Regardless of whether you’re an adult or a child, there is nothing more exciting than bringing a new puppy into the home. However, successfully introducing a new puppy depends upon a good deal of thought and preparation, and there are a number of things that should be kept in mind when getting ready for this new family member. Is the puppy’s breed suitable for the situation (a mastiff in an efficiency apartment is probably not the best choice)? Are there children or other pets in the household? Do you understand any potential health problems associated with the breed?
In addition to the above, people sometimes forget that each puppy is an individual living creature with its own personality and needs. Getting a puppy, in most cases, means that you are going to provide a lifelong commitment to this animal, and no one should take this responsibility lightly.
Regardless of the breed of dog you have decided upon, all puppies will need equipment and supplies to keep them healthy and comfortable. Having everything needed on hand when you carry your puppy into the home will help make the period of adjustment smoother and easier on everyone.
Most breeders will give you a small supply of the food that the puppy has been eating. You will probably want to choose your own brand or one that your veterinarian suggests. Get the best quality you can afford – the puppy will not need to eat enormous quantities just to get adequate nutrition, and higher quality foods also contain more meat protein. Meat should be the first item on the ingredient list.
Food and water dishes are a necessity and probably the best type to use are stainless steel – they are easy to keep clean and the puppy won’t be able to chew them up. Clean water should be available at all times.
Puppies are extremely active and playful, and your puppy will also be shedding its baby teeth. Have plenty of safe toys on hand and be prepared to spend time playing with your puppy, this will help with the bonding process. Avoid rawhide as it can cause gastrointestinal problems if pieces are chewed off and swallowed. You should never leave toys with the puppy when it is unattended.
A first aid kit for dogs is another item you might want to have ready. Being able to treat relatively minor injuries at home can save a trip to the vet.
Although most people usually use a collar and leash with their puppy, a harness may be a better choice as it keeps pressure off the neck. Be prepared for some possible dramatic activity when you first put the harness or collar on the pup. Our Frenchies threw themselves onto the ground and writhed around as if in agony the first time we put their harnesses on. We paid no attention and they just got up and forgot they were even wearing them.
Hopefully, you don’t subscribe to the old idea of putting a new puppy into a box with a towel, clock, and hot water bottle. If you have decided to get a puppy, it is going to be a member of your family and should be treated as such. Your puppy should sleep in your bedroom. You can let the pup right into bed with you, or you can put the pup’s bed on the floor next to your bed. The puppy has, up to this time, been sleeping with its mother and siblings, and isolating it in a cardboard box is cruel. If you want to keep the pup in a crate at night, at least place the crate next to the bed so you can reassure the pup during the night.
There will be times when even the best puppy will portray frustrating and destructive behavior. It is completely inappropriate to yell at or strike the puppy. At this early stage in the puppy’s life it is easy to use positive reinforcement, combined with ignoring bad behavior, to help the pup develop into a good companion. Obedience training is a good idea, especially with larger breeds, and can help your puppy become confident and calm.