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Bringing Your Puppy Home

dvm (48)Bringing that new bundle of joy and energy home is an exciting time. How each puppy accepts and blends into his new family will depend on a great many things; the personality of each pup, socialization the pup received from the breeder, and how prepared you and your family are in receiving the pup.

There are a few things you should already have before you pick up your pup. Having these things ready will help your pup acclimate to it's new environment and help you be prepared in teaching the pup just what will be expect of him. Remember--establish the house rules ahead of time and every family member should be clear and consistent in enforcing those rules. Above all else--have fun together!

Things you should have ready:

Puppy Food
-the breeder may send home with you the food they have been giving the puppy. This does not mean you have to continue using that specific brand. Having what he has been eating sent with you allows you add it to the brand you have purchased and make a gradual change in his diet. I don't advocate one brand of puppy food over another, however, I do recommend to use a good name brand food. Poor quality food will make it harder for your pup to control his bowels and bladder; stools will smell more and there will be more of them. If you are unsure what food to start with contact your veterinarian. The ACC recommends Science Diet, however there are others that may work just find for your pup.

Bedding: You need to designate an area for the puppy to sleep and get him a blanket or towels to sleep on that are his. We recommend that you start with a pet carrier/crate. There are many benefits to teaching your pup accept and learn that the crate is his 'bedroom'. Dogs are den animals by nature, and a crate can give him a quiet place to call his own. Crates are also helpful in housetraining and giving you somewhere to keep your puppy out of mischief when you are distracted and unable to keep an eye on him. Crates are also a good and safe way to transport your puppy to the veterinarian and on other trips you may make with him as he grows. See our Crate Training section for help.

Toys:
You should have a variety of toys with different textures for the pup. Without variety, your pup will get bored and start making toys out of your shoes, laundry, etc. Chewing is a normal behavior for dogs, especially puppies. It is our job to make sure they know what is appropriate for them to chew on. Puppies put everything in their mouths, nothing have hands, they are exploring the world around them. They are also teething. Strong rubber toys that you can put treats in are perfect chew toys and mentally stimulating at the same time. If you don't want your pup chewing on your shoes, certainly don't give him an old shoe to chew on. Your puppy is not going to know what is valuable and inappropriate to chew on, so if it is valuable and/or you don't want it chewed on pick it up and put it away.

Medical care: PROPER PREVENTIVE MEDICAL CARE IS ONE OF THE FIRST THINGS THAT NEEDS ADDRESSED WITH YOUR NEW PUP. Within the first few days after bringing him home, you should have him examined by a veterinarian. Your veterinarian will help insure that your pup is healthy and get you and it started on the track to good veterinary care.

-Collar and leash (at least 6 foot long)

-Pet or child gates-to help you restrict your puppy to safe areas of play when he is not in his crate. This is one of my ways of "puppy proofing" my home. While I should puppy proof all rooms, I usually designate one area, such as my kitchen, where I put up pet gates that restricts the puppy to that area, where he can run and explore relatively uninhibited. The nice thing about pet gates is that I can move them as needed. Example: I am going to be cleaning the front room, I can 'trap' the puppy in the room where I am going to be working. This way while I am distracted by chores, my puppy can at least stay in the same general area where I am, and not wander off into mischief.

-Odor Remover: Puppies will have housebreaking accidents, cleaning the area where they have had a 'wreck' will help discourage them from marking that area as their 'bathroom'

-Newspapers or puppy pads: depending on housetraining methods that you employ, these items can be most useful.
-LOTS OF LOVE! LOTS OF PLAY!