Congratulations if you have decided to bring a puppy of your own into your home. Trust us this journey will be the one that you will cherish all your life. Imagine being with someone who will fill your lap as soon as you arrive from your work, someone who will be your companion when you need another soul, someone to accompany you in your walks, sounds amazing, right? A ball of fur with all the cuteness will be there to share moments with you. It would not mean any less to you than your baby.
With excitement, some people do feel a little anxious before having a dog for themselves because it will not be a merry go around every time, you will face some challenges where you will need a piece of expert advice. In this article, we will try to tell you what you can expect when you will have a dog of your own, what preparations you can do before the big day, things and tips that might come in handy. This information is reliable as it is verified by the professionals or some people who have faced the exact same situation as you are about to experience.
Let’s take a quick precap of this article, this article includes the following information, the list below can serve as an index:
- Choosing the right puppy.
- Make your home puppy-proof.
- Supplies you are going to need.
- How he will behave during the first couple of days and nights.
- How you can anticipate his temperament.
- How you can understand and co-operate.
- Some tips for you
Choosing the right puppy
First and foremost is which puppy do you want for yourself, what are your wants and needs? You need to prepare an imaginary or an actual questionnaire for yourself, ask yourself questions like the amount of physical activity you will be able to do with him, the amount of time you will be able to spend, and a lot more. Answers to these questions will result in the selection of your dog. Some examples are,
- Choose a couch potato if you will not be able to take him for long walks.
- Don’t choose a dog who will suffer separation anxiety easily if you are not at home most of the time.
- Choose a dog who will be able to live happily in your small apartment.
- If you have kids or other pets at your place then choose a dog who is good at socializing and doesn’t have temperament issues.
- If you love hiking and all the outdoor activities choose a dog who is outdoorsy.
Although, dogs can be trained but still considering these things while choosing your dog, will give you an upper hand.
You can also choose mutts (mixed breeds) to be your dog, there are benefits of choosing a mixed breed pup. They have lesser health problems than purebred dogs. On top of that, these are easily available for adoption in the shelter homes and these dogs are in the most in need. They will always be thankful to you and will shower a lot of love.
Puppy-proof your home
Before bringing your new cute friend home make sure of the safety of your stuff at home as ‘Precautions are better than cure’. Look at the following steps they might help you in the process,
1) Keep everything at some height
Well, not everything but everything that is breakable or even chewable because your canine buddy will be inspecting everything with his sharp white teeth and you will not like him chewing on your favorite things and he can even break them. Clear off the low shelves and the top of the tables that he might reach. He can even choke on the small things so steer clear of these things. Shoes, potted plants, and even children’s toys he will leave nothing alone.
2) Wrap up
Keep plastic wraps handy and wrap the legs of the furniture like chairs, tables, bed, electric wires, and everything else that you think he might chew on. Puppies have this annoying habit of chewing on the legs of the furniture. He might destroy your furniture and plastic wrap on electric wires will protect him from an electric shock.
3) Shut the gates
If you can’t look after your dog every second then you need to keep the gates shut of your apartment and you can even add baby gates in your home to keep your dog safer. Check for windows and hollows from which he could escape. Make sure the pool at your home is secured.
4) Check for all the poisons
Look at your home and yard from a dog’s eye for any plant that can be poisonous like mushrooms and foxglove or lily of the valley. Toilet cleaners and other household cleaners also have chemicals in them so they should be kept in a safe place and look at other items. Some other items suggested by professionals that can be very harmful to dogs are fertilizers, so if you enjoy gardening then keep the fertilizers away from your doggo. Medications and even food like chocolate and coffee can prove to be unfavorable. Keep these items carefully stored at some safe place or getting rid of them for a brief period of time until your dogs get trained. You know your house better than anyone so it is better if you don’t rely on anyone for this, do it yourself.
5) Use child lock
You can use child locks on your refrigerator and drawers that are reachable to your dog. As mentioned above there are many things in your house that are lying around normally for now but when a puppy will come into the house those things can become a reason for a fatal accident. You can store all the medicines, fertilizers, house cleaners in those drawers with a child lock on them. You can store your chocolates in your refrigerator and put a child lock on it too. You can do this yourself or you can ask for help from a professional.
Supplies you will need
- Food and Water – You will be needing dishes for serving him water and food. A mat will be needed too to keep it underneath the dishes to protect your floors. Water from the sink will be happily accepted by him and for food, you will be needing a diet specially designed for dogs that are rich in protein and a lot of other nutrients as they are growing babies. Tip: Buy bowls that are made up of stainless steel as they won’t break and won’t absorb any odor.
