First Days at Home: A Guide to Puppy Parenthood
Bringing home a new puppy is like opening a treasure chest filled with adorable moments and wagging tails. The first day with your furry friend is a whirlwind of excitement, but it can also be a bit overwhelming.
Puppies are bundles of energy and curiosity, and, let's face it, they can turn your world a bit upside down. But worry not because, in this article, we'll guide you on how to turn the mayhem into pure magic.
Prepare Your Home for a New Dog
New puppy checklist
Below, you’ll find a few essentials we suggest you buy before your new furry friend arrives home:
- A set of two metal bowls: A large, deep one for water and a smaller one for food. Get larger bowls for big-breed dogs; they grow quickly, and a small bowl won't last two months.
Puppy food and treats: Make sure to consult your vet to pick the right diet for your pup’s age and breed.
A bowl rug: To prevent your pup from making a mighty mess when they eat and drink.
A dog crate (match crate size to your dog's adult size): For your dog to have a safe zone, for you to ease the house-breaking process, and to prevent your curious pooch from destructive habits.
A bed or a cozy blanket: To have a comfortable place to sleep.
Puppy toys: Toys are a great way to play and interact with your new puppy. Just make sure to pick the right size and choose something your pooch really loves!
Pads: Puppies have tiny bladders, and that’s why they need to toilet quite often, which makes pads extremely helpful during your first few months of potty training.
Walking essentials: Poop bags, a collar or a harness, an ID tag, a 10-16 ft. thin, light leash (not a roulette leash!), a car hammock and harness, or a puppy cage for car rides.
A first aid kit: Basic supplies like gauze, antiseptic, and a thermometer.
A grooming kit: A claw cutter, a comb or slicker brush (depending on your dog breed), a dog-friendly shampoo, toothpaste, and a toothbrush for dogs.
Puppy-proofing the house
Once you’ve purchased all the essentials, the next thing you should do is puppy-proof your home. This means:
- Keep your home pup-friendly by tucking away things your little buddy might chew on or swallow, such as shoes, delicate decorations, carpets, and pesky wires. Safety first!
If any room in your house can't be made safe for your puppy, make sure to keep this room always closed.
If your floors are very slippery, it's advisable to avoid playing with your dog there, especially during your pup's early months. It'll help prevent any slips and slides that could be hard on their growing bones.
Make a safe zone for your pet
The safe zone is where your puppy can have everything they need and stay relaxed even if you’re not around. It can be either a crate or a separate room where they have their bed, toys, food, and water.
Begin the puppy's training adventure by teaching them to stay in their own special spot when you give the command (more about the “Place” command and puppy crate training in the Woofz app). Initially, keep it brief – use this spot for mealtimes, playtime, and little breaks. If your pup decides to sleep, simply carry them over to their spot to snooze in comfort.
House Rules, Daily Routines, and Potty Training
Puppy toilet training
Toilet training your puppy is all about creating a routine. Stick to regular feeding times and potty breaks. Pick an outdoor spot for them to do their business or use a pad when you can’t go out, and whenever your pooch toilets in the correct place, be generous with praise and treats.
Be patient, avoid scolding for accidents (punishing accidents makes the dog think you dislike them peeing, not just where they pee), and use a crate when you can't watch them.
As your puppy gets older, you can extend the time between breaks. With consistency and patience, your puppy will learn, making your time together more enjoyable. If you need more tips and lifehacks on potty training, go to the Woofz app.
Puppies are super cute, even if they misbehave. However, to prevent your cute, fluffy criminal from growing into a real problem, you need to remember to set some rules for them from the beginning and be consistent about them. For example, if you want your puppy to learn not to jump on the furniture or not to chew on your shoes, establish that rule from the beginning and be consistent.
Use treats and praise to reward good behavior, and remember that patience and repetition are key.
Surviving the first nights with your puppy
If you see that your puppy is whining and a little nervous for the first couple of nights, relax, it’s normal! The best thing you can do is stay calm and confident. Don't scold them, and try not to get nervous. Dogs are very good at reading and adopting their parents' moods. Your care will help calm the dog down faster.
Do’s and don'ts
Don’t bring your pup to your bed when they whine: They might think that crying gets them what they want.
Sit next to your puppy until they fall asleep: To let them know they’re not alone.
Place their bed next to yours: With time, you can slowly move their bed (or crate) further away.
Don’t play or walk with your pup if they wake up at night or early in the morning: Unless it’s okay for you if they develop this habit.
Exercise before going to bed: Regular play or training in the evening will save you from nighttime activities. After playing, give them something to chew to encourage resting.
Even if you feel like you're not getting anywhere, don't be discouraged! As practice shows, even the most restless puppies get used to their new environment in the first week, and their whining habit soon becomes a thing of the past.
In those precious early days with your new puppy, you'll start an unforgettable journey into puppy parenthood. From puppy checklist to house rules, you've tackled the basics.
Just remember, it's all about patience, consistency, and a lot of love (read this sentence again whenever your pup misbehaves:)). These days are when your puppy starts leaving pawprints on your heart, so cherish them.
Woofz Content Manager with a deep passion for dogs and a strong affinity for positive reinforcement training methods.
Certified dog trainer, exclusive positive reinforcement methods & tackling aggression problems.