For dog lovers, there are few things in life quite as exciting as a new puppy. Planning and preparation for this big step, however, is key to creating a successful bond between you and your young dog.
First, don’t be blind to the cost.
Of course, the cost is not the only thing to think about with a puppy. Proper preparation of your home is key to establishing a successful human-dog relationship. Puppies, as everyone who has been around one knows, are champion chewers and able to get into the strangest (and smallest) places. And that doesn’t even cover toilet training mishaps.
To minimize the risk of the pup getting into trouble and to keep your possessions safe and sound, you’ll need to do some preparation of your home before the arrival of your new furry friend.
Basic Supplies - What will you need for your new puppy?
First, you’ll need supplies:
- A crate large enough for the pup to stand up and turn around in for the next several months
- Food and water bowls
- Puppy food
- Collar and leash
- Washable bed (or two)
- Chew toys
- Baby gates to block off rooms
- Stain- and odor-removing cleaners
- Contact info for a vet
This list is really a bare minimum. Without a crate or baby gate, for example, house training mistakes almost become inevitable. This can set back training for months as the pup will want to relieve himself in spots where he can smell past accidents.
Steps to Puppy Proofing
Puppy proofing a home is largely common sense. The real work is in thinking through every room (and your yard) as your pup will encounter it and eliminating the danger. Getting a puppy is very similar to bringing home a walking toddler. Very little is off limits!
- Install childproof latches on kitchen and bathroom cabinets
- Put away (or out of reach) all toxic cleaning supplies, medication, and cosmetics
- Make sure garbage cans have secure lids preferably lockable
- Conceal all cables and cords and tie up blind pulls
- Stash anything that can be chewed in closets
- Blockade areas such as under the bed or behind the TV where a puppy can get wedged or chew
- Get down to his level and search for small items that can be swallowed or any sharp objects he can run into
- Close the toilet seat(s) as puppies can drown easily and cleaning chemicals can be toxic
- Secure any unstable objects such as large lamps on tables that can be knocked over
- Plug any holes in fencing
A Den of His Own
You’ll also need to select a temporary living space for your pup with easily cleaned floors that can be gated off to contain accidents. This is where he will go to eat, sleep and even relieve himself on newspapers if appropriate till he’s house trained. The bladder muscles of puppies are not fully developed till they’re four to six months old so expect accidents.
Dogs are den animals and need a place of their own to feel comfortable and safe. Kitchens and laundry rooms are often good choices for this. It’s best to pick a room with some activity so he won’t feel isolated. Remove anything that can be chewed or soiled.
A puppy is very much like a baby in that he is forming a bond with you and may feel anxiety when you leave. Separation anxiety in puppies can be a big problem and can cause a lot of destruction if not addressed. When worried, they can chew through just about anything. So try leaving him for short periods at first until you know he is comfortable.
A plug-in diffuser with a Dog Appeasing Pheromone (DAP) can be used to soothe an anxious puppy as it releases a chemical copy of the hormone the mother dog used to calm her pups after they were born.
Dog pheromone products are used when the animal is feeling general stress, separation anxiety, has noise phobias and/or for travel. They can be used for puppies and older dogs.
If the puppy was raised in a good home with access to his mother, he will recognize the DAP scent, and it will work.
Also consider Doggy Day-Care, this will help your puppy become socialised and will help towards all the problems that Separation Anxiety can cause in your home, which includes (but not limited to) complaints from the neighbours due to him constantly barking or howling due to being left alone for such long periods at a time.
It is in the first several months that your puppy is home that he develops lifelong habits that can set the tone of your relationship for years to come. Welcoming a new puppy into your home is a big adjustment for both of you. Join your local Puppy Socialisation or Doggy Training school nearby. Millions of dog owners will tell you that it’s well worth the time it takes.