The process of becoming a new puppy parent does not happen once you get your puppy. Rather, the minute you decide and research who will be your puppy means you are that new puppy parent. I wanted to create a guide of things to remember and save you time when brining that new puppy into your home.
If you research new puppy on the Internet there will be lots of resources, but it will lead to more confusion and information overload. My list will give you things that are essential right now.
As you progress as a new puppy parent other things or ideas may be added but I want you to not complicate things. Remember being with your puppy and building that special bond means setting up your home, doing puppy care, and puppy training. In return you will get a lot of laughter, love, and tears plus a solid foundation to a wonderful relationship with your puppy.
Setting Up Your Home Before Puppy Comes Home
You may think if you can check off the list of supplies for your new puppy is all you need to do. However, I am here to give you an extra set of eyes and knowledge when it comes to getting ready that will give you more confidence when that puppy is finally in your house. Here are a couple things to consider:
Furniture Placement – This furniture means the crate, playpen, or bed you want with your puppy. Will they be in a separate room like the laundry room? Will the puppy be in your room with this furniture? Or is it the kitchen or laundry room.
We want to start simple and make it easy to keep your puppy safe and make the back and forth with your puppy simple for you both. Especially with the potty training you will be doing with this puppy. I will discuss this topic below.
Food/Water– I know choosing the food and water bowls may be based on cuteness and gender of your puppy but there are other things to consider. Such as durability to your puppy”s mouth, if it moves around then there will be more messes to clean up, and how easy the bowls are to remove from the crate or playpen.
Finally, remember what bowls worked for your last dog may not work for your new puppy. Look for bowls that do not move around and are easy to wash are ideal.
Potty – This is a very important part of caring for your puppy. Make sure you have easy access to the backyard and a leash to minimize messes in your house. That is why location like I mentioned above with a crate or playpen will set you up for success or failure at potty training your puppy.
Remember when you start with the furniture location can be changed as your puppy gets use to the potty schedule and gets older too.
When Your Puppy is Home:
Feeding Schedule– if your puppy is from a breeder or rescue they will tell you the type and how much they have been feeding them. That is your general guideline. I would not change the food right away because that can cause your puppy to have diarrhea.
However, feeding your puppy twice a day with a cup of kibble could be a good start. I would definitely recommend checking with your veterinarian and getting a game plan together on what food is the best for your puppy.
Make sure to have everyone in your home choose a time for breakfast and dinner and stick to it. If someone is running behind or cannot do it then see if someone else can help you. We want to set up a feeding routine that works for you and your puppy.
I know life can be busy but use your phone to set a reminder for feeding your puppy or measure out puppy food for the week or day the night before.
Bathroom Schedule- having schedule for food will dictate when to have bathroom breaks for your puppy. The general rule is based on how many months your puppy is will determine how long they can hold the pee and poop.
For example, if your puppy is 2 months old then that means your puppy cannot hold it for longer then 2 hours. The time they can hold it will increase as they get older.
I would encourage using a whiteboard, cellphone, or maybe a spreadsheet to keep track of the feeding and bathroom schedule. It will tell you when to feed and get them out to have success with potty training them.
Finally, remember how much you give them will determine how much they will poop. Once you feed your puppy make sure to get them out to go the bathroom. Finally, never assume one time is enough as puppies can get distracted and forget to poop or urinate. We have to help them by giving them enough time to do it.
Socializing Your Puppy
Helping your puppy get use to your home and those who live with you (kids, adults, friends, other dogs, or cats) is essential. However, your puppy needs more socialization then you probably think.
You may be worried since they are not fully vaccinated and worry about your puppy getting sick. There are ways to socialize your puppy to the world in a safe way.
Using a dog stroller, a backpack, or having them on a leash while carrying them are great options. Keep the experiences short, positive, and use praise, rubs, and a treat to give your puppy rewards. Moreover, a confident puppy who is well socialized will be less likely to have behavior problems as an adult if it is done early and right.
