Your Guide to Bringing Home a New Puppy

Amanda Sarvas
New Puppy

So you're getting a new puppy … which means you’re getting ready for one of the most exciting and fulfilling journeys of your life! 

In this article you’ll find everything you need to start off your journey with your new puppy including: 

  • New puppy supplies 
  • New puppy tips 
  • How to introduce a new puppy to your dog
  • What to do when you bring home your new puppy 
  • And a new puppy checklist 

You might find yourself wondering “are we really ready for a new puppy?” Don’t worry, you’re not alone! Everyone, even the most experienced pet owners, can get anxious before bringing home a new dog. 

This guide will go over everything to make sure you’re feeling confident and prepared for your new family member. 

How to Bring Home a New Puppy 

First, we’ll start with what an ideal timeline will look like for the prepared pet owner.

Step 1: Plan A Family Schedule 

Before you bring your puppy home, you'll want to sit down with everyone in your family and take a look at your routines. Get the whole family involved in planning your puppy’s schedule You may want to decide ahead of time who’ll be taking the puppy out to potty, who’s in charge of feeding, and who’s on clean-up duty. 

You'll also want to figure out what your house rules will be for your new puppy. Consistency is key to success with training, so be sure everyone is clear on the rules before your new furry friend comes home. 

Step 2: Make a Puppy-Safe Space  

You don't want your new puppy to have free rein of your house right off the bat. To set him up for success and to keep your stuff safe, you'll need to create a space that’s completely puppy-proofed. You'll put your puppy here when someone can't supervise him.

You will want two spaces initially, a puppy-proofed space for him to play and one for him to rest. This can be an x-pen, a crate, a whole room, or any combination of these things. Having a crate where your puppy will sleep can be immensely helpful with potty training. Plus, puppyhood is the perfect time to crate-train your puppy. 

RELATED: How to crate train a puppy … 

Puppy-Proofing Tips 

Puppies use their mouths to explore everything in their world, and it’s all so new, exciting ... and chewable. Puppies like to chew on, and sometimes swallow, pretty much everything. So it is your job to keep anything harmful out of your puppy’s reach. 

To puppy-proof successfully, get down on the floor and look at your space the way a puppy would. Look for things like dangling cords or wires, small objects, and even larger things that could splinter when chewed, or might be a choking hazard. Use baby gates or x-pens as needed to block off access for your puppy. Be sure any kids in your house (and adults, too, for that matter) know that anything left out could be a hazard to the new puppy. 

Here’s a quick list of hazards to look out for when puppy-proofing: 

  • Toxic plants 
  • Wires and cords
  • Trash bins 
  • Cleaning supplies 
  • Any small object that could pose a choking hazard – TV remote, reading glasses. kids’ toys …

Reminder: Don’t forget about the backyard! You’ll want to make sure your backyard is secure and that there are no poisonous plants, cocoa mulch or chemicals where your puppy could get them. 

Step 3: Get Your Supplies 

Now it's time for the fun part – shopping! There is a lot of stuff out there marketed toward new puppy owners. To simplify, here’s a list of the basics. You can always add to this as you progress in your journey as a new puppy owner. 

New Puppy Checklist 

Food Supplies 

  • Puppy food 
  • Food platter or bowl 
  • Water bowl or fountain 
  • Natural flea/tick preventatives 

RELATED: If your puppy gets worms, eliminate them with natural remedies instead of harsh dewormers

Home Supplies  

  • X-Pen 
  • Crate
  • Bed 
  • Baby gates 
  • Poop bags
  • Natural cleaning spray (for accidents) 
  • Basic first aid supplies 

RELATED: Top 5 Causes of Puppy Diarrhea

Training Supplies 

  • Training treats 
  • Treat pouch 
  • Clicker 
  • Pee pads (if you’re using these for potty training) 

Play And Chewing Supplies 

RELATED: How to make your own dog toys …

Walking Supplies

  • Collar 
  • Harness
  • Leash
  • ID tag 
  • Poop bags 

Grooming Supplies

  • Dog shampoo and conditioner 
  • Brush and comb 
  • Nail clippers or dremel 
  • Styptic powder 

Bringing Home Your New Puppy  

You've gone through all the steps. You have clear expectations set up with your family. You have puppy-proofed, and you have all your supplies. Now comes the part you've been waiting for… bringing home your new puppy! 

Here are some of our top tips to help you through this very exciting time. 

How to Introduce Your New Puppy to Your Family  

To introduce your new puppy to everyone living in the house, you'll want to go slow and take your time. It's natural to want to throw a party and invite everyone you know over to meet your adorable new ball of fluff. But, this is the opposite of what you should do. Moving to a new home is a very stressful time for your puppy, so aim to keep things calm and not overstimulating. 

One idea is to have everyone sit in a circle in a safe space and let your puppy come interact with each person in his own time. Make sure children know that they need to respect the puppy's space and never corner him or force him to interact with them. This can lead to negative associations forming, which can cause behavioral issues down the road. 

