Nothing brings joy quite like getting a new puppy. But mixed in with the joy can be apprehension and time spent wondering, “Am I doing this right?”
Fear not, because we ranked the most 15 most important things puppy owners can do to help their dog adjust. Read on to find out how you can ease your puppy into a new environment.
15. Create a schedule and stick to it
Dogs like routines. Before your dog comes home, have a rough idea of what the puppy’s daily routine will be. Do they go for a walk in the morning or evening? When do they eat? What do they eat?
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14. Show your puppy around
As you would a house guest visiting for the first time, give your puppy a tour. Show them where they’ll be spending most of their time. For a puppy, this means where they sleep, eat, and relieve themselves. Let them spend time exploring these areas, giving them a chance to relax in a new place.
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13. Don’t show them everything all at once
Don’t show your puppy too much too soon. They can experience sensory overload if you show them every room in your house at once. The American Kennel Club suggests only showing your pet a small area of your home upon their arrival. Start with a designated puppy area and go from there.
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12. Create a sleeping space
Before he or she enters your home, decide where your dog will sleep. Similar to newborn babies, puppies have to set a sleep schedule with the help of their parents.
Puppies sleep 15–20 hours a day, according to the American Kennel Club. Because your puppy will be spending most their time sleeping, it’s important to make a wise choice with your dog’s bed.
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11. Have a crate at the ready
Even if you think you won’t need a dog crate, you will. Familiarize your puppy with their crate, then gradually increase the amount of time they spend in the crate, recommends The Humane Society of the United States. However, the Humane Society says not to use it as a punishment because your dog will come to fear the crate and resist going in it.
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10. Research games to play with your dog
Today says dogs develop bad habits, like digging holes in your yard, because they’re bored. Games keep dogs occupied while they learn and bond with their owner. But Today stresses not teaching “your dog biting games or games where they run away from you,” as this will create bad habits.
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9. Buy a leash and collar
Before your new puppy arrives, get them a leash and collar. However, if you have a small dog, a harness is a must. A collar attached to a leash can put stress on small dogs. That stress can cause the dog’s trachea to collapse, according to Today.
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8. Have toys
Get toys for your dogs — but not just any toys. The best dog toys promote good dental health, intellectual stimulation, bonding, and physical activity, according to The Canine Journal. Some great examples of healthy dog toys are the KONG medium cozie dog squeaky toy and Benebone bacon flavored wishbone chew toy, says The Canine Journal. Both toys are durable and long-lasting, so your puppy can play with them for years to come.
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7. Pick a potty spot
The American Kennel Club says it’s crucial to show your new puppy where they’ll relieve themselves. Make sure to use one command you’ll continue using with your dog, such as “go potty.” Give your dog lots of praise when they do their business. And remember, puppies have small bladders, so they’ll have to use the bathroom very often.
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6. Watch the puppy
Puppies are like children, both need constant supervision. Know where your puppy is at all times. That way, you’ll see how they’re adjusting to your home and notice any of their behavioral quirks. Also, bring your dog with you while you do chores around your house. They can explore under your watchful eye.
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5. Use a glass or white ceramic food bowl
Pyrex, glass, or white ceramic (certified for human consumption) are the best dishes to use for your new puppy. Today’s pet contributor, Tamar Geller, wrote, “The problem with most ceramic dog bowls is that they are not regulated and may contain lead, which is potentially very harmful to dogs.” Make sure you check labels on dog dishes, and pick safety over style.
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4. Be patient
Slowly but surely, your puppy will adjust to living in a new atmosphere. With constant praise and clear knowledge of the rules, your puppy will fit well into your family.
However, if your puppy is having difficulty adjusting, put yourself in their paws — er — shoes. They’re alone in an unfamiliar place, attempting to bond with strangers.
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3. Be consistent with training techniques
Pick training methods you’ll use with your new puppy and stick to them. Dog trainer Cesar Millan says to begin training your puppy immediately, according to an article on his website. Millan wrote, “For your new puppy to grow into a healthy, balanced dog, you must demonstrate leadership from day one!” Demonstrating leadership means spelling out the rules for your puppy and showing them who’s boss.
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2. Take your puppy to the vet right away
Schedule a vet appointment in the first few days of your new puppy’s arrival. Not only can a vet determine the health of your pet, they can provide puppy owners with valuable information about their new family member. At your appointment, ask the vet any lingering questions you may have about your new puppy.
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1. Educate yourself
To effectively train your puppy, you must train yourself. Read up on training methods, sleeping habits, puppy behavioral traits, and any other topic you think would be helpful.
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