Preparing for a Puppy: The Ultimate New Puppy Checklist

Are you considering adopting a new puppy? This can be an incredibly rewarding experience, but it’s important to do your research beforehand and prepare for a puppy accordingly.

In this blog post, we will discuss everything you need to consider before bringing a new puppy into your home. Including house training, how to puppy-proof your home, preparing family members, and how to be the best pet parent to your new puppy.

We’ll also cover the most essential puppy supplies, what to expect in terms of basic grooming and health care, socialization, training tips, and more!

I personally welcomed a new pup into my home a few years ago, so I can say that I personally know how life-changing the process can be. Getting a dog can impact almost every area of your life and bring your home warmth and joy.

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Puppies are one of the greatest things in the world. They’re a furry bundle of joy that is impossible to resist. Everyone knows that puppies are cute, but they’re also a lot of work.

Puppies need to be potty trained, obedience trained, and socialized so that they can grow into well-behaved dogs.

But the effort is worth it because puppies grow up to be loyal and loving family pets. Dogs are such wonderful creatures because they provide us with companionship, love, and security.

They’re always happy to see us, no matter how bad our day has been. And they’re always there for us when we need a shoulder to cry on. That’s why puppies are such a great addition to any family.

What are the steps to preparing for a new puppy in your home?

Below is my comprehensive guide to getting a new puppy.

Step 1: Picking the Right Breed / Dog

What Dog Breed Should You Pick?

Dogs come in all shapes and sizes. They can have boundless energy or be chill couch potatoes that love movie night snuggles. The dog should match the lifestyle of the pet parent as closely as possible to ensure they are in a good home for their needs.

Before you walk into the shelter and pick the first dog you see you should consider what type of dog matches your current lifestyle. The top four considerations to research in the breeds you would like to include:

1) Dog Size – you want to be able to keep the dog in your home even after the cute puppy grows into a full-grown adult. Make sure you know exactly how much it will weigh when it is grown.

The dog we chose for our family was supposed to grow to not more than about 70 lbs but was a large puppy and weighs 88+ lbs and is very strong, this is something I accounted for when I chose him as a puppy.

2) Temperament – a dog’s temperament will depend heavily on genetics + socialization before four months of age. If you have young kids you may want to choose a breed known for bonding with more than just one person and one that isn’t too small as smaller dogs can become aggressive when being treated as a stuffed animals by young kids.

3) Energy Levels – Energy levels are standardized by breed but vary greatly from dog to dog within a breed. For example, you may have a German Sheppard that loves to run 10+ miles a day (or else they’ll chew the whole hose up), and another from the same litter that just needs a 30-minute walk in the morning to sleep the rest of the day. It’s best to speak with the shelter or breeder to find the right level of energy for your family.

4) Social Needs – Some dogs love socializing and some don’t. When you research the breed you want to make sure you check to see if they typically tolerate kids, and other dogs, and how much they like to get out into new environments.

This will determine if you want a small apartment dog or a big Great Dane that needs to visit the park 2-3 times a week.

Again socialization is heavily dependent on what the puppy experiences before the age of 4 months, plus all the positive training you do with new situations and environments in the first year of life.

You can take the breed selection quiz at the American Kennel Clubs Website HERE.

The American Kennel Club Breed Selector Quiz

Should I Rescue or Buy a Purebred Puppy?

If you have already researched the dog breed you want and there is one available in a shelter near you then you can absolutely go meet the pup and ask about adopting it.

There is no guarantee that a Purebred Labrador Retriever will be true to the breed personality, so buying from a breeder doesn’t guarantee a well-behaved dog. That really depends on training

and consistency from you, not from the dog’s genetics.

However, if you would like to go to a breeder to get a genetic guarantee or pedigree there is nothing wrong with this either. The costs will be higher but you will have more certainty on the history and genetic makeup of the puppy, and even be able to meet the parents as well.

Watch the video below to learn more about different types of dogs.

Adopting Older or Senior Dogs

Adopting an older dog is another great option as well. There are many dogs who end up at a rescue or shelter through no fault of their own, and these dogs are jewels waiting to be found by someone who is eager to gain a new best friend.

A senior dog will require less training and exercise and are perfect for a low-key household that doesn’t have too much activity going on. These dogs will be great companions and friends for anyone looking to add them to their home.

If Using a Breeder (What to Know)

1) Breeders Vs Puppy Mills

Breeders will likely post their available puppies on the AKC website and have valid credentials to show that they are reputable breeders.

AKC registered breeders have genetic health certificates from their trusted vet and will pay for all vaccinations, deworming, and checkups until the minute the puppy comes home with you. These breeders usually charge over $1,000 for a single puppy depending on the breed you could expect to pay over $7,000.

