Are you thinking of adding a new puppy to your pack? There’s so much to consider because puppies are a huge responsibility, and bringing one into your home isn’t a decision to be taken lightly. They require a lot of time, money, and attention, but there’s no denying that they are totally worth the effort. Today I’m sharing a list of 7 things to do before you bring your new puppy home; many of these tips also apply to adult dogs. If you want to make sure you’re ready for your new addition, keep reading!
- Talk it over with your family. Be sure that everyone in your household is on board and is willing to take on some of the responsibility of having a new puppy in the home. Remind family members that while a puppy is cute and can be a lot of fun, it really “takes a village”, and everyone is going to have to pitch in with training, feeding, and walking the new bundle of joy.
- Research the breed. If you’re considering a particular breed of puppy, do your research to make sure that it is the right choice for you, your family, and your lifestyle. Just because you like a certain breed does not mean it’s going to be the right fit for your family. Whether you plan to adopt from a shelter or get your pup from a reputable breeder, it’s important that you understand the breed first.
- Refresh your memory. If you have not had a puppy in a while, or if you’ve never had one, you’ll want to brush up on your knowledge by grabbing a couple of good puppy books. I’m a big fan of Perfect Puppy in 7 Days by Dr. Sophia Yin, and also The Puppy Primer by Patricia B. McConnell. Both contain great information to help with your puppy both before her arrival and after you bring her home.
- Puppy-proof your home. Puppies have a tendency to get into things, so you’ll want to make sure your home is safe before bringing her home. My advice is to work through each room of your home, making it safe in much the same way you’d baby-proof your home if a toddler lived there. Once the puppy is at home with you, you’ll want to do regular “quick sweeps” each day, especially if you have small children who might leave toys and food laying about. Puppies love Barbie shoes and Legos, so you will need to try and keep as much of that as possible out of her reach.
- Set some ground rules. Plan for the puppy’s care by making sure each family member knows their role. Who will feed the dog? Who will walk it? Who’s responsible for cleaning up any accidents? If these details are clear before puppy comes home, it’ll save on the arguing and bickering later.
- Have everything in place BEFORE puppy comes home. You’re going to need lots of supplies for your puppy, and it’s best to get everything ready before bringing your pup home. Don’t wait until you’ve picked up your puppy and are driving home with her to stop for supplies. Plan ahead and make sure you’ve got everything you need already in set up and in place upon her arrival. Be sure to check out my Puppy Starter Kit for all the supplies you’ll need for your new baby.
- Make a vet appointment. Your puppy really should see a veterinarian within 72 hours of coming home, so be sure to schedule an appointment with your vet. If this is your first puppy and you don’t have a regular veterinarian, ask friends and family for a referral.
I truly believe the most important thing to do before bringing home your new puppy is to realize that you’re making a 12 to 15 year commitment to a living, breathing creature who will come to love and depend on you. If you’re not ready to make that kind of commitment, please don’t get a puppy.
What other suggestions do you have for someone who’s adding a new puppy to the pack? Please share your experience by leaving your tips in a comment below.
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