The first few days of having a puppy can be a complete roller coaster of emotions. Between being absolutely obsessed with your bundle of wrinkles to being shocked at how quickly those little teeth tear through everything, it’s completely normal to feel a bit overwhelmed at first. Plus, there’s the whole wondering if you’ll ever have a full night of sleep again!
Luckily, you’re not the first to experience the blur of new puppy ownership, which means that there is a whole list of puppy starter tips to help you navigate it. With these tried-and-true words of wisdom, your transition to Puppy Parent can be manageable, and while not always smooth, definitely rewarding!
#1: Stock up on supplies
While it can be tempting to wait to buy your supplies until you bring home your puppy (after all, how are you going to know which collar will look best if they don’t try some on at the pet shop?), it’s a better idea to prepare ahead of time. Depending on your pup’s vaccination status, they may not be able to join you while you buy supplies. Even if they are old enough, it’s easy to forget items on your list while managing an energetic puppy in a store filled with toys!
Take a look at our article with 11 Must-Haves for puppies for a full list of everything you’ll need. That way, you can focus on what’s most important: fawning over your sweet little furball.
If you’re looking for a comfortable, durable and oh-so-stylish dog bed, we would look no further than Sash Dog Beds.
As for puppy food… Do you even need to ask? At Mad Paws Dinner Bowl, we have everything your growing pup needs and more. Suitable for all ages, our tailor made meals deliver everything your pup needs at every stage of their life.
#2: Puppy proof your home
All puppies, even the tiniest terriers, can be surprisingly destructive while they go through the teething phase. So, you’ll want to make sure that they can’t access anything that you wouldn’t mind a few bite marks on. Wires, plants, curtains, loose threads on the rug—anything remotely chewable should be kept out of reach of your new puppy.
You might even try getting down on their level and taking a look at your home through the eyes of a curious pup. It will feel silly, but it’s easy to overlook things from a two-legged perspective!
#3: Know what to expect at your dog’s developmental age
Many of the challenges that Puppy Owners face are the result of expecting too much of their furry friend. A 10 week old puppy, for instance, is too young to start potty training. And an eight month old pup may start chewing again as a result of a second teething phase. Make sure that you know what to expect from your puppy’s current developmental phase so that you can best set them up for success.
#4: Set up a supervision system
One of the best things that you can do for your new puppy is to keep a watchful eye on them. This will ensure that you’re able to reward your pup when they make good choices and interrupt them before they do anything too naughty!
Supervising your puppy during the first few months is quite a time-consuming task! But it will help your puppy learn your house rules much faster while also fostering a better relationship between the two of you. And, with the help of a pet video cam that alerts you when your puppy is up to no good, you can continue to live your life while keeping tabs on Fido. If you’ll be out of the house and unable to watch your pup, make sure to leave them in a safe area or call in a Pet Sitter to help your pup stick with good habits.
#5: Decide where you want your puppy to sleep
There is a tonne of information online about the benefits and drawbacks of sleeping with your dog. In fact, you can read our article, Should I Let My Dog Sleep in My Bed, to learn some of them! But ultimately the choice is up to you.
Just remember that your puppy will benefit most from consistency. If you can train them early on to sleep on their own bed, they’ll be less likely to sneak their way under the covers later on. And, if they’re used to sleeping in the room with you, suddenly moving their bed to the living room could be a tricky transition.
So, consider which option is the best for you and stick with it! Your pup will benefit from more consistent sleep when they’re able to snuggle up in the same place every night.
If you don’t want to get into the habit of them sleeping with you but still want them to have a kingdom of their own… Sash Dog Beds have you covered, with beds that your pup is sure to love.
#6: Consider crate training
Many Puppy Owners rely on crate training during the first year or longer for a few reasons. For one thing, a crate can offer your puppy a safe, relaxing nap area. Naps are incredibly important for puppies! But their excitement and curiosity about the world can mean that they’re not always willing to get some shut eye. A crate located in a quiet room in the house can encourage some much-needed sleep.
Crate training can also be a useful tool in potty training, as dogs typically don’t do their business in the same area where they sleep. Just remember that young puppies are unable to control their bladders and will need to be taken out of the crate frequently for successful potty training.
#7: Set up a routine from day one
Dogs thrive on predictable schedules, so getting your pup on a routine is a brilliant way to make their transition easier! This means setting the morning alarm for the same time every day, sticking with feeding schedules, and even penciling in times to take your dog out on potty breaks and walkies. It’s also a good idea to schedule alone time for your puppy to prevent separation anxiety.
Not only will a set schedule help your puppy adjust to their new home, but it will also help you manage their energy levels and predict when they’ll need potty breaks.
#8: Start training (but make it fun!)
From the moment your furbaby enters your home, they’ll be ready to learn all about you and their surroundings. You can use that to your advantage by starting training as soon as possible. Now, this doesn’t mean that you want to drill your pup on anything too hard the first day or even during the first few weeks. Instead, this is a great time to start introducing the concepts of positive reinforcement training. With training sessions that feel like games and plenty of positive rewards like treats and praise, your puppy will start to look forward to learning new tricks and rules of the house.
If you’re not sure your training skills are up to scratch, our Mad Paws Trainers are sure to have your dog sitting, staying and rolling over in no time.
#9: Be ready for puppy biting
Unfortunately for your hands, pant legs, and shoe laces, all puppies go through a biting phase. And although it can be cute at first, those puppy chompers will get stronger by the day! So, you’ll want to learn how to stop puppy biting as soon as possible and be consistent with training.
#10: Desensitise your pup to grooming and handling
From vet visits to grooming sessions, it’s important that your puppy learns to be comfortable with handling from humans. You can do this by giving your pup treats while you touch their paws and other sensitive areas so that they associate human contact with tasty rewards.
#11: Find a friendly vet
Speaking of vet visits, you’ll want to get your pup in to get checked as soon as possible! Puppies need to be put on a vaccination schedule and monitored for healthy growth and parasites. Plus, introducing your puppy to the vet at an early age (and with plenty of positive reinforcement) will prevent them from being afraid of the vet when they’re older.
#12: Start socialisation as early as possible
Being in a new home can be overwhelming to your little pupper, so give them a few days to acclimate and get settled. From there, you can start showing off your little super star by having friends over for some human socialisation. If your dog-loving friends have vaccinated dogs of their own, encourage one-on-one playdates for some doggy socialisation, too! Remember that puppies need to be separated from unvaccinated dogs before they’re fully immunised, so these small playdates are an excellent way to provide socialisation safely.
#13: Most importantly, take care of your own needs!
As the saying goes, you can’t pour from an empty cup. And believe us, life with a puppy will have you feeling like your cup has been knocked over by a boisterous furball! In order to be fully present for the puppy months, make sure that you take care of yourself by taking breaks and asking for help when you need it. Leaving your adorable doggo in the care of a doting Pet Sitter, for instance, might be just what you need to come back feeling refreshed and ready to get back to Puppy Parenthood!
Even though there are endless puppy starter tips for you to try, the truth is, things won’t always go right with your pup! Have patience with yourself, commiserate with other Dog Owners, and remember to enjoy this special time as much as possible!