Helping a new puppy get adjusted to being a part of your family requires patience, love, and time. It also helps to have the right gear. Setting up your home to properly accommodate a young dog doesn’t take much, but every step you take toward making them calm, comfortable, and well-trained will pay off down the line. With these tools, you’ll create a safe and supportive environment for training and playing.
The price of your puppy’s first veterinary check-up will depend on where you got them, how old they are, where you live, and the vet you visit. Many shelters will keep their dogs up to date with shots and check-ups, but if that’s not the case or you bought your puppy from a breeder, here’s what you can expect.
The vet will investigate your dog’s overall health, including checking their vitals, looking at their eyes, ears, and teeth, and examining for any parasites like fleas or worms. If your pup needs any vaccinations, medicine or other treatment, the vet will discuss the procedures and costs with you. Your puppy may have to come in a few times, so over-budgeting for initial veterinary care is a good idea.
ID tag and collar
Equipping your puppy with ID tags will help keep them from getting lost. Be sure to engrave the tags with your dog’s name, the best way to contact you, and any medical information that someone who found your dog would need to know.
You’ll also want a nice collar to which you can clip your dog’s tags. Leather collars look great, but because they’re more expensive than nylon collars, you may want to wait until your puppy is full grown before making the investment.
I know this is the last thing you want to think about as you’re looking your new pup in it’s adorable little face, but this thing will poop. It will poop a lot, and it will poop in unexpected places. When that happens, you’ll want to be ready. Get a box for your house, your car, your backpack. If you have too many bags, you’ll have almost enough.
Keeping your dog healthy and strong requires high quality food. Nutritional needs are different dog-to-dog, so ask your veterinarian for recommendations.
Depending on how young your puppy is when you get them, they may still be getting used to solid food. Blending portions of dry food into puppy milk replacement can keep your dog from having an upset stomach in the transition period. And by seven to eight weeks, your puppy should feel pretty comfortable eating solid foods.
Providing your puppy with a crate is crucial to helping them learn the rules of your home. Their own secure crate provides a calming, quiet place to learn your shared routine, like when they’ll be taken out for a bathroom break and a walk.
Make sure you pick a crate with just enough room. Your dog should be able to lay down and stretch out comfortably, stand up without having to crouch, and have room to turn around. Be sure to put some blankets or bedding inside to make it nice.
If you worry that your puppy may chew up your furniture and other home items, don’t fret. There are gels and sprays you can apply to items in your home that you don’t want your dog to mess up. Make sure your dog doesn’t like the taste before buying a big bottle of the stuff. Finding a friend or store who will let you test the deterrent can be a big help.
Harness and leash
Your puppy is eager to get out and explore the neighborhood. When it’s time to take a walk, you’ll want to make sure your puppy won’t pull you along or escape.
Traditional collars tug at the dog’s neck, triggering their natural instinct to yank back. Harnesses go over your dog’s head and around each leg, allowing you to guide their entire body one way or another without triggering their pull-back instinct as strongly.
While you’re training your puppy, you’ll want a standard, 6-foot leash. Save retractable or adjustable leashes for when your dog has mastered walking around without pulling or lunging.
Treats are an essential training tool for a new puppy. Positive reinforcement is one of the best ways to get your dog to learn new tricks and obey house rules. Use treats between meals to increase their effectiveness, as your full dog will be less enticed by a tasty treat than if they were hungry. As when selecting food, be sure to ask your veterinarian for tips on finding the healthiest, most palatable treats for your growing pup.
If you picked your puppy up from the pound, there’s a good chance it’s mixed-breed. With a doggie DNA test, you can learn which breeds make up that mix. This information will become increasingly important as you start taking your adorable dog to the park. When people ask you what breed your adorable dog is, you’ll want to have an answer.