Preparing Your Home For Your New Puppy
Congrats! You’ve just been told you’re going to have a brand new puppy BUT you have no idea how to prepare, so that’s why we’ve developed this list to help you get ready.
Step 1: Rules
We recommend writing a list of rules for your household on how you’ll train and raise your puppy. This is to avoid any confusion and avoid any conflict between household members about what is and what isn’t acceptable behaviour, such as where the puppy will sleep, will they be allowed to eat from the dinner table? Who will be responsible for exercise? Who will feed them? Once you’ve all decided and agreed on your rules we recommend posting them somewhere that everything can see them, such as the fridge, so you’ll never forget. You can read more about our list of recommended rules here. Remember, dog’s thrive on routine and consistency, if mum allows the pup to sit on the couch but dad doesn’t, it’s going to cause confusion for your puppy and conflict between mum and dad. Additionally, when teaching commands everyone should use the same phrases, otherwise your puppy will have to try and learn lots of different words, which will make the whole process more difficult. For example, when toilet training we like to say “time for toilet” before we take them out and whilst they’re going to the toilet outside; this way they learn that whenever we say “time for toilet” it means they get to go outside and relieve themselves, some people have even had success using a bell or chime to signal for when it's time to go to the toilet.
Step 2: Equipment
Your puppy is going to require a few things to get them settled in at home, first and foremost is food and water. We recommend having multiple sources of water both inside and out, in case any of them spill or become dirty; we always have a bucket tied or locked to a fence or post so they can’t knock it over and they’ll always have at least one place to get a drink. For food we always recommend a strong and sturdy stainless-steel bowl, this way it’s easily cleaned and resistant to any drops or bumps. Next your dog will require a bed, and if they spend time inside and outside, it may be best to get them more than one. In our experience the more money you spend on a fancy and expensive bed, the less likely your dog is to use it, so we recommend getting them something simple and comfortable. We’ve seen plenty of dogs ignore the $200 brand new bed and sleep on the concrete instead!
Step 3: Collar, tag, lead and toys
You’re going to want to get your puppy a collar and tag with all your details on it just in case the worst happens, and a lead to take them out with. Remember your pup is going to grow and the collar they have when they’re young won’t be the one they have in a year’s time, so be prepared to replace it and regularly check to see if it still fits; a rule of thumb is if you can’t fit between two fingers in between their collar and their neck then it’s too tight. Toys are also a great way to keep your pup entertained and stimulated, whether it be tennis balls, chew toys, or a tug of war rope, your pup will love to play and will need plenty of attention. Don’t be disheartened if your pup doesn’t take to some toys, remember all dogs have different tastes and will enjoy some more than others.
Step 4: Puppy proof your house
The home can be a dangerous place, often in ways you don’t realise, that’s why it’s important to put away anything that could create a mess if your puppy got into, or could be harmful if they ingest. Rubbish bins can be very exciting for a new puppy as they are full of enticing smells, so be sure to make sure your pup can’t easily get into your rubbish or knock over your bin. Put away all of your electric cords or make them unreachable to protect your puppy from harm if they decide to turn your tv power cord into their latest chew toy. Make sure all your bags are out of reach for a puppy, as accidental ingestion of things they may find in there, such as makeup or medicine, can be very harmful. Additionally, restrict access to all household cleaners and chemicals, ideally by placing them on a high shelf in a secure cupboard, so they can’t get access them when you’re not watching. Check for dangerous plants in your house and on your property as well that can be fatal if your dog chews on them; Lilies, sago palms, aloe vera, and many other plants can be very dangerous to your pet.
Step 5: Grooming supplies
Grooming is important for your puppy and is best done from an early age to get them used to the process – it’s a lot easier to hold a little puppy still then a fully grown adult dog. We recommend using a slicker, which is a type of brush that’s highly effective in making your dog’s coat fluffy and soft. Nail clippers are important for your puppy and will ensure they don’t scratch you or anything they may jump on. These can be purchased relatively cheaply and are best used regularly from a young age, even if you don’t actually cut your puppy’s nail, imitating the process will help them adjust to you handling their feet. If you intend to bath your dog yourself, investing in a pet safe shampoo and conditioner will also ensure you can keep their coat shiny and clean at all times.
Step 6: Food and treats
Be sure to have all of your food needs ready before the arrival of your puppy, you don’t want to have to rush to the supermarket on their first night home because you forgot! Have a few days supply ready and ideally already portioned out so feeding times are easy and simple. Treats are also highly recommended as you begin to teach and train your puppy, however be careful not to overuse them so they know that treats are special and only given as a reward and not for whenever they feel like it. We sometimes like to use things such as small pieces of cheese, sausages, or dried liver during training, such as when they go to the toilet outside or sit when instructed.
Step 7: Exercise equipment
Whilst it’ll be unnecessary as a puppy, we recommend purchasing a ball thrower to aid in exercising your dog; this curved stick with a handle and holder for your tennis ball on the end makes exercising your dog significantly easier, as it allows you to throw the ball further and can help you avoid injury to your arm or shoulder. You should also purchase a supply of poo bags to carry with you when outside, to pick up and later dispose of any waste they leave behind when out and about. No one like stepping in it when out they’re out for a walk!
Step 8: A name
Naming your puppy can be a difficult process and sometimes it’s difficult to settle once you’ve been able to see and spend time with your puppy. So even if you can’t pick a name before their arrival, try and develop a list of names you like to help narrow the decision when they do finally come.
Step 9: Pet Insurance and health care
Pet insurance might seem silly to some, but can be a very valuable and stress relieving thing to have. You can read more about our take on pet insurance here, but it can help reduce the burden of expensive medical bills if anything bad was to happen to your best friend. It's a good idea to research what vet you'll want to use prior to your puppy arriving, as you don't want to have to rapidly find a good quality vet last minute if something horrible were to happen. Search for local vets in your area online, read reviews, ask your friends for referrals, check their appointment prices, and save their details for when you need them.
Step 10: Enjoy
Having a dog can be a very rewarding experience that will create a lasting impact on your life, so always make sure to enjoy yourself. Enjoy the time you spend with them, enjoy the walks together, enjoy the cuddles, enjoy everything you do with them, because dog’s are one of the few animals who will always display unconditional love, so please always try and love them unconditionally too, even if they do break your favourite vase.
We hope this list helps you get everything ready for your new pup, however don’t take this list as the complete list you’ll ever need. We encourage you to read wide and read lots, and decide for yourself what you need, and lastly congrats again on your latest addition to your family.