Preparing for your New Puppy
Puppies are great, but you need to prepare for one or you will end up having a mess, or worse, become overwhelmed. Thousands of puppies and dogs are in the shelter today because their owners either did not prepare for them probably, purchased the puppy out of a whim, or did not expect such a responsibility. Puppies are like children, they need constant supervision, obedience, and tender loving care. In return, you have a friend for life. Don’t fret, however, if you follow these guidelines, you will be a responsible puppy parent.
Before the Big Day
Whether you have chosen the dog breed you want from the local ad in the newspaper or you have found a shelter puppy that needs a home, you will be needing to prepare your home for it prior to your puppy’s arrival.
Travel Crates or a Soft Sided Carrier
When I picked up my German Shepherd, he was 6 weeks old. Although they are cute and cuddly and you want them to feel safe, nothing is safer than their travel crate. Depending on the breed, you may need a heavy duty crate. In other situations, a soft travel carrier will do well. Our German Shepherd fell asleep on a towel in the back seat due to traveling from Alabama from Florida but on every trip, he goes into his travel crate now because that is his safe zone. It is the owner’s preference whether they want to crate their new puppy and some puppies are so small they can fit on your lap.
Leash, collar or Harness
With leashes, collars, or harnesses, always expect to replace them as your puppy grows. Once you know your puppy’s name, you can get it a tag and put it on its very first collar. It is important to have the puppy used to wearing its tags and collar and walking on a leash, as it will help with obedience throughout his/her lifetime.
Food and Water Bowls
Because puppies are messy, making sure you get sturdy, size appropriate, and easy to clean food and water dishes, is very important. I found that getting a few water and food dishes was helpful, just in case I was traveling with my puppy. There are travel dishes that are extremely useful for times like that. They were collapsible, making it easy to store when not in use. There are many bowls to choose from. I liked the ones that were heavy since German Shepherds like to play with their bowls.
Regarding food, it is recommended to ask the breeder you got your puppy from or your shelter if you are adopting, what type and brand of food your puppy was eating. You will want to continue the regime and wean the puppy off it if you want to switch the food so no tummy gets upset. Puppies are very sensitive to feed changes so weaning slowly is important.
Crate for the Home
I found that crate training was the best way to teach my puppy fast with potty training. He also goes to his crate (with the door open) to bed by himself at night. The crate is a safe place for the dog and not used for punishment. If you decide to use a crate for the home, make sure you have one handy when you bring your new arrival home.
Every dog needs his own bed to call his own. The bed should be soft and washable.
Piddle Pads and Newspapers
Your new puppy will not have a strong bladder. If you are planning to train him/her to pads, you will need some absorbent products. Newspapers get messy. Piddle pads may be your best option.
Just like children, puppies need toys to keep them occupied. Puppies are going to teeth when they lose their puppy teeth (and lose that adorable puppy breath). Kong toys, or strong rubber items will be a great toy to have around.
Puppies are a joy to have around. You really do not need much to keep them happy. If you are around, you will be their number one friend, however these guidelines will keep you and your puppy in place. Enjoy your new addition and take lots of photos. They grow so fast!