5 Steps to Take Before Getting a Puppy
Step 1: Vet your vet!
If you don’t already have a vet, you know and love, now’s your time to find one. When your puppy arrives on the homestead one of the first things you’ll want to do is go for their very first vet visit, with you that is. A reputable breeder will have puppies dewormed and looked over by a vet prior to leaving their momma, regardless you’ll want to bring them in for a once over! If you're adopting, you may not know when their last visit was, or if they've been dewormed.
A seasoned vet will give you insider info on potty training, sleeping arrangements, behavior tips, and of course a head-to-toe examination. Securing a top-notch vet prior to your pup being in your household allows you the time to find someone who you trust and who has great reviews. Experience matters!! I’ve been to vets that have made me feel safe, heard, and respected all of my wishes when it came to my animals. Look for someone with the patience to answer your questions and to be hands on with your puppy.
True story: Our rottweiler at the time had allergies and they were getting bad, his poor eyes were itching non-stop and I was concerned it may have gotten to the point of an eye infection. I brought my fully grown rottie to the vet to have his eyes examined, and the vet did not/would not enter the room. Excuse me? What am I paying you $75 for? I was baffled, she was afraid of the size of my dog. Mind you, Romeo was a gentle giant and was a big fan of anyone and everyone who would give him a pat on the head. At that moment, I was silent, I couldn’t grasp the fact that she was diagnosing my dog from 10 feet away…could that be right? Was she coming back? Was that it? I left and felt really disappointed, and honestly unsure if she even got a good look. This is when I realized not all vets are created equal. Do your research.
Step 2: Get the essentials.
When that glorious moment comes and your puppy is finally here, you want to be prepared!! Since puppies can spend the first few days (or weeks) up at all hours of the night, figuring out what “outside” means, and possibly missing their litter mates, shopping may be low on your list of priorities. Stock up beforehand.
Food & Water Bowl
Wee Wee Pads
Bedding (I personally use some old blankets at the puppy stage, they tend to think beds are toy)
Doggie Seatbelt (this is a law in some states)
Portable Bowls (for on-the-go water and food if needed)
Bonus points if you shop organic & local!
Step 3: Puppy Proof!
Ohhh yes, puppy proofing is VERY real! Puppies are learning, and how are they learning the world? Through their nose and through their mouth. Everything and anything they can get those little chompers on, they will. Not only is this for the safety of everything you love and don’t want turned to confetti, but it’s for your puppy's wellbeing. Anything easily swallowed is a threat to your puppy's digestive system and can cause blockages that could potentially be causation for surgery.
Do a deep clean of your home and get anything off the floor that is a chew risk for your dog.
Move phone chargers off ground level and up to counter tops
Put shoes inside of the closet
Place TV remotes up off the couch and out of reach
Put those loose socks inside of the laundry basket
Any house plants, yup you guessed it, move them out of reach.
Tiny cat toys floating around? Not anymore!
Garbage bins without lids? That won’t do!
You get the idea, right?
Bonus tip: When they look so sweet snuggled up on the couch and you think, “Let me just run to the bathroom real fast!”, and you leave your iPhone on the couch next to them…they were actually faking the whole time and were just waiting to turn your iPhone into a chew toy. That’s a very real story, and I won’t make that mistake again!
Step 4: Plan your potty routine!
Obviously, there is more than one way to potty train a puppy. Figure this out before the puppy gets home, because the second that little furry bundle of love is here, they need you to be on the ball and ready to lead their potty training. Remember most times when getting a puppy, they have no concept of house training, be ready to take your role as the pack leader!
Will you walk your puppy multiple times each time they need to go out?
Do you have a fenced backyard?
Will you build a fence just for your puppy?
Do you have a fence that has holes in it? Because they’ll find them!
Are you going to install an electric fence?
A dog run?
Please don’t bring home your adorable new bark monster and let them find the holes in your fence for you–be diligent!
Step 5: Train yourself!
Learn as much as possible about whatever breed you are bringing home. Each breed is bred for something different and specific.
Are you getting a dog with a high prey drive?
Are you getting a working dog?
A hunting dog?
Is the breed especially talkative?
Is the breed more or less active than others?
Good for apartments? Condos? Or do they need a huge backyard?
Do you know the answer to all of these questions? If the answer is no, get to studying! The better understanding you have of your soon to be puppy, the easier a time you’ll have training them.
Some breeds will respond better to toys than to treats, or will be more responsive to praise than toys!
Find out the secret formula to your puppy before you get them–you’re basically hacking the training system with a huge jumpstart!
These 5 steps are going to propel you into a blissful first few weeks with your new puppy!
p.s. To help countdown the days until your new puppy arrives download a countdown app to help you keep track of completing your steps!
Congratulations on your new family member,