Exercising Your Puppy
going on walks outside are great but there are other ways to exercise your puppy if you are worried or limited on time. Using your house (the backyard, in the house with a designated room) for you and your puppy to get exercise together can be very useful.
Exercise in your house can remove the distractions you will face in the outside world when you go on walks, events, or to the dog park. Instead it will help you and your puppy to build that solid bond and focus to work as a team together.
Playing With Your Puppy
Whether you play with your puppy or give your puppy a toy to play with is important to enjoy the time together. To often as new puppy parents we take things seriously and forget about the love and silliness a puppy can give to us.
Set the timer on your phone for a play session with your puppy and set he/she up for success. We do not want them to get too excited and start biting and making the play turn bad with you.
Also, find some play toys that your puppy will not destroy and keep him/her busy if you have to leave your puppy alone. Make sure to try these toys while you are there as to prevent them from being destroyed into pieces or your puppy actually eating them.
I know life and work responsibilities can impact how much play time you get with your puppy, but make the best effort you can and that will help then nothing at all.
Having a new puppy makes life better and there are a lot of thing to try with your puppy. However, one thing you want to do right from the start is set your puppy up with medical care right away. The first veterinary appointment will give you lots of information (brochure, recommendations) and things to do to ensure your puppy has a healthy life with you.
Getting a head start on your puppy care and what they will need the first year will take the stress and guessing of what being a puppy parent will look like for you. It is well worth it to make time on your calendar when getting your puppy to make that call to your local veterinarian.
#Bonus Tip- ask friends and family where you live who they go to for veterinary care before getting your puppy. That way you can make a better decision who will be your puppy’s veterinarian and not have it be a last minute choice.
depending on where you got your puppy make sure to get all the documents of shots, deworming, medical history of your puppies parents, and their temperament too.Too often in the excitement of wanting our puppy you may forget to get everything from the breeder or shelter.
Usually shelter’s have a protocol to follow but being proactive will help you in the long run.Make sure to bring all the shots/medical history to your first veterinary appointment and that way a shot schedule can be figured out and if your puppy needs to be dewormed again.
Some other questions to ask your veterinarian could be about:
- neutering/spaying your puppy
- registering your puppy with the county
- what to watch out with your puppy that could become a medical problem
the veterinarian will look at your puppy’s teeth and can show you which baby teeth are there and if the adult teeth have completely come in your puppy’s mouth.
Setting up appointments
Getting to the first appointment with your puppy is awesome but the follow up shot appointments are just as important. We want to make sure your puppy stays on schedule and also get any questions or issues you see with your puppy figured out right away.
Most veterinary hospitals will give you a card, postcard, email, or even a text about your appointment. Put that appointment on your calendar on your phone and if you have a scheduling issue make sure to call right away.
Grooming Your Dog
is an important routine to incorporate with your puppy. Buy a grooming brush, I like the fulminant brush, and start slowly brushing them.
Grooming does not just involve your puppy’s coat but their ears, eyes, nails, and tail. Getting your puppy use to being wet, shampooed, and blow dry is a big deal and the sooner they are exposed to it in small amounts the better it will be for you both.
Also, having a puppy use to getting groomed and touch will help spot a skin issue, cut, or other issue with your puppy easily. I like to know the normal with the puppies I have worked with and can tell when something is an issue. Plus it is not a stressful thing for your puppy to be touched if you notice something.
Related: How to Clean Your Dog’s Ears
Final Thoughts On Bringing Your Puppy Home
I hope this blog post is useful with how to handle that special puppy who has come into your life. There are many things to decide and change with being a puppy parent, but I want you to take it one day at a time with your puppy.
This blog post can serve as a foundation to enjoy everything that comes with the responsibility of having a puppy. If you have any questions or suggestions for me please leave a comment. I love taking the guesswork out of being a puppy parent because that means more confidence and happiness in you and your puppy’ life together.