Puppy mills (or backyard breeders) will post on fringe websites like craigslist and request “rehoming fees” between $100-$900.

If you purchase from a puppy mill you are much more likely to experience health and genetic defects in the puppy as they usually don’t provide any vet care and your puppy may come home with parasites, worms, or fleas as the dogs in these mills are treated very poorly and are traumatized from the whole experience.

2) Beware of Scammers

Scammers post available pets for a fee and promise to ship a dog to you through service. You may be looking at a scam that seems too good to be true.

There are breeders that ship puppies by airplane but this is honestly not a usual thing. The best option is to drive to the breeder and meet the puppy first before providing any kind of payment.

3) Concerns about Craigslist

Most people are aware that Craigslist is not a great way to adopt a pet today. There is a greater chance of the dog being stolen (especially small dog breeds) and then sold to you before you know it you bring it to the vet and it’s microchipped with someone else’s information.

Another good reason to stay away from these types of sites is that someone could know the pet has a disease and they can’t afford to keep it so they sell it to make their money back and you end up with heartache. The best thing to do is go through a legitimate seller or rescue to avoid these situations.

Step 2: How to Prepare Your Home for a New Puppy

The Basics to Puppy-Proof Your Home

1) Cover outlets with baby-proof covers, remove any cords from the floor and keep them out of reach of the puppy. Puppies tend to chew anything that is within reach so be sure to consider this when you prepare your home for puppy ownership.

2) You could spray your furniture with bitter apple spray to prevent inappropriate chewing, and make sure you don’t have anything on the floor that you wouldn’t want chewed (shoes, remotes, AirPods headphones).

3) You may choose to put up dog gates to restrict access from specific rooms altogether.

Where to Place Food and Water Bowls

Find a spot in the home where the puppy will have open access to their food and water bowls. This should be somewhere the dog will feel safe eating without too much traffic and where it will be okay if water spills on the floor.

Making a Den for Your Canine

Dogs are den dwellers, they love a cold, dark, small space to get cozy and nap. And puppies need lots of sleep so it is a great idea to pick a spot in your home where your puppy can get away from activity during the daylight hours.

Dog crates make a great option if you do proper crate training from day one your puppy will likely see this as their safe space to sleep (like their little apartment), another option is to create a small puppy-proofed space for your puppy to call home.

Clear & Consistent House Rules

The best way to get a good start making your new puppy feel safe and at home is to create a routine for them. Dogs are creatures of habit, they prefer to eat, sleep, play, and even potty at the same time every day. Creating a schedule for sleep, bathroom breaks, exercise, meals, and play will greatly increase your puppy’s chance for success in his new home.

Where Will Your Puppy Potty?

Decide on a spot for your puppy to go potty. This could be a specific spot in the yard, or puppy pads if you live in an apartment. Once you have decided on a spot it will be easier to teach your puppy to go there every time by leading the puppy to that spot regularly every day and waiting until to use the bathroom there before returning inside. You can also use potty bells to teach your puppy to alert you when they have to go outside for a bathroom break.

Where Will Your Puppy Exercise?

Your puppy will need a place to exercise every morning and night. All puppies are energetic first thing in the morning and just before the sun sets. This is just how dogs are wired, they will get zoomies after spending hours cooped up inside overnight or after taking a long nap.

To prepare for your new puppy’s exercise needs you should decide when and where you will exercise them. For a small dog this could be the living room (just know that puppies will potty while they are playing with no warning) and for bigger dogs, this could be a walk around the block or fetch in the yard. Your puppy will need a place to exercise every morning and every evening at a minimum.

How Much Should Your New Puppy Exercise

Every dog is different but the general rule of thumb is 5 minutes for every month of age 3 times a day, so if you bring home a 2-month-old puppy they will need to exercise them 10 minutes 3 times a day, and you increase the exercise routine by 5 minutes each session every month until you get used to their needs and can tell when they need more or less.

How to Prepare Your Family for a New Puppy

Couples preparing for a puppy

If you are a couple with no young kids you should sit down together and decide on training styles, and how the responsibilities will be divided. You should agree on who will be potty training and how the other can help support the training routines. Go over all the house rules together. Some of these rules include:

  • Is the dog allowed on the furniture?
  • Can the dog eat human food at mealtimes?
  • Will it go into a crate overnight?
  • Who will walk the dog each morning and night?
  • Who will feed the dog its meals?
  • Will you take the dog with you when you travel?
  • Who will be responsible for picking up the poop?

Kids preparing for a new puppy

Kids should be able to understand how to treat a puppy for the safety of everyone. Talk with your kids about how to pet, pick up, and play with the puppy.

Puppies and adult dogs need very frequent breaks during play and you should teach your kids about the signs the puppy will give when they are done playing.

