Maybe you have dreamed of getting a puppy for years. Perhaps you have a specific breed in mind, or you want to adopt a pup from the animal shelter. Either way, getting a puppy is a life changer. Puppies are the absolute best while sometimes something being the absolute worst, but either way, unless you are heartless, you won’t regret it.
I purchased my pup from a local breeder of Huskies whose house dogs (German Shepherd & Australian Shepherd) had an unexpected litter of puppies after filling out a dozen applications to adopt. I was denied for basically living in an apartment despite showing that I had a dog walker, a training class, and a schedule in mind. Go figure. Whether you decide to adopt or shop, there are a couple of things one must know before and after bringing home Fido.
Puppy Proof Your Home
Anything and everything that a puppy can chew, shouldn’t chew, dangerous to chew, and you don’t want to them to chew should be tucked away, kept off the floor, and placed out of the reach of the puppy. Purchase puppy gates to keep the puppy out of rooms you don’t want them in. Confine them to only the rooms where you can watch them regularly (aids in potty training).
Your vet will tell you to keep Fido away from the world and other dogs until they complete their puppy vaccinations (about 5-6 months of age). I ignored this warning as between 3 to 12 weeks of age is a puppy’s prime socialization period. It is doing this stage that Fido should be exposed to EVERYTHING. People of all sorts, races, beards, mustaches, glasses, long hair, short hair. Wheelchairs, cars, stores, parks, car rides, other dogs, etc. I thought that The Pupster was socialized until I took him to the park when he was 15 weeks old and he barked, attempted to chase every car, bike, and rollerblader that rode past us.
Grab Some Puppy Survival Materials
Okay, so this is where we get real. Do not, I repeat, do not bring your puppy into your home without the following materials:
- Crate: Yea I did not plan on crate training at all, but the first time this dog ran crazy throughout my whole house, and tore up every piece of everything, I bought a crate. I bought a crate and cleared out the storage space in the back of my apartment (basically a small room) where he was placed while I was at work with access to the crate.
- Kong Brand: The Kong brand toys are essentials, but I have personally loved the Kong Binkie and the Kong Puppy Ball. These two toys kept him from chewing up countless things, and from chewing excessively on myself. The Kong Binkie was always stuffed full of cheerios with a little peanut butter as the sealant.
- Puppy Pads: Essentials to him staying home while I was at work while maintaining some form of housebreaking. He only used these until he was about five months old before the afternoon dog walker (his afternoon relief while I was at work) told me that he was no longer using them.
- Bowls: I preferred glass bowls because I didn’t want him chewing on them, but any form of dog bowl will do.
- Leash & Harness: Enough stated
Make Sure Puppy Sees the Vet
The average puppy has some form of intestinal parasite, and by law your furbaby needs vaccinations. Shop around and starting asking about the cost of vaccinations and other deworming for your baby. Check with your local Humane Society as they may have some low-cost options for keeping your puppy healthy. Also, don’t forget to ask about spaying and neutering your animal.
Crate or Don’t Crate
There is a great decision that must be made. Crate train or not to crate train? While I can see the viewpoints, either way, this is something one should research and determine before bring home your little pupster. I was against crate training, but after the puppy was diagnosed with separation anxiety, crate training became a necessity. Just make sure you get the correct size crate.
Having a puppy is a huge deal, and there is a reason why some people skip the puppy stage and adopt adult and senior dogs. But having the appropriate tools and items at home before you bring home the puppy should make the transition smoother.