Congratulations on your new family member! This is such a special moment for you and your family – just imagine all the fun and amazing memories you and your new furry family member will create together! Here are the most important things any new puppy owner needs to know. Check each one off your list and you’ll be ready for anything.
✅ See Your Home From Your Puppy’s Point of View
Puppies are extremely curious beings and will quickly find anything that you forget is around the home that they can chew up! Just like baby-proofing a home for a toddler learning to explore their surroundings, puppy-proofing is pretty much the same thing!
You may see items like these around your home as completely harmless:
- Trash cans
- Charging cables
To a young puppy, these items are so intriguing to them – they smell delightful, look like fun and taste just as good!
- Keep any potentially dangerous items out of their sight and reach.
- Put your clothes and shoes inside a closet that’s closed whenever you’re not around
- Get a trash can that your puppy can’t open up on their own
✅ Pick Out The Right Crate
Crates are an absolute must for those who want to crate train their puppy and control their environment at the same time. They’re also great for potty training!
What size crate should I get?
- Get a crate size that will fit them when they are a fully grown dog.
- Many crates now come with dividers which can be set up to create a smaller space and adjusted accordingly as your puppy grows quickly
Establish the crate from the beginning where your pup can associate as their own. Think of it as a den for them as this is where they’ll feel safe and cozy 🙂
How to make them enjoy their crate
- Give them lots of high value treats inside their crate!
- Feed them their meals inside their crate
- Be patient and encouraging!
✅ Hold Off on a Dog Bed For Now
You may be tempted to buy the cutest dog bed for your new pup with all great intentions of them falling asleep like an angel in it.
Sorry to burst your hopes but unfortunately young puppies will most likely destroy the bed and chew it until all the fluff is on the outside!
That’s why it may be a good idea to let them have access to old towels and blankets in the meantime. It’s cheaper, easier to clean, and usually less tempting for a puppy to chew up! You can even use these old towels and blankets in their crate so that they are super comfortable and cosy in it 🙂
Don’t worry though – in time, you will be able to get that perfect, most insta-worthy dog bed when they’re older!
✅ Pick Out The Right Collar, Harness And Leash
You’ll definitely need an adjustable collar for your pup’s name tags and rabies tags. A well-fitted harness is also a great idea to secure them in for walks and being on leash in general.
Having nylon leashes are a great idea to start your pup on their leash training as they’re easy to wash and clean.
- Keep your puppy on leash indoors so they can be supervised at all times!
- Attach them to yourself or a nearby stationary object nearby eg. couch leg.
No new parent ever wants to find their new puppy chewing on something potentially dangerous!
Have a good supply of poop bags on hand and have a poop bag holder attached to your outdoor walking leash, so that you’ll never be stuck in a tricky situation where you can’t pick up your dog’s poop!
✅ Be Ready For Puppy Accidents
While your puppy is potty training, it is likely they will have accidents inside the home.
Be sure to have carpet cleaner on hand to remove tough urine stains and an enzyme producing stain and odor remover spray for spot cleans. This will help to eliminate the odor and discourage your pup to have an accident in the same spot in the future.
✅ Food For Your Puppy to Develop Properly
Puppies, like babies, have specific nutritional needs to help them grow and develop healthily. Make sure the food you decide to give them is formulated for puppies and is from a trusted manufacturer.
Use stainless steel or ceramic bowls as opposed to plastic ones. They are by far easier to clean, and a guarantee that your puppy won’t chew them up when you’re not looking!
How do I change their kibble?
If you do opt to change the kind of kibble your pup is currently eating, make sure you phase it into their diet gradually over around two weeks. Slowly add more of the dog food of your choice to their old food.
A sudden change in their food all at once will likely cause an upset stomach!
How can I make meal times longer and more fun?
If your pup is scoffing down his food within seconds, it may be a good idea to get them a puzzle feeder. Here are some benefits:
- They are proven to help slow down meal time
- Uses their natural instinct to hunt and forage for food!
- Aids their digestion.
✅ Treats: The Most Important Currency
Be sure to get your puppy lots of low-calorie training treats for rewarding them when you approve of their behavior.
It’s great for potty training, leash training and all kinds of tricks you want to train them to do!
If you are needing a super high value treat, try just boiling up some plain chicken breast and shredding it into little pieces!
✅ Have Plenty of Different Toys
Toys will also help to stimulate your puppy’s mind and give them an activity to do.
You can get puzzle toys and interactive dog toys which are designed for curing boredom. They will keep your dog busy, and stimulate their natural curiosity! They will also help engage your pup’s sense of smell and touch 🙂
Why are toys so important?
As you know by now, puppies just love to chew, chew and chew. They’re just simply exploring the world with their little mouths and are also growing their milk teeth. So, they are simply trying to find items that will soothe their pain.
It’s therefore super important to have toys available for them to chew. With your help to divert their attention, the toys will distract them from what they aren’t allowed to chew up – like your shoes, or furniture.
What type of toys should I get?
When it comes to chew toys, remember that the best ones are always durable and safe. Over time, you will need to assess what type of a chewer your pup is – whether they are a ‘nibbler’ or ‘destroyer’.
- ‘Nibblers’ – suited to rope toys, stuffed toys, rubber toys, balls, and edible chews and treats, pretty much every type of toy.
- ‘Destroyers’ – you may want to steer away from the stuffed and rope toys, as they’ll likely swallow stuffing and bits of rope!
Popular Toy Alert!
A long time favorite toy among many pet parents is the ‘Kong’.
- Seriously durable and stimulating
- You can fill them with treats/food.
- There are different sizes and ‘strengths’
- You can also freeze them for when your puppy needs some relief whilst teething.
✅ Get Ready For Grooming
It’s only natural that you’ll want to keep your puppy’s fur coat just as cute and fluffy as the day you brought him home. So, getting started on a regular brushing routine is good for your new puppy to experience and using the appropriate grooming tools for them are essential for this.
A puppy’s soft coat is very different to an adult coat. Puppies are born with a single, soft puppy coat which allows them to regulate temperature.
This coat naturally gives way to the adult coat, which is usually stiffer and thicker than their puppy coat. Until that adult coat comes through, puppies need a softer brush for their delicate fur.
Get the right brush for your puppy
- Short haired breeds will need a brush with natural bristles, perhaps a rubber comb or even a hand mitt/glove that is gentle on their skin.
- Long haired breeds will need a sturdier brush or comb. Slicker brushes are great for removing matted hair as well (be gentle with stiff combs – they can irritate the skin if brushed too hard).
Eventually as their thick adult double coats take over, a rake brush is great for reaching into the deep undercoat and removing all the dead hair and tangles. Be sure to also include a flea comb in your grooming supplies – you never know when you’ll need it!
✅ Plan For Regular Baths
We also recommend starting a bathing routine as early as you can, as this can desensitize your puppy to water. Having a bath every few weeks will help freshen them up and remove dirt and oils from their skin and fur.
A 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner formulated for a puppy coat is a great way to start out – it’s convenient, cheaper and quicker!
Using lots of praise and giving lots of cuddles and high value treats is essential to a successful bath time – it teaches them that the bath isn’t a scary place 🙂
After bathing, give them a gentle blow-dry on the low setting (don’t use any blow dry spray or styler though) and brush your pup’s hair in the direction it naturally grows.
So there you have it – all the essential items that will undoubtedly make your life easier with your new fur baby! All the best on this new journey, and remember, there will indeed be times of frustration and difficulty but patience is key here! Enjoy every moment – they don’t stay puppies forever!