Congratulations, you’ve decided to expand your family with the addition of a new four-legged friend! Dogs bring incredible enrichment to our lives, and getting a puppy means that you’ll be there for every step of the journey.
However, bringing home a new puppy isn’t as simple as opening the front door and letting them have the run of the house. For one thing, it’s important to remember that your new puppy is just a baby and can easily be overwhelmed by this experience. For another, you want to make sure the environment is safe and appropriate for your newest family member. Let’s look at each of these components in turn.
Gather Your Supplies
This part of the process happens before your new puppy comes home. After all, you don’t want to be scrambling for a chew toy that you don’t have when your pup starts snacking on your slippers.
Here’s a list of things to have in advance of your puppy’s arrival:
- An appropriately sized crate
- A bed for puppy to sleep
- Food and feeding supplies (food, bowls, water dish, etc.)
- Treats for training
- A collar and tags
- A leash
- Safe, age-appropriate chew toys
- Puppy pads
- Baby gates
Determine where your dog’s feeding area is going to be and where they’re going to use the bathroom. Is there a designated area of your yard? If you don’t have a yard, where and how often are you going to go for walks?
Puppy Proof Your Home
Now it’s time to begin puppy proofing your home. The American Kennel Club has a great checklist to get your home ready for a curious new pup.
- Unplug electrical cords, move them out of reach, or string them through cord concealers.
- Keep cleaning supplies in high cabinets or secured behind doors with childproof latches. When using them, make sure the puppy is kept out of the area.
- Put all medications away.
- Keep toilet lids closed.
- Keep doors and windows closed. Secure the cords that raise blinds.
- Put away choking hazards, such as coins, paper clips, rubber bands, and jewelry.
- Keep all sharp objects out of your dog’s reach. This includes knives, scissors, razors, and tools.
- Secure trashcans.
- Move poisonous houseplants.
With your home ready and your supplies gathered, it’s time to organize the welcoming committee!
Your New Roommate’s First Day
Many people believe that puppies are boundless balls of energy eager for everything that comes their way. This is only partly true. When a puppy is separated from its mother and littermates to go to its forever home, it can also be a time of trepidation and stress.
That’s why it’s so important that introductions to home and family happen slowly. Sure, it’s exciting to get a new puppy that you can shower with love and affection. But taking the proper steps at the start will pay long-term dividends in your relationship.
When your puppy first comes home, bring them to the area where their food, water, and bed / crate are located. Ideally, this is a single room or area that can be closed off from the rest of the house. Let your puppy fully explore this area, getting accustomed to all the smells and spaces. Don’t move on to other rooms until the pup is comfortable. Consider skipping rooms that you don’t want your puppy to enter altogether.
Use the same approach for family members. While it may be tempting to have everyone meet the puppy at once, this can be overstimulating. Instead, introduce family members one at a time. Have that person spend time with the pup in a way that’s appropriate to the puppy’s temperament. An enthusiastic puppy may grow accustomed to someone quickly, while a more standoffish pup may take more time to acclimate. Let the puppy decide how much attention they want.
Kids and Puppies
When it comes to children, always be present for a puppy’s first interaction with the child. Having a pet while growing up can have many positive social, physical, and psychological benefits for children. But it’s also critical that children be taught the proper way to act around dogs of any age. There are many guides for how to introduce children to animals. You can also ask your vet or a trainer for advice.
If you have a baby, extra care must be taken during introductions. It’s best to have a helper as well. Sit somewhere quiet with the baby and have your helper bring the puppy in on a leash. Assess the pup’s attitude. If they seem calm, let the puppy get closer and perhaps even sniff the baby’s feet. Encourage your puppy with gentle words and treats. Above all, take it slow and limit the amount of time spent together until everyone is comfortable.
As your puppy explores more of the house and the people who live there, keep a close watch on their behavior. It’s good to begin enforcing rules from the start and directing undesirable behavior toward more acceptable habits.
For example, puppies like to chew. If you want to save your furniture or shoes, redirect your puppy toward safe and acceptable chewing toys. Gentle redirection works well. Instead of yelling at bad behavior, reward good behavior and deflect actions that you don’t want to become bad habits. Training at a young age really sticks!
Try to spend as much time as possible with your puppy in the first hours and days of their homecoming. Take things slow and look to your pup for cues on when they’re ready to proceed. With patience and understanding, your new puppy can become a secure and happy companion for a lifetime.
Our Commitment to Our Clients
The most important piece of being the best dog walkers and pet sitters in the Greater Waterbury area is our dedication to our clients – both two-legged and four-legged. We are constantly tweaking, learning and improving based on your needs and feedback. Our team is fully dedicated to providing you with an outstanding customer experience and your pets with the safest, most compassionate care possible. This is what sets us apart more than anything we can do in the office!
To learn how RCO Pet Care Care can help you with your dog walking and pet sitting needs, check out our services, contact us or call us at (203) 641-2428. If you’re outside of our service area we’re happy to help you find a reputable, professional pet care provider. We’ve got your tail!