Being Puppy Prepared!
March 23 is National Puppy Day! Everyone loves puppies but they’re a lot of work. As this article from The Whole Dog Journal points out, many people prepare for having a baby months in advance, but when it comes to getting a puppy, people don’t always think that taking the extra time to plan for one can be very helpful. Just like a baby, there are many things to consider and to have before actually picking your puppy up–after all, they are babies too, just furry ones.
As far as supplies and equipment go, you’ll need a few things. One item you will need for sure is a crate. Having a crate is a great behavior management tool and helps to housetrain your puppy and keeps them from getting into trouble while you are away. Dog-safe house cleaning products are also a good idea to have as your puppy may have potty accidents inside the house while they’re being housetrained. Another great tool to have is a puppy pen which gives them a space inside to play and run around while being in a safe and confined area. Your puppy should still be supervised while in the pen because puppies are known to be escape artists.
You will also need a collar and an ID tag for your puppy, in case they get loose; your contact information will allow anyone who finds your puppy to help reunite the two of you. Another form of ID you should get for them is a microchip, as this is an even better means to be able to ID them quicker if they are lost and brought to a place with a microchip reader, such as a veterinarian’s office or shelter. This will help your puppy be reunited with you as the microchip will contain your contact information as well.
You will also need a leash and harness so they may go on controlled short walks with you. You do not want to take them on long walks yet as they are still growing and learning to walk properly…short 5-10 minute walks are long enough till they get a bit older.
Toys, of course, are a huge must…puppies have a lot of energy! Toys are a great way for them to use that energy and entertain themselves for a while. There are also toys that are interactive and can help you bond with your puppy.
You will also want to “puppy proof” your house, ensuring they can’t get to anything valuable or anything dangerous for them to eat. Puppies will put anything in their mouths.
Another huge subject to consider is dog care providers. These include a vet, trainer and possibly a dog walker/pet sitter depending on whether you have the time during the day to care for your puppy or need some help.
Training and socialization are also very important for puppies. A clicker is a great tool to use with training, letting your puppy know that when they hear the “click” they get a reward for their behavior. It’s a good idea to have your puppy learn socialization with people and other animals as well. This doesn’t mean being overly friendly to everyone and everything because that isn’t always acceptable and some dogs won’t tolerate it. Good socialization would be getting used to having others around and knowing when and how to interact with them. It is always good for your dog to be able to be in many different environments.
Overall, there are many things to consider before bringing home your puppy. These subjects are just an overview and essentials needed in order to be well-prepared to bring home your pup.