- Treats – Be ready with the treats that you will present him on his achievements. Use healthy specially formulated treats rather than unhealthy table scraps. For example, you can use chopped pieces of carrots and avoid giving him candies over and over again.
- A collar and a leash – These will become necessary when you will take him outside for potty and walk.
- Bedding – He will be needing a comfortable place to sleep, a crate or a special bed can be set up in a corner of the room.
- A chew toy – As mentioned above dogs do have a tendency to chew on almost everything so for solving this problem you can buy a toy on which he can chew.
- Bathing essentials – Shampoo, toothpaste, and a toothbrush made for dogs (not humans).
- Comb – Use a comb suitable for your dog’s coat, your vet can give you suggestions on this one.
When puppy arrives for the first time
- When he has just arrived at your home, he will find the scent of your home to be very strange. This can be one of the reasons why he is so nervous in his new residence. What you can do is wrap your pup in this scent and this should do the trick.
- As this transition process can be a bit challenging for him so when you walk him through the front door for the very first day, spend a couple of minutes there, let him familiarise himself with the surroundings. Let him do his thing for a little while, he will sniff around almost everything there.
- Make him learn his name and this should start from day 1, it will make things very easy for you and him both.
When puppy has arrived
- You can take him on morning or evening walks so that you people can bond more and more. He can even choose his poop spots on the way.
- Give him a lot of hugs initially as he will crave the human physical connection. Spend a little playtime with him, it will keep him entertained and further cement your friendship with him.
1) Being timid is okay!
He has just left the only place he knew, keep this in mind, and try to accept him like this for a short while. He will be scared and it is absolutely okay in the initial days. It is gonna take some time for him to accept your house and even you. He will be quiet, scared, and will want to cuddle a lot like a small baby.
We can understand you will be excited to introduce him to your friends and relatives but take a suggestion and keep these introductions on hold. First, let your dog know his new owners and his new surroundings then it will be easier for him to be comfortable around your friends and relatives. It is important for your dog to acclimate.
2) He might not eat
He might not eat right away when he is the new guest, it might be because he is all timid and scared but another thing which should be kept in mind is that, don’t change his food immediately even if what he is used to eating is less nutritious. The reason behind this is that his stomach will not be able to adjust to the new food so fast even if the new food tastes good than the previous one and even if it is more nutritious. In fact, when you will buy a new dog, most dog breeders and pet stores that are reputed will give you a bag of the food that the dog is accustomed to eating.
You can however make him adapt to the new more nutritious food slowly. Try with small portions of new food and more of the old food and then later on you can add more of new food and less of the old food. This way his sensitive stomach will not freak out about the new food.
In some cases, the dog won’t eat the food from the bowl, you can try feeding him from your palm. He will feel pampered and might find comfort this way. Even new pups will not even drink from their water dish either, he might suckle drops of water from your fingertips. Try these things for a week or two then you might want to bring him a bottle but in most cases after a week or two dogs are fine with eating and drinking from their dishes.
3) The first night
If you have decided to adopt a puppy, you are going to experience some sleepless nights. You should be ready to pull up your socks and be on your toes. To summarise what will happen is, you will experience whining and a lot of it.
But…but obviously, when there’s a problem there’s a solution too. Here are some things that you can do to ease his first night and some more nights to come for him and for yourself.
- A small crate should suffice there’s no need for a bigger crate. In fact, a smaller crate covered with a soft blanket will be more comfortable for him
- Don’t take him to your bed. I know you will not be able to take all the whining and you will feel like taking him to your bed with you but this will be the worst mistake. As this can turn into a bad habit real quick and you will not be able to correct it, it will be too late for that.
- Distance between your bed and his crate should be less and if he wakes up in the night then take him out of the room or the house. It will change the environment a little for him which can make him feel a little better than before. After coming back to bed don’t indulge in any sort of plaything with him or don’t give him any treat otherwise he will lose his sleep. Just put him to sleep.
- A toy that he can hug while sleeping will too help him to sleep in peace. He will make a connection with the toy in some days, if not the first night.
4) Routine is the key
Try to make a definite routine in the initial days that you and your family members will stick to like the time of waking up, going on a walk, eating. This will make your new buddy comfortable in the new home and if you decide to do everything at different times on each day it will do nothing but confuse him. This confusion can create chaos in his mind and he will not be able to keep calm. As everything is new for him, the surroundings, the atmosphere, the people, he is already in a lot of dilemmas, you following different routines every day will worsen the situation for him.
