Bringing a puppy home is a lot like bringing a newborn home from the hospital. You need a lot of stuff, they sleep a lot (but usually not when you want them to sleep), and there’s a lot of addressing bathroom needs.
Surviving the first 30 days with a puppy can be trying. With our puppy 101 tips, you can set yourself up for success. Keep reading for our survival guide to getting through that first 30 days. Then it will be smooth sailing (well, mostly).
Puppy 101: Before You Bring Your Puppy Home
Prepare, prepare, prepare. Have everything you need for your puppy before you even pick him or her up. Make sure you have puppy food. Explore here for the best puppy food.
Get a collar, leash, bed, toys, and other supplies, like puppy pads to help with potty training. If you’re going to crate train your pet, which is a good idea, get an appropriate-sized crate and set it up. Make sure it’s comfortable for your pet, with a blanket or something soft for them to sleep on.
You should also plan for the car ride home. Consider bringing a crate so your dog can travel safely or if this is not possible, place the puppy in the back seat with a special seat belt. Puppies and older dogs should be secured in the car. Just like humans, you want them belted in should you get into an accident.
You should also make a vet appointment for your new family member. Even if the puppy has already had shots, your personal vet will most likely want to see them as well. They’ll help you with a plan for flea and tick prevention and give any needed vaccines. Bring any vet records you received with you.
Puppy 101: The First Day & Night
Now that you’ve prepared your home, you’re ready to bring your new little girl or guy home. Before you go inside, make sure to let the puppy go to the bathroom outside. Praise them and give them a treat. Start potty training and using positive reinforcement right away.
Let your puppy explore the house, show him or her their new crate, and any toys you may have purchased. You should start off how you plan to proceed. For example, if you don’t want the dog on the furniture, start enforcing this from day one.
Remember that puppies have a hard time controlling their bladders, so trips outside should happen every 15-20 minutes and after every meal. They should also go out first thing in the morning and the last thing before bed.
Puppies, like newborns, sleep a lot. Most puppies sleep 18 to 20 hours a day. Despite all this sleep, don’t be surprised if the first night is tough and you’re up a lot. Puppies getting used to their crate might cry and whine a lot that first night. It does get better though, so be consistent!
Puppy 101: Day 2 and Beyond
Congratulations, you’ve made it through your first day and night! Keep enforcing the rules, taking your puppy outside, and working on house training. Take your puppy to the vet and start getting him or her used to walking on a leash.
You might also consider puppy training classes. These are often group classes held at your local humane society, pet supply store, or private business. These are a great way to teach your puppy basic commands, how to walk on a leash, and how to greet visitors.
The Bottom Line
Puppies are a lot of work, but just like newborns, they grow up and things get much easier. They are worth the effort, though, as your hard work will pay off and you’ll have a new family member to love.
Use these puppy 101 tips to make those first days just a little bit easier. Keep exploring our blog for even more resources for your new family member.