There is nothing better than bringing home a new puppy! Plan ahead to ensure you set the stage for your new family member.
Before puppy arrives
After the family has decided a puppy is the way to go, you should ensure that the following questions are answered for a smooth process:
- How will you divide up the responsibilities for taking the puppy to the potty on schedule?
- How will you decide who oversees mealtime three to four times each day?
- How will you assign the veterinary visits necessary in the early stages of a puppy’s life?
Additionally, it is important for the family to agree on the words that will be used with the puppy. Consistency is so important, and each family member needs to use the same words. If the family uses the same word but it has different meanings, it will be very puzzling for your new family member. Write all these items up and post in a common area so everyone is on the same page.
After that, the family should compile a list of needed items as you want to have the necessary items when puppy arrives. Toys, including chew toys, a bed, collar, leash, ID tags with contact information, food and bowls are a good start.
Furthermore, puppy-proofing your home before the arrival of the fuzzy bundle of joy is a good idea. When completed, you can get down on the floor (invite the kiddos to help!) and pretend to be a puppy. What do you see? What can you touch that could be dangerous? Are there items down where the puppy could get to them that would upset people if destroyed?
Lastly, have one last family meeting to agree on the rules. Kids fighting over the new family member or overwhelming the puppy with introductions to friends could be too much for the new arrival. YES! It is time to go.
Before you leave with the puppy, inquire about the current feeding schedule. It is best to duplicate that for the first few days to ensure the puppy does not get an upset tummy. Gradually move to a different puppy food if that is your plan.
As mentioned earlier, uniformity is paramount in the beginning of your new relationship with your puppy. If your plan is to have the dog in the back seat for car rides, ensure you are holding to that from day one.
After your arrival at home, keep a close eye on the puppy and show him the potty area immediately and often.
From there, carry out your schedule for feeding, toileting, napping, and play/exercise. From day one, a set routine will help your new puppy acclimate to your home.
Now the work begins. You and your family have prepared for this – you are ready! It is perfectly normal for a puppy with new surroundings to whine and/or bark at times. Remember, consistency is the key and if you rush to the puppy every time it whines, you will reinforce this behavior. Reward good behavior with positive attention.
Welcome to the family puppy! The family prepared for this and you are ready! Enjoy those puppy kisses and puppy smells!