Puppies are cute aren’t they? It’s hard to resist their cute, cuddly little faces. So, when temptation proves to take the best of you and you bring that new puppy home, it will be both fun and frustrating. We recently brought a new puppy home. It had been 3 years since we had a puppy in the house. We forgot the things that frustrated us the most and only remembered all the fun, cute and cuddly times. Once we got the new puppy home, we quickly remembered the needle teeth, the potty training, the middle of the night potty and play sessions. WHAT DID WE GET OURSELVES INTO?
We even have two other dogs in the house that needed to get used to the new addition. That can be trying and stressful for the other dogs in the household as well.
Where do you start? Here are some suggestions on how to prepare yourself BEFORE your new bundle of joy comes home. (Check out Part 2 when we talk about what to do once you have him home.)
Arm yourself with plenty of artillery:
Lots of chew toys – Your new puppy will most likely still have their “milk teeth”. They will need things they are allowed to chew on to satisfy their need and instinct to chew. Being prepared will help save your furniture, shoes and other precious items from being destroyed. Toys that can be frozen and ice cubes will help reduce the pain that comes along with teething.
Puppy Proof – I thought I did a good job puppy proofing my home…until the little devil came home 🙂 Ziggy helped me realize what puppy proofing really means. Be conscience of what your puppy will put in their mouths: Electrical cords, plants, hanging towels, shoes, string, remotes, books, rocks in the backyard, etc. Realize that you need to remove those items and put them in places where your puppy won’t be able to reach them.
If it’s not possible to remove the items, just be prepared to have a watchful eye on them at all times…well, at least when they are awake 🙂
Potty Training – Make sure you have plenty of rags and carpet cleaner for cleaning up potty messes. I like to use Spot Shot. It seems to be the only cleaner that doesn’t change the color of my carpet. Also be prepared to do A LOT of laundry.
Get a crate that will be big enough for your puppy to grow into. For those non believers, don’t worry, we’ll cover crate training in more depth in Part 2. Most, if not all, crates come with dividers so you can have a small space to start with and gradually have more and more space as he needs it. The crate will help with potty training, keep your puppy from chewing on everything they aren’t supposed to while you are gone, and allow you to take a break and get some work done 🙂 It is difficult, nearly impossible for me to get any work done while Ziggy is awake. He is constantly getting into things and wanting to play. The crate also gives your other dogs a much needed break from puppy teeth and puppy energy.
Puppies love to explore their surroundings. I suggest not allowing your puppy total freedom of the house. Get some baby gates to block off areas of the house you don’t want him to be wondering in. It’s even more difficult to keep a watchful eye on your puppy when they have total free reign of the house. Don’t worry, as he gets older and proves he can be trusted, you can give him more access to the entire house. Baby gates and crates aren’t forever 🙂
Find a GREAT Vet – Research vets in your area and find a vet that you can connect with. Get to know a couple vets in the practice so if you have an emergency you stand better chances of one of your trusted vets will be there to take care of you and your pet.
The ASPCA has some great tips as well.
You have a new puppy and you have the luxury of being able to work from home. You may be wondering, “How am I going to get any work done with this puppy around?” Being able to work from home with a new puppy is the perfect scenario for your puppy, but maybe not for you. There will be many interruptions with potty breaks, meals and playtime. So how do you balance it all?
First, I would suggest crate training. Whenever you are not able to focus on your puppy 100%, it should be in a crate. This will help potty training and saving your carpet from urine stains.
Second, when your puppy isn’t in it’s crate, try tether training. Tether training is when you put a leash on your puppy and tie them to you. #1, this will help in those instances where you take your eye off the puppy. You will still know exactly where it is and won’t give puppy the opportunity to leave the room and piddle somewhere.
Third, have lots of distractions for the puppy. Toys to play with, treats to chew on, etc.
Lastly, be sure to schedule a potty break for your puppy every 20 minutes. This plays along with potty training.
It’s going to be difficult, but consistency is key to having a well behaved puppy and getting some work done. Soon enough puppy will get into a routine which will make things easier for you.
If it becomes too much or if you have a scheduled meeting or conference call and you need your puppy to be on it’s BEST behavior, taking them for a walk (after they’ve had all their shots) will help wear them out long enough for you to be on that call or leave your home office for a meeting. You can always enlist help from family members or a pet sitter. A good walk in the morning and some afternoon playtime will do wonders for getting some real work done.
We get a lot of calls from clients with new puppies. The typical call is from someone who has recently gotten a new puppy and after having it for several weeks starts to feel guilty about leaving it home by itself and would like someone to come over in the middle of the day to let them out to go potty and give them some love and attention. When we are contracted to play with puppies, this is what our goal is when we are ready to leave:
This is success to us! Below are some of the ways we entertain puppies to obtain the above result:
Chase – We have the puppy chase us around the house or in the backyard.
Play with Toys – Any toys the puppy shows interest in we play with! Throwing them so the puppy wants to chase it, letting the puppy chew on it, etc.
Find it – We will use food (typically kibble, whatever the puppy is eating, since they should be eating 3 times per day) and hide it around the house or yard so they have to use their nose to find the kibble.