So you’ve decided to get a new puppy! CONGRATULATIONS!! You are about to add so much joy to your life…but first, you have to maneuver the puppy phase.
For us, I didn’t realize how hard having a puppy would be. When I met Beau, he was already 4 years old. I totally missed the puppy phase. But I thought: I’m organized, how hard can it be? Well…it was humbling, to say the least.
In this monthly series, I’m going to share some of my thoughts, tips, and tricks surrounding getting a new puppy that I’ve found helpful (and wish I had in one place when we brought Nash home). By no means will I cover everything (there’s so much to share and so many ways to raise a puppy!), so I hope you’ll join in and share your experiences and what you’ve learned along the way so we can help share with others!
SET REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS & GIVE GRACE
Training doesn’t happen overnight. Accidents will happen. Things will be chewed (but hopefully not your favorite things). It’s unfortunate, but that’s the joy of puppy-hood, right? Do the best you can and remember, they are just things and can be replaced. Rome wasn’t built in a day…or a week…or a month. And training your new puppy will be similar.
ASK FOR TIME OFF WORK
Plan to take your pup home on a Thursday/Friday so you can have a long weekend (or even a week) home to adjust with one another and help your pup learn their new surroundings. I firmly believe Nash took to potty training as quick as he did because I let him out every 30-45 minutes his first week home and I was able to scoop him up if he was having/about to have an accident to show him outside. This is a brand new world to them and I’m sure it’s scary leaving their mama and litter-mates, so having someone close by in those first few days will help them so much.
Find a sitter/friend/family member to care for your pup while you are not home
If you do not work from home and will be gone the majority of the day, plan ahead and ask for help. You are only one person and can only be in so many places at once. If you don’t have friends/family close by, services like Rover can be your saving grace. A mid-day potty break is great, more is even better!
PUPPY PROOF YOUR HOME
Below is a list of things to prep in your home before bringing home your new puppy:
- Cover outlets
- Move cords out of sight
- Move plants off the ground
- Have a designated place for shoes (behind a door or in a closet)
- Fix any holes at the bottom of your fence
- Wrap/tape washcloths along the legs of furniture (I know this sounds silly, but this helped keep our sofa legs in tack when Nash started chewing)
- Block off access to your fireplace (especially if it’s wood burning — see below…)
CHOOSE A FOOD
You can always choose to keep your pup on the food they were on while at their breeders/shelter. To me, it was very important to find a clean kibble for Nash that I knew could support him during his intense growth phase as a puppy. We personally used this website when comparing brands.
CHOOSE A VET
This one doesn’t require much explanation, but still important to note. Yelp is helpful, along with friend’s recommendations.
PURCHASE THE ESSENTIALS
Puppies don’t need a lot to get started, but it’s important to have a list handy so you don’t have to make a million trips to the store (like we did):
- Puppy play pen
- Bed/old towels
- Food and water bowls
- Collar and leash
- Toys (give them a variety, but only start with a few)
- Toy box
- Poop bags
- Training treats (for months, we only used Nash’s kibble as treats and now we use Besties because they are clean and only 1-ingredient!)
GET A GOOD’S NIGHT SLEEP
Again, something I didn’t know…puppies wake up a lot at night. Do yourself a favor and get a few nights of some good sleep before that sweet, snuggly pup comes home.
What are some things you did before you brought your puppy home? What are some things you did that maybe weren’t useful? Tell us in the comments!