Making the decision to purchase or adopt a new four-legged friend can be equal parts exciting and overwhelming. Bringing an animal companion into your life is extremely meaningful, but the process of training a puppy and acclimating it to your home can be a bit of a challenge.
Prior to bringing your new companion home, research the supplies, equipment, tools, and treats you'll need to make sure your home is ready for the time and energy a puppy can demand. With the right preparation, a little patience, and a lot of love, it's possible to help any enthusiastic dog settle happily into a lifetime of friendship in your home. This new puppy checklist will help you get organized, guaranteeing the easiest transition possible for your new family member.
The right food is a big part of keeping your dog healthy and happy, facilitating growth and development through is formative years. Most dog food is specific to your pup's size, age, or even breed, making your choice extremely important. Pick a nutritious brand ideal for your dog's development; if you're not sure, ask your vet for recommendations.
Choose stainless steel or ceramic bowls for both food and water in a small size for your puppy These bowls are easy to clean and hard to break, making them perfect for a growing dog. As your dog matures, you may need to purchase larger bowls in the future.
Although not necessary for health reasons, treats can be a great way to incentivize good behavior and reward your dog as a training tool. Puppies learn best through reward-based methods, so keeping treats on hand is always a wise choice.
Housebreaking a puppy can be a big endeavor, but an investment in a good crate can make the process much easier. Crates can help your puppy relax, provide him with a safe place that's all his own, and teach him not to relieve himself in the house.
In addition to a crate, your pup deserves his own comfy place to sleep. This can take the form of a bed in your living room or bedroom, a crate pad, or a much-loved blanket. Until your puppy is house-trained and has calmed down, don't place an expensive bed in the cage with him; he may become overexcited and shred it when you're not looking.
Puppies love to play, no matter what breed you bring home. Dogs have an instinctive urge to chew, and without an outlet, he'll be much more likely to use your shoes, purse, or favorite items of clothing for practice. A wide selection of toys can be a great way to guide your new dog through the teething process and help him burn off energy. Toys come in hundreds of varieties, from rawhide bones to squeaky chew toys. Every dog has different preferences, so what works for one may not be right for another.
There's no way around it: puppies are messy. They drool, they bite, they track in dirt, and they break things. Instead of losing it at the first sign of trouble, prepare early. Enzymatic cleaners are often the best at removing stains and odors, protecting your carpet against a permanent scent of puppy pee. Always check to see that cleaners you use in your home are pet safe; the last thing you want is a solution that could potentially harm your dog.
Dogs aren't born able to walk on a leash; they have to learn. Leash training is one of the most important parts of acclimating your dog, giving your dog the freedom to enjoy walks with you and travel from place to place.
When your puppy is little, get him used to a collar as soon as possible. Include a tag with his name and your phone number to make sure there's a connection to you should something happen. Collars should be tight enough that your dog can't wiggle out, but loose enough that you can fit at least two fingers under the band. Choose a leash that attaches firmly to your chosen collar, and make sure it's short enough that your pet will always be under your control. For dogs who have a penchant for pulling or tugging, a harness may be a better fit than a standard collar, providing additional comfort for him and a more secure arrangement for you.
Unless your dog in one of the few hairless breeds, you will likely need to groom your new pet. A good brush can be extremely beneficial, giving you the chance to manage shedding before it becomes a problem. Even the cleanest dogs get dirty from time to time, so bathing should be a regular part of your routine. Purchase a pet-friendly shampoo designed for dogs, and do your best to bathe your pup once a month or so under normal conditions. Many vets also suggest brushing or caring for your dog's teeth, so toothbrushes or other oral cleaning products may also be necessary.
Puppies are curious by nature, and it can be a challenge to keep them from getting into trouble. Things like baby gates and wire playpens can prevent your pup from nosing around in the wrong areas, keeping him contained in the rooms you've deemed safe. If your puppy likes to chew cords or other dangerous items, a pet spray with a strong odor may be the deterrent he needs.
Training your pet will be among the most significant requirements, teaching him positive behaviors and dissuading him from negative actions. Clicker training is favored by many dog trainers, making a quality clicker a good purchase. Other tools, like puppy pads and ding dong bells, are valuable in house training, preventing accidents while teaching your pup how to signal when needs to go outside.
Like people, dogs can sometimes fall ill. In some cases, these illnesses may be related to diet or encounters in the wild, while others may come from other animals. A good vet is your best resource, but you may need additional measures in between vet visits. A doggie first aid kit can keep you covered when situations arise around the home, and our series of
Hot Dog safety printouts can give you the information you need to keep your pet safe and healthy all year round.
Introducing a puppy into your home can seem like an uphill battle, but proper preparations can ease the process. From brushes to bedding, your four-legged friend will settle in much better with proper care. Every pup will have his own unique needs, which you will learn in time, but by following these tips to get started, you and your puppy will be prepared for a long, happy life together.