Preparing Your Home For A New Puppy
You've adopted a puppy of your own, and you're ready to bring home that little bundle of canine joy, and make sure they become part of the family as soon as possible! However, let's stop for a moment, and think about what needs to happen now.
Of course, as soon as you bring your new puppy home, you're going to have to do a few things to get them settled in properly, but what about before they arrive? How do you ensure that your home is ready for a dog? You've got a lot of work to do right now, so make sure you're going through it methodically, which we can help you do with the points below.
Complete Your Buyer's Checklist
First, we come to the buyer's checklist. You've got a lot of new things to invest in now that you've got a puppy to bring home, and this can be a bit pricey. Let's quickly go through the things you'll need to pick up:
Of course, you've got the obvious things like a bed for your dog, as well as food and water bowl, but think outside the box a little more here too. Will you be needing a crate for your dog? Will you be needing extra cushions and blankets for them? Sure, you're going to need to invest in a lead for taking them on walks at some point, but will you be needing an attachable harness as well? Make sure you get plenty of toys for your puppy to use as well, to try and stop them from wrecking your things.
You're also going to need grooming and hygiene items, like a brush and some special doggy shampoo – it's good to get your puppy used to baths at a young age! You may also want to pick up some pet toothpaste and a specialised toothbrush as well, as dog breath can get pretty nasty at times. And when you're out picking up some poop bags, make sure you get puppy training pads as well. It takes a little time to housetrain a dog correctly, and these will be a Godsend!
Get Rid of Home Hazards
There are many hazards around your home, and you're probably not even aware of them! However, your puppy will be inquisitive about their new place, and they'll definitely dig out a few things and get into corners you didn't even know existed. And because of this, you're going to need to go around the house in a general safety sweep a few times before you bring your puppy home.
But what should you be on the lookout for? Most of all, make sure those wires coming from your phone charger or behind your TV are neat and put away, where your puppy won't be able to dig them out and chew on them. Dogs like to gnaw on things when their teeth are coming through, to work out the pain and make their mouth more comfortable, and you want to be sure they only ever use their toys to do this.
Similarly, make sure you take down anything that can be easily removed from walls and surfaces. Your puppy may get curious and try to pull them down and chew on them, and that could cause a lot of untold damage! Make sure any houseplants in your home are both safe for a dog to be around (in terms of toxicity) and out of your dog's way. You may want to remove these to a bedroom or a bathroom, if they're currently placed in a hallway or a living room.
Make Sure You Know the Ins and Outs of Training
Training your puppy is going to take time and a whole lot of effort from both you and the rest of the family. You all need to be on the same page, and you all need to aim towards the same goal: making sure your puppy knows how to behave, is house trained, and is always a lovely and friendly pet to be around.
That means, most of all, if there are any children in your house, they know how to handle the dog. You wouldn't want them to accidentally antagonise or annoy your pup, who then responds in kind and someone gets hurt – make sure your kids don't end up with nipped fingers because your puppy just wanted to be left alone! It happens more often than you might think, so don't worry if it seems to occur frequently in your home.
But onto the cornerstones of puppy training! First of all, always make sure training is kept up with, and that it's always a fun activity – dogs are like toddlers in that they won't pay attention if they're bored or uncomfortable. Secondly, make sure you have plenty of patience with your puppy as you're training them; dogs won't understand something immediately, and you're definitely going to have to repeat yourself over and over again. And finally, make sure your puppy has settled in and is clearly comfortable with where they are (eating fine, sleeping fine, pooping fine) before you put them through any training.
And even if your dog makes a mistake, or does not complete a trick or command in the right way, be sure to praise them verbally. Don't give them a treat – you don't want to reinforce the wrong behavior – but make sure they know you're still happy with them. Of course, don't ever shout or physically punish your puppy, as this will only make them feel anxious around you, and it's not an effective training tool in any way.
Your home is going to need a lot of preparation to ensure that your new puppy is able to settle in and find a very happy home with you. Make sure you keep the above tips in mind, especially if you've never owned a dog before, and you've got plenty of family members who all need schooling in the same subject.