How to Safely Introduce Your New Puppy to Your Dog  

If you already have a dog in your home, you’ll want to set up a safe meeting between her and the new puppy. 

Here are a few tips to make that go as smoothly and safely as possible: 

Pick a Neutral Meeting Place  

Have the dogs meet for the first time in a neutral location, if possible. Outdoors on a leash is ideal … perhaps in a local park.  Make sure you find a spot where your dog does not spend much time and won’t feel possessive. Avoid bringing your new puppy to the places where your dog eats or sleeps for the first few meetings. 

Offer Lots of Positive Reinforcement  

Use lots of verbal praise and treats with both dogs to make the meeting positive. 

Caution: If your dog has any food aggression, you will need to take extra precautions before having treats around her and your puppy. You may need to consult a positive trainer in your area to come up with a plan. 

Keep Interactions Short And Sweet 

Let your adult dog decide how long she wants to interact with the puppy. If she wants to play with the puppy, that’s fine. But you’ll need to supervise all interactions between them for the first few weeks. Aim to keep meetings or play  sessions short and always end them on a positive note. 

Take Them For Walks Together 

Leash walks together can be a great way for your puppy and adult dog to get to know each other. It’ll also help your puppy get a different type of exercise so that he doesn’t pester your older dog to play constantly.

Watch Your Adult Dog’s Response

Puppies are adorable and will naturally get a lot of attention from your family … but remember to give your adult dog some one-one-one love too.  

If you see your dog getting agitated by the puppy’s presence, separate them or divert the puppy’s attention so your dog isn’t overwhelmed or annoyed. Be sure to give your adult dog plenty of breaks from the puppy, especially if she’s trying to rest when your puppy wants to play. Use baby gates or the x-pen or crate to separate them as needed.

Don’t scold your dog for growling or even snapping at the puppy. That’s the only way your dog has to let the puppy know it’s time to back off. Your puppy should learn to respect your dog’s growl and leave her alone. 

But be on the lookout for any warning signs your dog is feeling aggressive towards the new puppy, such as: 

  • Prolonged stares
  • Shaking or retreating 
  • Snarling or showing teeth
  • Raised hackles on the back of the neck or back
  • Tense body or hunched back

If your dog shows these signs, keep the interactions shorter and separate them or redirect the puppy before your dog gets annoyed. Consult a behavior expert if you need help with this issue. 

New Puppy Schedule 

The first week with your new puppy can be the hardest because it is such a change for everyone. Come up with a schedule (or follow the one below) and stick to it so everyone knows what to expect …  and remember, young puppies need to eat 3 times a day. 

Waking Up: Take your puppy out to potty first thing (even if you’ve been out with him several times during the night). Be sure to give lots of praise amd some play time afterwards. 

Breakfast: Feed your puppy. Make sure fresh water is available throughout the day. 

After Breakfast: It’s time for another potty break. Most puppies will need to relieve themselves shortly after eating. You can include more play time or a little training time here as well. 

Mid-Morning: Your puppy will likely be ready to take a nap after all the excitement of the morning. Make sure naps happen in a crate or pen so your puppy can get used to resting and relaxing in them. 

Noon: You’ll want to repeat the morning schedule. Potty break and play, feed your puppy lunch, another potty break afterwards followed by playtime, training amd then another nap. You can also incorporate short walks into any of these play or training slots. 

Mid-Afternoon: Time for another potty break after your puppy wakes up. Then you can have more play or training time. You can give him some calm time in the crate with a chew toy or raw bone while you prepare dinner. 

Dinner: You may find it easiest to sync your puppy’s dinner time with yours or you could feed him before or after you eat. Either way, remember to always go for a potty break as soon as he finishes eating. An evening stroll (if your puppy is old enough) is a great way to tire him out before bed. 

Bedtime: Much like children, puppies do well with a consistent bedtime each night. Always make sure your puppy has a potty break right before bed. 

Through the night: Young puppies might not be able to make it through the night without a potty break. Set yourself an alarm and take him out for a quick potty break but keep it all business. You do not want him to get excited or play during this time. Offer some calm praise and then place your puppy back in his crate for the rest of the night. 

RELATED: How To Potty Train Your Puppy in 2 Easy Steps

Quick And Easy Puppy Training Tips  

  • Consistency is the key to teaching your puppy anything. 
  • Use lots of praise and rewards when your puppy does something you like. 
  • Crate training is not only very helpful for potty training, but it also can help prepare your dog for an emergency situation at any time in the future. The more comfortable and familiar your puppy becomes with his crate, the better. 
  • Even if you’re home, give your puppy time away from you in his crate. This can help him get used to spending time alone. 

Remember the 3-3-3 Rule 

There is a “rule” in the pet world known as the 3-3-3 rule. It takes 3 days to decompress, 3 weeks to be comfortable in the house, 3 months to adjust to the house routine. This is not an exact timeline, but a great reminder that it takes time for dogs and puppies to adjust to a new situation.

Getting a new puppy is an exciting (and sometimes exhausting) time for your family. With a little planning, everyone in the home, including your new pup, will thrive. 

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