By Jessica Brody
Bringing home a puppy is surprisingly similar to bringing home a baby. Between all of the cuddle-time and endless picture-taking, you have to keep the little one fed, give them a cozy place to sleep, create a potty-training schedule, and keep them safe. It takes some adjustment time for you both, but it’s one of the happiest decisions you can make. For all of you soon-to-be puppy parents out there, don’t be nervous. Just keep a few tips in mind before you add the newest little addition to your family.
Which Breed Suits You
Do you want an indoor or outdoor dog? Do you want a large breed or small breed? These are the kinds of questions you should be asking yourself as you read through the variances between breeds. For example, if you are an active person, you will likely want a dog to run or hike with. In that case, Labradors and Australian Shepherds are some of the more active breeds. If you want a lap dog, a Dachshund or Pug may be the perfect choice. Each type of dog has a unique set of qualities that will help you determine whether they will be the best match for your family.
Helping Your Puppy Adjust to Your Home
To a puppy, your home is a very large and maybe even scary new place. Make sure you properly prepare your home before you let them freely roam. They will want to sniff everything, maybe chew on a few things, and potentially hide in small spaces like under the couch or under your bed. It’s up to you to let them explore, teach them what they shouldn’t chew, and facilitate the feeling of a safe home.
The first step is to provide them with their own specific spot in the house. Many dogs like to have a place like a kennel or bed as a type of home base. This is the spot where they will sleep, run to if they are scared, or play with their toys if they aren’t comfortable in the rest of the house yet. Show them where that spot is, and reward them for settling in. The more they feel like they have a safe place to run back to, the more they will feel comfortable to investigate the rest of the house.
Since everything is chewable, don’t let your puppy wander the house alone for a while. Walk with them while they are exploring and guide them away from any valuable items. Try to keep items like stuffed animals, children’s toys, clothing items, or pillows off of the floor. This way the puppy won’t confuse these items with their own toys. As time passes, they can begin to learn which items are off-limits and which items are safe to play with.
Activities to Do With Your Puppy
Playtime is very important for a puppy. It helps them develop their relationship with you and learn their boundaries. As they fetch their toys or play tug-of-war with their favorite rope, they learn how rambunctious they are allowed to become, how hard they should bite, and when they are supposed to calm down. These are all the rules that you get to set while you learn your puppy’s playful habits.
It’s also very important that you make time to walk them daily. These little ones have a lot of energy that they need to get out, and keeping them cooped up in the house won’t fulfill their need for exploration. But make sure you know the appropriate length of a walk first, so that their little muscles won’t be overworked.
You are about to find yourself in the middle of an adorable, furry adventure! You have nothing to worry about! You’re already doing your research and thinking through the first steps toward bringing them home. You are going to make a great puppy parent!