Preparing Your Home for a Puppy (Checklist)
Preparation, Anticipation and Patience Make Taking Home a Puppy Much Easier
Here’s a checklist to help prepare your home for your brand new puppy.
Like the decision to bring any new family member into your home, getting a puppy is a huge responsibility and shouldn’t be taken lightly. The fact that you’re here researching what you need before bringing your new puppy home is encouraging, but you should also be completely certain you have the time, space, patience, money and energy to devote to a pup around the house.
Adopting a puppy will go smoothly if you anticipate and prepare for the coming home of your new bundle of joy and energy. As your puppy makes his way into your heart and home a few helpful guidelines will make his/her life, and yours, much better. It will also reduce the stress of change for your puppy.
What You Need Before Puppy Comes Home
A puppy, like a human baby, requires more than his weight in supplies from the start. Below is a new puppy checklist of things you will need when your puppy arrives home:
Making The Car Ride Home Safer
- A first car ride can be terrifying for a puppy as it’s a totally new experience with new sounds, smells, noises and sensations. Do not allow your puppy to ride in the car without a carrier. It's not safe for the puppy and it's not safe for you because the puppy will undoubtedly be a distraction. The crate will also allow you to safely transport your puppy in the car in the future. You can buy a good crate, either soft or hard, but we prefer the all-in-one foldable dog crate or soft carrier because it combines all the functionality but adds color and comfort for your pet. It's also washable which is really nice. Your puppy will feel safe and secure and you will look chic and stylish.
- Where should your puppy ride? Place the crate goes in the back seat preferable seat belted. If you are not alone, a small puppy can be carried in a blanket by a family member or friend. Make sure you talk to him all the way home.
- Leash and collar or harness - Put a collar and ID tags on the puppy right away so he gets used to them. Even if you get your puppy microchipped, it’s always best to have ID tags too. Plus, in some areas they’re required by law. Tags should have your name, address, phone number and the pet's name on them.
Also, start walking the puppy on a leash right away (after the puppy has completed its vaccinations) and teach him how to behave on the walk. Expect to replace the collar and leash as your puppy grows and gets larger.
Note: be sure you check the collar when your puppy is growing because you do not want it to get too tight and choke your dog. Fasten it so it's tight enough not to slip off the dog's neck and head but loose enough to allow for your puppy's natural growth.
- Poop bags- You will need lots of these! You will use them when you take your dog for a walk (always pick-up the poop) and you can use them to clean-up your yard and any little accidents around the house. You can purchase an all-in-one collar, leash and poop bag holder which is really convenient and it comes in several different fun colors. Make sure the collar is the right size for your dog though.
- Food and water bowls - Puppy bowls come in many styles, shapes and sizes. Pick bowls that are sturdy, easy to clean and size appropriate.
- Food - It’s a good idea to keep your puppy on the same food he/she has been eating prior to taking him home. You can modify his food if you want later, but switching a puppy's food can cause stomach problems and diarrhea. It's best to be advised by your vet. See Puppy Feeding Schedule and Guide.
- Treats - These are essential for training. Pick high-value treats for when you really want to motivate your pup. These treats by Wellness are soft, chewy, small enough for puppies and made with premium lamb and salmon. They are great for both training and rewarding your puppy. They are also backed by the Wellness Guarantee and proudly made only in the U.S.A. We like that!
- Bed - Every doggy needs a soft, washable snuggly bed to call his own. Dog beds come in so many different sizes and shapes, so pick one appropriate for the size of your puppy.
- Crate - If you plan to crate train, the crate should precede the puppy into the house. Crate training your puppy is a very efficient way to potty and if used properly the crate will be your puppy's friend. You should never punish a puppy by putting him in the crate because the dog will then perceive the crate to be a bad place. Instead, when used correctly, your puppy will consider his create his own private and safe place. Click here for crate training tips.
- Baby gates - If you want to keep certain parts of the home off limits to the puppy, baby gates are your friend. This metal baby gate is easy to set-up and it's great because you can walk through it without having to crawl over it. It also expands which is a major bonus.
- Piddle pads and newspapers - New puppies leak, so whether you are planning to train with pads or not, you will need some absorbent products for the first few weeks.
