You’re getting a
new puppy! This is an exciting time, but it can also be very daunting. You’re going to be getting tips from a handful of sources, from the breeder, to the vet, to the local pet store owner.
Here are some of the things that I consider ESSENTIAL when you’re bringing home a new puppy.
You will need a collar and leash immediately. Your new puppy will not know how to walk on a leash yet, but it is important to have it because most cities require dogs to be leashed when outside. Be patient when training your puppy to walk on leash. Dogs were not made to walk on leash, they were meant to be able to wander around the world as they please, so we need to teach them how we want them to walk when attached to the leash. Begin by simply attaching the leash while giving out lots of praise and encouragement so that your puppy can get used to the feel of it. Make it a fun experience for him. At such a young age your puppy should not be going for long walks on leash, because his body is still growing, but it is a good idea to go for small little walks with him so that he can get used to the feel of the leash. Even if you live in a house with a big back yard, all dogs need to have basic leash-walking skills, for the occasions that you take your dog to the vet, baseball games, etc. Starting your puppy young will help to speed this process up.
Your dog will need some form of identification in case he gets lost. This can be in the form of a tag with your phone number on it, or a microchip implanted into him. For dogs that are prone to wander, it’s good to use both of these options. Many cities will also make you register your dog, so check with your city to see if this is a requirement that they have. Make sure that anytime your dog goes outside he has this identification on him.
Treats should be small and soft. Puppies also tend to like treats that smell good. All dogs have different preferences, so try out a few different brands to see what your puppy likes and will do ANYTHING for. Make sure you are aware of the calorie count on the back of the package, and adjust your puppies food intake to accommodate this increase in calories. There are a ton of great dog food brands. Talk to your vet about food types and portions for your puppy. Don’t forget about a food bowl to put the food in!
A kong can be a lifesaver for an active puppy. Kong’s come in a bunch of sizes and colours, so find one that will suit the needs of your puppy. A kong is a rubber ball that has a small hole in it that you put food treats, or peanut butter, inside. Give this to your puppy when you are busy and need to keep him out of trouble. It will occupy him, and also tire him out, because the act of getting the food out will force him to use his brain. It is also a safe toy for him to have, because the rubber is very difficult to break.
An x-pen is essentially a play pen for puppies. A puppy should not be given free reign of the house. This just gives him more opportunity to get into trouble, and develop bad habits, such as soiling in the house, or chewing things. When you’re busy and don’t have the time to devote to your puppy you can put him in his x-pen. A crate acts in a similar way. A crate becomes like a bedroom for your puppy, in other words it’s a safe place for him to lay his head. You will need to condition your puppy to enjoy the crate.
Training Pads (Pee Pads)
A training pad is a cotton square designed to be a alternative place for your puppy to relieve itself. You can also use newspaper, if you’d prefer. These pads are great for puppies when you are house training them because it can be difficult for a puppy to hold his bladder. Line a small area of his x-pen with the pee pads, on the opposite end from his food. He’ll quickly learn that this is where he should be going to the bathroom if he can’t hold it. Training pads are meant to be used just for training, and should not be relied on for the entirety of the dogs life. Some senior dogs may need to revert back to using them if they are having a hard time holding their bladder. Generally you will want to fade the training pads out of your house so that your puppy is consistently relieving itself outside. Training pads are really only beneficial when your puppy is young. If you get a puppy older than 14 weeks of age, you should immediately begin training him to relieve himself outside.
Like human children, puppies love toys! Every puppy has it’s own unique personality, so they will each enjoy different types of play. Get a bunch of different styles of toys and explore which ones your puppy likes best. There are tug toys, balls, squeaky toys, and so on. Have some toys that he has access to all of the time, and keep a separate group of toys that he only gets sometimes. This will keep him from getting bored with them, and you can then also use the special toys as rewards in training.
Get a nice, comfortable bed for your puppy to sleep on. If you’re crate training your puppy, you might want to put a bed in the crate for him. For the first couple of nights, keep your puppies bed close to yours, so that you can tend to his needs in the middle of the night, and also to form a strong bond between you and your puppy.
Remember, you have a lot of resources around you, so make sure that you take advantage of those resources. Talk to your vet, your dog trainer, and other dogs owners around you, and be sure to check back here for more tips on how to make your life with your pet as happy, and smooth, as possible.