You can do the following things to make sure that you don’t disturb his calm:
- Less unknown faces
Tell your friends and relatives to wait for the introduction rounds with the new canine member of the family. Discourage them from staying in the night at your house. Since you and your family members are enough strangers that he is trying to know already. You don’t want to scare him away even more by inviting more unknown faces that he has to face.
- Designated potty place
Take him to his potty place every time he potties so that it can become a routine in his head which he has to follow. This habit will be very fruitful in the coming months and years.
- Let him observe
Familiarise him with his bedding, this will be his den for the many coming days now. Let him notice and observe his bedding area, be with him when he does that, he will feel like a part of the pack and you’ll feel it yourself he will start seeing you as a ‘pack leader’.
5) Treat him like an infant
Puppies are like infants, treat them how you would treat your own child. Do not expect adult habits from him when he is just 6 to 12 weeks old. Cuddle with him as much as you can, use a gentle hand when you want to touch him. The way you treat him now will get imbibed in his personality for always.
- Do not adopt or buy (though we suggest adopting) a puppy when you are on a vacation or when there are other people staying at your place other than your immediate family. You will not be able to take care of him properly, you will have no time left for him. He will feel lonely and may get anxious.
- Like infants, a young puppy has no bladder control so you better should get ready to take him to pee after drinking, eating, and playing.
- Try to understand the signs that he is trying to tell you like circling or sniffing.
6) Understand him
In the initial days, your new canine buddy will not know what you expect from him. You will expect him to go to the bathroom when you will tell him to go, to not bark unnecessarily, to walk properly on a leash but you know all these things because of the human brain you got, he ain’t got that. He will not do these things until you train him to do these things. You will have to correct his bad behavior and reinforce all the good habits.
Make sure not to be strict and bossy while correcting him, it’s okay if he makes a mistake or two. For instance, if he ever is in an accident don’t yell at him instead apologize that you weren’t there to help him. He will learn from his mistakes and will adapt to the way you want him to be.
7) How can you anticipate his personality?
Even though we cannot anticipate how a dog will behave when he will grow, still there are some things that you can notice which can provide a general assessment of any pup’s personality and temperament. Following are the things on which you should keep your eyes at:
- If he sniffs or nudges when you hold out your hand in front of him then he welcomes your touch and it is a trait of a good personality.
- On the other hand, if he cowers around people and is not comfortable then he isn’t good at socializing.
- Do an exercise with him, roll him over his back and gently hold him in that position. Most puppies try to come in the previous position as they find this position uncomfortable but they calm down after some time as they trust their owner, they will stop resisting but in case if he doesn’t stop resisting then there are higher chances that this puppy will grow into a comparatively more aggressive dog.
By no means we are suggesting that you should not keep these puppies and leave them to a rescue shelter. All these things can be corrected with a little training, after all, he is just a puppy he will grow the way you want him to grow.
8) Every word on the internet is not true
There is a lot of information out there, it’s okay to read it but it’s not a necessity that it will be true in your case. Live with your dog, experience for yourself, and then form an opinion.
For instance, it’s okay if your dog takes some time to release his poop after eating because there are articles that say that he should be releasing them every 30 minutes but it is not the case with every dog in fact with a large number of dogs.
It is completely fine if your dog is a little different than other dogs as long as he is healthy, you have to trust your instincts sometimes because sometimes the hard and strict rules don’t apply to a lot of dogs.
9) Keep Your Sanity
There will be times when you will just not get what your dog needs and why is he behaving this way and you might lose your patience. This time you should let your dog be with other members of the family or some relatives during this period you can find back your composure so that you can be good with him after this break. Training a dog is not so easy, it may take even a year for your dog but you have to be consistent and not lose hope.
It may take some time for your dog to understand what you expect from him and you should let him have this time.
- If you’re using paper then show him the paper training and when you reach home tell him to use the appropriate place. Do these things in the initial days so that they can become a habit eventually.
- Take away his food and water a few hours before his sleeping time so that he can get tired and go straight to bed.
- Take him on a bathroom break before he falls asleep otherwise he can get into an accident. You can even spread out newspaper around his crate for safe side.
- If you’re finding it a bit difficult to train your puppy then you can even join a dog training class, they are easily available.
- Don’t wait for him to grow, start training him when he is young because the younger you start the easier it gets for the later days. Your dog will make a habit to listen to you and you will gain confidence in training as well.
- As a newborn baby, a puppy’s body is fragile too so don’t lift him unnecessarily. If you have to lift him then use both your hands, one hand under his rump and the other should be under his chest.