Most importantly teach kids not to pull, step on, or climb on the dog. Kids make great dog trainers and love to be able to teach puppies new tricks, so make sure you offer to let them help hand-feed and train the new puppy to establish a great bond right away.

Preparing for a new puppy with roommates

If you are living with a roommate you will need to discuss getting a dog with them before making the decision. Make sure you cover all the questions they have and listen to any concerns.

Also, talk with them about puppy training and puppy proofing to ensure the dog doesn’t chew any of their things. This will prevent them from requesting you get rid of the dog and helps ensure a safe home for the dog as well.

Step 3: Create a Plan / Schedule 

Agree on a Training Plan

Once everyone is on board with adopting a new puppy, you should decide on how chores will be divided. In order to create the best possible chance of success for everyone, it is best to create a printed hourly schedule for the new puppy.

Determine when the puppy will wake, eat, sleep, potty, and play ahead of time to prevent potty training mishaps. Another good reason for this is to make sure the puppy gets enough rest, an overtired puppy can become aggressive and crabby very quickly.

Plan for the puppy to get 18-20 hours a day, yes 18-20 hours is the needed amount of sleep for him.

Planning Tools

Decide on a tool to help you stay on schedule with your new puppy. This could be as simple as a handwritten checklist or a printed excel spreadsheet. You could also set reminders on your phone to this way you get alerts when it’s time to put him in bed or take him out to potty.

Potty Training Schedule

The most complicated part of raising a puppy for most new pet owners is potty training. However, if you take the time to crate train your new puppy and use a schedule you will be successful. I’ll go over crate training in more detail later. For now, let’s just focus on the potty schedule itself.

You can teach your puppy to ring a bell to be let outside, and this will greatly help your new puppy succeed in their potty training. However, this doesn’t replace the need for a consistent schedule and close supervision.

A good rule of thumb for potty breaks is one hour for every month of age plus one. So, if you have a two-month-old puppy they can hold it for no more than three hours at a time. You should also take them out first thing in the morning, right after naps and meals, during play, and right before bedtime.

If you work long hours consider hiring a dog walker to come let your pup out midday too because they will need to go and young puppies require a lot of play and attention too.

Exercise Schedule

Exercise is key to having a healthy, calm dog in the home. Puppies usually need about five minutes of exercise for each month of age up to three times a day.

So for a brand new 2-month-old puppy, you would exercise them for 15 minutes, three times a day. Ideas for exercise include walking, playing tug, running, chasing a ball, or even enjoying a frozen kong treat.

Socialization Schedule

Puppy socialization is key to having a happy, well-rounded dog. You should socialize your new puppy as early and as often as possible.

This means taking them out in public, around new people, and other animals, in new environments, and in different situations.

The critical socialization period for puppies is between four and 16 weeks old. During this time you should expose him to as many new things as possible in a positive way.

After 16 weeks it becomes much harder to socialize with a new dog so it is important to take advantage of this window of opportunity.

A good way to start socializing with your new puppy is by joining a local puppy class or playgroup. These classes are great because they allow puppies to interact with each other in a positive way and you will have a professional trainer there to answer any questions or concerns you have.

Step 4: What You Need to Buy

New Puppy Checklist: Puppy Essentials

1) Healthy Puppy Food

Healthy Puppy Food is the first thing you should be picking up at the local pet store. The breeder or shelter will be able to tell you what he is currently eating so you can buy a bag yourself.

2) Dog Food Vault

A Dog Food Vault is good for helping keep kibble fresh between bags and also keep unwanted pests from getting into it too.

3) Food & Water Bowls

Food and Water Bowls – stainless steel dog food bowls are a great option for someone who wants to be able to throw them in the dishwasher for easy cleaning, and they last basically forever.

4) Dog Crate(s)

Dog Crate(s) – you will want to place the dog crate near your bed at night to prevent him from crying all night long. If you are adopting a large breed dog you may want a small puppy-sized crate and a large full-sized crate for them to grow into. It is a good idea to have a cate in the bedroom right by you, and a crate in the family room to teach calmness in the house.

5) Dog Bed

Dog Bed(s) (optional) – some puppies will chew up anything and everything, including a dog bed placed in their crate. So if you buy a dog bed maybe consider getting an extra though one or one that won’t even go into the crate and use it for training purposes instead.

6) Exercise Pen

Exercise Pen (optional) – if you like the idea of having a playpen for him to have more room to run around without being given too much freedom to get hurt, then pick an area in the home where everyone usually is to place an exercise pen.

7) Puppy Gate

Puppy Gates – these will be key in keeping him safe and preventing them from going into areas of the home they are not supposed to be in.

