people to lure your dog away. Instead, just have a short message and phone number.
You’ll need at least two dog bowls – one for water and one for food.
Your best option is the stainless steel type. These are heavy and so less likely to get knocked over. They’re also hard to break and easy to clean, and will last a long time.
Ceramic bowls are the other main option. While they’re fine, they are easier to break or chip.
You can also get plastic bowls as well, of course. The problem with these is that some puppies like to chew them. And sometimes puppies can have reactions to the chemicals they contain.
It goes without saying that you’ll need a supply of dog food. To make the change for your puppy less traumatic, try and use the same food that they’re used to. If you wish to use a different food, move them over to it over about a week or so.
Beds and bedding
As with most things dog-related, there’s a lot of different dog beds in the shops. They come in all shapes and sizes, and the price of them can vary a lot.
Many people prefer to put off buying a brand new bed for their puppy until it’s house-trained. And also until the puppy is over its chewing phase. Otherwise, you may find your expensive dog bed is smelly or chewed to bits.
If you do wish to wait before buying a bed, you can use old quilts or blankets as bedding for your puppy.
Your puppy will need something to keep them occupied and to play with. If you don’t provide this, they’ll find their own things to amuse them such as chewing your slippers.
One mistake a lot of people make is to buy too many toys. This can overwhelm your puppy and make them think they can play with anything. And puppies will have their own individual preferences when it comes to toys. So at first just get a few basic toys until you find out which kind your puppy likes best.
Tug-of-war toys, balls, and odd-shaped toys that bounce in random directions are always fun. And most dogs enjoy stuffed toys too, most of which have squeakers inside them. One word of warning – some dogs will not rest until they’ve destroyed such toys and got the squeaker out. If your dog is one of these, then they’re not the best choice of toy.
Your puppy will need something to chew on. The long-lasting chew bones are best because, well, they last a long time! You’ll find there’s a huge range of options in your local pet store. Once again, different puppies will prefer different types of chews. So experiment until you find which type your puppy likes best.
Treats are great for using as rewards when training your puppy. Just be careful not to overdo it or you’ll end up with a plump puppy! And try to make sure you only buy the healthiest types of treats. There are a lot of unhealthy treats on the market that are full of junk and can cause problems for your puppy.
You’ll want two dog leashes.
A short leash (known as a drag leash) that you attach to your puppy when they’re in the house. This is used for dog training. They drag this leash around with them wherever they go. When your puppy starts showing some behavior you want to prevent, you pick up the end of the leash and direct them.
A long leash for outside that gives your puppy some freedom but lets you teach distance control.
People have differing opinions about crate training. If you’re going to use this technique though, then you’ll need a crate!
Plastic crates are the cheapest, but wire ones make for better air flow. Wire crates also let you see your puppy better when they’re in the crate. And you can cover them with blankets at night, to create a nice cosy den.
The drawback of wire crates is they can be quite ugly to look at. Wicker crates are more attractive but they do cost more. And if your puppy is chewer, you run the risk of them destroying it as they chew their way out.
Gates serve a few functions. They let you enclose a room you’re in without your puppy scratching the door to bits trying to get out. They also let you block off the stairs if you wish to. And they allow you to block off any other rooms you don’t want your puppy to enter.
Playpens are great for keeping your puppy safe when you’re out of sight, or when they’re outside. They’re also useful when introducing your puppy to other pets. And they’re useful when it comes to potty training too.
Cleaning materials and odor neutralizer
These will come in useful at first, until your puppy is house-trained!
You can even make your own homemade dog deodorant if you wish.
Preparing your house and family
Before bringing home a new puppy, you’ll want to prepare your house:
- Prepare a special quiet area for the puppy to get some peace. You can also use this to get your puppy used to being on their own for short periods. You can use a crate for this if you’ve got one, or a gate. Whatever you use, make the area nice and cosy and non-threatening. Include a few toys to keep them occupied.
- Puppy-proof any areas you’re going to allow your puppy access to. Make sure any breakable objects are well out of reach. Remove rugs and plants. Tape down electrical chords. Make sure your puppy can’t get access to any cleaning materials or chemicals.
- Decide amongst your family which commands you’re going to use, for example, “Sit!” and “Stay!” It’s important when training your puppy that you’re consistent. Your puppy doesn’t learn to understand the language, but the sound of the words. So you have to make sure everyone uses the same ones.
- If you’ve got kids, have a meeting with them to lay down the rules. For example, no fighting over the puppy, don’t be too rough with it, and so on.
Bringing home a new puppy is an exciting time for everyone. It can also be a traumatic and nervous time for the puppy though. Being well-prepared in advance can make the process much more hassle-free for everyone.