Tips for living with and training your new puppy

Bringing home a new puppy is a very exciting experience.  It can also be a very stressful one if you are not properly prepared.  Many of the tips below can also be very useful when bringing home a newly adopted adult dog from a rescue or shelter as well.

Preparing for your new puppy

The best time to prepare for a puppy’s homecoming is before the puppy actually comes home.  Be sure you have purchased all of the necessary puppy-proofing and training products that will make your first few weeks and months with your puppy much more enjoyable.

Here is a list to get you started:

  • A crate:  big enough for your puppy to stand up, lie down comfortably, and turn around in a circle, but not big enough for him to walk around.
  • A puppy playpen:  If you expect to work during the day, you will need a place for your puppy to be safely contained since he will not be able to “hold it” long enough to make it through your work day until he is older.
  • Potty pads:  If you are going to use a Puppy Playpen, you may want to place a potty pad in one corner of his pen to separate playing, sleeping, and potty areas of the pen while you are away. There are also turf or real grass options that some people like as an alternative to pads. You only need pads or turf if you are going to be away longer than the amount of time your puppy can be expected to hold it (their age in months plus one hour; so, a two month old puppy would be three hours max.)
  • Kongs or other “stuffable”/interactive toys:  Purchase several of these toys along with a few different options for stuffing them such as peanut butter, dog biscuits, yogurt, high quality wet dog food, honey, or sweet potato.  These toys will help him learn to enjoy his alone time.  They will also serve to teach him what is appropriate to chew if you allow him to only access these appropriate chews while keeping shoes, rugs, laundry and other illegal chewing objects out of his reach until he can be trusted.  Rotate the toys and their stuffing every few days to keep your puppy interested. [Read more…]