8) Snuggle Toy

Snuggle Toy – get a toy that smells like you so he feels comforted when you’re not around. It can be something as simple as a stuffed dog toy or a baby blanket that goes into the crate with them to make them feel safe.

*Pro tip: if you bring this to meet the puppy’s mother you can have the breeder rub the mommy dog with it so that it smells like her to comfort him during the first few weeks with you.

9) Pee Pads

Pee Pads – these are great for puppies who are being house-trained in an apartment. You can place them in the exercise pen or around the areas of your home where you want them to go when they are not able to make it outside.

10) Leash & Collar

Leash & Collar – daily walks will probably be in coming in the near future, so pick out a cute collar and leash for your daily strolls.

*Pro tip Some people recommend a dog harness but these can actually encourage pulling as they were originally designed for sled dogs and pull on the strongest part of the dog’s body encouraging something called the opposition reflex which trains the dog to pull on a leash. If you are mindful that the collar doesn’t pull on the dog’s neck for safety then a regular collar is best for training loose leash walking.

11) Name Tags

Name Tags – make sure you get some dog tags with your name and phone number on them to help you recover him if he escapes from the yard or gets lost.

12) Microchip

Microchip – most vets will offer to microchip him for about $20 in order to prove you as the real owner of the dog is lost or stolen. These are placed in the back of the dog’s neck and are scannable by vet’s technology.

New Puppy Checklist: Cleaning Supplies

1) Poop Bags

Poop Bags – you should buy these before you even bring your new puppy home because chances are they will go to the bathroom as soon as they step foot in their new home!

2) Enzymatic Spray

Enzymatic Spray – this is key for cleaning up any accidents your new puppy may have in the house.

3) Carpet Cleaner

Carpet Cleaner – sometimes accidents happen and you need to pull out the big guns. A good carpet cleaner will do the trick and make sure any lingering smells are gone.

If you need more help eliminating pet odors and keeping the home smelling fresh check out our list of the best air fresheners for the home.

New Puppy Checklist: Dog Toys

1) Kong Puppy Toy

Kong Puppy Toy – this is our #1 recommendation for a puppy toy. Kongs are puppy chew toys that can be filled with puppy food and peanut butter and frozen for teething puppies.

2) Chew Toys

Good Dog Chew Toys – these are important for puppies to help with teething and to prevent them from chewing on things they shouldn’t.Kongs – these

3) Tug Toys

Tug Toys – playing tug with your new puppy is a great way to build up trust and bond with them. It’s also a great way to teach them basic

4) Fetch Toys

Fetch Toys – playing fetch is a great way to burn off some energy for both you and your dog.

5) Teething Toys

Puppy Teething Toys – these are usually hard rubber or freezable squishy toys that are perfect for helping your new puppy through the teething process.

6) Interactive Puppy Toys

Interactive Puppy Toys – this could be a robot toy that moves around on the floor or a tennis ball launcher that your dog will love.

7) Puppy Subscription Box

If you are on a budget and aren’t sure what toys to pick consider signing up for a dog toy box subscription. These monthly boxes come specially designed for your dog’s age and size and are far less expensive than purchasing at the local pet store.

New Puppy Checklist: Grooming Supplies

1) Brush

Brush – you will want to get a soft bristle brush to start off with and then upgrade to a firmer one as your puppy’s coat gets thicker

2) Dog Shampoo

Gentle Puppy Shampoo – you should only bathe your new puppy every few weeks and use a shampoo that is specifically made for puppies’ nails Clippers – you will

3) Dog Clippers

If you want to groom your puppy at home you should consider investing in a good pair of quality dog clippers for trimming their fur.

4) Paw Wipes

Paw Wipes – these are great for cleaning your puppy’s paws after a walk or playtime outside.

5) Ear Cleaner

Ear Cleaner – you should only clean your puppy’s ears when they are dirty or if you notice any redness or irritation.

6) Puppy Toothbrush

Toothbrush – it’s important to start brushing your puppy’s teeth early on to get them used to it and help prevent any future dental problems.

7) Puppy Toothpaste

Choose a great quality puppy toothpaste as human toothpaste can be harmful. Cotton Balls – these are great for cleaning.

8) Nail Trimmers

Nail Clippers – you will want to get a pair of small nail clippers specifically for puppies as their nails are much thinner than an adult dog’s.

New Puppy Checklist: Training Supplies

1) Treat Pouch

Treat Pouch – this is a must for training your new puppy!

2) Clicker

A training clicker is a great tool to use for positive reinforcement training.

3) Teething Chew Treats

Teething Chew Treats are perfect for puppies who are teething and help to soothe their gums and calm them down before bedtime.

4) Puppy Training Treats

Training Puppy Treats are great for rewarding your puppy during training sessions.

