First and foremost, congratulations on the little bundle of joy that has entered, or is soon to enter, your life! Getting a puppy is an extremely exciting time but it is also one that can be quite challenging, so here’s a collection of some helpful information that should help your puppy to settle into their new home and will give you some peace of mind in the important first week.
Before your puppy arrives
If you’ve already got a puppy tugging at your trouser leg while reading this, then don’t skip ahead, you may still find some helpful nuggets of information in here that you can use in retrospect.
Puppy-proof your home
Perhaps the number one thing you need to do before your puppy arrives, or right away if they’re already here, is to puppy proof your home. Puppies are inquisitive little monsters and, just like human babies, almost everything they come across will go in their mouths. Walk around your home and pick up or tidy away anything that could cause your puppy harm and also anything that you don’t want to be affectionately chewed. Tidy away any wires that are hanging from the back of your television or lamp, (these are great fun to pull) and put any houseplants out of reach, these are also great fun to chew and dig in. A helpful tip that may leave you looking a bit like a weirdo, is to crawl around your home on all fours to get a bit more of a puppies perspective – it may sound strange but may notify you to some of those lower things that could cause trouble.
Decide which rooms your puppy will have access to
You may decide to restrict your puppy’s access to just a few rooms in your home until they are settled in and have gotten the hang of potty training. If you don’t have doors that you can close then consider purchasing some baby gates to block off areas of the house you don’t want your puppy to get to.
Don’t wait until your puppy arrives to stock up on puppy pads, food, and essentials, get them early so you have them on hand from the moment you walk through the door. Some essentials to consider purchasing include:
A puppy crate
Puppy crates may look intimidating but they are essentially a bedroom for your dog and many puppies find security in having a space that is uniquely theirs. Put your puppies blanket and toys inside their crate and then use it to help you keep your puppy out of harm’s way when you can’t supervise him and to help you with potty training.
Puppies need a lot of stimulation and if you don’t provide them with plenty of toys then they will resort to chewing your furniture and other household items. Have a selection of chew toys and puzzle toys to keep them out of harm’s way.
Treats and food
Puppy training commences as soon as your puppy walks through the door, so be sure to have some incentives on hand. You’ll also want to make sure that you have plenty of puppy appropriate food for the breed you own. For example, Shih Tzu puppy food is often cut smaller than say Labrador puppy food, to make it easier to eat.
Accidents happen, and it can take a little while for your puppy to get the hang of going to the toilet outside. To minimize damage to your carpet or flooring, you may want to get some puppy pads to absorb any accidents.
And for when the puppy pads don’t catch the spillage, be sure to also have some floor cleaner to hand to help minimize odor or staining.
The first week
The first week of owning your puppy is going to be the most intense, your puppy is going to be out of their comfort zone, away from their parents and getting used to their new surroundings. To make things easier for them, try to keep the first week very low key, don’t overwhelm your puppy with too many introductions and let them get used to your home slowly.
Introduce their crate
If you are using a crate with your puppy then now is the time to introduce them to it. Leave the door open and put your puppies blanket and toys inside, let them explore the crate at their own pace and learn to see it as a place of safety. If your puppy is uninterested in going inside then try hiding a few treats in the back and let her think of the crate as a magic food-producing machine. Once your puppy is happy going inside and staying in their crate with the door open, then you can begin closing the door for short periods of time and building up to longer durations.
Begin potty training them
The quicker you start potty training the fewer accidents you will have. Take your puppy out to the bathroom frequently and praise them when they do their business outside. Watch them closely when they’re in the house and if they look like they need to use the bathroom, then put them outside straight away and then reinforce their good potty behavior.
Prepare for a few sleepless nights
Puppies don’t have the same sleep schedules as humans and will struggle to stay quiet all through the night. Settle your puppy down at bedtime and make sure to let them out for the bathroom. Keep bedtime a relaxing time and wind down any playtime activities. Be prepared to get up in the middle of the night to avoid potty training accidents and be patient as your puppy gets used to spending 7-9 hours being quiet while you sleep.
Visit your vet
Last, but not least, schedule a visit with your vet. Your vet will be able to perform a health check on your puppy and will then book them in for their required vaccinations.
Before you know it your first week with your new puppy will have flown by and they’ll be finding their feet in your home. Don’t forget to also schedule in plenty of time for play and to enjoy this special time when your puppy is so small.
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