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Bringing a puppy into your household is one of the most exciting decisions you can make for yourself, your family, and the dog! That being said, there is a lot to think about to ensure that it goes well. From preparing the necessary supplies and pet grooming items to puppy-proofing your home and spacing out the introductions, keep reading for the five tips the whole family needs to know when welcoming a new puppy into your home.
1. Prepare the necessary supplies.
Before your new puppy arrives home, you want to ensure that you have stocked up on the necessary basic supplies that will ensure you have a happy and healthy pet. By having the essentials prepared, you and your puppy can focus on settling in together.
In the beginning, you want to be sure to have a crate, food and water bowls, food (including some treats for training purposes), a collar and a leash, a bed, toys, stain- and odour-removing cleaners, and some gates if you want to block off sections of your home.
Additionally, you also want to have your dog ID tags ready to put on the puppy as soon as he arrives home. There are many reasons why your puppy should wear an ID tag, but mainly because it increases the likelihood that he will be safely returned to you if he were to be separated from you for some reason.
When a dog is wearing an ID tag, it signals to others that he belongs to a person. Just as you carry around your ID card, your pet should also have an ID on him for his safety. Not only does an ID tag demonstrate that your pet is not a stray, but it also can provide more information, including any injuries, health issues, or disabilities that your pet has. Luckily, ID tags can be very stylish, so your puppy can have a style that suits his personality.
2. Organise your puppy grooming items.
Moreover, in addition to the basics, it is always recommended to have a selection of dog grooming items as they always come in useful. Some of the essential dog grooming items include shampoos and conditioners (such as Vet’s Best Hypo-Allergenic Shampoo For Dogs) and brushes and combs (such as the Flamingo Dog Bristle & Pin Brush).
When shopping for grooming tools, you also want to consider trimming and thinning scissors, a nail clipper, a tick picker, and an ear and face care set. You will also want to have a grooming glove for bath time!
Throughout your dog’s life, you will likely find yourself using the same grooming items repeatedly. Therefore, it is essential that you purchase high-quality products from a reputable online pet store, as these are the grooming items that will stand the test of time.
3. Puppy-proof your home.
In addition to preparing all the necessary supplies, you also want to make sure you are taking the appropriate steps to puppy-proof your home. After all, your puppy is likely to take every opportunity to chew on items if you aren’t organising your space ahead of time.
While every situation is different, generally, new puppy owners find it beneficial to create a temporary, gated-off living space where the pet can stay when you are not there. This will help to reduce the chance of a house training accident, or the puppy damaging your belongings or consuming something he shouldn’t.
Usually, you want to choose an area with easy-to-clean floors and that is a hub of activity in your home so that the puppy doesn’t feel alone. For this reason, the kitchen is often the obvious choice. However, wherever you choose to keep your puppy while they are house training, make sure that you move anything that could hurt him or that you want out of his reach.
Puppy-proofing your home indoors may include unplugging electrical cords or moving them out of reach, keeping cleaning supplies and medications secured. You will also want to keep all sharp objects and small items that are choking hazards out of your puppy’s reach, move poisonous houseplants, and secure garbage cans.
Outdoors, you also want to take steps to puppy-proof the area. This may include fencing the garden, removing toxic plants, designating a puppy area, avoiding using insecticides, and ensuring shade and cool water is available. Remember, in the beginning, you always want to be supervising your young puppy when he is outside.
4. Plan out day one.
Your first day at home with your new puppy is going to be an exciting yet nerve-wracking experience. After all, you have likely been dreaming about this day for a while. So, you want to ensure that it goes as seamlessly as possible and that you can start bonding with your new addition right away. Therefore, to help you feel more relaxed on the big day, it is recommended that you consider the following suggestions.
First and foremost, you want to let your puppy explore designated areas little by little. Otherwise, too many new places, smells, and people will likely start to confuse him, so it is better to introduce him to the home, one room at a time.
If you have other pets, you certainly want to introduce your puppy to them as soon as possible. Keep in mind that your new puppy is still developing his communication skills and will not necessarily understand the rules set in place by your other pets. Moreover, until your puppy has had all his shots, he shouldn’t be interacting with dogs outside your home.
Finally, the sooner you can start teaching your puppy the house rules, the better. As soon as the puppy enters your home, look to start enforcing rules and praising good behaviour. Knowing what your rules are concerning where the puppy will sleep and whether he is allowed on the furniture is vital from the get-go.
5. Space out introductions.
As with the rooms in the house, you also want the puppy to have the space to meet each family member one at a time. Providing a chance for individual introductions will allow the puppy to meet each member of their new family quietly and not feel too overwhelmed.
If you have young children who will be meeting the puppy, you want to make sure that you have started to teach them about respecting animals and their boundaries. Always supervise young children when they are with the puppy and discourage them from picking him up; instead, have the children hold the puppy in their laps with your assistance.
On the first day, it is crucial to minimise stress and excitement by not inviting those outside the family to meet the puppy. While friends and neighbours should undoubtedly meet the puppy, it doesn’t need to happen on the first day.
When it comes to welcoming your new puppy into your home, the most important thing to remember is that you need to take things slowly. It is going to take time and effort to build trust between you and for him to become fully comfortable in his new environment. For this reason, make sure you are prioritising plenty of loving connections with family members and consistent rules and routines.
Just as importantly, make sure to incorporate rewards for good behaviour and gentle corrections for unacceptable behaviours. Over time, your new puppy will come to learn the ways of your home and will find his place within it.
Are you thinking of bringing home a new puppy this year? Why or why not? What do you think are the biggest challenges of having a puppy? What tips and tricks do you have to make it easier? Let us know your thoughts and any other relevant insights you have in the comments below!
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Farah Al-Khojai is the Managing Partner of Pet’s Delight. A passionate entrepreneur, Farah holds a Bsc in Government from the London School of Economics. She is always on the lookout for new opportunities to develop and grow the pet and equestrian retail and wholesale market in the UAE and beyond, and is proud to be at the helm of the first and the largest pet care provider in the market representing world-class brands including Orijen, Applaws, Hunter, Savic, Flamingo, Ruffwear and Rogz.