So you have a new puppy! Now what?
You’re starting a new journey, and that can feel overwhelming. There will be a lot to learn, but you can do it! Just remember to take it one day at a time, and always remind yourself that this puppy is like a baby. They are brand new to the world and need time to learn, so you need to be patient with them.
For a new puppy, structure and training can ease the transition to their new home. They need time to adjust to life with you, and where they fit into the hierarchy of your family. If you try to give them independence too early, they’ll get overwhelmed and try to take control of the situation.
There’s a lot of different information out there about the right way to raise your new puppy. Our advice is simple—be proactive so you can set your puppy up for success.
How to welcome your puppy home:
Set up a proper living space
- Keep your pup in one area of the house for the first few months. This will make it easier for your to keep track of them, to clean up after them, and to help them understand where they belong. Let them earn time in other parts of the house, so they learn that you are in control of where they can and cannot go.
- Remove anything that could harm them (small things they could choke on, poisonous house plants, things you don’t want them to chew).
- Get them a bed or crate so they have a space that’s all their own. Crates are best to help puppies feel like they have a safe space they can go anytime they need to. Keep their toys in the crate, and give them treats to reinforce that their crate is a good, safe place.
Get the right gear
It’s important to have the right gear to keep your puppy safe and engaged. There are so many choices out there, so you’ll need to see what works best for your home and dog. You’ll also have to get more items as they grow, but start off with these essential supplies:
- Collar and/or harness and leash
- Food and water bowls
- Engaging toys
- Puppy pads (help with potty training)
- Dog carrier (Safe trips to the vet for puppy vaccines)
House training takes time and patience. When you first bring your puppy home, expect to take them out every 30 minutes. That may seem excessive, but it takes years to get human children out of diapers, so try to think of puppies like dog babies. First they need to learn what going to the bathroom is. Setting a timer may help, and as they grow, you can space out the time in between when they need to go.
Additionally, every dog learns at a different pace. Sometimes the breed can affect this, but most of the time it’s about consistency and structure. The more you emphasize good behavior, rather than punishing mistakes, the faster the puppy will learn.
Try to take them to the same place outside every time, so they learn what is outside and what is inside. The more you repeat the correct action with them, the easier it will be for them. Pick a cue (go potty, go pee, bathroom, etc) and repeat it as soon as you bring them outside. It may take a while for them to go, but once they do, reward them by saying “good (insert cue)” and give them cuddles or a treat.
A crate can be helpful to house train at night, as dogs are less likely to go in their crate. They will notify you when they need to go, and you can take them out immediately. If they’re in bed with you, they can slip off the bed and pee on the rug, which doesn’t set your puppy up for success.
Provide a good diet
There’s a lot of advice out there about what’s best to feed your dog, and there are a lot of factors to consider as well. Breed, genetic predispositions, health history, age, budget, veterinary advice, are all important to consider. Just like humans, dogs thrive on natural food, but many of the traditional brands believe they have formulated the most ideal nutrition for dogs. In the end, you should pick the food that as healthy as possible for your, within your budget.
Make sure to start with the right type of food and portion for your dog’s age. Puppies eat a lot when they are growing, and they need to eat throughout the day. Whether you choose fresh cooked, kibble, raw, or air dried, just make sure that your puppy is getting all the water and nutrients they need to grow.
The decision to bring a new puppy home shouldn’t be impulsive, because it takes a lot of work. There are plenty of services available to help you, but in the end, you have to be the one that takes on the responsibility. Puppies need love, discipline, structure and consistency to succeed. The more you provide these things, the easier it will be for your puppy to grow into a great dog.