- Toys - You are going to need safe chew toys and something for your puppy to snuggle with at night to make your house feel like his home. The chew toys are essential to help divert chewing away from your belongings. Tug toys, balls to play fetch with and treat-dispensing toys are also nice to have. Choose appropriately-sized toys that aren’t small enough to lodge in your puppy’s throat.
- Brushes - Get your puppy some brushes and dog friendly shampoo and begin grooming him while he's young. This makes it much easier to do when the puppy gets older. .
- Toothbrush and toothpaste - These are daily essentials in your grooming routine. Be sure to choose a dog-specific toothpaste as the human stuff can be dangerous to canines. Nylabone makes a great dental kit and it has everything you need all-in-one and it's super affordable. The kit is designed especially for puppies with a small brush and angled neck for good reach. The toothpaste is made with Dental-C, which is scientifically proven to reduce plaque and it's just a great way to start your puppy off with good dental hygiene.
Time To Clean The House
Inviting a puppy into your life provides a great opportunity for house cleaning on a major scale. Puppies will chew and swallow just about anything so make sure the floor is clean of debris. Elevate and secure electrical cords. Time to give up candles, candy jars and anything else you might have on the coffee table. Cigarette butts, chocolate, grapes and ant traps are toxic and dangerous for puppies, so get any random objects out of your puppy’s reach. Click here to see the strange things your puppy/dog will eat.
Puppy-Proofing Your Home
You can puppy-proof rooms your puppy shouldn’t enter using baby gates. Do not use the old accordion-style gates; they are as dangerous for puppies as they are for toddlers. Gates that open easily, secure tightly and can be seen through will protect your puppy from dangerous areas and will save your special rooms from puppy accidents.
Remember, puppies WILL get into things so you will need to behave differently than you did pre-puppy. Do not leave grocery bags, purses, briefcases, backpacks or any easy-to-open containers on the floor. Block off stairs until you know that the puppy can go up and down without taking a tumble. Basically, think human toddler times four.
How Your New Puppy Feels
Bringing home a new puppy is very exciting and a special day that you will always remember. For puppy it may be the day he left his littermates and mother or the day his wandering from foster home to foster home ends. It's the beginning of the best part of his life but also a terrifying day of change, unfamiliarity and new faces and smells.
The Drive Home
Try to reduce stress by making his drive home as calm and quiet as possible. Make sure he goes to the bathroom before getting in the car.
Coming into your Home
Entering your house should be made calm and happy for your puppy. Keep his greeters down to immediate family and allow him to play and sleep according to his rhythms.
Getting Enough Sleep
Puppies need a ton of sleep and though excited kids tend to want to play with the puppy all of the time, do not allow that. If your puppy does not get sufficient rest, he/she will be much more susceptible to catching a puppy-related illness since a puppy's immune system is not fully developed. Make sure your puppy eats and especially that he drinks and take him out often so he can relieve himself. It’s not a bad idea to put his crate in your room at night so he will feel you are near him and not be scared. A few plush toys in his bed will substitute for his littermates.
Choosing the Proper Puppy
There are many puppy dog breeds. Learn as much about all of them as you can so you choose the correct breed that fits your lifestyle and a breed whose intrinsic characteristics are right for your family. Do not be swayed by dogs featured in movies or cartoons. (Dalmatians are not really like that.) Make a decision based on your research. Click here for more on selecting the pet that best suits your style.
Puppy-proofing Your Home and Yard
- Move chewable items - Things such as shoes, socks, clothing, belts, books and even phones are likely to get chewed if they’re left where a puppy can reach them. Basically, anything small enough to fit in your pup’s mouth is at risk. Don’t leave small items on the floor or on low tables. Put them up and away. Not only will you be out of pocket if your pup chews something valuable, many such items are also choking hazards.
- Watch the plants - Make sure you remove any plants that are poisonous to dogs, both in your house, yard and garden. Common offenders include foxglove, wisteria and yew. Find out more about plants that are poisonous to pets.
- Secure medicines and cleaning products - Both medicines and cleaning products can be highly toxic to dogs if ingested. Make sure they’re kept high-up or in cupboards with childproof latches if they must be at puppy level.
