There’s almost no time more exciting than when you’re bringing a new pup home for the first time. You’ve been thinking about this moment for months, daydreaming about seeing them zooming around the living room and cuddling with you while watching TV. There are so many wonderful firsts that you’re about to experience with your pooch, but before the lifetime of fun can begin, there’s important prep to do.
While there’s the obvious preparation like buying dog bowls, dog food, leashes and a crate, there are other things that dog owners should do in order to make their pet’s transition into the home the smoothest it can be. Here’s some great advice that experienced dog owners and vets have recommended for prepping your home:
Determine the Guidelines of the House
If there are certain areas of your home that you don’t want the dog in (maybe a room featuring expensive art that’s damageable), buy some gates. These can be doggie or baby gates and you’ll use them to establish their boundaries within the house. Doing so early on in your pet’s life makes it easier for them to understand the rules.
Discuss with the other members of your home where the dog can go and what they can do. Some people really don’t like the idea of a puppy jumping onto their couch or sleeping on their bed, and it’s best to create these rules before the pooch actually arrives. This way you can execute the best and most efficient training for your pet.
Create a routine of some sort. There’s so much stimulation and new things going on for your pup when it first arrives home and it can be super overwhelming. Just like humans, with routine comes stability for a dog. Set up breakfast, lunch (for the puppies) and dinner times, times for going outside to potty train, etc.
Instead of Baby Proof, Puppy Proof!
Just like babies, there are a lot of items in your home that have the potential to cause harm to your dog. Significant things include medicines that are within their reach, exposed electrical wires, any toxic cleaning materials, clothing items that could be harmful upon ingestion, and any plants you have indoors that are potentially toxic to dogs. Make sure to put these potentially dangerous items out of their reach, even if it means picking the laundry off the floor and putting it into a hamper.
Another important puppy-proofing activity is to check the conditions of your backyard. Little dogs can easily shimmy through gaps in fences, eat toxic substances like snail or rat poison, or fall into pools. Fill in those holes, buy some non-toxic snail poison, take away the rat traps, and put fencing around your open pool. Also take inventory of the natural life that comes to your garden - is there anything that could be a threat to your pup? If coyotes have a habit of coming into your yard, seek advice from a wildlife or dog expert on how to deal with this issue.
If You Already Have Dogs at Home, Prep for Them for Meeting the New Puppy
First and foremost, gain an understanding of whether your dog at home is capable of accepting a new member to the pack. If your first dog has a tendency to be temperamental or aggressive around other dogs, it's probably going to take some work to get the two acquainted. In this instance, we recommend consulting a dog behavioral professional or maybe your veterinarian. It’s especially important to do so if there’s going to be a significant size difference between the two dogs.
When the dogs do meet, make sure to find a neutral spot for their initial greeting. Make sure this location is away from the house because the pup you had first may feel territorial over your home. In this neutral spot, while keeping them on leashes, let them interact however they see fit (this will probably just be the two sniffing one another). You can always set them apart if something happens because you’ve got the leashes in your hand. It’s very likely that the two pups will naturally warm up to one another, it just may take some time and work.
For those with senior dogs already at home - it’s a possibility that your older dog is temperamental, which means that a high energy puppy can be irritating to them. If you happen to be in this situation, make sure to keep an eye on the elder one’s body language when the dogs are together and separate them after some time to give the senior dog a break. Be sure to give words of affirmation or correction when the two are together, as it’s important for them to know what your expectations are. And before they’ve become acquainted, feed them independently of one another. There’s nothing more irritating for a dog than another one trying to steal its food (it’s the same for us humans right?).
Prepping the home for your new pup can be time-consuming at first, but it is SO WORTH IT! Having the ease of mind that your home and family are ready for that new addition makes the transition seamless and leaves room for your attention to be on the pup and getting them acquainted with their new routine. New pups can be flight risks, get into anything unfamiliar, or could strike discord in the family unit, so minimizing these risks can be extremely important. Let us know if you have any other advice or tips for prepping the home for a new pup! Sources