New Puppy Checklist: Life-Saving Obedience Commands

There are seven key things to teach your dog as soon as you possibly can. These obedience commands are vital to your dog living a long and happy life. It is recommended by professional dog trainers to teach these basic obedience rules to your dog before teaching them any tricks or other cute commands because these first lessons you teach your dog can be life-saving.

1) The “Sit” Command – sit calmly until I tell you it is time to keep moving.

2) Down Command – Lie calmly until I give you my next request.

3) The “Come” Command (Recall) – The dog will come running to you at full speed in a straight line.

4) The “Wait” Command – don’t move until I say it is safe to move.

5) Off (Leave It) Command – means don’t chew that, don’t eat that, ignore the distraction.

6) Drop It Command – Drop what you have immediately without any force from me.

7) Heel Command – Walk at my heels, almost touching my leg, until I release you to walk freely.

Step 5: Bringing Your New Companion Home

The First 24 Hours as a new pet parent

1) The Car Ride Home will be a stressful event for your new pup as they have likely never really experienced leaving their puppy siblings and mother before. Puppy treats will likely not work to console an 8-week-old pup that is howling for its mother. Your best option is to bring a towel or baby blanket to rub on the mother to gather the mother’s scent on the blanket before leaving. This will mean so much to your new pup and help it adjust to its new home and family members.

2) Creating a Safe Environment is the first thing you want to do when you bring home a new puppy. You can do this by limiting the access the dog has to hazards and inappropriate items.

3) Your Puppy’s Perspective will likely be that they are in a strange place and have lost everything they’ve ever known in an instant. Your new puppy will likely just want to sleep and be left alone for the first day or so, and this is perfectly normal and fine. It is best to allow your puppy to explore on their own terms, so give them the opportunity to eat and drink and play if they are up for it.

4) The First Veterinary Visit should happen about 24-72 hours after your puppy arrives. It is not a good idea to put this off even if you are assured the puppy recently was dewormed or had a checkup. This is because you need to establish care with your very own veterinarian in case of an emergency in the first months of your puppy’s life.

5) The First Meals will likely be small, and should always be the same exact food the puppy is already eating from the previous owner. This is because your puppy will likely get an upset stomach as you switch them to a new diet and that will likely bring everyone unnecessary stress during the first days of your puppy adjusting to its new home.

6) Meeting New People you can certainly introduce your puppy to everyone in the home when your puppy arrives home. However, remember that this is still a stressful time for your new pup and you should give them time to get used to the home and family members before introducing any extra people into the dog’s life.

7) Controlling The Environment of a new puppy is essential for the first days your puppy is learning house rules, and early training will go easier if you are able to keep a keen eye on your puppy for the first week of training.

8) Setting Your Puppy Up for Success with its house training is very simple but not easy. You will help your puppy have more success if you create a potty break schedule for them that includes breaks at least every 1-2 hours, after meals, naps, and during playtime. If you are sharing the responsibility you will need to establish house rules for all family members to help you train your new puppy.

The First Month (Realistic Expectations) for Young Puppies

1) Puppy Crying is a common complaint of new dog owners. If you are leaving your puppy for any period of time you will likely hear them whine and cry to get to you. This is a natural instinct for a puppy as they are afraid to be alone and still very much want to be back with their mother and siblings in their pack.

2) Puppy Mouthing and Biting will happen the minute your puppy comes home with you until they are around a year old. You will need to train your puppy to play with a chew toy or other natural chews instead of chewing on your hands. Your puppy will lose its baby teeth and grow adult teeth around 6-12 months old and this is when the mouthing, teething, and nipping will be the worst.

3) Your new fur baby may seem little and incapable of doing anything wrong when they come home with you, but many dogs learn to jump and bark at their owners and visitors to get attention around 8-12 weeks of age and this becomes a safety concern when the dog doesn’t outgrow the trained behavior at a year old. Be prepared for the pup to jump up at you when playing or after you walk in the door and be sure not to reward the behavior with attention or praise as this is very hard to untrain later.

4) Counter Surfing is another common behavior you may have to confront with your new pup. Many dogs learn to jump up onto counters to “steal” food or other unsafe items within the puppy’s reach. Be sure to discourage this behavior by not leaving items that your puppy will be able to grab on the edge of counters and putting food into containers or in the pantry for safekeeping during this stage.

5) Inappropriate Chewing will start the minute your puppy begins to explore your home. You may be surprised what all new puppies like to chew on. The list of common items includes remotes, headphones, shoes, carpet, furniture, throw pillows, baseboards, and even the walls in some cases. The only way to ensure your puppy doesn’t get into something that could potentially lead to an emergency vet visit is to crate-train the puppy and watch them 100% of the time when they are loose.

