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So, you are on your way to pick up your new puppy…but wait! Have you prepared your home and family for your new arrival? Taking these first steps before bringing home your new pup can put you both on the path to a great relationship.
Covering the basics
You and your family most likely met to decide the type of dog you wanted and where you were going to look for him. Another meeting is now in order before you bring the pup home.
Some of the discussion items should include:
Consistency is important in the proper training of a dog. One of the first items to decide is what words everyone should use when giving commands. If the kids keep saying “sit” and Mom uses “down” while Dad uses “off” when your pup tries to climb up on the furniture, in the end you will have a dog who doesn’t know what to do.
Along these lines, a schedule and assignments of feeding times, potty trips, walks and veterinary appointments for vaccinations, de-worming, check-ups etc should be posted for all to see.
What supplies will you need? Your list should include bowls for meals and water; toys for playing and chewing; brushes, combs, and shampoo for grooming; nests, pads, and a crate for both travel and sleeping; a collar and leash along with an ID tag for walking and training; and of course, a good carpet cleaner and odor eliminator for those little “accidents.”
Planning your shopping before your puppy’s arrival will allow you to shop in stores and on the Internet for the best prices and availability instead of rushing out on the day you bring your bundle of joy home.
An important task is puppy-proofing your home and yard. A good way to do this is to get down on the floor and take in a pup’s eye view of the area. Look for electrical cords, plants, household cleaners and other potentially poisonous items, loose carpet or rugs, fragile items–basically anything that may be tempting to a puppy who, for his first few months, will want to put everything in his mouth at least once. Take a dog’s-eye view once a week to make sure you didn’t miss anything amidst the excitement of bringing a new pup home.
Just before picking up your puppy, hold a meeting with the family to set down a few rules. Don’t inundate your pup when you bring him home. Children shouldn’t clash over him or go overboard showing him off to friends and neighbors. Your family and surroundings are going to be overwhelming as it is. When everyone is on the same page, it is time to pick up Pup!
Putting the right paw forward
When you pick up your puppy, remember that he has been on a feeding schedule with a certain brand of dog food. To avoid stomach problems, you will need to know the type of food and the schedule so you can duplicate it for a while. If you want to change brands of food, mix one part of the new food to three parts of the old for several days; then switch to equal parts of both; and then one part old to three parts new.
Start your relationship off right. On the way home, Pup should ride in the back seat, either in one person’s arms or, if possible, in a crate or carrier.
When you arrive home, your puppy should be brought to where you want him to go potty immediately. You don’t want your memory of puppy’s first day to be all mops and carpet cleaning. Nor should you let your children run after him or allow him on the furniture. From a puppy’s standpoint, first impressions can also be first lessons learned.
Follow your schedule for feeding, sleep, potty time and play. Remember puppy will need time for socializing, but also short times being alone. Being alone will probably be a new experience for him and he may whine, cry or bark for you to come “rescue” him. If you surrender, he will only learn “whining, crying, and barking gets their attention!” Attention should only be earned for good behavior, such as chewing a toy, not your socks.
Be consistent with your puppy rules and training and that cute little fuzzy face will grow to be a wonderful member of the family.
Source: Adapted from the ASPCA