Posted on October 22 2020
Congratulations on your decision to add a new furry friend to the family! One of the biggest parts of responsible puppy parenting begins before you even bring your new pup home. Safety is especially important because, much like babies and toddlers, puppies are curious about everything. They need to learn their limits and what’s expected of them.
It’s up to you to keep your puppy away from potentially harmful situations, while still giving him opportunities to learn and grow. Puppy proofing is a great place to start, but there’s more to it than that. Here’s what you need to know about keeping your puppy safe and ensuring that he gets the best possible start in his new family.
Make sure the entire family is on board.
Adding a dog to the family is a huge adjustment and commitment. The entire family must be on board. Before you bring your new pup home, have a family meeting to decide who’s going to be responsible for feeding the pup, taking him for walks, training him, and cleaning up after him daily.
Consistency is key when training a new pup, so establish some rules and boundaries ahead of time, too. Will the pup be allowed on the furniture? Are there any rooms that will be off-limits? Where will he sleep at night? Getting everyone on board ahead of time ensures that your pup begins to learn what’s expected from him right from the start.
Buy the basics before you bring your pup home.
Stocking up on supplies ahead of time will ensure that you have what you need on hand. That way you can all get to know each other without you having to go to the store.
Here’s a list of essential supplies to gather ahead of time:
- Food and water bowls (and you'll need specialist food for dogs with sensitive stomachs)
- Puppy food and some treats
- Leash and collar with an ID tag
- Bed and toys, especially interactive toys to keep your pup busy
- Stain and odor cleaners for inevitable accidents
- A crate and possibly a baby gate or two to keep your pup in safe zones
Puppy proof your home.
Getting your home ready for its new occupant is super important for your pup’s safety and the safety of your belongings. Puppies explore by chewing and they have a special talent for getting into things they shouldn’t.
Start by getting down to your puppy’s level to see what might be dangerous for him. Here are some common household items that should be kept out of your puppy’s reach.
- Electrical cables, remote controls, and other electronics
- Trash cans
- Medications, cleaning supplies, and any other toxic products
- Houseplants that might be toxic to dogs
- Cords for blinds and shades
- Anything you value that you don’t want your puppy to chew up
Create a safe place for your puppy.
From day one, your puppy should have a safe place where he can hang out when you’re not supervising him. The best way to do this is to set up a crate in a quiet area and make it a cozy place for your puppy to sleep and play. This is a key first step in setting boundaries for your new pup.
Don’t be surprised if your puppy hates the crate at first. With positive reinforcement and patience, most puppies learn to love their crate once they realize it’s not a punishment. Crate training will make housebreaking your puppy much easier and ensure that he’s safe when you can’t be watching him.
Try to plan it out so that you have a few days off work to crate train your puppy when you first bring him home. Here are some tips to help you get started:
- Choose a crate that’s just big enough for him to stand up, turn around, and stretch out in. Add some toys, a bed, and a cover to make it extra cozy.
- Locate the crate in a quiet area where you spend a lot of time, such as by your desk or next to the bed.
- Take your puppy for a long walk to tire him out and give him a chance to do his business before you put him in the crate. When he wakes up from a nap, take him outside immediately.
- Don’t just put him in the crate and walk away at first. Leave the door open, toss some treats inside, and let him enter on his own. Repeat the process throughout the day until he goes in readily. Then, leave him in the crate for just a few minutes at a time, increasing the length of time gradually. Always let him out before he starts to whine!
- If crate training just doesn’t seem to be working for your puppy, try a puppy playpen or consider using baby gates to keep him in a dog-safe room.
Keep things calm and low key for the first few days.
Puppies, and even adult dogs, need at least a few days in a new place before they start to feel safe and secure. Try to keep the loud noises and excitement to a minimum for the first few days. A mellow, calm mood will prevent him from feeling overwhelmed.
Don’t invite a bunch of lively strangers over to meet him just yet either. You can break out the Dog Pawrignon and have a welcome home party after he’s had some time to settle in.
Establish a consistent routine.
Puppies do best with a consistent routine, especially when it comes to housetraining. Refer back to what you agreed on at your family meeting and set up a schedule for potty breaks, long walks, exercise/playtime, and meals. Observe your puppy and be prepared to adjust based on what’s working and what isn’t.
Schedule your pup’s first checkup.
Your new pup should have his first checkup as soon as possible. This will ensure that there aren’t any health concerns that may have been overlooked. Be sure to keep the visit as pleasant as possible to set a good foundation for future visits.
Our Final Tips
The first few weeks with a new puppy in the house will be an adjustment for you, your family, and your new pup. Planning and preparing ahead of time will make the transition much easier all the way around. Once your new pup comes home, establish a routine that he can count on to ensure that things go as smoothly as possible.
Want to learn more about dogs? Check out our article: 22 Interesting Facts About Dogs That May Surprise You!