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How to Prepare Yourself and Your Home for a New Puppy

There’s a lot you’ll need to do to get ready for a new puppy. This guide covers all the bases so that you can make sure you’re fully prepared.

How to Prepare Yourself and Your Home for a New Puppy

Never had a dog before? Don’t worry! Puppy proofing your home isn’t all that difficult — and if you’ve ever had to toddler-proof a home, then some of this will feel familiar to you. The effort will be super rewarding, too. Few things are as amazing as raising your very own cuddly (sometimes ornery) fur baby.

Ready to read and learn? Before you bring your fur child home, follow this new puppy checklist to make sure you’re bringing your pup into a safe, welcoming environment.

What you’ll need to buy

Think of preparing for a puppy the same way you’d think of preparing for a baby. That means you’re going to need supplies — a lot of them! Start well in advance so that you can budget and spread out your purchases in the weeks or months leading up to bringing Fido Junior home.

You can pick up the following weeks or months before the official arrival date:

  • Food and water dishes, preferably the non-tip kind to prevent messes
  • A placemat, if desired, and food storage containers
  • A crate in the appropriate size for your pup (keeping in mind how much they’ll grow)
  • Bedding for the crate
  • A playpen or puppy gates if you want to keep the puppy confined to certain areas throughout the day
  • Bedding for elsewhere in the home (like a cozy bed near the couch, if desired)
  • Plenty of toys — think pet plushies and chew toys plus interactive things you can do together, like tug ropes and balls to play fetch
  • Shampoo, brushes, and grooming supplies
  • Puppy pads, if you’re going to paper train
  • Cleaning supplies for accidents — because there will be accidents!
  • Leashes and a collar or harness (check to make sure collars are safe — harnesses are often better for certain breeds because collars can damage the delicate windpipe)
  • Plenty of literature on how to care for your puppy

And here’s what you’ll need to get a week or two in advance. This list is much shorter since it’s mostly perishables.

  • Puppy chow (check with your breeder about preferred foods, and if you plan to switch brands, get some of both brands so you can make the switch slowly to prevent digestive upset)
  • Treats for training and rewards

That’s most of what you’ll need. Now let’s get to the preparations.

How to prepare the people

Getting ready for a puppy isn’t just about buying supplies and preparing your home. The people in your home — you, your significant other, your kids — need to be mentally prepared and educated, too. In fact, this often overlooked step is perhaps the most essential since it’s what will make the difference between a healthy, happy, well-adjusted dog versus one who is fearful, disobedient, or spoiled rotten.

Start by practicing patience. New puppies are not only learning to navigate your home, but the world — and everyone will need to be patient as the pup learns.

Make sure that everyone knows to keep the chaos to a minimum during the first week or two after you’ve brought your puppy home. Puppies need some quiet time to get to know their new family and adjust to their new digs. In fact, many experts advise against getting a Christmas or birthday puppy because it brings a scared youngster into a new, unfamiliar place at the exact wrong time — when everything is loud, confusing, and frightening. If the new puppy is a gift, then gift wrap a leash, food dish, or puppy-themed item — and pick the puppy up a day or two after the holiday when things have calmed down.

Next up, you’ll need to make sure that everyone knows the basics of puppy care and training. Everyone will need to know a little about things like housebreaking, leash walking, and other essential puppy skills. If you're planning a training method like clicker training, show your family how it works. It’s also smart to tell everyone when treats are acceptable, when not to give them, and what the puppy definitely cannot have — like people foods that could be unhealthy or even toxic.

Last, you should definitely consider classes. There are a couple of different types. Socialization classes will help your puppy learn how to socialize with other dogs, and obedience or training classes will help both you and your puppy build new skills.

How to puppy proof your house

Next up on the list of new puppy tips come the tips for puppy-proofing your house. And while it might seem like a lot, it’s actually not all that difficult! Here’s what to do:

  • Got houseplants? Many are poisonous to dogs, so be sure to cut them back or put them high up where the puppy can’t get to them.
  • Build good habits. Make sure everyone knows to put dirty laundry in hampers, keep shoes put away, and keep the floors picked up. The rule of thumb is, that if a puppy can get their jaws around it, they’ll probably chew on it, whether it’s your brand new sneakers or the TV’s remote control. The damage can be costly, and worse, chewing up non-puppy-approved items can be extremely dangerous for the pup.
  • It’s time to tidy up power cords. Tuck them behind the TV, bundle them up behind furniture where the pup can’t chew on them, and get phone and laptop chargers up off the floor.
  • Make an inventory of fun-looking dangly stuff that puppies can yank on, and figure out solutions. Curtains, the cords for your blinds, your tablecloth — these are all prime targets for bored fur kids who want to play solo tug of war.

That should take care of your home — and when you’re ready to get started outside, here’s a guide to get your outdoor spaces ready for kids and fur kids alike.

Save on everything you need for the new puppy!

Bringing home a new puppy is one of the most exciting, rewarding things you can do. You’ll be adding a new member to your family, one who will give you many years of playtime, snuggles, and fun. While there’s a lot to do to prepare, it’s absolutely worthwhile. Just make sure that before you start purchasing supplies, you check your weekly Save flyers for savings and deals on everything you need!