“Nothing makes coming home special like having someone there wagging their tail waiting for you to arrive.”
Thinking of adding a furry member to your family? Puppies are adorable and dogs can be wonderful life companions. Having a dog can enrich your home environment and boost your happiness. Just remember that dogs, and especially puppies, require some commitment to get them property integrated into your lifestyle and home.
Here are 5 tips to prepare for puppy BEFORE you bring the adorable ball of fur home…
1. Research which breed best fits your family and lifestyle.
Not all breeds are created equal. Some dogs are large, some small, some need a lot of space, some a great for apartments. Some dogs are super smart and need to be stimulated or they get into trouble. Some dogs are less likely to cause an allergic reaction. Do you want a jogging companion? Do you want a protector? Do you want a dog who is great with kids? Decide what needs you might have and then find a breed that will fit well into your life. The American Kennel Club has a breed selector tool that can help you find a good fit.
2. Puppy proof your home
Life with dogs means your home must be suitable for a new four-legged friend. Do a sweep of every nook and cranny — inside your home and also in your yard. Find every little Lego and toy that might be hiding and keep them in a safe place away from the puppy area. Safely store hazardous materials and cleaners safely in cabinets or high on shelves. Check your fence for any gaps or holes. Now is a good time to put away breakable keepsakes or delicate furniture. Keep an eye out for chewable cords or fabrics that hang down low.
3. Take the time to learn different training methods
Your new furry friend won’t know what’s right or wrong if you don’t invest the time to show him. Establish the daily schedule early and try to stick to it. Your puppy will respond to you better if they feel comfortable in a routine.
Will you have a doggie door? Will you crate train your puppy? Make these decisions before you bring puppy home so that you will have the necessary materials to get off on the right foot/paw.
At 2-3 months old, puppies are infants and won’t have reliable control of their bladder for several months. Establish the right pattern from the very beginning and Puppy will be housebroken as soon as his body can cooperate. Remember, it takes humans 2-3 years to be potty trained… forgive your puppy for early accidents and keep up consistent training habits.
4. Designate boundaries
Is there a room in your home you’d rather remain dog-free?
Use a baby gate to keep your dog out of the area, and then be consistent. Praise your pet when he stays in bounds and then gradually allow him more freedom. With a little time and patience, you’ll be able to trust your pet to stay within the proper boundary.
If you have a larger home, consider blocking off a small area for your puppy for the first few weeks. Give your puppy a smaller area to explore and feel comfortable in before you give them free reign of the house. You will be less likely to find unpleasant “surprises” left for you if he feels secure and safe.
5. Stock up
There are some items that will make your life much easier if you buy ahead of time for your puppy. Proper planning will make your dogs transition and acclimatization to your home smooth. Here is a list of items to get before puppy comes home:
- Food and water bowls,
- Chew toys
- Grooming supplies
- Collar and leash
- Identification tag
- Odor neutralizer or accident cleaner
Above all, have fun and try to stay flexible. It’s great to establish rules and a routine for your new dog, but remember that your dog is a living being with a mind all his own. He might not always want to do things your way, but with a good sense of humor and a whole lot of love, your dog will feel right at home.
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