6) Potty Training Expectations for the first month should be very minimal. If your pup uses the right potty area give them praise and healthy treats to reward them within 1 second of the behavior. If your puppy has an accident remember that it is your fault for not watching them more closely as they cannot ask to go outside yet. If you catch your puppy in the middle of an accident leap to their aid and immediately bring them outside to the exact spot they should relieve themselves. This is the best way to house-train a puppy. Remember if you yell or shout at your dog it will only hide from you when they have to potty which will make house training take longer or impossible, so no shouting or intimidation.

7) Leash Training with your pup should start at an early age. Many dog trainers believe that you can begin training your young dog the day you bring them home. For the first month or two, you may want to stick to leash training in the house only as your puppy will not have the immune system or vaccinations to go walking about in public yet.

8) Obedience Training in the first month should consist of some basic 5-minute training sessions to teach your puppy the most important commands. Start with teaching simple things like sit, down, and stay. Teach your puppy to respond to their name by coming to you and dropping a toy when you ask. Teaching these commands and other obedience training such as teaching the dog to leave something alone when you say “leave it” can potentially save your puppy’s life. So consider booking a 6-week obedience group class at a local pet store to get an early start on these important skills.

9) Socialization in The First Month is very important for a new puppy. Adult dogs develop many phobias about things they never were exposed to as a puppy. This can include growling, barking, lunging, and even biting people and other animals they are unsocialized to. Consider printing out our puppy socialization checklist and start exposing your pup to the world as soon as you are able to.

10) Remember that your puppy will need All Their Vaccinations before they can play at a dog park, go to public places, attend group classes, or socialize with other dogs that may not be vaccinated.

Step 6: Healthcare

How to Prepare for a Vet Visit

It’s finally time to take your furry friend to the vet for their very first check-up! Though it may be tempting to put it off, it’s important to get your pup in as soon as possible so they can start on a healthy path.

Here are a few things you should do to prepare for the big day.

First, make sure you have all of your pup’s paperwork in order. This includes their vaccinations, registration papers, and any medical history you may have.

Next, take some time to familiarize your dog with the veterinary office. This may mean taking a tour of the facility or simply sitting in the waiting room for a few minutes. Either way, this will help reduce your dog’s stress on the day of their appointment.

Finally, come up with a list of questions for the vet. Some things you may want to ask about include diet, exercise, and vaccines. By being prepared, you can help ensure that your dog’s first vet visit is a success.

Pet Insurance

As a new dog owner, you may not have heard of pet insurance or even considered purchasing pet insurance for your new fur baby. However, there are some great benefits to choosing a pet insurance provider that will fit your dog’s health needs.

What is pet insurance?

Pet insurance is a type of insurance that helps to cover the cost of specific veterinary care for your dog. If you purchase insurance for your puppy at a young age it is less expensive throughout the dog’s life and ad your dog becomes an adult you will be able to get care for them at much more affordable prices.

How much does pet insurance cost?

It typically costs between $25 and $100 per month, depending on the level of coverage you choose. Some insurance plans will cover vaccinations but these are usually more expensive monthly plans.

What does pet insurance cover?

Most pet insurance policies will cover things like emergency care if your dog is in an accident of some sort, as well as many health concerns pet owners have for their dog’s specific breed. Some even offer coverage for things like dental care and behavioral therapy, or regular checkups and vaccinations. The plan you choose depends on the provider and budget you have.

What are the best pet insurance plans?

When it comes to choosing a pet insurance company, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind. First, make sure to choose a company that offers comprehensive coverage.

Second, look for a company with a good reputation and financial stability. And finally, be sure to get quotes from multiple companies before making a decision. By doing your research, you can find the best pet insurance company for your needs and budget.

Step 7: At-Home Puppy Training Tips

1) Positive Reinforcement

The most important thing to remember when training your puppy is to use positive reinforcement. This means rewarding your pup for good behavior, instead of punishing them for bad behavior. Be Consistent – It’s important to be consistent when training your puppy. This means using the same words, commands, and tone of voice when training.

2) Positive Leadership

Be a positive leader for your puppy. This means being calm, assertive, and consistent with your commands.

3) Clicker Training

Clicker training is a great way to train your puppy. It’s a positive, effective, and fun way to teach your pup new tricks. You use the clicker to mark the exact time your dog does something correctly and reward it within 1 second of the click.

**Clickers are not for marking bad behavior or getting the dog’s attention.

4) Crate Training

Crate training is a great way to potty train your puppy and teach them to be calm and relaxed in their crate.

5) Using YouTube

There is a multitude of YouTube dog trainers out in the world today and all you need to do is find one that fits your training style and follow their puppy program.