- Hide electrical cords - If a puppy sinks its teeth into an electrical cord it can prove fatal. Try not to have electrical cords running across the room or out in the open where your puppy can get to them. If need be you can get cord concealers, cord wraps or even pvc pipes to secure them.
- In the bathroom -Keep your toilet lid closed and don’t leave full sinks or tubs unattended, as these are potential drowning hazards.
- Tie-up blind cords - If you have blinds with long looped cords that move them up and down, tie these up well above puppy height, as there’s a risk they could strangle your puppy if he gets tangled in them.
- Secure your yard and garden - If you’re planning on letting your puppy explore your yards and garden off the leash, make sure they are fully secured with no puppy-sized gaps in the fencing for him to escape.
- Garbage bins - Make sure your garbage is kept in lidded bins that can’t be opened by an eager pup, as there are plenty of hazards in the average trash can that you don’t want your puppy to get its mouth around.
Planning Appropriate Puppy Socialization
Socialization with both humans and other dogs (plus other animals) is one of the most important things to think about with your new puppy. A well-socialized puppy should turn into an adult dog who interacts well with all dogs and people.
The first couple of days it’s best if your puppy just meets those people and animals with whom he/she is sharing a home. After that it's good for your pup to meet as many other dogs, kids and people as is safe and possible.
Your dog shouldn’t be out and about, other than in your fenced-in yard, until he/she is fully vaccinated. Then seek out arenas where you can socialize your dog. Some vets host puppy parties at their clinics so younger puppies can interact with one another in a safe and clean environment. This is a great option because once your pup has been fully vaccinated it will already be out of the stage in its life when its most receptive to new things, including meeting new dogs without being nervous or aggressive.
It’s also great for your pup to meet a variety of new people and it won’t be hard to convince your friends to come over and hang out with your adorable new pal! Be cautious and careful if you choose to take your puppy to a dog park. If the puppy is still small it's not a good idea. Too much can go wrong with other larger dogs present.
If you’re training your puppy to stop play biting or jumping on humans, make sure anyone meeting your puppy knows the rules. It might sound a bit over the top, but it will stop your pup from getting confused over what he/she is and is not allowed to do, it will prevent over-stimulation and it sets ground rules for the humans involved too. Read more about socializing your puppy.
Establish A Routine
It’s important to think about your new routine before you decide to get a puppy because you have to ensure you have enough time to meet the needs of a young dog.
Puppies thrive on a fixed routine and you’ll find your canine companion settles in much quicker, and is potty trained much faster, if he has a schedule. For instance, if everyone in your household works or is at school full time it's not going to cut it for an 8-week-old puppy, as they’ll need to go outside to do their business every two to four hours.
Pick out regular meal times for your puppy and try to stick to them as closely as possible. Also take your puppy out into the yard on a schedule to help with potty training. Although that’s not to say your pup won’t need to go out in between scheduled times as well!
You can also schedule training and play sessions when your puppy is old enough.
Learning To Train Your Puppy
You might think training your new dog will be intuitive when you first bring him/her home, but dog training is a skill you learn not one you just acquire as you go along.
If this is your first dog or you haven’t had a puppy in the house for quite some time, you’ve got some serious reading to do before you get your puppy home. This Kindle manual is highly recommended for teaching you to teach your puppy all kinds of things, including housebreaking do's and don'ts.
Here's what's in the Puppy Training guide book:
- First Lessons and Reinforcement That Makes You and Your Puppy Happy
- Crate Training Without The Headaches
- Advanced Housebreaking Tips You'll Want To Train Your Pup To Do
- And So Much More!...Purchase your copy of the best 9-Day Housebreaking - Effective and Simple - Puppy training tips!
Once your puppy is old enough, group puppy training classes are an excellent idea. Not only will you learn more about training your pup, your dog will get to socialize with other young canines.
There’s a lot to think about when deciding to get a puppy and preparing to bring the pet home. But, it’s definitely worth going over everything carefully as it’s preferable to finding yourself unprepared. Once you get your precious pup home, all that effort and preparation will have been worth it to give your new four-legged best friend the best start in life. Implement this puppy checklist and you will make that transition smoother for the both of you.