Bringing a brand new puppy into your home can be a lot of fun and will undoubtedly bring you and your family endless amount of enjoyment. There really is nothing better than puppy kisses, waging puppy tails and puppy breath! Beyond the cuteness, however, puppies can be a lot of work and require a lot of time, attention and commitment. We’ve put together a list of things to consider before you bring your new family member home.
1. Find a reputable veterinarian in your area. Not sure how to go about finding a good vet or vet clinic? Get referrals from friends who have dogs, ask local pet store owners or even consider looking at Yelp for reviews from other pet owners in your area.
2. If you’re considering getting a puppy from a breeder, be sure to ask for references from others who have bought a puppy from the breeder before. Give a quick call to a reference or two to ensure their satisfaction of the breeder and their new pup as well as if they have had any significant medical concerns. If the breeder isn’t willing to give references, he or she is probably trying to hide something.
3. Make sure to “puppy proof” your home BEFORE bringing your new best friend home. Once they start exploring their new home, their curiosity will draw them to things they shouldn’t! Hide or put away all electrical cords, valuable belongings, and small toys or objects they could swallow. It may be annoying to have to change some things around your house for a while, but it will save you a world of hurt if something unforeseeable were to happen.
4. Did you know you can get insurance for your pets? Consider looking in to covering your new puppy under an insurance plan. Talk to your vet about good options for you and your new family member.
5. Crate training starts the day (or night) you bring your puppy home. Even though he or she will cry and whine to be let out of the crate, do not let them out! The first night will set the precedent for the rest of their lives. Letting them know from the get-go where they sleep each night is extremely important, not only for you to get a good night’s sleep, but also teaches the fundamentals of potty training. It will definitely be more painful for you to hear them cry than for them to stay in the crate.
6. Potty training takes a lot of time and consistency. If done correctly, your seven, eight, or nine week old puppy can be potty trained in a matter of days. This will take a lot of attention and consistency on your part, but the pay off is worth it once he or she doesn’t have any more accidents in the house. From the very beginning, take your puppy out every 30-45 minutes and wait several minutes to let them sniff around and (hopefully) go to the bathroom. If you catch an accident happening, be sure to rush them outside as quick as possible.
7. You’ll need more puppy toys than you think. Before bringing your puppy home, be sure to stock up on a variety of ten or so new toys for them to play with. Because their attention span is limited when they’re little, your desire for them to sit and chew on one toy for a significant amount of time probably isn’t going to happen quite yet. Consider putting a few toys away and bringing them back out after a couple days as to maintain interest and curiosity in the toys from your puppy.
8. Have fun with your puppy. Bring them exploring in new parks, take them to pet-friendly restaurants, look into puppy play groups at local pet stores, and provide them with new, interesting experiences frequently. This will help your puppy to stay out of trouble, get them exercise, challenge their growing brains, and will make you have fun with them too! Just remember, they won’t stay little forever!