6) Reading Books

There are a lot of puppy training books available to new dog owners, this is a great way to learn more in-depth about the way a dog thinks and how to live peacefully with your new companion.

7) Training Apps

There are dog training apps out there, one free one we love is the Pupford App which walks you through the first 30 days with your new puppy.

Canine Enrichment Ideas for a New Puppy

What is Canine Enrichment?

Enrichment activities are a great way to keep your dog’s mind active and engaged. By providing opportunities for your dog to use their senses, solve problems, and explore their environment, you can help them stay mentally sharp and avoid boredom.

Enrichment activities can also provide a much-needed outlet for energy and help to reduce stress. And of course, enrichment activities are a great way to bond with your furry friend.

From simple games of fetch to more complex nose work and agility courses, there are endless possibilities for enriching your dog’s life. So why not give your pooch the mental stimulation they crave? Your pup will thank you for it!

Here are a few enrichment activities:

  1. Chewing on a dog-safe toy
  2. Sniffing on a walk and exploring new environments
  3. Sent games or teaching sent work
  4. Puzzles and puzzle toys that take 15 minutes or more
  5. Training with your dog for 15 minutes
  6. Having Fun and playing with your dog

Step 8: Socialization for a New Puppy

1) Socialization Timeline

Puppies have what is called a “socialization window” that peaks between 4 weeks to 16 weeks of age. Anything you want your furry friend to be okay with as an adult they need to have multiple positive experiences between this window.

Socialization Checklist – You can read my article 101 Puppy Socialization Ideas List to learn more.

2) Touch Tolerance Training

One of the most important steps in socializing your dog is to create positive associations around humans touching them. To help them love being pet, groomed, and played with you should spend around 15 minutes each day providing treats and positive praise while they let you check their and ears, teeth, touch their paws, hold nail trimmers near them, brush them, and touch their tails. This will condition them to enjoy human hands by providing a yummy treat while they are being handled and groomed.

3) Greeting Strangers

Friendly, well-mannered greetings are a great way to start your dog off on the right paw. Teach your dog to sit and wait before interacting with strangers on a walk, and visitors at the home. This prevents overexcitement and jumping which can lead to injuries.

4) Door Bell Training

Train your dog to become used to the sound of a knock on the door or the doorbell ringing by pressing it every time you arrive home and when anyone who lives with you comes home from work, school, etc. This will cause the dog to become familiar with the sound of bringing in the people he loves and not just when scary strangers come over.

5) Backyard Training

If you don’t want your dog to dig holes, bark at neighbors, or jump the fence, make sure you are with the 100% of the time they spend in the yard for the first year of his life. This may sound like overkill but trust me when you have a dog that can sit outside and calmly play with you while neighbors’ dogs lose their minds you will be glad you did the work and proud of your pup.

6) Preventing Fear & Anxiety

Many people struggle with hearing the sound of a puppy crying in a crate or playpen, and this causes them to rush over and pick the puppy up and console it. When you do this, it actually rewards fear in the dog and will likely create a needy dog that cannot ever be alone. It is always best to wait for quiet, calm behavior before giving any attention when a puppy is still learning how to behave.

Step 9: Exercise Ideas for Your New Puppy

Walking Your Dog

Walking your dog is a wonderful way to give your puppy some exercise and relieve stress for them. Puppies will be the most active at dawn and dusk and will likely enjoy a walk at these times.

Teaching Fetch

Teaching your puppy to fetch a toy is the best way to exercise them both mentally and physically. Dogs love to work and play with humans and will enjoy the extra time and attention they get when you take them outside for a game of fetch.


Playing games with your puppy is a great way to build a lasting bond with them from day one. Some common games people like to play with their dogs include tug-of-war, keep away, chase, and fetch.

Taking Breaks

It is good to remember to take frequent breaks with your new puppy when you exercise them. Dogs will give you subtle signs when they need a break like lying down, walking away, or drinking water.

Step 10: Grooming Basics

Touch Training

Touch Training is the first step to teaching your new puppy to love being handled and groomed. This usually involves grabbing a yummy very small treat and sitting calmly with your dog while you touch their paws, ears, belly, and tail you give treats and praise to let the puppy know this is a positive experience. You should aim to do this 15 minutes a day for the first few months your dog is with you. This will also increase your dog’s trust and bond with you over time.

Hair Maintenance

Brushing your dog regularly will help remove loose hair and prevent the hair from becoming matted. Depending on the breed of dog you have you may need to use a de-shedding shampoo or give your puppy a haircut using dog-specific clippers to keep their coat healthy. Bathing your dog regularly will help prevent a smelly coat and make your puppy love bath time as an adult. Drying Fur with a pet-safe dryer is an option if you want to do full grooming at home as well.

