Updated: Mar 5
Bringing a new puppy home is one of the most exciting things in life, especially if it is your first dog! It can also be one of the most humbling, sleepless, and frustrating experiences if you aren't adequately prepared. When bringing a young puppy in to their new home it is very important to show them what you want them to do.
Set their environment up to help them make the correct choices easily
Reinforce those behaviors you WANT to see
Interrupt and redirect behaviors you DON'T WANT to see
Be consistent and predictable
Instead of Leaving them alone to make their own fun
Not supervising and allowing them to have potty accidents in the house
Not supervising and allowing them to chew on inappropriate things
And then getting annoyed or angry at them for it - they don't know better! Ian Dunbar has one of my favorite dog training quotes:
"A rolled up newspaper can be an effective pet training tool when used properly.
For instance, use the rolled-up newspaper if your dog chews up something inappropriate or has a housebreaking accident.
Bring the dog over to the destroyed object (or mess), then take the rolled-up newspaper and hit yourself over the head as you repeat the phrase, "I forgot to watch my dog! I forgot to watch my dog! I forgot to watch my dog!""
Step 1: Preparation
Before you bring your new puppy home it is important you have the right gear to set them up for success. You'll need:
An exercise pen (also known as an xpen) (or 2, or 3!)
Baby gates (if applicable)
Enzymatic cleaner (in case of accidents)
An appropriately sized harness
A collar and an ID tag
A comfy bed or two
Time and patience
*Pro Tip: At Doggedly, we LOVE Mud Bay. We highly recommend stopping in at your nearest Mud Bay (https://www.mudbay.com/stores/) and letting them know you are adopting a new puppy - they will hook you up with coupons and sizing recommendations. Plus they carry Fromm! You can get most of the above there although I recommend sourcing your crate and x-pen elsewhere for a larger variety (you can also check your local buy sell trade groups, Craigslist, or FB market place - just be sure to thoroughly clean any second hand equipment with bleach.)
A Crate: Check out this article for tips on sizing and selecting the right crate for your pup and your home!
An Exercise Pen: Check out this article for x-pen options and reviews
Enzymatic Cleaner: In case puppy has an accident in your home which -- let's face it -- is likely, you'll need an enzyme cleaner to make sure the urine is thoroughly removed from any surface. If you aren't successful at cleaning it up, the puppy will smell it and continue having accidents there. Any enzyme cleaner will do but two we like are -
A Harness, collar, and leash: For puppies, a soft cloth harness is ideal. It's important not to put a collar on your puppy and let them yank in to them because it could damage their neck and spine. Any standard leash will do - we do not recommend using retractable leashes for anything other than supervised potty breaks in the yard. An appropriately sized collar with an ID tag in case your puppy gets lost. Your puppy is micro-chipped, but, contrary to popular belief micro-chips aren't GPS trackers.
Doggedly feeds puppies
Fromm Puppy (this can be purchased at Mud Bay)
Purina Pro Plan Puppy or Royal Canin Puppy - formula based on size and dietary restrictions
Blankets/Beds: This is really personal preference, you can use any blankets you have laying around the house and don't mind getting peed on and having to wash a lot - however don't use knit or crochet blankets because puppies can chew off strings and get intestinal blockages. Cheap fleece blankets work well! I also like the sherpa blankets you can get at Costco for under $20 occasionally.
A comfy bed and/or mat is a really good management tool - you're setting your pup up to seek resting places other than your furniture (not that it's not okay for your pup to be on your couch, that's a personal preference!) It also lays the foundation for relaxation and mat training. Make sure this bed doesn't get left alone with pup though - or it may be de-stuffed before you know it!
And the most fun... TOYS!: Make sure your puppy has a variety of toys to chew on and play with. Different textures, shapes and sizes. Of course these are personal preference as well but some that we like and recommend are
Puppy Kong (appropriate for the size of the puppy)
As an aside, as your puppy grows they may outgrow these toys. Always make sure your toys aren't a choking hazard for puppy and that they aren't chewing off pieces of toys and consuming them.
And finally - TIME AND PATIENCE
Please make sure someone will be home with the puppy 24/7 for at least 3 days - longer if possible!
Step 2: Bringing Puppy Home
As Susan states in the video make sure you have several puppy zones already set up. These zones should be crates, xpens, or baby gated sections of the home where you can watch your puppy but they are safely contained and not able to wander around the house getting in to puppy mayhem.
Sleep - Puppies need 16-18 hours of sleep per day!
Out - Set them up to have a designated potty area, take them out at least every 2 hours.
Training - Feed your puppy during training sessions (75%) and out of puzzle toys in their crate/puppy zone(25%).
Out - Fun fact - puppies can only physically hold their bladders around 1 hour per month of age.
Free time - Hang out with the you and/or family in common spaces (only if they are actively supervising! No watching phones or TV and not watching puppy)
My favorite house training article was written by Ian Dunbar - it has a really solid plan on how to seamlessly teach your pup where and where not to potty - this includes utilizing those puppy zones!
Kikopup also has so many awesome videos:
And several amazing videos for other common puppy problems such as:
The Name Game
Interrupting and redirecting undesired behaviors
Resource Guarding Prevention