Puppies are adorable, sweet, loving and fun to play with. Make no mistake, however, puppies are a lot of work. As a new member of the household, there are some steps you should take to ensure that your adoption is successful for both your family and your new dog.
Prep Your Home
Much like bringing home an infant, a house should be puppy-proofed prior to adopting and bringing home your new puppy. Make sure any harmful items or chemicals are stashed away. Invest in some puppy friendly items such as gates, locks for the trash can (for larger dogs), and puppy pads. Also, invest in the comfort items your dog will need such as bowls, chew toys, a collar, comfy bed, treats, etc. This way you’ll be prepared for anything and can just focus on your new pup.
Locate a Trustworthy Vet
Give your new puppy the gift of a healthy start by finding a trustworthy local vet right away. Not only will your new companion need to be vaccinated, it’s a good idea to check and make certain your dog has a clean bill of health. A healthy puppy is free of disease, birth defects, health issues, etc. If this isn’t the case, you need to know upfront what you are in for as a new pet owner.
While at the vet, ask for their recommendations for local groomers, dog washes, dog walkers, pet stores, and doggy daycare facilities. There’s a good chance you’ll need those at some point and they should have some solid referrals.
Pick the Right Food
Human food is not the right option for your puppy. You’ll need to find a quality pet food that your dog will enjoy. Your vet should have some good advice for you in this department as well. Pay close attention to the ingredients. Whatever is listed first on the nutrition label is the bulk of what your dog food is made of and it’s better for that to be food your pup needs as opposed to fillers.
The first couple of weeks having the new puppy in the house will require you to be more available than usual. First, your puppy is still getting used to you, your family or roommates, and their new home. Second, potty training needs to happen as early as possible to make for a smooth transition. This should be a top priority for any new dog owner and you might need to make arrangements at work to be home more often for your new canine.
Watch for signs that your puppy needs to go and then demonstrate the appropriate place to potty. Consistency and diligence are important. This takes patience. There will be accidents – there’s no way around that. Understanding that beforehand will help you have the right mindset about potty training. Common potty signs or moments include first thing in the morning, shortly after eating or drinking, before coming indoors after playtime and any time your pet is acting abnormally.
If you need to be gone for an extended period of time, gate your puppy into a room with an easy to clean floor (like a bathroom, laundry room or kitchen). Puppy pads are a great option here as well. If you can train your dog to use the pads when you’re not around and can’t take them outside, then those pads could prove to be extremely handy throughout the lifetime of your dog as they will be trained as a puppy that a pad is a good place to go in a pinch!
Depending on the level of obedience you desire in your new pup, training classes might be in order. Again, the earlier you can do this the better. Your dog is highly trainable as a young pup. Check into local classes or trainers around town and pay attention to their reviews and testimonials to make sure you are getting the right trainer for your companion.
Get your puppy used to being around other dogs early. It can be tough to socialize an older dog so make trips outside often, plan walks through the park, and visit your local dog park regularly.
This is easily the best part! Make sure you set aside quality time each day to bond with your new puppy. Puppies are social creatures and need regular love and affection to bond appropriately and remain affectionate.
Yes, bringing home a new puppy can feel overwhelming but the results are more than worth the effort. With the right prep work, patience and an expectation that you’ll need to be around the house more often in the beginning, caring for your new puppy can be an enjoyable experience.
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