Dental Care

Dental Care is very important to teach a puppy during the first four months of life. Brush your dog’s teeth regularly with puppy toothpaste to create a positive association with this habit.

Ear Care

Ear Care is very important to prevent future ear infections. You only really need to clean a puppy’s ears if they are dirty, however, you should train positive responses from the puppy seeing the ear-cleaning solution and touching your dog’s ears gently.

Nail Care

Nail Trimming shouldn’t be necessary in the first few months but in order to create a positive response to the nail trimmers, you should include this in your touch training sessions. While you sit petting your dog pick up the nail trimmers and tap the dog’s paw or nail and immediately prove a treat or reward for good responses. Just be very careful when doing this not to hurt the dog in any way.

You can read our article on how to groom a puppy to learn more.

Step 11: Enroll in Obedience Classes With Your New Puppy

The benefits of enrolling in an obedience school include:

1) Puppy Socialization

Puppy Socialization as your puppy will learn to follow your instruction with lots of distractions around.

2) Puppy Bite Inhibition

Puppy Bite Inhibition is an important part of socialization. When puppies play together their correct each other when one bites too hard with a loud yelp. This will teach your puppy not to bite down hard when playing with you at home. Socialization with other puppies in obedience classes is the #1 best way to teach bite inhibition to a young dog and prevent future dog bites.

3) Puppy Manners

Puppy Manners are very important for a dog to learn as a puppy. In obedience classes, you will practice teaching your dog not to jump on other people and how to walk on a loose leash.

4) Teaching Your Puppy English

Teaching Your Puppy English is such an amazing experience. When you are able to teach your dog words and commands like sit, down, and stay you are teaching life-saving skills to your dog.

5) The Canine Good Citizen Test

The Canine Good Citizen Test is the final step in getting your dog certified from the American Kennel Club as a certified “Good Dog” that is friendly and well-balanced. Puppies who are able to pass this test young can grow up to become therapy dogs, service animals, and wonderful family pets.

Finding The Right Trainer 

  1. Where to Find a Dog Trainer
  2. Different Types of Dog Training
  3. Every Dog is Different

Dog Daycare for Puppies

What is a Dog Daycare?

Let’s face it, dogs are social creatures. They may be content to lounge around the house all day, but eventually, they’re going to start getting antsy. That’s where dog daycare comes in. Dog daycare is a safe, supervised environment where your furry friend can play, make new friends, and burn off some energy.

Daycare is also a great option for busy owners who can’t always be home to let their dogs out or take them for a walk. Instead of coming home to an unhappy pup (and a mess), you can pick up a tired but happy dog at the end of the day.

So whether you’re looking for a place to socialize your new puppy or just want to give your best friend a break from being home alone, stop by your local dog daycare and see what all the fuss is about.

How Much Does a Daycare Cost

Typically a dog daycare daily rate is between $25-$40 dollars for day. Some daycares even help to train your dog during their visit too.

When Should I Consider Bringing My Puppy to Daycare

As soon as you feel comfortable. You will need to provide vaccine records and some daycares require the dog to be neutered/spayed if they are over 6-7 months of age.

Benefits of Dog Daycare and Socialization

For working dog parents, doggy daycare can be a lifesaver. It provides a safe, supervised environment for pups to play and socialize while their humans are busy earning the bacon.

But dog daycare is not just a convenient solution for working dog parents; it can also provide some important benefits for your pup. Daycare can help your dog to burn off excess energy, while also learning important socialization skills.

And, of course, it’s a great way for your furry friend to make some new friends. So whether you’re looking for a solution to your work-life balance or just want your pup to have a little fun, doggy daycare may be the perfect solution.

Raising a Well-Balanced Puppy

Dealing With Frustration

Raising a puppy can turn your life upside down, and some new pet owners experience frustration and overwhelm. Whether it’s from not getting enough sleep, or from constantly having to be watching to ensure the puppy doesn’t get hurt, getting a puppy is a full-time job.

It is important that you walk away from the situations that overwhelm you, and learn what you have been doing wrong in those situations. With a little help from a trainer, you will find that there is a way to solve almost any puppy problem.

Patience is Key

Having patience is one of the most important gifts you can give your new dog. They don’t really understand what is expected of them yet, and they look to you for leadership and guidance. If you always become irate or overwhelmed they will begin to lose faith in you as a leader and become afraid of their environment. Always remember to take a deep breath and start fresh each day.


As you can see, there is a lot to think about before you add a new puppy to your family. But don’t let that discourage you – the rewards of raising a well-behaved, healthy, and happy pup are immeasurable! Just be sure to do your research, ask lots of questions, and get ready for some serious snuggles. Congratulations on your new furry friend!

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