How to Prepare for Your New Puppy

One of the most exciting events for a family or an individual is bringing home a new puppy. Unfortunately, many people don’t organize themselves or their home for the new arrival. There are several things that can be done to make your puppy’s first few hours in its new home pleasant and enjoyable. Most of the activities are very simple and will just require a few minutes of time and attention to complete.

Having the right supplies

The following items should be purchased and set up prior to the puppy’s or puppies’ arrival:

* Stainless steel or rigid plastic non-tip food and water bowls

* Crate of the appropriate size

* Soft, washable bedding for inside the crate

* Variety of chew toys and play toys

* Leash or lead and collar of the appropriate size

* Food that is the same as the puppy or puppies are currently being fed (same brand, flavor, etc)

In addition, depending on your house or puppy room area, you may also need to get some baby gates to contain the puppy in a specific room or to prevent them from going up or down stairs.

Safety considerations

Puppies are a lot like small children: they will want to investigate everything. Puppies learn by chewing and mouthing as much as they learn by looking and smelling. By spending a bit of time puppy-proofing your home you can be assured that your puppy will be safe. The following are puppy-proofing tips:

* Remove all electrical cords from the puppies’ reach. This means that they may have to be disconnected from the wall and the appliance moved. Puppies may chew on the cord either at the wall or the appliance end so it is easiest to remove the appliance to protect the cord and keep the puppy safe if the wire is plugged in.

* Remove or pull up all hanging items such as tablecloths, floor length curtains, curtain or blind pulls, hanging plants or other items that dangle temptingly in the puppies’ reach. Curtain and blind pulls are especially dangerous as they can easily become wrapped around the puppies’ neck.

* Remove all houseplants. Many common houseplants are poisonous to dogs. Unless you know for sure that the plant is not poisonous remove it from the room. Most puppies will naturally chew on plants, so if you want the plant to remain intact removing it’s the best idea.

* Remove all shoes, backpacks, leather items, remote controls, cordless phones, children’s toys, stuffed animals, throw pillows or anything else that could potentially be fun to play with.

Remember that while puppies are very energetic, you don’t need to puppy proof the whole house, just the rooms that he or she will be in unsupervised. Crate training is a great way to minimize the amount of puppy proofing that needs to occur to keep your new arrival safe and healthy.

Be sure that the puppy is allowed to settle into the area and that they’re given appropriate times to go outside to relieve themselves. Puppies usually will need to go outside at least every three hours, and usually within 20 minutes of eating or drinking. After napping or after playing they’ll also need to be taken outside. By allowing lots of trips outside and positively praising them for relieving themselves in the right area, you’ll find that housetraining is not difficult.

Special care for puppies involves a lot of prevention. Be sure to get down on the floor and look around at what might be fun for a puppy to chew on or might pose a safety hazard. Have the food, water, toys and crate ready when your puppy gets home and you and your puppy or puppies will be off to a great start together.

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