I’m Getting a New Puppy… Now What?

Deciding to adopt a new puppy can be very overwhelming at first.

Where to begin? Research is monumental in choosing the best puppy for your family and your lifestyle. If you are young and active with or without children and you’ve decided on a Jack Russell Terrier, for example, that breed is sure to be a great fit. If you are retired and not often up for daily exercise or vigorous walks, then I would suggest a more low-key, relaxed breed.

Now that you have researched your breed and decided what type of dog is best for your lifestyle. We can begin on what comes next.

You will need to stockpile a few various items, maybe in preparation for the arrival of your puppy. Then it won’t be so overwhelming upon arrival. A new puppy can come with big expenses to start especially if you haven’t had a puppy before. Once you know the specific breed you can then choose the proper size kennel or crate for him/her for bedtime naps, car rides, safe place to hang out if you have to leave the house for a few hours or even time outs to let him/her have some down time on their own just to relax. Kennel and crate training is a great idea, not a punishment. Dogs are essentially den animals and enjoy having their own comfortable room in your home to call their own. Then, of course, a nice cozy bed or blanket to put inside the kennel for them to snuggle.

A variety of toys will be a great investment. You should have a variety of different texture of toys for them. They chew a lot as growing puppies, they do go through a teething phase, much like children. They should have a soft and hard texture toy. Examples are a soft plush teddy bear and rubber toys like a bone and or ball or a Kong toy. It helps with chewing. Some days they may want to chew a lot, and this may cause their gums to become sore, then you can take away the harder texture toys and offer a softer toy for a few days, because even though they may have tender gums, they are still puppies and will decide they want something to chew on. Better to have a toy of their own, than one of your shoes. A good selection of toys is also a great idea. Only offer a couple at one given time. They will become bored with them after a while and may move on to something of yours that they cannot have. Then it’s a good time to take up the current toys and put aside for another time and offer them other toys to occupy them further. They will have forgotten about the previous toys in no time.

A leash, collar and harness for their safety when walking outside is a must as well as an I.D tag for their collar (if you have a name picked and always add a phone number or two).

Pee pads for potty training is a great idea as well. You can start with placing the pad in the same area every time and regularly putting the puppy on it for the familiarity of the texture under their feet and offering up some choice words like “Daisy, go pee” or something of that nature. Choosing to say those same words every time is great. Repetition is key when training. Try to make potty training fun. You can give a lot of praise and make it exciting. “GOOD DOG” “GREAT JOB” and so on.

Then you can slowly start inching the pad towards the door bit by bit, and over time you will hopefully have your puppy going potty outside. Another trick to going potty outside is to place a string with a bell attached close by the door and ring the bell every time you take him/her out for a bathroom break. It will register with the dog that this bell means, go outside! Because some dogs offer up a bark or something to tell you they need to go out, but unfortunately not all dogs will tell you. Some will have more of a sign or signal like pacing or something of that nature and if you do not see this or recognize their telltale sign, they may wander off into another room and do their business in there. You will find it later, and then it is too little too late and telling them they’ve done wrong has passed. They won’t know what they are being punished for. A puppies’ attention span is much shorter than an adult dog.

You will also need to have food and water dishes, treats, shampoo and so on. Lastly, if you can purchase a puppy training book and or a breed book of the type you have chosen. It is really good to have for extra knowledge and a go to when your pet stores and vet offices are closed. You can use it as a guide to answer your questions.

Next, you will need to decide which veterinary office in your area that will be best to bring your new pooch for annual exams, vaccinations and routine or selective veterinary care.

Written by: Sherry Noseworthy, CCR